Posts in Buddhism
The Buddha Fields in Our Backyard

At the beginning of the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha is seated before a large assembly of his followers. Some are arhats and kings. Others are yoga masters. There are gods and dragons, and animals, ghosts, and beings of hell all there too. This ray of light emerges from the white tuft of hair in the center of his forehead, and through it, everyone there is able to see all these thousands of worlds existing simultaneously to their own. In all of these Buddha fields, there are other Buddhas arising, instructing in the dharma, and then passing away. From their presence, still more Buddhas arise, thousands begin awakening, and this holds true across every species in each of these worlds.

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Engaging With An Impermanent Earth

There’s a fundamental quality to life—Buddhists call it anicca, or, impermanence. Essentially, things are always arising and disappearing. Nothing is permanent. These changes arise and disappear according to karma, or, the idea of cause and effect, but we should be careful about applying a lens of morality or punishment around them because that’s not necessarily the context these ideas come from.

Especially in the West where we haven’t been taught to perceive things as intrinsically impermanent, we can hold a lot of baggage around change. These sorts of moral discussions around whether a given change is good or bad can be exciting and interesting, but they aren’t what I’m writing about today. Instead, I just want to start with a recognition that all of life is in a constant state of change. This idea has profound meaning for how we perceive climate change, and how we choose to engage with the social and ecological injustices of the world.

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