This is the last of a series of talks about how current cultural stress affects us and what the principles and practices of Buddhism have to offer in reducing the dukkha of a particular topic. In this case it is the distress and confusion around how the environment is being affected by current population growth, which is producing global warming and degradation of the environment. Peter cited current observations about the unprecedented growth of human population since the onset of the industrial revolution early in the 19th century. The population of the world is predicted to grow exponentially (nearly a vertical track on a growth chart graphic) to 9 billion people by 2050! The earth’s environment is already strained by current pressures for resource extraction and utilization and is bound to be significantly more stressed over the next few decades. There are political stances about whether global warming is attributable to human CO2 production, but whether or not this is true, the impact of increasing population will continue to degrade the atmosphere, the earth and the water, and this has and will continue to create political and social stresses for the rest of our lifetimes on the planet. Many people respond either with denial about what’s happening or despair regarding whether humanity can survive what is coming. Peter suggested these views represent either aversion or skeptical doubt, and that we as individuals can commit two what we can do with our limited resources as gifts to the next generation, establishing role models of effective action in the face of adversity.
Peter talked about his decisions regarding the environment stemming from reading “Diet For A Small Planet” several decades ago and how the impact of this created a commitment to living a more environmentally responsible life as demonstrated by his current home life (You have to listen to the talk for more details) and how Buddhist principles and practices strongly supported whatever success he has realized. He then invited the participants in the talk to comment on what they might consider to be a commitment to “reduce the environmental dukkha” by their individual lifestyle choices–a form of Right Livelihood. Peter further invites those who are reading this and listening to the talk to consider what lifestyle choices they can commit to that can make an individual difference to the environment with the support of regular mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation practice.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: The Dharma And The Environment
Since Peter and others will be on retreat at Deerhaven next week there will not be a posted dharma talk for Wednesday the 23rd; Daniel Logan will provide a talk entitled “My Favorite Hindrance” at that meeting. Here is the description Daniel provides:
My Favorite Hindrance
Everyone experiences the hindrances, both on and off the cushion. In this week’s dharma discussion we’ll explore our own personal history with a hindrance of our choice through the lens of currere. Currere is an autobiographical method of reflecting upon one’s experience through a subjective and narrative framework. Participants will be guided through the process of reflecting upon past, present, and future experiences related to their experiences with a single hindrance (aversion, doubt, sensual desire, sloth & torpor, restlessness & worry / agitation & remorse) and they will be encouraged to frame these experiences in a manner that serves to strengthen their practice. So come prepared to share your story with a fellow meditator and perhaps with the group at large.