TREATISE ON ZANDTAO
Paths are part of nature, they are not developed by people. Nature gives us our paths. The life we lead might just end up being conditioned, addicted to a way of life that was formed through instinct, or we might be fortunate to follow a path however unconsciously. This is not for us to know, we live our lives unaware of nature’s plans – Karma, whether it is destiny or not does not matter as each instant cannot be predicted, each event that happens as far as we are concerned is based on our own volition.
Our way of life helps us fit into the natural order but within all of us there is an imperative, a duty, that attracts us to the path, the path that I have described as:-
All of this comes from nature, and this is part of why Buddhadasa describes nature as the God of the Buddhist in the doctrine of idapaccayata. He talks much more about this than I am going to.
What I want to say is perhaps best expressed in this Russell Means clip – “We are all related.” He talks about Mother Earth as being sacred, I wish to interpret this. Sacred means God means idappaccayata. What have I been talking about as sacred is sunnata, presence, the grace of God, the path. When we follow the path we are doing what is sacred, it is what nature meant us to do.
Mother Earth is sacred but this does not mean that Mother Earth is an external life that is out there. No we are part of Mother Earth. All our paths are the life of Mother Earth, all the ways of our lives are Mother Earth. James Lovelock talked about gaia. His gaia was scientific in which ecology was interconnected. But isn’t Gaia Mother Earth? Aren’t we as people part of the life that is Mother Earth, Gaia?
Unity is talked of, ONE planet, Mother Earth. The path, a sacred way of life, recognises this unity, and lives accordingly. It is not a scientific rationale developed logically part of which says carbon emissions damages the environment. It is compassion for Gaia because we are Gaia. We are not separate lives that live together in communities, we are lives already joined together as sunnata, as paths. When we allow conditioning to create selves we allow separation, this separation is a conditioned response and we become addicted to that conditioning. Breaking that addiction, that conditioning, ends the separation that our conditioning has created bringing us back to being ONE in Gaia.
Russell says that what is needed is the wisdom that the earth is a living being. That wisdom includes more. We are part of the living being that is Mother Earth – Gaia, acting in separation, putting self-interest above that of Gaia - compassion - is harming ourselves. Through instinct we develop a conditioning of selves to survive, but instead of letting these selves fall away as adults we become addicted to these selves, and these selves create a separation from Gaia. But we are not separate. When we follow the path, we feel the unity through sunnata, we know we are part of Mother Earth, of Gaia, and that happiness comes to us when we end our addiction and accept this.
Follow the path of Gaia.