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Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually Awakening people have done nearly 400 of them now. And if this one is new to you, you might want to go to batgap.com Bat gap and check under the past interviews menu where you’ll find all the previous ones categorized and organized in four or five different ways. This show is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. And so if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it, there are donate buttons on every page of the site. My guest today is David Loy. David Robert lawyers, a professor, writer and Zen teacher in the Sunbow killed on tradition of Japanese and Buddhism. He’s a prolific author whose essays and books have been translated into many languages. His articles appear regularly in the pages of major major journals and Buddhist magazines. He is on the editorial or advisory boards of the journals, cultural dynamics, worldviews, contemporary Buddhism, Journal of transpersonal, psychology, and world fellowship of Buddhist review. He’s also on the advisory boards of Buddhist global relief, the clear view project, Zen peacemakers, and the Ernest Becker Foundation. And, as always, I’ll be linking to his website where you can find much more about him after this interview, as well as extensive library of audio and video to listen or watch, listen to or watch and various writings. David and I did a little thing together about four and a half years ago out of the science and non duality conference in things in central fell that year, I had seen David speak on spiritual ecology along with Llewellyn Vaughan Lee. And later on, there was an interesting interchange, where David was challenging a non dual teacher who was up on stage and kind of probing him about whether the non dual community has any obligation or to address ecological issues and so on. And the teacher up on stage, whom I later learned is very politically conservative, was rather dismissive. And, you know, he at one point, he commented that the earth is just like a speck of dust, and it hardly matters, what happens to it. And I And David was very persistent. And I admired that. And I’ve actually referred to that little interchange in several of my interviews over the years. David feels very passionate about environmental issues, as do I, and has really put his money where his mouth is in terms of speaking and doing things about it. So I just listened to our thing the other day, David, we did out there with eager Kufa, and it was good. But we only had an hour and I felt like, you know, in this conversation, we can perhaps get into a lot more detail. I mean, you can’t necessarily teach old dogs new tricks. So probably you and I both will say some of the same things we said then, but we can get into the meat of it much more thoroughly.
David Loy: Truth is I don’t remember what I said. And so that anyway, let me just first of all, thank you for this invitation. I’m delighted to be having another conversation with you, Rick.
Rick Archer: Yeah, me too. And I, I kind of refreshed my appreciation for you in listening to about six or seven hours of your talks over the last week. And, you know, I am very glad that I have you on today because I really like what you have to say and the way you say it.
David Loy: Thank you. Thanks for that encouragement. Yeah. Including this opportunity.
Rick Archer: Sure. So I thought we might start just by getting to know you a little bit better. I understand that you’ve spent like 20 years in Japan and Zen monasteries or something and maybe give us a sense of what you’ve been through on your own spiritual path. Sure.
David Loy: Well, I’m another child of the 60s. My my Zen practice actually started in Hawaii in the very early 70s. When a Japanese Zen master, you might have Koan Roshi visited, and I was also living in practicing with Robert Aiken for a while another well known American teacher. And after that, I spent some time in Singapore, where I was teaching in the university, we started a little zen group where that same teacher you might have Roshi used to visit and lead session with us and eventually he invited me back to Japan. So I ended up living in Japan 20 years, not in a monastery you might have wished He was a layman, very successful retired businessman. So those of us who there were a lot of international students, we lived in Kamakura, used to go there to sit to dues as enchain session with him. But he actually died quite fairly early. And I stayed on. My wife and I both stayed on as professors in different Japanese universities. And in 2006, I was offered a position, a chair at Xavier University in Cincinnati. So I came back to take that position, which was quite good. But it was a visiting chair. So it eventually ended. And after that, I moved to Boulder, Colorado, originally to be a kind of research scholar at Naropa. But my wife and I really liked this area. And we’ve, we’re now pretty much settled here. I’m pretty well retired from academia, which frees me up to write and to travel around giving retreats and workshops. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Did you get to know Shinzen? Young while you’re over there in Japan?
David Loy: I’ve never met him there. I’ve met him a few times here in the States, though. Yeah, I can’t say I know him as well, as I’d like to we had a couple of brief conversations. And he seemed quite interested in social engagement. So I hope that’s a theme we’ll be able to pursue sometime.
Rick Archer: Then I’ve done a couple of interviews with him. Did you learn to speak fluent Japanese while you’re there? Well, 20 years,
David Loy: of course, I learned to speak Japanese, whether it says fluent as it should be, after all that time, maybe all evade the question. Yeah. Okay.
Rick Archer: So you seem like a very happy, wise, settled person, I would guess that you’re pretty satisfied with the results of all that Zen practice, would you say?
David Loy: Well, it seems to me like, there have been some changes over the years that have certainly made a big difference in my life, you know, some of them fairly dramatic. Other words, others may be, you know, more more gradual, but it feels like what I’m living now, I turned 70 This year, it feels like a kind of natural development out of all of that practice. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Some people, you know, report having kind of some kind of dramatic, sudden final, you know, biting awakening. And but more commonly, people say, Well, you know, it just sort of creeps up on you over the years. And, you know, I, and there is definitely something profound that abides, but I couldn’t mark it on a calendar couldn’t tell you exactly when it happened. It snuck up.
David Loy: Well, in my in my case, I mean, there were several moments when it things like there was some transformation. You know, the interesting thing, though, it the real challenge, and the deeper transformation, I think occurs instead of more slowly learning how to integrate how that entire we actually live. I mean, I think for all of us, that’s, that’s the greater challenge. So there have been a couple experiences that for me, were were very special, but also in the Zen tradition where we’re told not to cling to them, but to let them go. And if something important has happened, it’ll, it’ll stay with us. It’ll change us.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that’s an interesting two interesting points. I mean, one is that talk of integration and embodiment is very much in vogue these days, among spiritual teachers, I think, which it might not have been so much 10 years ago, but I think they, in their own experience, they realized that that’s what needs to be done. And what you just said, was significant, too, I think, because sometimes people speak of realizations and so on, as though they were something you needed to hold on to, or make some kind of conscious effort throughout the day to maintain. And what you just said, implies that, if it’s genuine, it’s natural, and you don’t have to actually do anything, it’ll be like, breathing or like, you know, ordinary waking state, you don’t have to keep reminding yourself that you’re awake, you just are.
David Loy: That’s right. And, I mean, they’re still it doesn’t mean that they’re, that because one hasn’t experienced that practice or meditation isn’t important, you know, in the Buddhist traditions, we really emphasize that so one still needs to, to make that effort to sort of be mindful to meditate just because once had an experience that doesn’t obviate the need for that sort of thing
Rick Archer: Sure. was, I think it might have been in your book that I just read today some beautiful saying that or might have been something that somebody sent me that some Sufi saying that you know, there’s an end to it to realizing God but there’s no end to continued realization in God or some such thing. You know, that that quote, I’m trying to quote?
David Loy: I do, but I don’t remember it. Well, Enough? Yeah. So, I mean, I think what that really points to is, there’s no final stage, there’s no final awakening here. And, you know, whatever one’s experienced, that that that can be deepened and needs to be deepened. So it’s not as though the path comes to an end in that sense. Yeah.
Rick Archer: I heard that the even the, the Buddha himself continued to sit for the rest of his life after his realization, you know, sit and meditate for whatever reason, is that true? Or as far as we know, is that true?
David Loy: Oh, yeah. If you read the Pali canon, there’s plenty of places where it’s clear that he would, he would spend a lot of time meditating, either with the other monks or by himself. And in Japan, there’s this interesting phrase, even the Buddha is only halfway there.
