Session Four

Hindrances to the EcoSattva Path at the Collective Level

With session four comes the moment when we turn our focus towards the larger system within which climate change is taking place. The same unflinching discernment and fierce compassion that we have cultivated to work with hindrances in ourselves and others is now directed the historical, social, and political underpinnings of climate change. Here we can examine the shared roots of various systems of exploitation as greed, hatred and delusion at the collective level. These systems, which delineate and set in opposition self and other, include patriarchy, systemic racism, militarism, colonialism (old and new) and run-away capitalism. We will explore the inter-connectedness of their malignant manifestations in ecological crises other forms of collective harm.

This session is also our opportunity to locate ourselves within various collective forms and to name and understand the advantages and disadvantages, challenges and gifts, afforded by that location. That wise understanding will then naturally inform our engagement.

NOTE: The recording associated session is particularly long in that it includes

  • The core session recording hosted by Kristin and featuring Thanissara and Dawn Haney (1:15)
  • An essential interview by Thanissara with DaRa Williams (1:00)
  • We’ve also included an extra Science and Policy update from Lou Leonard (15:00)

However, we consider all three of these to be core to the course so we hope you can make the time. For ideas about how to structure your time, see this section on the Course Resources page.

Session Leaders

Thanissara – Mahayana and Theravada Traditions, Psycho-spiritual
Thanissara

Our host Dharma teacher for the series, Thanissara Mary Weinberg, was trained in the Forest School of Ajahn Chah, is a Dharma teacher and activist. She is co-founder of Dharmagiri on the border of Lesotho and South Africa, and Chattanooga Insight. She has taught meditation retreats for 25 years, and has an MA in Mindfulness Psychotherapy Practice. Thanissara is author of The Heart of the Bitter Almond Hedge Sutra, co-author, with Kittisaro, of Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism, and Time To Stand Up, a book on Buddhism and Climate Action.

DaRa Williams – Insight Tradition

DaRa Williams is a trainer, meditation teacher and wellness coach. She has been a clinician and administrator in the field of Mental Health for over 25 years. DaRa currently maintains a private practice in Manhattan. She is a certified Complex Trauma Focusing Oriented Therapist and a practitioner of Natural Force Healing, a vibrational energetic healing system. DaRa has been a meditator for the past 20 years and is a practitioner of both Vipassana and Ascension meditation. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts,  graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders Program and the IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training program with Jack Kornfield.

Dawn Haney – Insight (Vipassana) Tradition
Dawn Haney

Dawn Haney brings passions for social justice, good non-profit management, and dharma to Buddhist Peace Fellowship as a Co-Director. For the past 10 years, she helps small organizations make a big impact through program development, popular education, and resource management. After years of reading Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hanh, Dawn settled into the Theravadan tradition on a meditation cushion at the Durango Dharma Center, desiring more resilience in her work to heal trauma and oppression. She has trained people about gender and racial justice since 2000, while earning her Master’s degree in Health Promotion from the University of Georgia.

Resources for Session Four

There is no way to confront the climate crisis as a technocratic problem, in isolation. It must be seen in the context of austerity and privatisation, of colonialism and militarism, and of the various systems of othering needed to sustain them all.

— Naomi Klein

Homework to prepare for this session:

Session audio recording: (1:15)

Access timing and breakout inquiries here
  • 0:00–7:46: Opening to session 4 — Kristin
  • 7:47–10:07: Updates to the 2016 version of this session — Kristin
  • 10:08–22:48: Hindrances to the EcoSattva Path at the Collective Level — Thanissara
  • 22:48–34:54: Hindrances to the EcoSattva Path at the Collective Level — Dawn
  • 34:55–36:36: Breakout session 1 (we recommend groups of 3 or 4 given 3 or 4 minutes each)
    • Inquiry: “Where there any points of discomfort in what was offered so far by the presenters? If so, where in your body do you sense it? See if you can explore that discomfort with curiosity, finding out what’s going on there.”
  • 36:37–47:14: Community Harvest (comments and questions from the field)
  • 47:15–56:29: Feeling the depth and opening to uncertainty — Thanissara, Dawn and Kristin
  • 56:30-57:08: Breakout session 2
    • Inquiry: “From what’s been offered today, are there places in your life where you can sense a widening perspective, even if difficult. How might the teachings of wisdom and compassion support you?”
  • 57:09–1:04:56: Community Harvest (comments and questions from the field)
  • 1:04:57–1:12:59: Science and Policy Update — Lou
  • 1:13:00–1:15:04: Transition to Session 5 — Kristin
  • 1:15:05–1:16:12: Dedication of Merit — Thanissara

Session transcript (2015 version):  Session Four of 2015 EcoSattva Training (download PDF)

DaRa Williams was not able to join us for the live session. Thanissara followed up a few days later and recorded this interview: (1:00)

There are three resources to which DaRa refers. You may find it handy to have these available to as you listen.

Conversation transcript The Mind that Can Heat a World: Conversation with DaRa Williams

Lou Leonard’s Science and Policy Extra: The Arctic and Geo-engineering (0:15)

Optional Follow-Up Resources:

  • Video: Let Them Drown, Naomi Klien on the Violence of Othering in a Warming World (transcript here)
  • Dharma Talk: “Reclamation of the Sacred” – Thanissara, Spirit Rock Meditation Center
    Explores collective dislocation, naming colonial devastation and the movement towards tenderness.

Dana – Generosity

To maximize participation, we are offering this series at minimal cost. All of the teachers and leaders on these calls offer their gifts freely in this spirit of dana. In addition, One Earth Sangha has full-time staff who will be supported through the practice of dana, or generosity, from people like you.

If you value this and other offerings from One Earth Sangha and want to support a Dharma-informed response to ecological crises, we invite you to support these efforts. Dana, or generosity, is considered an essential part of practice. We simply cannot continue our work without your support. Any amount you offer is deeply appreciated.

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Next Session: Transformative Potential: The Sickness is Medicine