An Online Course for Aspiring EcoSattvas
What does it mean to express a Buddhist response to climate change? What does our wisdom tradition and our love for this life call us to do? How can we respond with wisdom, compassion and courage?
REGISTRATION FOR THE 2015 COURSE IS NOW CLOSED.
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Registered participants in the course can access the following:
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Course resources
- Discussion forums
- Listing of Local In-Person Groups
- Listing of Online Groups
Join a powerful collection of other teachers, activists and experts for our online, interactive EcoSattva Training. This course will develop our community’s capacity to effectively engage on climate change and other ecological challenges, both thematically and locally, with courage, compassion and wisdom. We invite you to join us for this series of important sessions hosted by Thanissara, One Earth Sangha and Maestro Conversations.
A monk once asked the Chinese Master Yun Men, “What is the work of the Buddha’s whole life?”
Yun Men replied, “An appropriate response.”
In the face of catastrophic climate change, we as a Buddhist/mindfulness community have the opportunity to creatively define for ourselves appropriate response: response that is wise, compassionate, transformative, resolute and equanimous. To realize this potential, the community needs leaders of all kinds at all levels. This is the path of the EcoSattva.*
Building on a series of five online “Mindfulness and Climate Action” conversations in the fall of 2014, One Earth Sangha is offering a series of eight online sessions to support aspiring EcoSattvas in a diverse and powerful body of response, tailored to their aspirations and abilities and grounded in the demands of their local situations. Specifically, the course will endeavor to
- Root Action on Climate in Dharma Practice
- Develop Sangha by Connecting EcoSattvas with Each Other and Outside Partners
- Inspire and Inform “Appropriate Response”
Below you will find the elements of the course, the list of session leaders, the course schedule and how to register and pay for the course.If you have questions, find answers at our list of Frequently Asked Questions.
We are offering here a rare opportunity to engage with powerful teachers and a global sangha to inspire, guide and resource our efforts in service of life. We hope you will join us as we believe this course can contribute to the growing forms of Buddhist/mindful response answering the call of the Earth and all her beings.
* The term “EcoSattva” is a blend of “eco” or “ecology” with “Boddhisattva,” an enlightened being wholly dedicated to the freedom and well-being of others.
Elements of the Course
Dharma and Inspiration
The heart of the course is the eight online, interactive sessions over ten Sundays starting September 13. Guided by a wealth of diverse voices, we will begin with resourcing ourselves for the journey, confront the “hindrances” to the EcoSattva path, explore forms of collective response and and finally inspire action on behalf of all beings as a form of deep practice. The two-hour sessions will include wisdom from Dharma leaders, interactive inquiries and practices with members of the global online sangha, a question and answer period and concluding with blessings for our efforts. (Note that all of the online sessions will be recorded and made available the next day. So if you miss one, you will be able to listen to it soon after.) Each session will be supported by materials leading in as preparation and coming out for further exploration. We’ll also host a discussion forum here on our site for you to ask questions and share reflections.
Grounding Our Practice in Action
Whether to deepen our current practice of wisdom in action or to confront the escape of endless preparation, participants will be asked to identify an area for their personal engagement, something that resonates with them as wise response and work with that project throughout the course. It could be something directed at your own areas of ecological impact (finally doing that energy audit and taking the next steps); or bringing your neighbors or dharma community together to take collective action (banding together with neighbors to buy cheaper rooftop solar panels); or moving into climate activism in an authentically mindful way (organizing the Buddhist presence at a demonstration related to a climate justice policy decision or joining a direct action to prevent ecological harm). These are just examples and there will be time at the beginning of the course to help you identify and define your project. All are encouraged to “start where you are” and take the next (maybe scary) step forward. To cultivate engagement in your area, we will challenge participants to reach out to their local sangha to share in their efforts.
Support from Sangha
The final element of the EcoSattva Training is connecting with one another during the course in facilitated small groups — your own EcoSattva Sangha. Through these small groups, participants can share experiences of and further explore content from the Sunday online sessions, receive support for their wise action engagement projects and deepen relationships with others. You may choose to form your own group with people from your local sangha meeting in-person or participate by phone in a group assigned by One Earth Sangha based on your time zone. Groups will be self-organized with a point person who will receive guidance from our EcoSattva Sangha teacher, Susie Harrington who is the lead Dharma teacher at Desert Dharma and an adviser to One Earth Sangha.