Rick Archer: Interesting. What do they mean by that? Good question.
David Loy: That I think it probably goes back to what we said, There’s no end to this practice, there is no end to the way that the the experiences, there’s always more experiences. And there’s always the greater challenge of integrating those into our into our lives. The way I sometimes put it is I make a distinction between deconstruction, of the delusive sense of separate self and reconstruction, which involves transforming our karma by transforming our habitual motivations and patterns of behavior.
Rick Archer: On this point of separate self, I heard you speak about it quite a bit, and a lot of different people speak about it? And would you let me just ask you point blank, I mean, do you feel like you have any sense of a separate self?
David Loy: Well, when people talk about anata, or not self, you know, that I think that’s very easily misunderstood. You know, in the Buddhist tradition, it’s very clear that, you know, the idea isn’t to get rid of the self, because there’s never been such a thing. I mean, the sense of self is, is something different. And it’s not even to get rid of the sense of self, I mean, we need that in order to practice. Maybe a better way to say it is to realize that what we thought was the self is a kind of vehicle, or a container, or maybe that that the sense of self is hollow. And at the very core of the sense of self is this opening to that which is greater than the sense of self, which is also the source of creativity. So does that evade your question? Well, it
Rick Archer: helps soil probing a little bit more. I mean, in my own experience, I can clearly remember being a teenager and having a very locked in sense of self and wondering if my hair looked cool, and, you know, things like that. And, you know, then over the decades, that has changed very much. And, but still, you know, I know where to stick a fork and in my mouth, and and somebody calls my name and I respond, or if I stub my toe, it’s my toe. It’s not, it’s not the tree over there. That’s feeling the pain. So. So when people say that they’ve utterly lost all sense of a personal self, I just scratch my head, and I don’t get it.
David Loy: Yeah, me too. Me too. I really appreciate the the Buddhist metaphor and Indras. Net, you know, this is a way of answering that question, though. Is it? Is it all one is that what we’re talking about the idea of Indras. Net is, we can understand the cosmos as this three dimensional infinite net that extends boundlessly in every direction. And at every node, there’s a jewel that reflects all the other jewels, and I think this is this is a good way to put it. It’s, it’s it’s not that maybe say it this way. The problem usually is that the jewels, us think of ourselves as separate from the other jewels. And the point of the net is realizing that each jewel is reflecting manifesting all the other jewels, so there’s not that sense of separation, but nonetheless, it’s not as though the jewel that is you and the jewel that is me is exactly the same, you know, right?
Rick Archer: I think the wave analogy helps here too, you know, it’s like, you think you’re only a wave, and then at some point, you discover you’re the ocean, but you’re still a wave, you know, so it’s not like you’re just, you know, sure your wave you just not only a wave anymore,
David Loy: so that’s very good. I like that, yeah.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Okay, so um, let’s dive into a little bit more. Now you’ve given some a talk lately, entitled cosmos as transformation. And I’ve listened to it a couple of times. And as I mentioned to you, before we started, I was usually listening while cutting the grass or something. So I didn’t actually write down points, but I really liked a lot of the points you’re making. So if you could remember what some of those were, maybe we’ll use those to get our conversation rolling even more.
David Loy: To be quite frank, I’m trying to remember what that talk was but given the title, I think, given the title, I think I know what it was about in terms of how we understand evolution.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And you were talking about Darwin, for instance, and, and how his writings changed our cultural understanding of God. And, you know, issues like that.
David Loy: Right, right. Well, Darwin, of course, was kind of the, he refuted the last real argument for God’s existence in the classical sense. And that, you know, the old argument from design, you needed some super being to design these incredibly complicated creatures. And so that kind of opened the door to a kind of messy, totally mechanistic understanding of what’s going on with the evolutionary process. But, but I think from a Buddhist or a non dualist perspective, you know, we can understand it differently. And, of course, there’s a lot of people trying to do that these days, especially Brian Swimme, and Thomas Berry, I think it really opened doors there. So the question is, is, is evolution something that’s directed? Or is it something that’s, you know, by some being like a god? Or is evolution something totally random? And sort of meaningless as a lot of biologists would put it? Or is there a third alternative? And I think there’s a third alternative, the idea that there’s some kind of groping that that in a way, the kind of the cosmos is in a sort of groping way, becoming more and more complex, more and more conscious, more and more self conscious, more and more aware of itself? So we can understand the evolutionary process in these terms, but of course, I’m not. I’m far from the only one in the spiritual world who’s who’s talking in that way. It’s quite interesting from a Buddhist perspective, because there’s, there’s this whole question of Buddhism, if, if there’s, if there’s no self, which is an essential Buddhist teaching, who or what wakes up, right? And there’s a famous story to where, after his awakening, awakening, the Buddha was challenged by Mara, the kind of civilization of evil or death. And, you know, Mara challenged him, how do you, you say you’re awakened? How do you know who, who authorizes your awakening? Or is it just your own delusion? And it’s interesting that the Buddha, according to this story, didn’t say anything. But he just touched the earth as if the earth was his witness. So well, what does that pointing out? I mean, is, can we understand awakening as the Earth or even the cosmos as a whole becoming self aware in the process? And I think that’s, that’s a serious way to try to integrate integrate, what non dualist traditions like Buddhism have been talking about, and these other possible ways of looking at evolution.
Rick Archer: Yeah, let’s dwell on this a little bit. The thing about who or what wakes up well, back to Darwin, you know, if Darwin sort of unseated God, I think the God he unseated or maybe it was Herbert Spencer who did that the God he unseeded was really not the real God. It’s like, if I were to talk to somebody like Sam Harris, I think I would say, you know, I don’t believe in the God that you don’t believe in. But that is, but that is not to say that. I mean, those guys are kind of arguing against a straw man, God who is really, it needs to be a subtler consideration.
David Loy: Yeah, I agree completely. Yeah. I, I mean, God, God, can be understood in a number of different ways. And a lot of times the problem is that people take myths too, literally. I I think it was Joseph Campbell, who said, You have a lot of people who sort of take take the stories, say the Christian stories about resurrection and so forth, literally. And then you have the critics, the Sam Harris and so forth, who also take them literally in dismissing them. But they’re both missing some deeper understanding of how myth works, and the fact that there’s different levels of meaning. And often the popular understanding is, is to some extent, misses Mises. What’s really going on there. Yeah,
Rick Archer: yeah. And I mean, you know, if, if Darwin sort of unseated the conception of a god that was this had designed all these marvelous, complex creatures. You know, that implies that that God is somewhat somehow separate from his creation, like a puppeteer that’s designed and is manipulating the puppets. But I think the way you would understand it is view, if you do is that, you know, if we look closely, intelligence permeates and orchestrates every iota of creation, every particle of creation, God is not off someplace running the show. He’s totally, you know, imbued into every the whole show.
