I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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Permaculture and the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas  RSS feed

 
Posts: 211
Location: Missoula Montana
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Saturday, September 11 from 1-7 p.m. hosts the 6th Annual Peace Festival:Landscapes of Peace at the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas just outside of Arlee, MT.
 
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This is the first I've heard of this festival but have been looking for an excuse to see that amazing garden/piece of artwork for the past few months!  This is definitely a great reason for anyone who's never visited to go check it out.
 
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Location: Missoula, MT
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This sounds like it could be fun. What sort of festival is this? Do you have any more information on what events they will have?
 
Robert Sunset
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Is this garden complete?  I haven't heard much about it in the past few months but I remember something about a Dalai Lama visit.  Not sure if that happened yet or not.
 
master steward
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Rebecca Dane
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check out the web page for more information.  I have seen some flyers at Good Food Store and other places and I know they are having Native American Flute playing at some point.  Music starts around 2:30 I think, but the Peace Festival runs from 1-7 p.m.  I believe you can come and go as you please.
 
paul wheaton
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So I went and took some video:



And I visited with some of the folks there.  It seems that they are keen on permaculture

I'm not a buddhist although I've always been a little mystified/awed by buddhists.  I always thought it was cool that no wars have been waged in the name of buddhism.  And I have heard buddhists say some things that have really clicked for me. 

So my knowledge of buddhism is slight.  And, I've been invited to come back and visit with them a bit about how permaculture stuff might apply to what they are doing. 

Perhaps there are some folks that are buddhists and permaculture enthusiasts and can help me to understand what might be some permaculture things that are a good fit, and what might be some permaculture things that are not a good fit.

I'm not sure if they want to talk about "the garden" or some gardens.  I'll find that out later. 

As an example, the idea popped into my head of suggesting that they grow stinging nettles.  Is it a plant that is often mis understood?  Does the sting, combined with the nutrition and other uses have some sort of bigger message?

When it comes to permaculture, I favor shaping the land and then encouraging some species and then letting it go pretty wild.  Maybe that is not a fit for "the garden of a thousand buddhas"

I guess I'm fishing for some schooling on buddhism + horticulture.

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I cant offer any advice, except that a buddhist friend of mine resonates very much whenever we have talked about permaculture concepts.... So wherever  you go with it, I bet its likely to go good.
 
gardener
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Well, the biggest similarity for me is in the Buddhist principle of "dependent arising", or, basically, that everything is interconnected and interdependent. This seems like a core permaculture tenet.
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Hi Paul,

I first got “into” Zen Buddhism 40 years ago.  Since then, I studied oriental languages and culture.  I also spent many years in the Far East. 

paul wheaton wrote:
I always thought it was cool that no wars have been waged in the name of buddhism.


That is a very persistent myth, but unfortunately it is only a myth.  Buddhists have been at the killing game with a vengeance, like all the rest.  The most recent examples are in Sri Lanka, where the hate and suffering resulting from the extended civil war still linger.  Many of the Buddhist countries in Indochina have, in modern times, seen bloodshed and atrocities that would scare the vilest of Christian crusader.  Japanese Buddhist organizations collected donations to fund military planes for Kamikaze fighters and urged Japanese officers and troops to “kill, kill, kill …” during WWII.  The reasoning was that the sword was doing the slaying and not the Samurai and that it was the victim who would come to meet the sword.  The Chinese monk of the Tang dynasty who founded Zen, sold ordination certificates to fund a military campaign against an uprising.  This got him the favors of the emperor and he was able to beat a rival school of Zen. The king who reunited the Indian subcontinent about 2000 years ago converted to Buddhism, but the numerous military campaigns he conducted to unite the country must have cost innumerable lives and untold sufferings.  I could go on, but I think the above gives you an idea.

It is just like with Christianity, the theory is great (“love thy neighbor …”), but things tend to work out somewhat different in the real World.

And I have heard buddhists say some things that have really clicked for me.


Yes, that is what it was for me too.  There have been attempts to bring some Buddhists ideas into proximity with modern environmentalism.   Again, this is more theory than reality.  In Mahayana Buddhism, which has spread mostly in Central Asia, China, Japan and Korea, there are some thoughts that can be interpreted that way:

The Bodhisattva Vows: Bodhisattva literally means an “enlightened being”, much like the Buddha, except that s/he vows not to enter into Nirvana before all “sentient beings” are not liberated.  This includes all animals and even plants.  Thus humans are on the same level as animals and plants.  In Western thinking (Christianity, Humanism, Socialism), humans dominate the rest of creation.

The Avatamsaka: this is a relatively late Mahayana Sutra that gained prominence especially in China.  A central theme of this Sutra is the theory of “Indra’s Net”.  The Sutra describes the universe as a gigantic net.  At each node of the net there is a precious stone. The whole universe is reflected in each precious stone.  Each precious stone is reflected in every other precious stone.  Here we have a good description of an interrelated universe, showing that one action, for example changing a gene, will have an impact on every other element in the universe.

These are brilliant ideas that could “in theory” lead to an environmental World view in which humans don’t destroy the rest of creation because they feel integral part of this creation.