Joanna Macy – Cross Tradition
Gaian Teacher Joanna Macy PhD, is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. A respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activism. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a ground-breaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application. She is author of many books, most recently Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy and the revised edition of Coming Back to Life. More at JoannaMacy.net.
rev. angel Kyodo williams – Zen Tradition
Rev angel Kyodo williams is a teacher, author, activist, master trainer and leader. She is the author of Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace. Williams is the Spiritual Director of the meditation-based newDharma Community and founder of the Center for Transformative Change in Berkeley, California and is also credited with developing fearlessMeditation, fearlessYoga and Warrior Spirit Training. More at the Center for Transformative Change.
Thanissara – Mahayana and Theravada Traditions, Psycho-spiritual
Our host Dharma teacher for the series, Thanissara Mary Weinberg, was trained in the Forest School of Ajahn Chah, is a Dharma teacher and activist. She is co-founder of Dharmagiri on the border of Lesotho and South Africa, and Chattanooga Insight. She has taught meditation retreats for 25 years, and has an MA in Mindfulness Psychotherapy Practice. Thanissara is author of The Heart of the Bitter Almond Hedge Sutra, co-author, with Kittisaro, of Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism, and Time To Stand Up, a book on Buddhism and Climate Action.
DaRa Williams – Insight Tradition
DaRa Williams is a trainer, meditation teacher and wellness coach. She has been a clinician and administrator in the field of Mental Health for over 25 years. DaRa currently maintains a private practice in Manhattan. She is a certified Complex Trauma Focusing Oriented Therapist and a practitioner of Natural Force Healing, a vibrational energetic healing system. DaRa has been a meditator for the past 20 years and is a practitioner of both Vipassana and Ascension meditation. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders Program, and in the current IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training program with Jack Kornfield.
Dharmachari Guhyapati – Triratna Buddhist Order
Guhyapati is the founder of the ecodharma centre in the Catalan Pyrenees, which combines a retreat and education centre with post-capitalist community living. Thirty years of Dharma practice and social activism, together with an astute sense of group dynamics, inform his facilitation of participatory and holistic learning. He was ordained in the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1994. In recent years he has given much of his time to the development of trainings focused on engaged Buddhism and sustainable activism. His love of the mountains finds expression in guiding wilderness immersion retreats and teaching radical ecology.
Adam Lobel – Shambhala Buddhist Tradition
Adam Lobel is a senior teacher (acharya) in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and a scholar of religion and philosophy. He brings a genuineness and direct experience to the spiritual path and everyday life. In addition to leading programs worldwide, he has taught meditation in the juvenile prison system and is involved in numerous ecological and social transformation initiatives. Adam holds a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School, where he helped establish a track for Buddhist ministers. He continues his doctoral research at Harvard University.
Bonnie Duran – Insight (Vipassana), Tibetan, Native American Traditions
Bonnie Duran has been practicing mindfulness meditation since 1982. She has taken teachings from western teachers including Joseph Goldstein and Marcia Rose, as well as Tibetan teachers Venerable Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. She is one of the founders of The People of Color Sangha in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and in Seattle, Washington; is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader 3 training program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center; and is currently in the Spirit Rock teacher training program. Bonnie is also involved in Native American spiritual practices and traditions. She is a contributor to Hilda Guitierrez Baldoquin’s book, Dharma, Color and Culture: New Voices in Western Buddhism (Parallax), and has written for the “Turning Wheel Journal of Engaged Buddhism.
Catherine McGee – Insight (Vipassana) Tradition, Diamond Way
Catherine has been teaching Insight Meditation at Gaia House and internationally since 1997. Her teaching emphasises embodiment and working with whatever hinders us from living our deepest knowing in the world through body speech and mind. You can read a a beautiful article by Catherine on the First Foundation of Mindfulness shared here on One Earth Sangha.
Tiokasin Ghosthorse – Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota
Tiokasin Ghosthorse is from the Cheyenne River Lakota (Sioux) Nation of South Dakota and the bands of Itazipco/Mnicoujou and Oglala. He is the host of First Voices Indigenous Radio on WBAI NY – Pacifica Radio. Tiokasin has been described as “a spiritual agitator, natural rights organizer, Indigenous thinking process educator and a community activator.” One reviewer called him “a cultural resonator in the key of life.”
Lama Willa Miller – Tibetan Tradition
Lama Willa has studied and practiced in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for the last twenty years in the non-sectarian Kagyu, Nyingma and Shangpa lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. Her teaching specialties include natural meditation (mahamudra), heart-cultivation (lojong), deity practice, and practices for deep retreat. She is interested in the practical integration of meditation into daily life, and the power of nature to inspire authentic presence. She is an author, a visiting lecturer in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School and the founder/spiritual director of Natural Dharma Fellowship and Wonderwell Mountain Refuge.
