Chevy Chase, from the Climate Reality Project
sent me this missive today:
I don't know about you, but I get angry when I hear people claim that global warming isn't real. We know that the science is clear and climate change is an urgent problem. And we need more people to learn the truth....
The letter went on to talk about how Al Gore trained 3000 people to talk about climate change and Chevy wanted my money to pay for more presentations.
Driving to the Zen Center
I wondered if Chevy Chase's anger was more a threat to our lives that climate change.
The other day I read the words in an email, "destroy the planet," and I questioned whether there was some less violent way of describing our precious lives on earth. Then G asked me if I was going to sign up for the Environmental Workshop
and I told her that I would get angry. She said that it would be an opportunity to practice "equanimity." (Don't you love Buddhists?) She added, think of all the stuff you've gotten from global warming to write about.
Then I read on one of my previous blog posts a comment from a former colleague, M, in St. Louis,
"What is the debate really? This is proven and accepted science. Are we to debate the veracity of human evolution, the spherical nature of the earth, the age of the planet?"
I barely could get out of my chair this afternoon to go to the Zen Center, afraid that the dogma was making me into an obedient zombie. Anyway... I did go and was glad to be back after a couple weeks of playing hooky.
I was shoved out of my chair by this brilliant little paragraph that was sent to me from the Juniperpath.org
website (no relation to Austin's Juniper).
The Three Moments is a model for describing the process of inner realization on the Buddhist path. T.R.V. Murti first coined the term in his classic work, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism1. Murti saw the main task of Buddhist training as “purifying the mind and freeing it of the cobwebs and clogs of dogmatism.”2 This occurs by examining and, ultimately, deconstructing the artificial edifice on which one’s inner life is built. The result is a refined level of awareness that is the basis for reorienting how we experience and engage the world.
The three moments comprise three states of inner maturation along the spiritual path: dogma, critical analysis, and intuitive wisdom. They can be summarized as follows:
- Dogma: the unquestioned acceptance of what we know.
- Critical analysis: examining what we know.
- Intuitive Wisdom: going beyond what we know.
1 T.R.V. Murti, The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, (New Delhi, India: Munshiram Manoharlal 1955), 140-143
2 The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, 146
So what a beautiful gift to get that email. Just as William Blake
spoke of innocence, experience, and organized innocence, so does the Buddhist path of dogma, analysis, and intuitive wisdom show us the stages of understanding. Perhaps it is just dogma for those who claim that knowing the planet is burning is not rocket science, and that you see one melting iceberg and you know that the world is coming to an end... and that it is our fault.
If you've gotten this far, you need a little humor. Please see the Onion's take on the environment
where they report that "If global warming isn't under control by 2006, scientists say it will achieve unstoppable momentum, destroying the only planet we have."
So if by now you are scratching your head and wondering what I believe anyway... join the club. I do believe that anger should have no part of this conversation. That might be the limit of my "intuitive wisdom."