David Loy: Or I mean, one way to say it is, evolution isn’t something that’s happening to the universe evolution is the universe itself. And we don’t have to understand that in in a mechanistic way. In fact, the old meta mechanistic metaphor, really, the reason that first came about was because the early scientists still thought of God in a kind of a deistic fashion that, you know, God, God was the machine maker. But if you don’t have a machine maker, the idea of the universe as a machine, doesn’t quite work anymore. When you look at the way that it tends to evolve and complexify, I think, a much better. A much, much better metaphor is the cosmos is an organism. Right? And an organism that that’s transforming. And it also raises a very interesting question, then. Are we in Oregon? Is our species a particular Oregon in that larger organism? And if so, what is our function? You know, this is really important too, because the the upshot of the Darwinist revolution was really to say, well, we’re just accidents of genetic mutation. And we have no function, no role, all we can do is enjoy ourselves if we can, while we can, as long as we can. But the truth is, I think that’s not very satisfying. And in the long run, I think our civilization is showing it we sort of lost any sense that we have any meaning or role to play that we’re part of something greater than ourselves. And I think this is the kind of cutting edge question, do we have a role to play in the cosmos? You know, human beings really have a role to play. If we are a way in which the earth or even the larger cosmos is becoming self aware, then it suggests maybe yes. And if so I think that’s something that needs to be pursued. Because I think that can help to correct the kind of nihilism of our present culture.
Rick Archer: What was that quote from Brian Swimme, that you’d like to quote about leaving hydrogen alone for 14 billion years?
David Loy: Yeah, if Yeah, if we leave hydrogen? Well, he says, the most important scientific fact ever discovered. And I wonder if it’s also, maybe one of the most important spiritual truths ever discovered is that if you leave hydrogen alone for 14 million years, it turns into a billion thanks. Turns into rose bushes, giraffes, and us. You know, what’s going on there? Yeah, the fact that it just turns into these things is, whoa, what is it really just accidents of genetic mutation? Do we really have to accept that? That’s the final conclusion of science. So I have my doubts.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, it’s a good point. And to me, the notion that random processes could ever result in such beauty and order and complexity is absurd. I mean, you know, if anything, the second law of thermodynamics would have just kept everything completely disorganized, and amorphous, there’s no way we would have gotten all these beautiful expressions of, of intelligence. So I don’t see how people who argue a mechanistic worldview have a leg to stand on.
David Loy: And my way of saying that is, you know, what we can see is that the cosmos is self organizing, you know, as an organism is, and yeah, as you said, it’s not a chaotic randomness. But something is going on there. There’s some tendency here. I mean, how much? How, how much? What does it mean to say the cosmos wants to be some self conscious or intense? I mean, that’s a really good question. But the point is, that’s what seems to be happening.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And obviously, it must be something more profound than that. We kind of anthropomorphize it when we use words like Watson intense, but it’s but something’s going on. And we need I think we need to continually ask ourselves, why what’s behind all this? And even if you take some of the principles of, you know, Darwin, like, what was it? What do they call it? random selection, natural selection, and so on. It’s like, why, you know, what, what’s behind that? You know,
David Loy: I mean, well, let me just piggyback on that, you know, the idea that random or natural selection occurs because there’s error errors are there’s genetic mutations, there are errors in DNA replication, right? And some of the errors, a few of the errors are beneficial, and they cause the species to specific individuals to survive better, and then the species. But I, what’s interesting, of course, is that, as, as biologists know, the mutations aren’t just accidental in the sense that they just happen once in a while there’s a rate of mutation that they can observe, and they can use to detect certain changes, the fact that there’s regular mutation. Why do we think of that as erroneous? It seems to me we can understand that as part of this, I think fundamental creativity of the universe, that it’s wanting to try new things. It’s always and and it’s interesting, a lot of new things don’t work out. You know, a lot of those most of those mutations, they don’t have any benefit, many of them the opposite, but some lead to the development and the creation of something new. can’t Can’t we understand this is what the cosmos is about. It’s this fundamental creativity, that maybe it’s enjoying itself in this process.
Rick Archer: Yeah. That’s what the end do say, Lila, you know, to play? And how do we get DNA in the first place? I mean, consider what a complex molecule that is, and how amazing it is. I mean, that didn’t happen randomly.
David Loy: Well, well said, yeah. Why would it? Why would it? Why would all of those very complicated chemicals come together in the way that they did? Yeah.
Rick Archer: And not only DNA, I mean, they say that a single cell is more complex than, you know, Tokyo in terms of all the stuff that’s going on in it. And we have about 100 trillion of them in our body, all coordinated in various ways. So I know just what maybe we’ve we’ve covered this point enough, but just the notion that things are sort of dumb billiard balls banging into each other randomly, and somehow resulted. And actually, there’s people who argue that, you know, they get around this conundrum by saying that there are actually an infinite number of parallel universes, and in ours, just because there’s so many of them, it’s like the infinite number of monkeys, you know, on typewriters isn’t one of the managers to type Shakespeare, they say that ours, we just happen to live in the one where orderliness and higher evolve waveforms have, you know, randomly resulted, but maybe the other ones all fizzled. But that too, I think, is sort of is a stretch.
David Loy: Yeah, even though there does seem to be some suggestion, right, people looking at the big bang, and all that there does seem to be some suggestion that there are parallel universes, but it’s still a big stretch, I think, from that to the kind of rationalization that you were just talking about. Yeah. And what’s amazing, of course, is that whatever we said, is just, just like, it’s not as though we’ve explained something, or our understanding something, it’s more like, just an opening up to an appreciation of the mystery is just, it’s it’s fundamental, far, but fundamentally, far beyond anything, we can understand much more, you know, control this larger, cosmic process. And, and so a lot of what we’re talking about is, is an opening to appreciation and gratitude. And, and again, this fundamental question, well, okay, if so, what’s, what’s our role? What’s my role within it?
Rick Archer: And I think that what we’ve just been talking about kind of segues us into what we’re going to be talking about in terms of environmental and social issues and so on, because it, it’s sort of a philosophical or cosmological underpinning to those issues. If, if the world is just a thing, you know, if it’s just a mechanism, and if life is meaningless, and so on, and so forth, then that kind of provides justification for doing whatever the hell we please with the environment and other species and, and so on and so forth. You know, make hay while the sun shines, I’m gonna get mine you worry about getting yours. But if in fact that the there’s a sort of a divine intelligence permeating and orchestrating everything, if, if there’s no separation, ultimately, between ourselves and everything else, you know, if, as John Donne said, No man is an island and ask, ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee, then well, a lot of our economic and environmental policies are a serious violation of that deeper principle.
David Loy: Right? Yeah. But there’s a couple of ways to follow up on that. I mean, one of them is is to look at how the secular world evolved or how we came to understand the world as secular. And it’s quite interesting. Some people talk about secular Buddhism or secular spiritual duality. But the point is our understanding of secularity is historically conditioned. And if you go back to say, the Middle Ages, there was what we call science. It was called natural philosophy. And but they understood that as as our attempt to find the signature of God in the natural world, that is to say, what did the natural world reveal about the nature of God. But once you came in with the modern era, especially with the Reformation, where there was a lot of insecurity, and humans became very more concerned about kind of securing themselves, the early scientists, all of whom believed in God, but they tended to think of God as somebody way, upstairs high, high up in the clouds, who had created the world, but then it was wandering according to certain physical laws or mathematical laws. And it’s interesting, we use the same word for physical laws, as we do for legal laws, right? Because the original idea was that the the physical laws, the laws of Newton had been created by God. And so more and more they understood the role of God is sort of creating the process, starting it off, but then, historically, as God sort of disappeared up in the heavens, the the, the spiritual, the sacred dimension, the I guess we call that the spiritual half was lost. And we were left with a kind of devalued, material, light, lifeless world of matter, meaningless matter. And in a way, that’s what we’ve been, you know, trying trying to cope with, I think that has opened the doors to the kind of exploitation that we’re now experiencing the consequences. Right? If, if, if the world is basically these beings who don’t have any spiritual elements, what am I trying to say here? Something Wendell Berry, the poet said he, he put it really well. He said, There are no unsafe arid places. There are only sacred places and desecrated places. So we’ve lost the the sacredness of the world. And the problem is, we’ve desecrated it, because we understand it as not having a sacred or a spiritual dimension, which kind of frees it frees us to use it, to exploit it for our own fertile hands. Yeah,
Rick Archer: yeah. Yeah, that notion of God that you just described as often used, the clock analogy has often been used to illustrate that, like God is some clock maker that makes the clock winds it up, and then takes off and the clock just runs on its own this mechanical thing. But that contrasts with what you and I have been alluding to, which is that, you know, the divine permeates everything is in no way separate from everything. They should have known that, you know, because it does say in the Bible, doesn’t it that God is omnipresent and omniscient and and so if he’s omnipresent, then is he’s not. And of course, I have to say he just for convenience sake, but it it permeates everything is everything. I mean, that’s where some people take it. Vedantists and so on that, that it’s not like there’s God on the soul level and gross matter on the gross level, this is God. Right now, that which appears material is actually the divine interacting with itself.
