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A Challenge to Dharma Leadership


Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
How can Dharma teachers and Buddhist sanghas renounce spiritual bypass and respond courageously to environmental crises and systemic injustice?
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In our age of interlocking social and environmental injustices, the Dharma must not fail to address these drivers of pervasive suffering. Our tradition has always leaned into suffering—how can we ensure we do not turn away when the world needs us most? Amaragita moderated this panel discussion featuring Kristin Barker, Samuel Grant III, David Loy, and Kritee Kanko.


When a houseplant shrivels under our care we feel the pain. Right now entire ecosystems are collapsing and the pain is immense.

Kristin Barker

My Invitation to us is to let our life be a practice of living the love we hold for all of life, with every breath, with every relationship, in every system that we encounter. This is the practice that I feel opens up in the next 10 years to healing at global scale.

Samuel Grant III

It’s not so much about transcending the world literally, but it’s more about realizing the true nature of this world. When we talk about transcending and escaping this world, it doesn’t mean we go somewhere else completely, but we can through our practice experience this world in a very different way…. that’s what needs to be emphasized today.

David Loy

We are transformed in terms of how we engage with the world and the world’s suffering. That’s what really transforms us, more than just what happens on the cushion, it’s also about transforming our fundamental ways of living in the world.

David Loy

What is Dharma that is not eco-Dharma? How can we be teaching the Dharma that separates this off… this tradition that leans into suffering seems to be steering clear.

Kristin Barker


This recording is from the 2021 International Western Dharma Teachers Gathering. It is republished here with permission.

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One Earth Sangha

One Earth Sangha strives to support humanity in a transformative response to ecological crises based on the insights and practices of the Buddhist tradition. Learn more about our team or our mission and history.
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