The care of the earth is our most sacred and our most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope.
– Wendell Berry
With the start of Earth Care Week just a week away (Oct 1-7), it is shaping into an inspiring and exciting time at many sanghas. With so little notice (!), our community is nonetheless responding. Here are some highlights we’ve learned about that we just don’t want to keep to ourselves:
- Albuquerque Vipassana, Albuquerque New Mexico, USA
On Saturday, October 5th, Kathryn Turnipseed will be leading the first annual Earth Care Retreat in the Sandia Mountains just outside of Albuquerque.
- Against the Stream, Los Angeles, California, USA
The Dharma Punx at Against the Stream are joining with other Los Angeles Sanghas to offer teachings on our connection with the Earth and how we can take care of it.” Noah Levine will be teaching on Earth Care at the Santa Monica and Melrose evening classes. On October 5th, the community will host a movie night with an Earth care theme and, on the following Saturday, they will join with the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center in offering a daylong on “Mindfulness for the Earth: Deepening Personal and Ecological Awareness”
- BC Insight Meditation Society, Vancouver, BC, Canada
BC Insight is hosting a number of special events for Earth Care Week including an all-day public sitting and discussion led by Brian Dean Williams on “how we can respond compassionately and skillfully to global warming and the harm it is creating.” Adrianne Ross will offer a dharma talk and video with discussion (and food!). On Saturday of Earth Care Week, there will be a Sangha Walk in the beautiful Pacific Spirit Park and, on the following Saturday, the sangha will explore mindful bicycle riding in the natural environment as a variant of walking practice.
- Bodhi Tree Brighton, Brighton, East Sussex, UK
Kirsten Kratz and Hannah Gower will be hosting a “Touching Life” daylong for the Bodhi Tree Brighton sangha to “explore together the connections between our Dharma practice and our potential to allow our insights to touch life and to contribute to a more just and sustainable world. The day will include periods of silent practice as well as periods of guided inquiry, sharing and explorations inspired, among others, by the work of Joanna Macy.”
- Desert Dharma, Moab, Utah, USA
Susie Harrington and Sarah Heffron are co-facilitating an exploration of the connection between awakening our hearts and minds and the care of the Earth. Later in the week, a potluck features the video, “The Story of Stuff” after which the sangha will discuss “how we weave together our practice and our care of this good planet.”
- East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland, California, USA
The EBMC Alphabet Sangha is recognizing Earth Care Week with a dharma talk by Joan Doyle “focusing on the interconnectedness of all beings and how our individual beliefs and actions are important.”
- Insight Meditation Center, Redwood City, California, USA
IMC has a number of offerings for Earth Care Week. The lead teacher at IMC, Gil Fronsdal, will be focusing his talks on the connection between Buddhist Practice and caring for our natural world. For the full month of October, children’s programs will focus on caring for the environment. IMC members are encouraged to calculate their own carbon footprint as a practice in mindful consumption. The Center is also launching a fundraising drive for a solar water heater at the new Insight Retreat Center. Finally, on Sunday October 13th, there will be a community gathering to “learn and inspire each other in practical ways we can care for our planet and all life it houses.”
- Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Washington, DC, USA
Earth Care Week has inspired an impressive list of activities at IMCW beginning late September through the end of October. Tara Brach and at least 12 other teachers will focus their local sangha meetings on Earth Care. Mary VanDevanter will host a screening and discussion of “Economics of Happiness.” On October 27th, Trudy mitchell-gilkey and Ruth King will host a daylong on “Earth & Body, Doing No Harm: A daylong to explore our interdependence.” On the same day, Ellen Tynan and Jeff Foulkes will offer an “Autumn Walk and Meditation on Sugarloaf Mountain.”
- Mission Dharma, San Francisco, California, USA
Howard (“Howie”) Cohn and Mission Dharma will be focusing on Earth Care this week by offering dharma talks, encouraging individuals to inventory their impact on natural systems and “all around conciousness raising.
- Oxford Gaia House Sangha, Oxford, UK
The Oxford Sangha is holding an all day event on Saturday, October 5th to remedy a “neglected and abused” landscape by removing litter. With meditations and reflections, this will be an opportunity for mindful practice, taking direct responsibility for human impacts and “leaving the world as clean as, or cleaner than we found it.”
- Rhode Island Community of Mindfulness, Rhode Island, USA
Joanne Friday, a dharma teacher in the lineage of Tchich Nhat Hanh, is inviting all Rhode Island sanghas to practice care for the earth for the entire month of October by bringing “a focus on our relationship with the environment and offer actions to reduce consumption and protect and celebrate the earth.”
- Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, California, USA
Teachers Mark Coleman, Donald Rothberg, Julie Wester and Dana DePalma will offer dharma talks all week focusing on “practice, action and presence with the natural world in this time of great change.” Spirit Rock’s Earth Care Week schedule includes an offer to sangha members of tree saplings from the retreat center for members to plant in their own yards.
- Zen Center of Portland, Portand Oregon, USA
On Saturday, October 5th, the Zen Center of Portland’s Larry Christensen will lead a meditation and talk/discussion on “How to Love Your Mother Earth.”
- Aloka Vihara, San Francisco, California, USA
In our first update on Earth Care Week, we shared the full Earth Care Week schedule at Aloka Vihara. Highlights include a number of dharma talks, a “Walk to Feed the Hungry,” films and shared events with the Dhammadharini Bhikkhuni Sangha and the Karuna Buddhist Vihara.
When we touch the Earth, our home, with awareness we can open to joy, beauty,and belonging. This heartfelt connection can bring forth a sense of care and compassion for all of life. With awareness we can also let in the challenges to the Earth’s well-being: pervasive drought, extensive wildfires, and rapidly melting sea ice. These and other threats of climate change can be the ground for awakening.
from the description of Albuquerque Vipassana’s Earth Care Retreat
May these gatherings contribute to our deepening practice and our global awakening to care for each other and our home!