What is EcoDharma?
Eco abbr.adj [i kó]: 1. Abbreviated from ecological and pointing to the ecological or holistic worldview that underpins resistance to the destructive juggernaut of industrial growth society and strengthens the renewal of ways of living that support a creative and life affirming future. 2. Celebrates the fundamental interconnectedness of all phenomena and the fact that, as individuals and societies, we are embedded in the cyclical processes of nature. 3. Not just another misuse of the ‘eco’ prefix to simulate a light green aura around a product or service for the ethical consumer, but rather pointing to the radical change in consciousness and socio-economic structures required to address the crises of our time, as in Deep Ecology, Social Ecology and Radical Ecology. 4. A challenge to the human-centred assumptions that humans are somehow above nature and the source of all value, and which ascribes only instrumental or ‘use’ value to nature; and instead affirming the intrinsic value of all living beings, including humans as one unique strand in the web of life. 5. The realisation that the way we treat the environment, the way we treat other species, and the way we treat each other, are all interlinked; the ‘eco’ paradigm helps us make the shift from ways of living based on hierarchy, domination and control to those based on co-operation and partnership; to move from isolating assumptions about our nature to a life affirming connection in community with others and the living earth.
Dharma noun [dáarma]: 1. A Sanskrit Buddhist term often used to refer to the ancient lineage of practices and teachings of Buddhism, dharma includes all practices which experience shows can support the development of consciousness in opening into the creative and open dimension of becoming which has the taste of freedom. 2. The path of practices, such as ethics and meditation, which support the unfoldment of ever greater levels of wisdom and compassion, alleviating suffering at the deepest level and leading to release from the bondage of greed, hatred and ignorance. 3. Indicating the profound interconnectedness of all things and the radically non-dual nature of reality, it indicates an ultimate reality beyond definitions and yet intuited in its thusness in the fecund and creative interplay of becoming. 4. All outer and inner phenomena, the mind and its surrounding environment, inseparable and interdependent, as teachers of reality.
Eco-Dharma noun [i kó-dáarma]: 1. A creative exploration in a time of ecological and social crisis which brings into playful, critical and augmenting association the valuable methodologies and insights of the Buddhist tradition with an emerging ecological paradigm and consciousness to support the realisation of life affirming individuals, societies and cultures. 2. A radical ecological sensibility understood as an aspect of the maturation of consciousness, through which we can come to know ourselves as the mysterious interplay of the elements, experience ourselves as part of the exquisite dance of biological self-organisation, as the untameable vibrancy of emergent consciousness, and tear down the veils of ignorance which cause us to suffer. 3. Fully rooted in the complexities of the historical moment, Eco-Dharma contributes to the ongoing revitalisation of the Dharma, staying responsive and relevant, challenging institutionalised greed, hatred and ignorance, nurturing a dharma that stands in courageous and compassionate defence of the earth, a Dharma that stands in solidarity with life. 4. A spiritual exploration which eschews the life denying traps so many religious traditions are liable to fall into, fetishizing the spiritual above the socio-political, remaining confused by residual beliefs in an otherworldly salvation, a somewhere else heaven or nirvana, a split between the spiritual and the everyday, between mind and matter. 5. A socio-political exploration that affirms that the transformation of the world and the transformation of the self are not separable, and that the transformation of consciousness is integral to subverting the conditions which give rise to systems of oppression and domination. 6. Well, who knows what you might bring to this dialogue?
Our courses and retreats take place in a context of sustainable low-impact living, closely woven within the web of elemental nature. These meditation retreats, study seminars and training camps are intended to help people to empower themselves to make changes in themselves and the world consistent with a life-affirming vision.
We seek to develop practices which honour the inseparability of the transformation of the self and the world; to support the shift from a destructive industrial growth society to a life-affirming future; to contribute to the creation of a movement of renewal and resistance; to evolve spiritual practice where courageous compassion and a deepening realisation of our radical interconnectedness helps us to live in solidarity with life.
Although we live in a time of ecological and social crisis, a truly life-affirming, creative and sustainable future is possible. Such a future depends upon a radical transformation of both our values and consciousness, and the socio-economic forms that currently condition both the individual and our society. The goal of the eco-dharma project is to support such radical change, to transform insights and understandings into a lived reality – from the spiritual to the social, the political to the personal, and the imaginative to the inspirational! Come to visit and enjoy the exploration.
Feb 2nd to March 2nd – Direct Utter Simplicity
March 9th to 24th – Planting the Forest Garden
June 29th to July 13th – Meeting the Wild – nature based practice
July 20th to 27th – Permaculture & Deep Ecology: Practice and study event
Aug 24th to Sept 7th – Engaged Buddhist Training: Empowering transformation
Sept 21st to Oct 5th – Wanderers Retreat – nature based practice
Oct 12th to 20th – Sustaining Resistance – Empowering Renewal
Winter dates to be announced – Heartfood for Hardtimes: Winter retreat