Learning from Country

 

 

‘When you know the place where you are, practice begins.’

~ Dogen

Zen dharma and practice has considerable natural affinity and resonance with Australian indigenous teaching of care and respect for country.

Buddhism began when Shakyamuni Buddha walked away from the towns and farms of his fast-changing Hindu world into the forest where indigenous people still maintained old ways.

Following the old way, he sat down on the earth under a tree in his great quest to come fully home to himself and realize Mind inseparable from mountains and rivers and the great earth, the sun and moon and the stars.

Wherever it has travelled Buddhism has struck up a deep conversation with the local earth-based sources of spiritual maturity in that place. Now we look for the dharma standing up alive here in this oldest of continents, home to the longest unbroken human culture on the earth – a relationship to place that runs 60,000 years deep.

And so for the past 15 years we have sat and walked in country on frequent one and two day occasions together with Dulumunmun, Uncle Max Harrison, a south coast elder and fully initiated man, author of My People’s Dreaming.

The conversation between these two paths that intertwine in so many ways continues to deepen us in the ways in which the land speaks to Zen as it becomes native to this place – and to respectfully wake up more and more ways in which our practice begins to talk with the land.

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