Kaira Jewel Lingo – Zen Tradition, Order of Interbeing
Kaira Jewel (formerly Sr. Jewel) is from the US and has been practicing mindfulness and Buddhist meditation since 1997. She was ordained as a nun by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1999 and as a Dharma teacher in 2007. She returned to secular life in 2015 and continues as a lay Buddhist teacher and mindfulness teacher. Before ordaining, she graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology and Social Sciences. She has led mindfulness retreats in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Brazil, India and Southern Africa. She spends much of her time sharing mindfulness and compassion, especially with children, families and young people, and bringing mindfulness to teachers and schools. She is currently a visiting teacher at Schumacher College in the UK.
Dawn Haney – Insight (Vipassana) Tradition
Dawn Haney brings passions for social justice, good non-profit management, and dharma to Buddhist Peace Fellowship as a Co-Director. For the past 10 years, she helps small organizations make a big impact through program development, popular education, and resource management. After years of reading Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hanh, Dawn settled into the Theravadan tradition on a meditation cushion at the Durango Dharma Center, desiring more resilience in her work to heal trauma and oppression. She has trained people about gender and racial justice since 2000, while earning her Master’s degree in Health Promotion from the University of Georgia.
Alex Swain – Triratna Buddhist Order
Alex facilitates courses geared towards social and personal transformation at the eco-dharma centre, where she lives and works as Project Coordinator. Her history of political activism has involved her in direct action and affinity group work focused on climate justice, ant-capitalism, queer politics and gender identity. A strong focus on the somatic dimension (informed by her work as a dance artist and yoga teacher) underpins both her approach to the dharma and work to promote social change. Her Buddhist practice has been influenced by teachers of various traditions and she’s currently undertaking the ordination training of the Triratna Buddhist Order.
The sixth session of our will feature some of our aspiring EcoSattva friends sharing their stories of engagement with ecological crises as well as insights and challenges discovered along the way. See the panel and their bios here.
Lou Leonard – Insight (Vipassana) Tradition
Lou is co-founder of One Earth Sangha, an environmental lawyer, a teacher and the leader of the climate change program at World Wildlife Fund which he joined in 2008 after a year on the staff of the Obama for America campaign. Lou came to the Dharma as a response to the challenges of working on climate issues and practices within the Insight Meditation Community in Washington. More about Lou here on WWF.
Kristin Barker – Insight (Vipassana) Tradition
Kristin is co-founder and director of One Earth Sangha. She is dedicated to cultivating broad-scale awakening to authentic earth relationship through meditation, sustainable living and advocacy. As an active member of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, DC (IMCW), Kristin is also a co-founder of White Awake whose mission is to develop awareness of race dynamics among white people engaged in spiritual communities and progressive causes. She has worked as an independent consultant and staff member at several environmental organizations in Washington, DC.
Eleanor Hancock – Insight (Vipassana) Tradition
Eleanor is an artist, activist, mother, educator and director of White Awake, a mindfulness-based approach to white racial awareness. In collaboration with Dharma teachers and practitioners from diverse traditions, she is creating this body of work and recently assisted senior Vipassana teachers in a cross-tradition effort to encourage consciousness and engagement around racism within Buddhist communities in the US. A student of deep ecology, Buddhism, and indigenous culture – including the indigenous/folk traditions of her European ancestors – Eleanor supports an inquiry into racism and dominance for white people in service of our own liberation and the benefit of all.
Because the course content builds on previous sessions, we ask participants to make every effort to attend all eight sessions. All sessions will be recorded and made available the next day (Monday) by 3 pm US Eastern Time. So if you miss one, you will be able to listen to it soon after.Summary of Meeting Dates and Times
- Sunday, September 13, 2015 9:30 am PDT
- Sunday, September 20, 2015 9:30 am PDT
- Break: No class on Sunday, Sept 27, 2015
- Sunday, October 4, 2015 9:30 am PDT Earth Care Week begins
- Sunday, October 11, 2015 9:30 am PDT Earth Care Week ends
- Sunday, October 18, 2015 9:30 am PDT
- Break: No class on Sunday, October 25, 2015
- Sunday, November 1, 2015 9:30 am PST
- Sunday, November 8, 2015 9:30 am PST
- Sunday, November 15, 2015 9:30 am PST
PART 1: Resourcing Ourselves for the Journey
Session One: Establishing Sacred Refuge – Beginning with Buddha-Nature
Sunday, September 13 from 12:30 – 2:30 pm US Eastern Time (convert to my time)
Ground our practice in sacred refuge and begin with ourselves: refuge in our own, individual Buddha-nature.
