|Buddhist Spirituality and Nature|
A Buddhist Blessing
Now may every living thing, young or old, weak or strong, living near or far, known or unknown, living or departed or yet unborn, may every living thing be full of bliss.
Thich Nhat Hanh
I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, minerals ...
-from The Five Wonderful Precepts
from The Fruitful Darkness
In zen meditation practice, you face the wall and hope that in this process of yielding you face yourself and realize who and what you really are. The basic impulse in Mahayana Buddhism is proclaimed in the vow to save all beings. The translation of the vow of the bodhisattva that I first heard years ago referred to all "sentient" beings: people and perhaps animals. But lately I have chosen to drop the word sentient from the vow when I share it with others. I no longer think it is relevant....
I have looked out the eyes of rocks and mountains, and although I know the psyche yearns to give the world a soul, I am not totally convinced that there is not a kind of awareness in the mineral and plant world. In any case, I don't forget the advice of Nan Yan Huichung when he said that we should not hinder any being who hears deeply. When I drop into the stream of existence in a finely tuned way in the course of practice or ritual process, I discover how excluding is the worldview of the West, and I do not want to hinder that which hears the subtler voices of the Earth.
More About Zen
In Zen Buddhism one often encounters the notion that there is no essential difference between the external and the internal. Isutsu, in describing the experiences of satori or enlightenment, says Zen masters often use the expression: "the interior and exterior becoming smoothed out into one whole."
The externalization of the internal in Zen starts from the loss of ego consciousness as one encounters an "external" object. One submerges oneself in the object. "Man becomes the bamboo" says Isutsu, "Man becomes the flower."
Isutsu writes ". . . the very act of the artist expressing his interior is in itself nothing other than the act of Nature expressing its own interior." After enlightenment:
According to Isutsu, there is no real difference between an artist expressing his or her interior and the act of Nature expressing its own interior.
During enlightenment one's mind becomes an all embracing mirror which reflects the images of the natural world in all their splendor. The external landscape becomes an internal reality. It is re-created in a new dimension. In such a state one is no longer in individual mind, rather one is in participating in universal Mind.