Yet again, the reality looks very different, especially with Western converts to Buddhism.  Buddhists are great adepts at one-upmanship, so whatever I say; there will always be someone to offer you an even more intricate explanation.  For the sake of brevity, here is a very simply explanation: The central idea in Buddhism is to overcome suffering.  To do so, Buddhists have to realize that the World around them including their own self is an illusion and has no reality.  While in theory this leads to awakening and truly understanding things as they are, in reality this often leads to a negativistic or fatalistic attitude with an exclusive emphasis on introspection.  The result is that Buddhists like the status quo, they don’t want to hear about environmental issues because it upsets their meditation and mental equilibrium.  I have banged my head against the wall in Buddhist forums in several languages for a long time, it is always the same; there is either indifference or total denial of environmental issues.

I could go on at some length, and you are welcome to ask further question.  If you want to do more reading, check out “engaged Buddhism” and the writings of David R. Loy, especially his texts entitled “Ecobuddhism”, “Can Buddhism save the Planet”, “Indra’s Postmodern Net”, “On the Duality of Nature and Culture”, etc.  All of this is very fine rhetoric, but don’t forget it is only theory.  Loy and engaged Buddhism are deliberately ignored or even stonewalled by most Buddhists in the West.  I wish it were otherwise.

Dieter
 
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The garden of one thousand Buddhas is now complete. Paul took me to see it, so I took a load of photos to share with you all.

This is Yum Chenmo, the Great Mother.



"The Primodial Mother, Yum Chenmo, is the ultimate nature of all phenomenon, emptiness, suchness, free from the two veils. She is the pure essence of the sphere of emptiness, the insight on non-self. She is the matrix that gives birth to all the Buddhas of the three times. However, to give beings the opportunity to accumulate spirtual merits, she manifests as an object of veneration."

To give you some idea of the scale, here's of photo of Yum Chenmo meeting the Mother Tree.

Kinda humbling...



Paul has been feeling kinda burned out lately, and I've been a little concerned and giving him a good talking to about things like spoon theory in the hope that he'll learn to pace himself a bit. On the way into the garden, we stumbled on this, which seemed highly pertinent.



So I made him pose by it for a photo in the hope that he'd remember to look after himself as well as his empire.



Here's one of the Buddha-decked 'spokes' leading up to the Great Mother.



Paul found another fascinating plaque to read.



It's the Heart Sutra.



I believe it says something like this -

"The Heart Sutra

Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One was dwelling in Rajagriha at Vulture Peak mountain, together with a great gathering of the sangha of monks and a great gathering of the sangha of bodhisattvas. At that time the Blessed One entered the samadhi that expresses the dharma called "profound illumination," and at the same time noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, while practicing the profound prajnaparamita, saw in this way: he saw the five skandhas to be empty of nature.
Then, through the power of the Buddha, venerable Shariputra said to noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, "How should a son or daughter of noble family train, who wishes to practice the profound prajnaparamita?"

Addressed in this way, noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, said to venerable Shariputra, "O Shariputra, a son or daughter of noble family who wishes to practice the profound prajnaparamita should see in this way: seeing the five skandhas to be empty of nature. Form is emptiness; emptiness also is form. Emptiness is no other than form; form is no other than emptiness. In the same way, feeling, perception, formation, and consciousness are emptiness. Thus, Shariputra, all dharmas are emptiness. There are no characteristics. There is no birth and no cessation. There is no impurity and no purity. There is no decrease and no increase. Therefore, Shariputra, in emptiness, there is no form, no feeling, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no appearance, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no dharmas, no eye dhatu up to no mind dhatu, no dhatu of dharmas, no mind consciousness dhatu; no ignorance, no end of ignorance up to no old age and death, no end of old age and death; no suffering, no origin of suffering, no cessation of suffering, no path, no wisdom, no attainment, and no non-attainment. Therefore, Shariputra, since the bodhisattvas have no attainment, they abide by means of prajnaparamita.

Since there is no obscuration of mind, there is no fear. They transcend falsity and attain complete nirvana. All the buddhas of the three times, by means of prajnaparamita, fully awaken to unsurpassable, true, complete enlightenment. Therefore, the great mantra of prajnaparamita, the mantra of great insight, the unsurpassed mantra, the unequaled mantra, the mantra that calms all suffering, should be known as truth, since there is no deception. The prajnaparamita mantra is said in this way:

OM GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA

Thus, Shariputra, the bodhisattva mahasattva should train in the profound prajnaparamita.

Then the Blessed One arose from that samadhi and praised noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, saying, "Good, good, O son of noble family; thus it is, O son of noble family, thus it is. One should practice the profound prajnaparamita just as you have taught and all the tathagatas will rejoice."

When the Blessed One had said this, venerable Shariputra and noble Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva mahasattva, that whole assembly and the world with its gods, humans, asuras, and gandharvas rejoiced and praised the words of the Blessed One. "


Offerings of fruit have been placed at the foot of the Buddhas at the head of each spoke.



More offerings had been placed on this rock, which had been engraved with more timely and sage advice, this time aimed more at me than at Paul, though maybe it was aimed at a more general audience.



Here's a link to the website for anyone who wants to learn more about the garden. Garden of One Thousand Buddhas
 
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