Monday, 27 February 2012

Evolution and Karma

Exploring links between the eastern idea of collective karma for all living beings and the western scientific discovery of evolution. In the San Francisco Zen Center talks on collective karma and Anil Dash's blog about the problems of the western perception of karma it seems we western people understand karma a lot more easily if it is described as being like evolution. Indeed, the understanding of evolution from the western perspective has given rise to much of the modern environmental movement as in David Attenborough's 'Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life'.

At Sterling College in Craftsbury Common Vermont, K. Jeffrey Bickart shared David Quammen's 'The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction' as an introductory ecology course book. At the same time George Gardner introduced us to the work of Thay Thich Nhat Hahn and helped to guide us in mindfulness meditation and shared dharma. We were offered contemplation and compassion as a world view and evolutionary theory for getting closer to the surrounding ecology. The connections that have been arising from these understanding, as well as through the study of Human Ecology, Ethnoecology and the practice of meditation, have been astounding.

As we begin to better understand the mind and nature we become more compassionate toward the rest of life on the planet and we are making our way to a new, more holistic, paradigm.

Refuge of Nocturnal Birds

High on a cliff there's a twisted pine;
intently it listens into the abyss
with its trunk curved down like a crossbow.

A refuge of nocturnal birds,
in the deepest hours of midnight it resounds
with the swift fluttering of wings.

Even my heart has a nest
suspended into the darkness, and a voice;
it, too, lies awake listening at night.
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