‘A Home for the Eco-Sattva Spirit’ is a tagline we frequently use for the Buddhafield Base project. So, what is the ‘Eco-Sattva Spirit’?
When the project was first conceived, it was called Eco-Sattva. That was its name for 2 or 3 years until we transitioned to Buddhafield Base. The name was changed for a bunch of reasons including the need for a more accessible name for funders and for potential participants in the project. Plus the name was already being used by several organisations, including by One Earth Sangha for one of their trainings.
In talking about Eco-Sattva, David Loy retells a famous Zen story:
A student asks the master, “What is the constant activity of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas?” In other words, what’s special about the day-to-day lives of awakened people?
The master replies: “Responding appropriately.”
What does it mean to “respond appropriately” to the ecological crisis and other challenges?
There will be many different answers to this question – for different individuals and different communities. Our hope is that Buddhafield Base will provide an opportunity for finding a broad set of ongoing responses.
Buddhafield Base will be a place where we can:
- build emotional, spiritual, and social resilience
- recharge and seek solace and consolation
- discuss, plan, and coordinate.
- rise up and respond practically and creatively to the crisis and injustice of climate change.
Our four values of care for land and ecology, meaningful work, authentic community, and celebration of imagination and creativity are at the heart of Base. By expanding into these four areas, we aim to demonstrate at Base that a new way of living simply and joyfully while meeting the challenges of being human on this planet is possible.
It is clear that “responding appropriately” to the ecological crisis must involve more than individual acts. We must pursue a collective, communal response through hubs like Buddhafield Base.
In traditional Buddhist thinking, a Bodhisattva is a person who is on the path of awakening, someone moving on the path towards Buddhahood through the cultivation of compassion for all beings. Thich Nhat Han famously said:
It is probable that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community, a community practicing understanding and loving-kindness, a community practicing mindful living.
Imagine what it would mean if humans could collectively travel this path of awakening together. Imagine if we could learn what it means to cultivate compassion for all beings together. Perhaps this is the path down which we must walk if we are to truly respond appropriately. And this is the main promise and hope of creating a home for the Eco-Sattva spirit.