David Loy: I would agree with that. However, you know, the Bible also says the first few verses that God created the world. And the kind of implication that seems to be built into that is that the world is separate from him that the world isn’t God’s body, but it’s something I mean, you know, I’m, I’m not disagreeing with what you said. But talking about the way that I think that’s been misunderstood, came down. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And, of course, it’s not only in the Bible, I think many spiritual traditions have this legacy of what might be called cosmological dualism, you know, the idea that there’s this higher reality, in addition to ours, and in a way, inevitably, to some extent, that ends up devaluing this world, often as a simply a means to the end. If we behave ourselves here, we’ll go up to that higher world and spend eternity with God, but that, that cosmological dualism, which you know, it infects, as I would say, certain types of Buddhism and lots of spiritual traditions, and it’s a, I see a tension and ongoing tension between that understanding and the kind of non dualism that you and I were talking about.
Rick Archer: Yeah, well, little thought experience I always like to do is what I might call look more closely, like, here’s a cup, you know, and it seems to be ceramic, and it’s orange, and so on, but look more closely, and it’s molecules and that they aren’t ceramic, and they aren’t orange, and then look more closely. And it’s atoms, which vary even less resemblance to this cup and look more closely, and it’s getting down to nothing material whatsoever, then, you know, probabilities and whatnot. And, you know, ultimately some sort of unified field or vacuum state, which is actually what this is, we’re just not able to look closely enough, given our perceptual apparatus.
David Loy: That it’s interesting, because I just gave a talk a couple nights ago, where I also used a cut, to demonstrate what I wanted to say, My point was, was a little different in that, I think often, we’re not really looking, you know, what, what psychologists emphasize is that the actual perception, it’s not simply that that we’re seeing visually, but rather, we’re catching just a little bit of visual signal. And then we’re interpreting it, right? We’re, we’re, we’re identifying it. And this is how language comes in where we identified as the cup, we identify it therefore as as a thing, to be used to drink water, or coffee or whatever out of, and we do that with everything, we see everything functionally. And this ties in with our desires, and intentions and so forth. And you get so caught up in that, the truth is, we never actually see things as they are because the world in a deep kind of pre conscious way, as we learn language, as we learn to speak, as we learn to see the world in the way that everyone else does. We we identify, we kind of plug into this consensus reality. And in the process, there’s something really profound about what’s here. And now that we’re that we’re constantly overlooking,
Rick Archer: yeah, you know, like use the word instrument a while back to referring to us as sort of instruments of the Divine, or of the deeper creative intelligence that seems to be governing the universe. And if we think of it that way, then, you know, instruments usually have a certain range of ability, a Geiger counter can measure such and such, and a telescope can can see that and, you know, FM radio can pick up on this. And so, you know, we humans have a certain range of perceptual ability, but I think what makes us unique, is that we see, and this is where all the spiritual traditions ultimately come in, is that we have the capacity to, as instruments get right down to the ground state, you know, to the fundamental reality, and through this instrument, that is able to realize itself, you were saying earlier about who wakes up, well, that wakes up, you know, to itself, but by virtue of this instrument,
David Loy: right? Yeah. Yeah. So that was that does seem to be what’s unique about us, as far as we can see, that we, we have this potentiality to, as happens when we meditate to kind of let go of everything that we’ve been identifying with, you know, let go of this. For physical, mental complex of habitual ways of thinking, feeling and, and so forth, let that go in order to, you know, open up to this, to this deeper dimension it and I suppose, the spiritual danger there is, sometimes the letting go can encourage a kind of sense of separation, right, this pure spirit that we’re sort of now think we are, but but a but a pure spirit that’s therefore disengaged from everything else that we’ve let go. Whereas the point, it seems to me is the real letting go is a kind of opening up letting go of ourselves, where we realize that we, we are manifestations or we are the way something no thing whatever you want to call it is presencing. In the way that everything else is but but we have this ability to realize that and to act on it, because one implication of that, that I think is really important is when we realize that we are part of part of that same process, that everything else is, there can also be responding compassionately to that realization I remember my teacher saying, genuine Kensho den genuine awaken is spontaneously associated with a sense of compassion. So we you know, we have in what am I trying to say in in the process of dis identifying from everything is happens when we meditate. The ultimate goal if you want to talk in those terms is to realize our our oneness or our non duality with everything and therefore transform how it is We live in the world to acknowledge that in a way, you could say maybe our goal now is to is to heal the whole of the biosphere based on the realization that we’re not separate from it, and its well being is not separate from our well being and, and vice versa. I think that
Rick Archer: this is the this identification thing you just described, maybe a phase for some people. But you know, like we were saying earlier, evolution is relentless, and you never get to rest on your laurels. And I don’t think I mean, it’s possible as opposed to get stuck in any phase, but there’s a tendency to continue moving on. And I think that, you know, then from that phase one gets into a more embodied, phased integrated phase. And perhaps that teacher whom you challenged at the sand conference was speaking from that perspective, you know, from a detached, aloof perspective. Well, you know, I dwell on the self, I dwell in pure awareness, and the world is a speck of dust. But seems to me that the great spiritual teachers throughout history haven’t, even if they’ve sometimes spoken that way, they usually acted with great compassion, and they’ve acted as though the world isn’t a meaningless speck of dust, that it’s something which needs our care and attention and all the sentient beings in it are worthy of upliftment and Enlightenment.
