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Lions Roar : January 2019
into premature labor. Later, when he left home on his spiritual quest, he went into the forest, where he studied with spiritual teachers and engaged in ascetic practices. Finally, he meditated under the Bodhi tree, where he awakened. Afterwards he continued to spend most of his time outdoors, often teaching under trees and eventually dying between two trees. The Buddha’s experience seems to be part of a larger pattern: religious found- ers often experience their spiritual trans- formation by leaving human society and going into the wilderness by themselves. Before, nature had a life and spirit of its own. The trees, skies, and rivers were living spirits. Now we are only concerned with how they can serve us. — PHRA PAISAL VISALO According to traditional biographies, Gautama Buddha had a special relation- ship with trees. He was born among trees in Lumbini Grove, when his mother went FROM WHERE I SIT No One Owns the Earth The natural world won’t thrive, says DAVID R. LOY, until we give up our sense of ownership and take up the cause of stewardship. Today, in contrast, most of us meditate inside buildings with screened windows, which insulate us from insects, the hot sun, and chilling winds. There are many advantages to this, of course, but is some- thing significant also lost? Although we normally relate to nature in a utilitarian way—how can we use its resources for our benefit?—the natural world is an interdependent community of living beings that invites us into a dif- ferent kind of relationship. Withdrawing into nature, especially by oneself, can disrupt our usual ways of seeing and CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE DAVID R. LOY’s newest book, Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Precipice, will be released by Wisdom Publications in January. TIMROBINSON/MILLENNIUMIMAGES,UK LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2019 13