Session Leader: Lama Willa Miller and Kaira Jewel
Session Two: Refuge in Sangha
Sunday, September 20 from 12:30 – 2:30 pm US Eastern Time (convert to my time)
Reflect on what it means, in the face of climate change, to take refuge in sangha and how we can actively cultivate it.
Session Leaders: Joanna Macy and Adam Lobel
BREAK: No class on Sunday, September 27
PART 2: Hindrances and Potential on the EcoSattva Path
Session Three: A Loving, Steady, Confrontation with Hindrances at the Individual Level
Sunday, October 4 from 12:30 – 2:30 pm US Eastern Time (convert to my time)
Learn to recognize and skillfully confront, in ourselves and others, the hindrances to effective engagement.
Session Leaders: Guhyapati and Alex Swain
Session Four: A Loving Steady, Confrontation with Hindrances at the Collective Level
Sunday, October 11 from 12:30 – 2:30 pm US Eastern Time (convert to my time)
Examine the shared roots of and shared remedies for systems of exploitation.
Session Leaders: DaRa Williams, Thanissara and Dawn Haney
Session Five: Emergence Potential – “The Sickness is Medicine.”
Sunday, October 18 from 12:30 – 2:30 pm US Eastern Time (convert to my time)
Open to the potential of climate change to heal our delusions, setting us in Right Relationship with all other beings.
Session Leader: rev angel Kyodo Williams and Tiokasin Ghosthorse
BREAK: No class on Sunday, October 25
PART 3: Walking Practice
Session Six: Forms of Outer Response – Buddhist/Mindful Engagement on the Climate Crisis
Sunday, November 1 from 12:30 – 2:30 pm US Eastern Time (convert to my time)
Explore explicit forms of engagement. Get updates from diverse movements, share our work and discover partners.
This will be a panel discussion moderated by Thanissara
Session Seven: Integrating Practice and the Dharma
Sunday, November 8 from 12:30 – 2:30 pm US Eastern Time (convert to my time)
Actively connect our work on ecological healing with practice, seeing every moment as potential for awakening.
Session Leaders: Catherine McGee and Lou Leonard
Session eight: Continuing the Journey Together
Sunday, November 15 from 12:30 – 2:30 pm US Eastern Time (convert to my time)
Notice what has emerged, commit to answering the call, set intentions for going forth and dedicate the merits.
Session Leader: Joanna Macy and Bonnie Duran
Once again, all sessions will be recorded and made available on our site the next day. So if you miss a session, you’ll be able to catch up soon after.
If you’re joining calls from outside the United States, please see our list of Frequently Asked Questions for important information.
Fees and Dana
Dana, or generosity, is considered an essential part of our practice. All of the teachers on these calls offer their gifts freely in this spirit of dana. One Earth Sangha has recently taken on full time staff who will be supported through the practice of dana, generosity of people like you. In order for One Earth Sangha to continue, we will need support from our community. We invite you to consider making a separate donation to One Earth Sangha and the teachers who contributed to this course (to be shared evenly).
Join an EcoSattva Sangha
As part of the this fall’s EcoSattva Training, we are encouraging and supporting the formation of local or virtual small groups. Engaging with climate change is a chance to collaborate – and we will need to! To engage together is to know that we are not only part of the web of life, but also a part of the web of support and action. These groups provide an opportunity for people to engage in the training, receive support for their engagement projects all while deepening relationships with others. You may choose to form your own group with people from your local sangha or participate in groups organized by One Earth Sangha. Groups will be self-organized with a point person who will receive guidance from our EcoSattva Sangha teacher, Susie Harrington who is the lead Dharma teacher at Desert Dharma and an adviser for One Earth Sangha.
See our current list of groups gathering to either do the training together or in support groups outside the training here. To learn about the groups, especially for those considering organizing or facilitating a group. see this description of the EcoSattva Sanghas for more information.
REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.
Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions here.
This training series benefits from the sage advice and loving support from so many in our community. In particular, we are grateful to our advisory panel, Catherine McGee, Chas DiCapua, James Baraz, Susie Harrington, Tara Brach and Thanissara. Finally, we are delighted to be using Maestro Conference as the online, interactive platform for these sessions which supports small and large-scale sharing of audio, video and even break-out groups. We are deeply grateful for their offering this service for the EcoSattva Training series.