David Loy: I think that’s exactly right. You know, as as that Heart Sutra famously says, you know, form is empty, everything is empty, in the sense that it doesn’t have any substantiality or essence of its own. But nonetheless, the, the emptiness, that there’s something that’s taking form as all these things, and it’s important, not to sort of, sever sever that relationship to the world, you and I everything is a way this is presencing, this is this is manifesting, and to sort of understand the spiritual path as sort of dissociating from it, I think, is a real serious issue. But what that points to, of course, is, you know, we talk about awakening or Enlightenment, but it’s not all or nothing, right. There’s, there’s, there’s glimpses, like in the Zen tradition that I practiced in my school, in particular, now, now called sambals, in, there’s a lot of emphasis on Kensho, but can show this first glimpse is, is usually you know, very brief. Kanjo means a glimpse, clip. Kensho means literally seeing into your nature, okay? But it can be shallow, it can be deep, but the point is, the distinction is made because, you know, something happens. But it’s not a permanent transformation. And it certainly doesn’t automatically transmutate those habitual self centered habits that I have so so the point of the Zen tradition is, is to keep with that, there’s a lovely metaphor here that my teacher used to explain the fact that every, every Kensho every genuinely experience here, or awakening is qualitatively the same. But there’s a huge spectrum of sort of quantitative difference. He explained it this way, and I’ve often cited when you start to practice, it’s as if a teacher is telling us to, to polish a wall. You know, and no, W understand what that means, or why polish a wall, what’s the point, but the teacher gives us the instructions how to meditate. And so in a way we, we polish away, can show and, and according to our tradition, it’s it’s some, it’s usually something very sort of a Ha, can show is the moment when we realize that it’s not a wall, that it’s a piece of glass, and that there’s something on the other side. And but that’s going to be pretty good. It’s not going to be clear, is it you know, you’re polishing and it’s like it there’s there’s something at the side, but that doesn’t mean you can see it clearly. You’ve got to keep polishing. Yeah, if there’s some, if some people think, Oh, now I’ve got it, okay, now I understand. You know, the, the dust, the crud, the paint sort of ends up covering it again, and it’s just a happy memory that doesn’t really transform one’s life very much, except maybe one spiritual ego gets better. But the idea one needs to keep polishing keeping, so that one can see more and more clearly, what’s on the other side that it is a piece of glass. And then he said, my teacher, that great awakening, Daigo Tete in Japanese is when the glass shatters, and there’s not the sense of separation between what’s inside this on this side of the glass and what’s on the other side. So, I mean, I think that’s that’s a really good metaphor and a lot of the a lot of the problems that happened I think are because we don’t understand or acknowledge that there are these stages. And just because one has a glimpse, it doesn’t mean that one is transformed. This links very much with I know something you’re concerned about, you know, the the misbehavior of so many spiritual teachers, you can have, you can have some glimpse, but it doesn’t necessarily make you a good person.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, you can even have a very profound realization and be radiating like 1000 suns, and yet still have some screws loose in terms of certain behavioral or, you know, other ethical values.
David Loy: We certainly see that Yeah. As as much in the Buddhist world or the Zen world as anywhere else, I’m sorry to say,
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m going to be talking about that fan conference this year, just that whole issue. Yeah, the whole thing you just said, just to reiterate, I mean, you can be walking down a road, let’s say, in the fog, and you see a tree, and you know, it’s a tree, you know, you know, it’s not a horse, but there’s, you can’t pick out the details. And, you know, you come down that same road on a sunny day, and there is a tree and much greater clarity, you can see the color, you can see the acorns, and, and so and so, you know, even on day one, I think of meditating, one can have a glimpse of the same thing that you’re going to be experiencing on, you know, 40 years later. But through those 40 years, a great deal of purification and clarification has has taken place so that the the, the experience will be much more clear, and also much more biting, because we’re not really that excited about something that we’re just going to experience when we sit for half an hour an hour is, if it’s worth its salt, then it should be 24/7, I would say,
David Loy: right. And that’s why I sometimes distinguish between what I call deconstruction and reconstruction. Right? The deconstruction is the meditative letting go. And the reconstruction is really transforming our motivations and our ways of relating to other people and indeed, to the world. And I think this is really important, too, is because it has important implications for how we understand karma, you know, whether or not karma is some cosmological law of the universe, whether or not there’s physical rebirth, I don’t know. But what I can see is that the Buddha, his contribution was to emphasize motivation, how karma is created not just by what we do, but the motivations or intentions behind what we do. And I think there’s an essential insight here, that according to our motivations, we literally experience the world in a different way. We don’t have to understand karma as some, something that’s going to come back and kick us or bite us in a cosmological way, although that may be true. But we can also just see that if I’m motivated by greed, ill will delusion I’m going to be relating and perceiving a person in a very different way. The situations, then if I’m motivated by generosity, loving kindness and wisdom, and I think this is a huge, you know, the point is, just by transforming our motivations, we actually come to live in a different kind of a world, which I think is the key to understanding this enigmatic thing that Spinoza said, the very last verse of his great ethics, he said, you know, happiness is not the reward for virtue, happiness is virtue itself.
Rick Archer: Yeah, so that gets that begs the question of how do we transform our motivations? How do we make sure those are aligned properly? And I think we could take a step back, even from that to the point we’re making earlier about, you know, if we are, in essence, the divine sort of functioning through an instrument through a human nervous system, then how do we get out of the way? How do we make sure that it’s really the divine functioning and that we’re not distorting that that profound divine intelligence and corrupting it and then obviously having a deleterious influence through our behavior?
David Loy: I think that’s right. I mean, to a large extent, all we can do is do the very best that we can. And and if we’re, you know, if there’s ego or delusion involved, you know, what usually happens is something comes back to bite us. It’s like, I mean, the law of karma tends to work in that way. I think that there will be feedback. You know, if I’m, if I’m motivated by ego, there will be some kind of feedback that, that, that that comes back to me regarding changing our motivations, I think the Buddhist understanding is, is is consistent with a lot of others. There’s this famous four line verse that you may Be aware of anonymous as far as I know where it came from, what is it, plant a thought, and reap, indeed, anybody have planted deed and reap a habit, plan to habit, Reaper character, plant the character reap a destiny, you know, the idea is habits are changed by intentionally, okay, I’m not going to act on that I’m going to do this. And then if I keep doing this, then it becomes a part of what I am. And I think that’s usually what involves
Rick Archer: that that to which you give your attention grows stronger in your life.
David Loy: Great. And also not only our attention, but our but our actions our actual way of relating to people.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So I think something that we’d both be interested in, and it relates to what we’ve been saying is, you know, what we’re doing to the world, what we’ve been doing to the world for quite some time, and how that is a reflection of our motivations and our deeper tendencies, and how we might change things. I mean, I watched that Oliver Stone documentary on World War Two, a couple of weeks ago, and it was unbelievable. How much horror and suffering and difficulty millions and death, millions and millions and millions of people went through. And that’s just one example in the long bloody history of the world. So I sorry, go ahead.
David Loy: Go ahead. Was that the Untold History of, of the United States? I
Rick Archer: think it was, yeah, I watched the first episode of that.
David Loy: I watched the second episode last night, and all I can tell you, there’s more of the same.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And you know, if if these huge monumental global events and catastrophes and so on are reflective of collective consciousness, and if collective consciousness is sort of the sum total of all the individual consciousnesses making it up, then, you know, just as the color of a forest, if you flew over, it would be indicative of the color of each of the trees, the healthiness of each of the trees in that forest, then, you know, we could perhaps suggest a solution to such problems in the transformation of sufficient numbers of individuals. Otherwise, whereas those where the solution is going to come from, you can’t spray paint the forest.
