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"May I help us be at peace." and the complementarity of buddhism and permaculture

There are ways to use or to hold the body-mind to be at peace.

Added by colin #442 on 2007-06-23. Last modified 2007-07-06 20:38. Originally created 2007-06-23. F0 License: Attribution
Location: World
Topics: buddhism, diet, fun, health, monasticism, permaculture, philosophy, philosophy-integral, spirit, walking
: analysis, important, learning, vision



Do I want my future to be like the present moment?

May I help us be at peace.

We know different experiences of peace.

And there are different paths to whatever it is I am attempting to point to.

If we are not at peace, we can care for our body-mind by doing things such as breathing in on one step, out on the other.

The following may have made sense once.


If we cannot let go of what we studied in the past, we cannot go on to the next step. If you don't let go of the fifth step, you cannot take the sixth step.
--Thich Nhat Hanh in The Mindfulness Bell, p. 9, Summer 2007

If you want to know your past lives,
look into your present condition.
If you want to know your future,
Look into your present actions.
--Buddha in The Mindfulness Bell, p. 38, Summer 2007

Darling, I am here for you
Darling, I know you are there and I am very happy
Darling, I know you are suffering and that is why I am here for you
Darling, I am suffering, please help
--The Four Mantras of True Love, TNH

Try to be mindful and let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool. All kinds of wonderful, rare animals will come to drink at the pool, and you will clearly see the nature of all things. You will see many strange and wonderful things come and go, but you will be still.
--Ajahn Chah


To be at peace is to appreciate things without seeking to change them. Permaculture and buddhism may help us to be at peace.

May I help us be at peace.

To be at peace

To be at peace is to appreciate things, all of which are impermanent and interbeing, without seeking to change them. "Things" include sensations, perceptions, and thoughts.

Mindful action

I act after considering how to help us be at peace, maintaining awareness of things as they are. I am acting. I am acting to change things. I am acting to help us be at peace. I am acting with awareness that I am trying to change what I believe contributes to lack of peace.

Habit and reflex

As I consider my reflexive ways of acting, I have fewer reflexive ways of acting.

How meditation or mental development may work

By seeking to appreciate things as they are, which may be aided by moving and acting sensitively and gently, by sitting still, by practicing awareness, and by keeping the mind attached to the present moment, I become less likely to act reflexively. I am more likely to spend more time appreciating.

Is appreciation or mental development non-reaction?

I often act to improve my appreciation, just as I continue to modify this writing. It may be better to say I continue to act, but more subtly. Noticing a tingling in my leg, once I may have changed my sitting posture. Now I may make a small change in how I am using my attention.

Seeking peace leads to less harmful action

As I seek greater peace, my actions may cause less suffering. Once, I squished the ant crawling up my arm. Now I do not notice, or I appreciate its walk, or remember to arrange my seat next time so fewer ants crawl on me.

Why not consider increasing our vitality and joy, our meaning, passion, and bliss, and our experience of the full range of life's experiences?


Should I never think about the past or future?

I often consider how to get myself to an imagined better future, based on a good memory of the past, where it may be easier to be in the present. I hedge my bets by learning to spend more time in the present (which, I am finding, isn't so bad) even now.

Should I help organize to stop harmful actions of others?


Permaculturists can help buddhists be at peace

It is easier to be at peace when danger or pain is not there. Permaculture consists of techniques for developing human settlements that provide abundant nourishment, clean water, and comfortable shelter. Permaculture systems can improve: diversity within ecosystems, relationships with neighboring settlements, and residents' ability to live without harming themselves or others.

Buddhists can help permaculturists care for each other

Permaculturists can address "Zone Zero Zero," or the zone between the ears, consisting, perhaps, of both the individual body-mind and the "Thou" or "We." Thou, We refer to how individuals interact with each other. We can guide body-mind and We in groups developing permaculture settlements. These communities are often refuges for those learning to apply permaculture. We can benefit from instruction in (and space to mutually develop) practices and reasoning that help us to be at peace.

Buddhists have been living in communities (sanghas) for 2,600 years. These communities have also been refuges. Sangha members have developed ways of interacting with each other that help them be at peace. Beginning Anew is one example.

Permaculturists can also learn from indigenous and other ancient and modern wisdom traditions as they develop practices for their land and people.

Update 2007-07-06-1005: Ken Wilber addresses these and other questions in Integral Spirituality

All the words below but the subheads are from a .pdf of a draft of Integral Spirituality.

His basic point

The major implication of an AQAL approach to spirituality is that physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels of being should be simultaneously exercised in self, culture, and nature (i.e., in the I, we, and it domains). There are many variations on this theme, ranging from socially engaged spirituality to relationships as spiritual path, and we include all of those important contributions in Integral Life Practice. The implications of an Integral Spirituality are profound and widespread, and just beginning to have an impact.

