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Lions Roar : July 2015
DAVIDGABRIELFISCHER Today, climate change and other ecological crises add a new dimen- sion to the interdependence between humanity and nature. The news is not hidden, and the trends are clear. What would the Buddha have to say about our destruction of entire biomes, or about a human-caused “extinction event” that may exterminate almost half the plant and animal species on earth by the end of this century, according to the Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson? ACCORDING TO THE TRADITIONAL story, the future Buddha was born in a grove of trees, left home to practice beneath trees, awakened under a tree, lived and taught among trees, and passed away between two trees. When Mara questioned his enlightenment, the Buddha touched the earth as witness to his realization. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that monastics are forbidden to cut down trees or their limbs, pick flowers, or even pluck a green leaf from a plant. FROM WHERE I SIT The Earth Is Our Witness We have to address our collective delusion that humanity is separate from nature, say DAVID LOY and JOHANN ROBBINS. Buddhism can help. What we face now goes beyond the ordinary personal suffering that Bud- dhism has traditionally been concerned with, in fact far beyond anything that has happened before in human history. Unlike with other acts of nature such as CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE JOHANN ROBBINS and DAVID LOY lead wilderness retreats with the Impermanent Sangha. Loy’s most recent book is A New Bud- dhist Path: Enlightenment, Evolution, and Ethics in the Modern World (Wisdom). SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2015 13