David Loy: Right, right, for sure. I mean, and Buddhism, like a lot of spiritual traditions, that’s where we start, you know, if we’re not working to transform our own greedier will delusion, I mean, we’re, and we’re out there is an activist? Well, I think, from a Buddhist perspective, at least, we’re sort of playing games that we have to start with ourselves. But you know, what you also get sometimes as people to say, Well, that’s all I have to do, you know, if I just transform myself, then that’s going to sort of radiate and have an effect on the people around me and, and that’s what it means to be spiritual. And frankly, I don’t think that’s sufficient anymore, if it ever was, I think, given the kind of situation we’re in today, number one, that’s quite slow. But number two, although I see that as the foundation, I think that we also need to find ways to address the structural or the institutional side, you know, I mean, Buddhism, traditionally, like many spiritual traditions focus on individual transformation, I think we’re in a situation now where we can understand that Dukkha suffering isn’t simply due to, you know, my own karma, my own ways of thinking, etcetera. But there are social situations, there are social situations like World War Two, where you can be a really great guy, but you’re caught up in a world that that’s, that’s going to cause you a lot of suffering. I mean, you think of Jewish people, or Polish people in in World War Two, it may not have mattered how great a guy or person you were, there were social forces, structural forces. And I think that that’s something that’s a direction in which Buddhism and other spiritual traditions really need to think about that. As sociologists like to say, people create society, but society creates people. So we start with the people create society, but we also have to look at the very strong institutional forces, things like the way advertising wants to make sure we understand ourselves as primarily consumers. I think that’s a really good example. So I think we need to work on both sides at the same time, and I think that’s the kind of new understanding of the bodhisattva path that I’ve been trying to articulate.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I’ve heard you say and, in a number of your talks, and others have certainly said similar things that I was talking to Charles Eisenstein a few weeks ago. And he was saying, sir, similar things that you pick any number of problems in the world today and there, that problem alone is overwhelming. I mean, you know, the global warming is one of the biggest, and then, you know, what we’re doing to the topsoil, what we’re doing to the food supply, what we’re doing to the fish in the ocean, and, and all all sorts of things, and you can go on and on the possibility of major epidemics. And so people obviously get overwhelmed, they get discouraged, they begin to feel that they are too small, and the problems are too big. And, you know, what can be done? And particularly the way the political situation seems to be going, you know, it doesn’t didn’t quite work out the way a lot of us hoped it will. And so, I mean, yeah. So I mean, you know, I guess I come back to have what, what is all that symptomatic of, you know, what, obviously, it’s we humans who have been having such a serious impact on the world, on the environment, and so on. What is it in the mass psychology that is having that kind of impact? And what is the most effective antidote? I mean, for instance, we we more or less wiped out polio by Jonas Salk coming up with a vaccine. It what would be the spiritual vaccine that could make a significant enough difference in human mentality to actually change the course of our collective behavior and begin to reverse some of these dire problems?
David Loy: Well, starting with the problem, first, the big problem, I would agree with Eisenstein and you, the way that I put is climate change, urgent as it is, is just the tip of the ecological iceberg, that we have to bring in these other things that you just mentioned, but also species extinction, that we seem now to be well into the sixth grade species extinction caused in this case by one particular species us. And when you put that together with all these other phenomena, I mean, we can add, I mean, what about nuclear waste? Yeah, that alone 13,000 tons a year, produced by the world’s 400 Plus reactors. And the truth is, no one really knows how to get a grip on what shame is doing, et cetera, et cetera,
Rick Archer: right. And if there were some kind of huge meltdown of the power grid due to solar flares, or something, we could end up with 400 Fukushima’s, you know because the the power stations wouldn’t be able to continue cooling themselves.
David Loy: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. And what I see all of that as pointing to, you know, looking upon all that is kind of an iceberg. I see that as the visual part of the iceberg. What I think that really points to I, I tend to see all of the ecological problems is kind of symptoms of a now global civilization that has lost its way. And therefore it is self destructing. Right. And it goes back to what we were saying earlier about how we understand the earth as a kind of a convenience store of resources to be exploited, with with indifference to the effects on ecosystems. And the problem. The fundamental problem, it seems to me is we. And this is where it ties in with the evolutions what we’re saying about evolution, the fundamental problem is, I think, we don’t know we don’t have any real sense that we have a role to play, given that we’re just kind of here by accident, according to a lot of biological understanding of evolution, then the idea is just to enjoy ourselves, as I said, and enjoy ourselves until we die. Well, that’s kind of a demon on our shoulder. But But, but in addition to that, the implication, I mean, I think that feeds what I think is really the the main meaning Roll value of our civilization, which is ever increasing production and consumption. I mean, that’s, that’s really what it comes down to, if you ask, what’s the preoccupation of every government, you know, what’s the proclamation that we are molded into, were to sort of do it individually and the culture as a whole GDP grow and so forth. A kind of agreed that’s encouraged here that is never fulfilled, that can never be enough big because it can never really secure us. It can never make us happy. So we’re really caught I think on this kind of self destructive treadmill that is at the very heart of our civilization. And it’s not simply a matter of shifting from fossil fuels to solar sources of energy. It’s even if we solve that problem, which does didn’t look terribly good or at the moment, but even if we were, that wouldn’t really address the, the deeper fundamental issue, I think. And so, number one, guess what the problem I think is much, much worse than most of us have been thinking of it as as being and that what’s needed is what Joanna Macy and others have called the kind of a great turning. Right. Now. How does one, how does one help that happen? The short answer is, I don’t know. We don’t know. Nobody knows. We know certain things that are important to do. And this is where for me the idea of the bodhisattva path comes in, because, as you pointed out activism in the present world seems to foster burnout, anger, despair. And that’s why we have to understand our activism as part of part of our spiritual path. The point of the bodhisattva, or the ECOSOC via is that he or she has has a double practice or two sided practice. On the one hand, they continue their own meditation practice, or whatever it does, that helps them develop on the spiritual path as traditional spiritual path to experience, you know, equanimity, serenity, emptiness, as we talk about it in Zen, to sort of transcend the ego. However, you want to conceptualize that, that that remains the kind of foundation of fundament, but the bodhisattva knows, especially today that it’s not enough just to sit in one’s cushion, and sort of cling to that peace of mind as it were. But we also need to be engaged in the world and understand that not as a distraction from our spiritual practice, but now an essential part of it. And when one does engagement, from that perspective, it gives a kind of a power that otherwise isn’t there. And it’s not simply that, that we have a kind of equanimity in our practice. It’s not simply that there’s an equanimity that we can bring into our engagement. But it’s profounder than that, in the sense that we know, our job is to do the best we can not knowing if anything we do makes any difference whatsoever. And there’s, there’s a sense for the bodhisattva, you’re plugging into something deeper than ourselves. We don’t know what’s going to come out of it. Wendell Berry, put it very well, you know, we don’t have the right to know whether what we’re doing is going to have the consequences that we hope we don’t have the right to do that what our job is to do the right thing. Our job is to do the best thing, and kind of open up in that way, sort of able to address the truly overwhelming, otherwise overwhelming challenges that we face. But if one comes in with that attitude, and also, I think the kind of realization that it’s not just this ego, that’s acting the world, but something deeper is flowing through me. There’s something else going on here. You know, there’s something deeper the earth wants to heal itself through something like that. Yeah, no, I think that’s, I think that’s really important. And somehow we have to understand, we have to integrate the older understanding of spiritual practice with this new responsibility.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I can really relate to that. In fact, I can relate to it in terms of my own experience, I sometimes think of humanity as being and others have said this, I think even people I’ve interviewed as humanity as being in a sort of an adolescent phase. And, you know, I mean, it’s like animals, you could think of as little children in the sense that they are completely under the control and protection of their parents, they don’t have a lot of choice or anything like that. So animals are completely in tune with the laws of nature and their own instincts and everything that they can’t really mess things up that bad. Now, at a certain point, though, a child grows old enough that it in its maturation, it needs to be able to have freedom and choice and volition, and so on. And that can go really wrong when you’re a teenager. And I know, in my own case, you know, by the time I was 18 years old, I’d gotten arrested a couple of times, I dropped out of school and you know, getting kicked out of the house by my father all the time and things weren’t going so well. And then when I learned to meditate, it’s like within a month or two, I had gotten back into school I made amends with my father things were starting to go I had gotten a job. And my life just took this really constructive turn and what it has always felt like is that each time I meditate, I’m kind of like a sponge, soaking up creativity, soaking up intelligence and then and then applying that in the world afterwards. Throughout the day, and if you can sort of think of humanity that way, you know, we’ve been in this kind of reckless, crazy, destructive phase and where, you know, we’re, we’re killing ourselves. But perhaps if we can tap into the sort of the source of intelligence and creativity, that, that, in motive that drives the universe, we can be conduits for that, and bring that into the world, more and more and more and more. And you know, that, without doing that, I don’t see how the problems can be solved. But doing that, either. If you’re somebody like Elon Musk, you know, who happens to meditate, by the way, and comes up with all sorts of ingenious inventions that could have a huge impact, or whether you’re a bus driver, you know, living a simple life, nonetheless, you’re, you’re beginning to infuse the world, everybody who gets on your bus, you know, you have some influence on them, you’re beginning to infuse the world with greater life, greater intelligence, greater divinity. And, you know, that kind of thing has ripple effect. Well said. So, anyway, that so I said this in our last interview four and a half years ago, but I tend to feel optimistic, despite that. It’s not necessarily going to be easy transition, you know, I mean, there’s so many entrenched, powerful things that really have no place in a world that we might envision as being the way it should be. And somehow or other, if we’re going to reach such a world, which those things are going to have to come down. And perhaps those who are really attached to them or invested in them, aren’t going to enjoy that. So it won’t necessarily be smooth, but I think the potential is there for, you know, a world in which everyone is attuned to their deeper nature. And thereby, you know, like the Delta Ching says, you know, real ideal society, because everyone is so attuned.
