Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
BodhGaia is the story of awakening to the dharma of evolution, ecology and cosmic spirituality. “Dharma” is not just the teachings of the Buddha and the writings of the early Buddhists in the sutras. “Dharma” means “law”, “all natural phenomena,” “what is”, reality, Dharmaecology is the dharma of relatedness, of the interconnectedness of all phenomena. BodhGaia is a telling of the story of the Buddha’s awakening under the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, India, as BodhGaia, as the awakening (bodhi) to the reality (dharma) of the interconnectedness of all phenomena (Gaia), through evolutionary history, from the beginning of the universe to its completion.
I have been writing on the Buddhist story of pratityasamutpada—dependent origination, or interdependence—as a story of ecology, the interconnection and mutual dependence of all things. I have been writing on the Buddhist story of karma and rebirth, and the dharma of Dependent Origination, as a story of evolution. I will be collecting and publishing my own writings on ecology, what I call “dharmaecology”, the eco-evolutionary reading of the dharma, in a book I call BhodGaia: Awakening to the Dharma of Ecology and Evolution.
I am an environmental sociologist, studying the interdependence of human civilizations and the biosphere, applying what I’ve learned in social science to an eco-evolutionary reading of the dharma. I am also a student of human movements for social justice in the west. So I will be incorporating not only “green” and environmental justice issues into dharma, but also integrating the human history of exploitation and abuse of other humans and species in the form of slavery, racism, sexism and misogyny, the capitalist exploitation of labour, animals and natural resources, and the colonialist displacement of indigenous peoples and ecosystems. I want to show that social justice issues are not ‘in addition to” the problems of ecological imbalance and destruction, as an urgent or more immediate set of problems, but are integral to a complete understanding of the eco-evolutionary crisis and situation, as dharmaecology. I am a student of systems theory, ecology, sociology, social psychology, and Buddhist spirituality. I hope to combine all these forms of knowledge into a systematic dharmaecology, summarizing it in BodhGaia: Awakening to the Dharma of Ecology and Evolution.