Zen and Ecology

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Zen and Ecology

| I am giving a presentation at my University concerning World
| Religions and Environmental Ethics. The religion/belief
| system I am presenting is Zen Buddhism....

| 1. On the whole, as Zen Buddhists,

this text does not arise from one grounded in the Buddhism of
Zen, though it may find its way out of zen buddhism

| what are your ideas towards conservation of the environment?

rectification of names is important; environment begins to mean
"surrounding garden area" rather than "wild home of all species"

'conservation' is use-centered in that it treats Terra as a kind
of 'limited resource' which we must conserve in order to obtain
maximum product in our exploitation; 'preservation' and, in today's
ecologically impoverished and worsening circumstance, 'restoration'
are more compassionate and respectful

ignorant human progenation plus wasteful exploitation and
consumption of other beings, magnified through the use of
technological innovation, results in the devastation of Terra
which serves as Buddha's birthright

the Eight-fold Path to Nirvana should be emphasized, inclusive
of ecological and beneficent values, as leading to great personal
and social climax in liberation. education concerning
not only sexuality and conception avoidance, but also of
ideals of ahimsa and its realistic adherence, coupled with
emphasis on LIMITED, TARGETTED technological use for
efficient purposes, can speed ahimsic restoration

| 2. What is the main intrinsic value of your 'belief system'.

emphasis is placed upon propitious movement, intentional living,
and preservational elegance. showcasing the qualities of
generosity and compassion as indicative of goal-states, this
provides the foundation from which even beginners can come to
abide helpful behavioral standards

| 3. What value does Zen place on nature?

'nature' is more and more often seen as somehow separate from
human enterprise at a cost of alienation and discomfort.
treated as a thing, 'nature' is either to be conquered or
dominated into submission and exploitation

Zen ideally uses imagery and reflections of nonhuman nature
as connective, instructive devices for the purposes of
inspiring a greater degree of resourceful relaxation,
holding the wild up as the exemplary, intense perfected

at its worst, Zen forgets the relevance of the nonhuman world
in a hurry to achieve nonsensical, disconnected and horribly
ignorant states of mind, glorifying itself infinitely

| 4. What value does Zen place on humans?

human experience is the foundation from which Zen proceeds.
humans per se are not ideally glorified over other species
or spiritual entities, and while moralistic values are
generally expressed within cultures that provide havens for
sitting, emphasis is always upon individual process and hir
waking to ever-changing reality

| I have done a fair bit of research concerning this topic,
| I just wanted a 'real' perspective.

I am a biased and solitary source disconnected from the Zen
Buddhist community but through tenuous textual references
and occasional personal interactions