David Loy: I wouldn’t call myself an optimist, but neither would I call myself a pessimist. Yeah. You know, my, my favorite definition of a pessimist is somebody who has had to live with an optimist. I mean, there’s a sense in which optimism pessimism, well, certainly depending on how they’re understood, but that can sort of what do I say, take the pressure off, right? If you’re an optimist, or things are getting better? And that kind of seems to reduce my responsibility, right? Or, or things aren’t gonna get better, they’re gonna get worse, in which case, why should I bother? And I think like, hope and despair, for the bodhisattva, it’s, it’s something beyond that, it’s like, in a way, it doesn’t make any difference. That’s not where you, that’s not where you, you, you identify with one or the other. But but but it’s a matter of, again, my job is to do the best way the best I can, in the belief that it’s, it’s connecting with something greater than myself, however you want to articulate that? And what comes out of that? I? I don’t know, I can’t know. But my job is to, is just to do it, you know? So, so I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I mean, people who, you know, if if things fall apart in the ways that they can, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be better afterwards, right? I mean, if you might, we might end up with war, or kind of a warlord situation where there’s a lot more violence. And, you know, when things go bad, people get afraid, and people who are afraid don’t necessarily make the best decisions. So who knows how it’s going to unfold? We don’t know.
Rick Archer: Yeah, no, you’re right. But if Joanna Macy is right about that great turning, I wonder if we’re seeing such a turning taking place with this seeming proliferation of interest in meditation and spirituality and so on, you know, it’s really becoming more and more and more mainstream, or at least it seems like it from my perspective, in this seat, obviously, you don’t see it much on the six o’clock news. But if that is true, if there’s sort of a groundswell of, of that kind of interest around the world, through its many, many different forms, then perhaps all these millions of people who are so engaged will be, you know, infusing more of that, you know, divine nature into the world and, and that will change things. And it is a fundamental thing. I mean, we talked in our last interview about leverage, you know, how, if you can work from a more fundamental level, you can have a greater impact, you know, do more with less effort, so to speak.
David Loy: And I’m very struck by Paul Hawkins book, Blessed Unrest, is that one you’re familiar with, I haven’t read it. What does he say? Well, basically, okay, he’s He’s a lecturer talks about greening capitalism goes around the world talking here and there collecting business cards. And one day he started to collect them and do a little bit of research online. And basically what he concluded is that something is happening right now. That’s never happened before in human history, right, we have what he originally estimated, I think, to be like, between a million and a million and a half now, maybe, I think his YouTube, his YouTube video might have said over 2 million, but a very large number of groups of people, mostly small, working for social justice and sustainability. And I think he speaks in there as if this is kind of the immune system of the Earth, responding to what’s happening. And and I think he’s right there. You know, these are, these are not all part of the communist conspiracy or anything else, they tend to be self organize different ideologies, different leaders work in different ways. But there’s something very powerful going on. And I think of say, Buddhist social engagement, and indeed, other types of spiritual engagement as a part of this larger movement. Certainly not all the people involved in that would would identify as spiritual. But nonetheless, I think there’s something really powerful going on here that we often don’t realize deeply enough, because the mainstream media have no interest in right. I mean, for the most part, they make their money advertising, they’re, they’re not concerned about helping this shift. They’re concerned about finding ways to grab our eyeballs and sell them to the highest bidder. Right. Right. So there’s there definitely something happening here. The other side of it, though, frankly, I mean, when we look at what’s happened in the US and in the world, in the last year or so, we do seem to be moving backwards. And it’s this interesting question, is this? Is this a kind of temporary retrenchment the old guard, kind of, you know, resisting the transformation? Or is it is it going to be successful? Because it’s quite, it’s quite fascinating to see, just within the Buddhist community say how this has galvanized a lot of Buddhists who otherwise may not have been so socially engaged. And this is really, in a way bringing together the opposition or lots of people in a way it’s it’s actually having some good consequences in that regard. So how is all this going to play out? Who knows? But there’s some really interesting things going on.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Interesting. On that Paul Hawkins point, prompted me to say that I was kind of making it sound like people who are explicitly doing spiritual practice or single handedly changing the world or something. I don’t mean to be saying that I think that what Paul Hawken said about all those organizations indicates that there’s some kind of a groundswell in collective consciousness, and that there are many, many, many different expressions of it, many of which most of which wouldn’t be explicitly spiritual, but which nonetheless sort of reflects something really helpful and positive. So there’s that the woman I interviewed last week made the comment that when Trump won the presidency instead of Hillary, although she had been a Bernie supporter, originally, she kind of rejoiced, because she felt like, Okay, if it did, if Hillary had won, it would have been kind of same old, same old, but now, you know, things will really get changed and topsy turvy. And that will sort of, you know, sort of bring down the old way of doing things, and that will allow the new to arise it, I kind of was thinking that that was a bit like saying that, Oh, boy, the pilot is intoxicated, maybe he’ll crash the plane, we’ll get a better one, you know, I wasn’t as quick witted as to think of that on the spot. But there are a lot of people who say that sort of thing that they’re they’re sort of glad that, you know, we we kind of have this demolition derby going on in the White House, because we it’s really going to even Charles Eisenstein, he didn’t say that. But he’s said something about how when the old story has really run its course. It it may sort of amplify or exaggerate it when it’s in its death throes. And in order for some, you know, before it totally collapses and something new takes its place.
David Loy: Some, some old Marxist used to argue that way too, that they, that they would do things sometimes acts of terror, that would bring about severe repression in the belief that the repression then would lead to the revolution, you know, people would respond to that. And, yeah,
Rick Archer: that roundabout way of thinking, yeah, for sure.
David Loy: I that’s not something I find persuasive. But it is true that had Hillary been elected, I think it wouldn’t have sort of shaken us out of our sort of complacency quite quite as much as The election of Trump has I mean, how we’re going to balance the positive and the negative there, you know, remains to be seen, but definitely some something has changed. Something has quickened. Yeah, for better and worse. Yeah.
