The Next Buddha is Sangha

In the spirit of sangha and lovingkindness, Thanissara offers this week’s reflections for the NYI community.

The World We Dream

We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.

–Thich Naht Hanh.

Many of you know that I am focused on a Buddhist response to climate crisis. I believe Dharma practice has a lot to offer because it brings us into alignment with a different kind of power than—well, basically money, and the privilege of being able to manipulate the natural world to secure our comfortable lives. This ‘other power’ emerges from directly knowing the indestructible, diamond-like mind-heart as awareness knowing consciousness, which is the same deep subjectivity within all sentient life.

Mind experiences itself as sensitive and empathic, once freed from narcissistic fixation. The personal self, with its shifting perceptions, memories, and narratives, is a poor sanctuary; it is ever within the shadow of death. The fear of death keeps us grasping. It is this inability to accept impermanence that is at the root of a global hyper-egotistical culture, which has rendered all life in service of a profit driven agenda.

However, we can release our tight grip, and for a moment, take a deeper breath and align with a different refuge; the deathless mind-heart where all beings are resident in our awareness.
* Try this. Just relax. Soften your belly; soften your gaze. Stop chasing things, and allow your kaleidoscope world to be gently received into your heart. Or try this. Be interested in how your thinking continually generates a world of “me” and “them” over and over.

Explore how the beautiful world we dream is born right here, within your own mind, heart and body, in moments of stopping, when we allow space to be present.

With metta,

Thanissara is author of  Time To Stand Up, An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth.
*Alex Grey