The Heart Sutra is heart of Buddhist spirituality. Understanding Heart Sutra makes the issue of ecology or environmentalism crystal clear to a penetrative Buddhist. In fact, many Buddhists and non-Buddhists are not aware that Heart Sutra is the most concise espousal of Buddha or God concept in terms of perennial wisdom of the Unity of process becoming. The Buddha is the process becoming of Non-duality. Man-environment relationship is Man-Buddha or Man-God relationship. Heart Sutra is about Emptiness of self-identity (nihsvabhava). Buddha or God-concept pertains to the ontology of Emptiness. In Emptiness, Man and environment are one and not two. My knowledge of Heart Sutra helps me gain a profound insight into Sufism and Advaita Vedanta. As a result, the God concept in process theism becomes very lucid to me. Apprehending God-concept, one apprehends Man’s intimate relationship with God in terms of Non-duality. Entrance into the door of Non-duality is entrance into realm of the Buddha. Thus, I see that environmentalism and Dharma are innately hybrid as Buddha concept is God concept from the process theistic concept of Non-duality.
The Heart Sutra awakens the Buddhists with apparently abstruse paraphrasing of apparent logical paradoxes that there is no eye, nor ear, nor nose, nor tongue nor body nor mind. The paradoxical negations do not actually deny the existence of the six sense faculties in a human body. What is communicated is the non-dual relationship between the six sense organs (multiplicity) and the human body (Unity). The multiplicity and Unity are non-dual. That there is no eye, ear, nose, tongue , body and mind is to be interpreted aright that each of the six sense organs can not exist separately from the human body. Each sense organ is non-dually related to the human body. Ontologically interpreted, the multiplicity of the empirical world are not separable from the ultimate Reality of the Unity. The Unity is the absolute Truth of Non-duality. The Non-duality is the Reality of Emptiness. The Emptiness is the dependently co-arisen Unity of Oneness. The Unity of Oneness is dissimilarly designated as Tao, Brahman, Buddha, God and Allah. The Earth Day is, therefore , is the most sacred festival to be celebrated or observed by all humankind as the common Sabbath Day for peoples of all religious denominations. The Sabbath Day is the common day when all of us journey towards the inner Heart. In the inner Heart, there is boundless wisdom and love as result of the purity of the heart. Non-duality is only experienced through the inner Heart, the Awakened Mind of Intuition (Dharma Eye). The love of environment or the Mother earth from the inner Heart is more lasting than that ensuing from the senses or mind.
The Buddhist Sabbath Day is called Uposatha. Uposatha Day is the day of cleansing of the defiled mind for the members of the Buddhist Sangha. For a lay Buddhist, the Sabbath Day is a full day of meditation retreat or a full day of observation of the Eight Precepts. The Muslims designate it as the Jumuah day. The diverse names or designations are immaterial. The Sabbath Day is a sacred day when one returns to the complete silence of the human mind of intrinsic non-dual awareness or the prayer of the Heart. When one observes the Earth Day with right mindfulness of lucid awareness of the non-dual relationship between Man and the natural environment, the Earth Day becomes a common Sabbath Day for the environmentally conscious individuals.
There is so much we can contribute to the clean and sustainable development of the environment. The environmentally friendly activities include cleaning up the environment, recycling, greening the environment, energy-saving habits, utility of reusable containers, avoidance of open burning, vegetarianism, green technology, green building, green chemistry and so on. Participating in Earth Day festivities with full awareness of the non-dual relationship between man and the natural environment, one develops the perfection of wisdom (prajnaparamita) of Emptiness (Sunyata) or Dependent Co-arising (Pratityasamutpada). Performing the generosity of charity (dana) for the sake of the future generations to come, one develops great compassion (mahakaruna). This is how a Buddhist should steward the natural resources through greening the Dharma. Furthermore, if a Buddhist environmentalist were to apply the wisdom of non-dual awareness promulgated by Sakyamuni Buddha in the Diamond Sutra (Vajracchedika Sutra) of non-grasping upon sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thoughts, he would utilize the Dharma to purify or sanctify all his environment-friendly activities. Greening the Dharma, one also utilizes the Dharma to purify or sanctify one’s green activities. Divine grace of sanctification is the purification of the heart. Purification of the heart is purification of the human mind of carnal senses and rational thinking through intuitive wisdom of Non-duality. Integration of environmentalism and Dharma as a hybrid makes the Earth Day celebration profoundly meaningful. Green the Dharma and sanctify environmentalism! How wonderful Earth Day is!
The purification of the heart is the purity of the mind effected from Insight into the Insubstantiality of the five aggregates as this is not I; this is not mine ; this does not belong to me. The Insubstantiality of the five aggregates is Monotheistically interpreted as the non-ownership of anything by any individual person. Everything belongs to the systemic Whole. There is only one communal ownership possessed collectively by all of us. That common ownership is the Totality of Mother Earth. Let me clarify briefly thus: a single person called son or daughter does not exist alone. A son or daughter has come into existence because of the marriage or union of his or her parents. The father, mother, son and daughter exists as wholistic Totality because the wholistic family exists. Likewise, all living beings and non-living beings exist because Mother Earth exists. We are all the children of Mother Earth that is unceasingly feeding, nurturing and sustaining us. Mother Earth is the womb of all creations on Earth. The law of Dependent Co-arising or Genesis does not operate if the plentiful natural resources do not furnish the necessary contigent conditions for creations to occur. The creations that I mean encompass politics, economics, agriculture, commerce, industry, science, technology, engineering, architecture, humanities, logistics, mass media, entertainment, tourism and so forth. Undoutedly, Man is the most superior and radiantly creative among all living beings on earth. However, devoid of the natural resource sourced from the Mother Earth as necessary contigent conditions as food for genesis, Man is helpless even before the Buddha or God. The Buddha or God is the main pilot; Man is the co-pilot ; natural resources are necessary supporting contigent conditions for human accomplishment, satisfaction and concrescence. The most accurate way to describe this Interbeing between the Lord, man and Mother Earth is the ultimate Reality of Non-duality. The entire whole world is One and not two. Non-duality is the nexus of necessary interconnectedness of all things without exception. The ill-fated Titanic ocean liner was wrecked and sunk by an unseen, submerged hill of iceberg owing to the man-made negligence or lack of vigilance of the navigation leadership of the ocean liner. That historical ocean catastrophe remains a teaching moment for all of us hitherto while we have just celebrated the Earth Day festivities globally. Let us make the Earth Day an early warning system for all of us as that global villagers should dwell more mindfully in a single global village of non-dual Oneness. Man and the environment are intrinsically inseparable. This is not only the science of ecology but also the theology of Non-duality.
Celebrating Earth Day with Dharma
Happy 2011 Earth Day