Buddhism and the Natural World: Deep Ecology, Deep Dharma

Kamalashila lives in West Hampstead, London, with Dharmacharini Yashobodhi. In 1974 he was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order by Urgyen Sangharakshita who gave him his Dharma name, “Kamalashila” — “He whose conduct (śila, Sanskrit) is like a red lotus (kamala)”. He’s the author of Buddhist Meditation: Tranquillity, Imagination and Insight (Windhorse Publications, 3rd Revised edition edition 2012) and leading this year’s Buddhafield Total Immersion Retreat, a month-long, silent meditation camping retreat in Devon.

He is by temperament rather shy, quiet and thoughtful, but he has been active for forty years teaching meditation, establishing communities, writing and leading Dharma study. In 1976 he founded the West London Buddhist Centre near Earls Court; he moved to Wales in 1979 and became a founder of Vajraloka Meditation Centre and later Vajrakuta, Triratna’s first residential Dharma study centre. He also has longstanding connections with Buddhafield and EcoDharma.

This is a talk he gave to members of the Triratna Buddhist Order (then still known as the Western Buddhist Order) in 2005. Some of the themes he covers are very relevant to Buddhafield’s Green Earth Awakening Camp (May 16–21 2014).

You can find this and many other talks by Kamalashila on Free Buddhist Audio.

1. Parami: introduction (3:15).

2. Kamalashila: environmentalism in the early days of the FWBO; Vajraloka; reactions in ’80s & ’90s; a contemporary shift (2:47).

3. A personal experience of participation in nature; nature and Buddha Nature; alienation from the natural world (4:52).

4. Deep ecology as a way to insight; changing our sense of identity and ownership; deep ecology and ethics (4:26).

5. Aldo Leopold; owning beings and land as unethical; the experience of being in the countryside; meditation and the “Four Great Elements” — “Mahabhutas”; nature and seeing beyond ego (8:40).

6. Transcending self & other; our limited idea of “all beings” and the experience of other creatures (3:07).

7. Not dismissing non-humans; relative separation from the natural world; anthropocentrism versus ecocentrism; awareness of non-human beings and ethics (5:33).

8. Communal living; single sex; the underside of the development of communities; mixed communities and the benefits of other mixed environments (4:31).

9. Sangharakshita’s book review on DH Lawrence and the Spiritual Community — four principles of spiritual community; sexual relationships and community living (7:17).

10. A personal vision of mixed communities; deep ecology and community living (2:27).

Festival 2013: Programme Update 1

Dharma Parlour 2013

The Dharma Parlour is an Area of the Festival dedicated to exploring the teachings of the Buddha and how it applies to us in the modern world. It has a full programme of activities over the weekend including a series of talks, study and workshops. You can see the whole Dharma Parlour programme as well as an outline for the Meditation Space on the main Buddhafield Website.

Highlights include:

From the Triratna Buddhist Order we have Lokabandhu, Shgantigarbha, Kulamitra, Maitridevi and Dhivan giving talks on topics from 10 Ways to Misunderstand Buddhism to The Buddha Broke my Heart; Theravadin monk the Venerable Amaranatho will be talking on the topic of The Listening heart and later leading a panel discussion on The Impact of Mindfulness; Dr. Tashi Zangmo and Marie Thesbjerg will be giving their own series of talks around themes arriving from their work with the Buthanese Nuns Foundation.

TBO members Dhivan and Mahabodhi will be leading daily study over the weekend where you can investigate two themes from the Buddha’s teaching, love as a means to Enlightenment and the Buddhist perspective on feelings and emotions.

The Dharma Parlour has it’s own workshop programme, and there’s something for everyone, from meditation for parents with Upayavira, to an introduction to Buddhism with Advayasiddhi, and an exploration of traditional “elements” meditations with Caroline Brazier.

Recordings from the 2012 Dharma Parlour

Lokabandhu giving a talk
Thanks to Free Buddhist Audio for hosting the talks recorded at last year’s Buddhafield Festival. Dharma Doorways and Deadends: not all that glitters is gold. Lokabandhu explores the fascinating Buddhist notion of “near enemies”, those seductive but misleading lookalikes to authentic spiritual qualities. Living in an Illusion … Dying to Escape: Khemasuri talks about everyday experience as virtual reality, focusing on death to turn towards the truth, and “thin moments”. Embracing Love: Vajrasara explores the joys and challenges of love, empathy, passion and compassion on the spiritual journey. Doors to Freedom: the Buddha’s Psychology of Liberation with Dhivan, author of This Being, That Becomes: the Buddha’s Teaching on Conditionality, talks about some of the historical Buddha’s ideas on how conscious awareness can influence unconscious patterns that keep us imprisoned in a fixed sense of self.