Dharma and Deep Ecology Exercises

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Dharma and deep ecology

In this lesson you will learn the basic concepts of deep ecology.

You then have an opportunity to work with a variety of exercises and approaches that can help you reconnect with nature on an ecological, experiential basis.

What is deep ecology?

Deep ecology is founded on two basic principles:

  • a scientific insight into the interrelatedness of all systems of life on Earth, together with the idea that anthropocentrism—human-centeredness—is a misguided way of seeing things. Deep ecologists say that an eccentric attitude is more consistent with the truth about the nature of life on Earth, regarding humans as an integral threads in the fabric of life. They believe we need to develop a less dominating and aggressive posture towards the Earth if we and the planet are to survive.
  • The need for human self-realization. Instead of identifying with our egos or our immediate families, we can learn to identify with trees and animals and plants, indeed the whole ecosphere. This involves a radical change of consciousness, but it makes our behavior more consistent with what science tells us is necessary for the well-being of life on Earth.

Deep Ecology can be considered the spiritual dimensions of the environmental movement. It is a holistic approach to facing environmental problems which brings together thinking, feeling, spirituality, and action. It involves moving beyond the individualism of Western civilization, seeing ourselves as part of the earth. This awareness leads to a deeper connection with all life where ecology is, not just seen as something out there, but something we are part of and have a role in.

This lesson is excerpted from A Manual for Deep Ecology and Buddhism, Dr. Daniel H. Henning, published by the World Buddhist University.