Dharma Gaia is indeed a harvest, and a seasonable one. Buddhism and ecology have in recent years had much to say to each other. Allan Badiner has done us all a service in collecting these dialogues. Through such points of view as feminism, deep ecology, Native American shamanism, and dharma, a common world view emerges in which the interdependence of all beings is the theme, with the inseparability of human beings and the natural environment an urgent variation.
It’s clear from this diversity that we’ve moved from a monocrop mentality (either Eastern or Western, mysticism or science, quietistic or activistic) to a wild and orderly ecosystem of the mind/heart. The very language found in these pages—Dharma Gaia (Dharma, from the Sanscrit for Buddhist teaching; Gaia, the Greek Earth Goddess), ecocentricity, Green Buddhism, biospirituality—bespeak the emergence of a world view that looks beyond traditional categories.
And it’s about time! If anyone’s still waiting for Buddhism to come to the West, listen up: it’s happening.
As co-reviewers, we agreed early on in our readings in Dharma Gaia to abandon all pretense of covering the whole. In our two reviews below, each of us followed his own idiosyncratic interests in this wild and orderly world of viewpoints, meanwhile keeping one eye on his own environment. Different readers will find different connections. Find yours.
RECYCLING TRASH INTO HAIKU by Patrick McMahon
A SENSE OF PLACE by Reed Hamilton