On the limitations of meditation

And while contemplative prayer or vipassana might free you from your ego, it will not free you from your culture, whose prejudices remain in the hidden intersubjective background never brought to consciousness and thus never transcended—a source of collective ignorance, false consciousness, and bondage in an island of egoic release.

Technically, the postmodernist critique of meditation would be: meditative awareness is the quintessential type of monological awareness, which is not itself conducted in dialogue but in interior monologue of pure “presence” and “bare attention.” But far from liberating somebody, that mode of awareness merely cements their ignorance of their cultural embeddedness, their intersubjectivity, and it is that ignorance that allows social and cultural interests—patriarchal, sexist, ethnocentric, androcentric—to ride undetected into the awareness of a meditator even during satori.

Notice individuals who have been practicing one path for a decade or more, and you will often see a gradual closing of their minds, a narrowing of their interests, as they go deeper into spiritual state experiences but don’t have an integral Framework to complement their plunge into Emptiness, or Ayin, or Godhead, or Holy Spirit. The result is that they become closed off to more and more parts of the world, which can actually lead to a regression to amber or fundamentalism or absolutism. They become both deep mystics and narrow fundamentalists at the same time.

Wilber quotes Traleg Kabyon Rinpoche's Mind at Ease: Self-Liberation through Mahamudra Meditation on the importance of Right View

In the Mahamudra tradition, we have to acquire a correct conceptual understanding of emptiness, or the nature of the mind. We cannot simply practice meditation and hope for the best; we need a conceptual framework that is based on a correct view...

On action (from a short summary of Buddhism in a footnote)

. . . not only is action not an impediment to realization, it is a vehicle of realization. Fundamental nondual awareness therefore involves nothing less than a joyous playing with the union of emptiness and luminous form, realizing the countless ways that the world of form, just as it is, is the Great Perfection in all its wonderment, and that the nature of the ordinary mind, just as it is, is the fully enlightened Buddha-mind.

. . . Skillful means, like all relative action, is completely paradoxical: just as I vow to gain realization, even though there is no realization (or even though I am already realized), skillful means recognizes that there are no others to liberate, therefore I vow to liberate them all. Buddhist nondual realization accordingly leads to a radiantly joyous embrace of the entire world of form, a deep compassion for all sentient beings, and a skillful means for helping all beings cross the ocean of suffering to the shore of ever-present and never-lost liberation.

On why some people teach you to say "I am not my feelings" and why TNH suggests you accept and care for your feelings

Thus, for example, a person might say, “I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts, I have feelings, but I am not my feelings”—the person is no longer identified with them as a subject, but still owns them as an object—which is indeed healthy, because they are still owned as “my thoughts.”

On the advantages of meditation and why it works

. . . considerable research has demonstrated that the more you experience meditative or contemplative states of consciousness, the faster you develop through the stages of consciousness. No other single practice or technique—not therapy, not breath-work, not transformative workshops, not role-taking, not hatha yoga—has been empirically demonstrated to do this. Meditation alone has done so. For example, whereas around 2% of the adult population is at second tier, after 4 years of meditation, that 2% goes to 38% in the meditation group. This is truly staggering research.

As we saw, the reason meditation does so is simple enough. When you meditate, you are in effect witnessing the mind, thus turning subject into object—which is exactly the core mechanism of development (“the subject of one stage becomes the object of the subject of the next”). So no matter what general stage you are at when you begin (red, amber, orange, green, etc.), you can directly experience meditative or contemplative or ecstatic or nonordinary states (gross, subtle, causal, nondual), and not only do those states carry profound experiences themselves, they will accelerate your growth and development through the stages.

On seeking to avoid aspects of the world (Monasticism?)

What did you think modernity and postmodernity involved? Something Spirit had no idea was coming? Something that caught the Dharmakaya off guard? Something that surprised the Holy Spirit? Something outside the Tao? Then why not include them in your integral View?

Dead from the neck down, with no humor, no sex, no aesthetic sensibility whatsoever, wasting away, spending one’s days and nights ignoring the world and lost in prayer. . . what a strange God, that.

Well, no more. Dead to life, dead to the body, dead to nature, dead to sex, dead to beauty, dead to excellence: that never was a real God, anyway, but merely a desiccated distillation of the things that men and women always had the most difficulty handling, and things from which God became the Great Escape, a distillation and concatenation of every phobic and repressive impulse a human being possessed.


I first saw that Integral Spirituality draft in May 2006. But I saw no good reason to be concerned about my stage of development or what "tier" I was at. Now I've found that meditation can help me. But I don't know how to make sense of it all (there are fifty million possible paths). So I'm learning from Wilber again.

Colin Leath <>    

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