“E” is for Earth Day…..and Enlightenment. These are not separate


“E” is for Earth Day…..and Enlightenment

Happy Earth Day! I didn’t know the history of Earth Day until I gave a Dharma talk at the San Francisco LGBTQ Sangha* on this date last year. Did you know that the first Earth Day led to the establishment of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and then the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts? Check it out at  http://www.earthday.org/

“E” does also bring up the Buddhist word probably most searched: “Enlightenment

Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen, said,

“Enlightenment is intimacy with all things.” 

What is it to be “intimate” with all things? From his Self-receiving and Employing Samadi:

“Because earth, grass, trees, walls, tiles, and pebbles all engage in Buddha activity, those who receive the benefit of wind and water caused by them are inconceivably helped by the Buddha’s guidance, splendid and unthinkable, and awaken intimately to themselves.”

ALL things are “engaged in buddha activity” — alive in and of itself and alive in and of all. Those who understand this — know we’re connected — and then act from such knowledge awaken. We awaken — are enlightened — by knowing the living of our lives is not separate from our experiencing of it in each moment; nor are we separate from all of life. Intimacy is being in the midst of life fully.

From Buddhadasa Bhikkhu:

“The entire cosmos is a cooperative. The sun, the moon, and the stars live together as a cooperative. The same is true for humans and animals, trees, and the earth. When we realize that the world is a mutual, interdependent, cooperative enterprise… then we can build a noble environment. If our lives are not based on this truth, then we shall perish.”


* San Francisco LGBTQ Sangha: http://www.maxkelly.info/sangha.html

photo: “E” taken by Emma Lindsay. Thanks!


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