Boulder Ecodharma Sangha
Statement of recognition: We are long-time members of several Tibetan, Insight and Zen meditation communities in Boulder who recognize that without swift and fundamental changes in our increasingly consumerist lifestyle, the ongoing planetary eco-crisis and dramatic alteration to the Earth’s climate will cause widespread suffering and death for millions of people, and to many non-human species worldwide.
Mission statement: We are committed to the preservation of a livable planet for our descendants and fellow species by strengthening the ‘Three Pillars’ of Ecodharma 1) deepening our psycho-spiritual consciousness and building resilience, 2) strengthening expression of inter-connectedness and wisdom in our ecodharma community, 3) studying the personal and institutional root causes of the ongoing eco-crisis to inspire individual and collective strategic action and build “One Movement” towards joy, health, harmony, kindness and justice.
History & structure: This group came into being after a short workshop called “Awakened Activism” led by David Chernikoff and David Loy in 2013. Since then, we have held regular public and zero-cost events every 2-4 weeks to clarify what is Eco-Dharma, the nature of our ongoing ecological crisis. We also have local activists, permaculture & meditation teachers, scientists and lawyers make presentations about their inspiring initiatives.
When they occur, Boulder ecodharma sangha events are planned by a steering committee.
Current initiatives: We believe that overcoming entrenched power will take both a groundswell of personal responsibility to shift the market through our transformed demands and front-line activism to gain significant traction in battle for public attention. We also believe that it takes training to transform the pain we feel about our economic crisis into a sustained commitment to act. Our current focus areas include Yet-To-Be-Named direct action network, anti-fracking advocacy, confronting our (neo-liberal) economy, envisioning an urban eco-village and nurturing of small Ecodharma practice circles to create spaces for our growth with respect to three pillars of Ecodharma.
Timing & structure of our meetings: The dates and details of our practice circles and other gatherings are available here. Our gatherings have three components:
— Eco (strategic education/action): A total of 45-60 min presentations by selected speaker(s) on ecological issues that require us to keep our eyes and heart open.
— Dharma (spirituality): A total of 20-30 min spiritual practices and perspectives that can impact, inform, transform our activist practices led by dharma teachers/facilitators. In addition, we explore which contemplative teachings will bring clarity, resolution and wisdom in these times. How do we walk the talk as Buddhists (or practitioners of other faiths)? How do we look at the multiplicity of our eco-crisis and its potential solutions with our spiritual heart-minds? We need to creating a non-judgmental culture for working with “others”. Therefore our meetings generally include meditation (20 minutes) to nurture to spiritual oneness/inter-being; and Earth-centric or community practices including outdoor practice to make deeper connection with the Earth and/or singing and movement.
— Sangha (community): It helps us translate and apply oneness to the multiplicity of our problems. To develop sangha, in addition to keeping time for discussions after each set of presentations, we encourage simple and kind culture and seeking each other’s help to change our materialistic/consumerist society and check-outs that are either related to dharma-activities or contemplations we have been engaged with, how the meeting affected us, or as noting any unfinished business from the meeting; and have potluck.
Boulder Ecodharma Sangha is influenced but not formally associated or integrated with the work of pioneering Ecodharma center in Spain established in 2007 or the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center established in 2017.
Boulder Ecodharma Sangha doesn’t endorse any actions/approach of professional organizations that employ individual steering committee members. Similarly, none of the organizations that employ individual steering committee members endorse actions/approach of Boulder Ecodharma Sangha with respect to our social justice and ecological crisis.