October 25 flowers and berries 004

Usually when people look at the Buddhist precepts, they understand them in terms of human relationships

Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not lie.

Of course these are about human relationships, but what do they mean in terms of the environment?

There is a particular kind of stealing that we do when we clear-cut forests, when topsoil is washed into rivers.

There is a particular kind of killing that we do when we wipe out whole species.

These precepts are taught not only as they relate to humans but also how they relate to the environment, to the ten thousand things.

Not only the sentient, ‘feeling’ beings, deer, muskrat, beaver, but to the rocks, trees and river. All of it.

John Daido Loori Roshi
“Zen’s Radical Conservative,”   Shambhala Sun, July 2001

Photo by Woodland Gnome 2013

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