Dhammic Ecology - By Buddhadasa Bhikkhu
Friday 28 August 2009
- Buddhadasa Bhikkhu
Dhamma is the ecology of the mind. This is how nature has arranged things, and it has always been like this, in a most natural way. The mind with Dhamma has a natural spiritual ecology because it is fresh, beautiful, quiet, and joyful. This is most natural. That the mind is fresh means it isn’t dried up or parched. Its beauty is Dhammic, not sensual or from painting colors. It is calm and peaceful because nothing disturbs it. It contains a deep spiritual solitude, so that nothing can disturb or trouble it. Its joy is cool. The only joy that lives up to its name must be cool, not the hot happiness that is so popular in the world, but a cool joyfulness. If none of the defilements like greed, anger, fear, worry, and delusion arise, there is this perfect natural ecology of the Dhammic mind. But as soon as the defilements occur, the mind’s natural ecology is destroyed instantly. These defilements are like evil spirits or demons that destroy the mind’s natural state.
Our physical bodies have a similar condition when nothing disturbs them; they have a natural material ecology. When no "evil spirits" or "demons" disturb the natural state of peace, the result is most satisfying. But now something is bothering it. Who? Human beings, of course! Unaware that we are disturbing nature. As the defilements possess us, we destroy the nature which was doing fine without us. Once I heard the words, "God creates and human beings destroy." This is how it has always been. God said it was good but humanity has continually destroyed that creation. In other words, nature managed fine until we came along to destroy everything with our selfishness. As soon as the defilements appear, they destroy. That is their nature.
Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (Thai: พุทธทาสภิกขุ, May 27, 1906 - May 25, 1993) was one of the most influential ascetic-philosophers of the 20th century. Known as an innovative reinterpreter of Buddhist doctrine and Thai folk beliefs, Buddhadasa fostered a reformation in conventional religious perceptions in his home country Thailand as well as abroad. While a formalized upasampanna ascetic, or "monk," having at the age of twenty years submitted to mandatory government religious controls, Buddhadasa developed a personal view that rejected specific religious identification and considered all faiths as principally one. His ground breaking thought inspired such persons as French schooled Pridi Phanomyong, leader of Siam’s 1932 revolution, and a group of important Thai social activists and artists of the 1960s and 70s.
From the earliest period of his religious studies, Buddhadasa utilized a comparative approach and sought to be able to explain "Buddhist’s teachings through other doctrines such as Zen, Tao, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Natural Science." Through such a methodology he came to adopt a religious world-view that rejected exclusionary religious identification and famously remarked, "in advanced perspectives there is no religious identification whatsoever."
“ ...those who have penetrated to the highest understanding will feel that the thing called ’religion’ doesn’t exist after all. There is no Buddhism; there is no Christianity; there is no Islam. How can they be the same or in conflict when they don’t even exist? ”
Religious scholar D.K. Swearer has compared Buddhadasa to the early Indian philosopher Nagarjuna.