The Ecosattva Path: Resources to meet our times. Ghuyapati
The Ecosattva Path: Resources to meet our times
This course explores practices and wisdom that can underpin a shift to a life-sustaining future. Set in a framework of nature and dharma based learning - it draws together the practices of Buddhism, experiential nature-based learning, and the theoretical foundations of deep & radical ecology. It weaves together study, meditation, and experiential learning.
The Bodhisattva is a Buddhist ideal of someone who dedicates themselves to fulfilling their potential for wisdom and compassion for the benefit of all beings. The Ecosattva brings this inspiring ideal to meet the historical realities of our lives. The Ecosattva brings the wisdom and practices of the dharma and ecology to face the social and ecological challenges of our times.
During the course you will:
- Gain a deeper appreciation of the ways that Buddhist practice can empower our work for a sustainable and life affirming future
- Participate in practical and experiential methods to support a deepening nature connection
- Explore the key ideas of deep, social and radical ecology
The nature and dharma-based practices will provide tools and a rich experiential context to support personal transformation. Meanwhile the study based aspect exploring radical and deep ecology provides a clear and structured framework for exploring our views and intellectual understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit. Set within an inspiring permaculture project we will experience how sustainable living systems can be designed to integrate human needs with the ecosystems in which we are rooted.
The contemplative, study-based and experiential strands of the course integrate with each other in a holistic way, to equip you with inspiration, knowledge, skills, and a deeper capacity to understand and respond to the challenges of our times.
The different components:
The Dharma (the teachings of Buddhism) tells us that all things are interconnected. There is nothing in existence which exists as a separate, fixed, isolated entity. As we find reflected in ecological ways of seeing, the Dharma reveals that things only exist in relationship and connection with other things. In fact so much so that the boundaries between things are only useful conventions, provisionally true, but by no means absolute.
We will use meditative practices and ritual to help us to open deeply to inter-connectedness. We will apply Buddhist ethics to help us learn to live in ways that honour interconnectedness. We will explore how an Ecosattva commitment can help us find empowerment from interconnectedness, resourcing us to face the challenges of our times.
Nature based learning and connection:
Immersion in non-human nature is both transformative and integrating. The course will help you to re-connect with that source of nourishment, well-being, and inspiration. Integrating insights and methods from both dharma and ecological sources, we apply an approach that we call Nature Based Practice and Learning.
Connection with wild nature is an important aid to developing an ecological sensibility and sense of connection with the web of life. This can support action towards a sustainable future for all. These experiences can be nourishing, enriching, and can demand that we radically re-orientate our sense of who and what we are.
In simple terms Nature Based Practice and Learning involves supporting participants to spend time out in nature connecting with the teachings nature offers. We use tools such as mindfulness practice and meditation in conjunction with elements of bushcraft, nature based education, ecological and evolutionary learning, and solo time.
Deep & Radical Ecology:
Deep Ecology offers a view of life which does not separate humans out from the natural environment, recognising the world as a network of phenomena that are fundamentally interconnected and interdependent. Drawing on systems theory and the life sciences, Deep Ecology recognizes the intrinsic value of all living beings and views humans as one of many strands in the web of life.
Ultimately, deep ecological awareness implies a spiritual or religious awareness. It encourages a shift in consciousness from an alienating sense of separateness to one of belonging, of connectedness, to the natural ecosystems on which we depend. to support this shift it often incorporates experiential approaches such as The Work That Reconnects and nature-based learning.
Deep Ecology asks ever deeper questions about the very foundations of our modern, scientific, industrial, growth-oriented, materialistic worldview and way of life. It challenges this paradigm from an ecological perspective - from the perspective of our profound interconnectedness with one another, with future generations, and to the web of life.
Social Ecology augments Deep Ecology with an analysis of the way in which patterns of social organisation are central to the current ecological crisis. Social ecologists and eco-feminists have pointed out how the exploitation of nature has gone hand in hand with the exploitation of other humans in various hierarchical, militaristic, capitalist and industrialist forms. They point out that social transformation does not simply unfold from a change of consciousness, but also requires radical restructuring of the socio-economic system.
Where Deep Ecology has emphasised the psychological, spiritual, and cognitive aspects of the ecological crisis, social ecology emphasises the socio-political dimensions.
Drawing from both Deep Ecology and Social Ecology, Radical Ecology seeks to champion a sustainable and socially just world through the transformation of both our individual consciousness and our social-economic systems. Radical ecology is not a monolithic movement, nor does it suggest a fixed ideological position. Radical ecology is a critical encounter, a working out through thought and praxis, of how we can resist the destructive march of the industrial growth socio-economic system and effect the changes necessary for a new way of living in full partnership with the natural world. It includes work and experiments in non-hierarchical social forms, new economics, process oriented science, and a revitalised spirituality.
This component of the course will:
- Introduce the history and ideas of Deep Ecology
- Explore transformational workshops associated with Deep Ecology (such as the Work That Reconnects)
- Examine the position of Social Ecology and the critique it makes of Deep Ecology
- Offer a synthesising vision of these two strands of thought in terms of Radical Ecology
Emphasis will be placed on how these theoretical approaches support can the growth of vision, inspiration, and experience in service of the transformation of self and society.
The Permaculture Context:
- The course takes place in an inspiring permaculture project. Permaculture is a theory of ecological design which seeks to develop sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems, by modelling them on the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. The term "permaculture" was originally coined to refer to the idea of a truly sustainable agriculture, but has expanded to embrace the idea of "permanent culture" in recognition that the social dimension is integral to truly sustainable living systems. It has been described as "a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area or thing in isolation." It applies equally well to both rural and urban areas. Permaculture can also be called simply, “a revolution disguised as gardening.”
The course facilitators
Guhyapati lives and works at the Ecodharma Centre, in Catalunya, which explores how Buddhist practices can resource social and ecological engagement. He is also Director of the Ulex Project, a Pan-European programme of trainings for social movement impact and resilience. He has been combining Buddhist practice with social activism and ecological perspectives for several decades. The innovative trainings he has developed with the Ecodharma Collective have inspired activist networks across Europe. Unique strands of their work include programmes of Engaged Buddhist Training, sustainable activism, and skills for collaboration.