Rick Archer: Okay, so there was something you brought up in, in several of your talks that I think might be worth discussing, which is that you can refresh my memory. But there’s like three main things in Buddhism, what is it greed and two other things? And how the, the economic system and the media and one of the things are sort of reflective of those
David Loy: great, right, that go? Sure. Yeah, you know, the Buddha didn’t talk about what we think of as evil, I mean, good versus evil. That’s a very Abrahamic way of thinking or way of dividing up the world. For Buddhism, it’s much more delusion, wisdom, or ignorance awakening. But what the Buddha did talk about is, the three roots of evil are the three poisons, sometimes called the three fires. And these are, these can be translated greed, ill will and delusion. And the basic idea of karma is that when what we do is motivated by those three, the the results tend to be problematical. And how important it is to transform those into their more positive counterparts, instead of greed, being motivated by generosity, instead of ill will, loving kindness instead of delusions, especially delusions of separation, wisdom that recognizes our interdependence that my well being isn’t separate from yours, for example. And so this is the traditional, a very important, traditional Buddhist teaching, which you find in many different Asian Buddhist traditions. But what I think we’re now in a situation, I think, we can see how, in the contemporary world, we’ve institutionalized them. And by institutionalizing the means, in a way, they’ve kind of taken on a life of their own, given the way that the institution is structured. So what I’ve been talking about is, I think our economic system institutionalizes greed, if we understand greed, as you never have enough, well, not only do consumers never consume enough, but corporations are never profitable enough, their market share is never big enough, their share value is never big enough, or we can even generalize it on the national level, our GDP GNP is never big enough. And you know, at that level, the distinction between the economic and the political is not very strong, because the people at the top are both equally preoccupied, as if the solution to all problems is economic growth. In the short run, maybe it’ll get you elected, it’ll make money. But in the long run, of course, we’re facing the problem that we have a we have two incompatible systems and economic system that has to keep growing, keep exploiting using things up if it’s not going to collapse. And then we have the the biological system known as the planet Earth. And the one system has to keep growing, but the other system can’t. And in a way, we can see the ecological crisis as the kind of clash between those two systems. Also, on the on the second poison, ill will, I mean, there’s a lot of things you can look at today, our attitude toward undocumented immigrants. Our incredible criminal justice system justice in parentheses there. But maybe most of all, are militarism, you know, especially in the US we are, if you measure it in terms of the resources that we give the military, we are by far the most militarized country in human history. You know, what that I read recently that if we added to the ostensible military budget, the budget of the NSA, and another 14 or 15 intelligence agencies that we don’t normally think about, the total we spend is about a trillion dollars a year on our military, which is like the equivalent of the next 12 or 13 nations. And the problem there too, is, of course, if you spend this much money on the military, you’ve got to keep using it, right, you’ve got to justify it. So you’ve got to keep finding enemies, you’ve got to cut, keep finding wars, you’ve got to keep finding people to bomb. The end of the Cold War was a real problem for the Pentagon. But fortunately, the war on terror has come along and sort of supplied what was needed. And I’m serious here. There’s this, you know, we focus on what’s happening in the Middle East and so forth or Afghanistan, you know, but how much of that is our needs? Need for our military to justify itself? And it’s so we have so we have a serious problem there as well. We talk about terrorism, there’s this really lovely equation, you know, terrorism is the War of the poor war is the terrorism of the rich. I mean, yeah, of course, of course ISIS, they do what they do that’s, that’s because they don’t have those huge bombs or jet airplanes or nuclear bombs that we do. But there’s some of the same mentality going on, I think. And then finally, delusion. I think our media, in particular, the corporate media, institutionalized delusion. I mean, recently, we’ve heard a lot about fake news. And it’s fascinating the way that that’s, that’s become a very covert industry. There’s lots of people spending lots of money manipulating Facebook, and things like things like that social media. But there’s also the more fundamental problem of given that most of the media are mega corporations that make their money, not from educating or informing us, but they make their money from selling us stuff, grabbing our attention, their fundamental presupposition, you know, they’re not going to challenge the direction of our civilization in the way that I think we need to do. They’re in it to keep selling us stuff. Right? Keep keep us thinking of ourselves understanding ourselves as people who make money in order that we can buy stuff, and more and more. I think that that whole mentality, and they’ve been largely successful at it. But that whole mentality is, so the media is Well, I think I have our institutionalized delusion, in that sense. And of course, these three poisons these three instances of institutionalized poisons, they all work together, don’t pay, I mean, right, there’s a lot of money to be made. making bombs for the military, especially if the military use them, and they have to be replaced. And of course, the media that illusion is very much connected with greed. So just as on the personal level, my greed, it will delusion tend to work together and cause problems, I think we’re in a situation now where we’re kind of trapped in a, in in the way that these institutionalized fires, or, like, our acts are actually working. And it’s kind of scary, you know, I mean, if if, if the Buddha is saying as he is that these are the fundamental problems, and, and if we’ve institutionalized them, and they have this incredible power, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a Buddhist analysis, but it’s a pretty severe critique of where we’re at now.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And I guess, you know, again, when you hear that sort of thing, it can leave one feeling a little crestfallen. Like, you know, what can we possibly do? These things are so massive and so powerful, and what can little old me do? You know, am I really having an effect, you know, going out and putting on a pussy hat and marching in some rally holding a sign? But I don’t know how I keep coming back to the thing that, you know, some something is happening, and you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones, you know, there’s, there’s something afoot, some kind of turning some kind of awakening, some kind of shift. And I, I may be naive, but I think there may end up being a kind of a David and Goliath quality to the way this plays out. And in terms of these seemingly invincible major powerful things falling under their own weight, or somehow having the rug pulled out from under them by this awakening, that is that is taking place without there even really knowing that it’s taking place.
David Loy: And, and another way to say that, too, is one of the things going on here, I think is is a completely new understanding of spirituality, you know, yeah, a different kind of engaged spirituality. So yeah, on the one level, we think about these things, and we get discouraged. But but but the real point here is that in our spiritual practice, something is happening to us and it starts to flow through us. And it’s just and it’s not simply in the old sense of like the way Buddhism would talk about it before it would be working on the individual level to help other people awakening that’s is definitely a part of it, of course. But what’s flowing through us now is also urging us bringing us making us more engaged, even though we don’t know what that’s going to lead to, even though we don’t know, at all what’s going to come out of that. But the point of somebody who’s a real spiritual practitioners, that’s okay. That’s okay. That’s not, you know, we do the best we can I do the best I can. That’s okay. And what’s going to come out of it? Who knows? Who knows? Yeah, there’s
Rick Archer: some beautiful little thing from Mother Teresa. I couldn’t repeat it verbatim. But she kept saying, you know, people will do this, and this and this. Love them. Anyway, people do that. Do it anyway, you know, she goes on about how, despite the apparent futility of this, and that, you just do it anyway. You persist.
David Loy: So So I think that’s what we’re being challenged to do.
Rick Archer: You know, one thing that I experience is people get in touch, who hadn’t had any interest in spirituality hadn’t done any kind of practice, you know, they just wanted to sort of enjoy the football game and have a beer. And all of a sudden, something happens to them, they end up having this spiritual awakening, and they don’t know what in the heck happened, or why it happened. But, you know, then they start researching, and they look on Google, and they start looking this and, oh, maybe this is a spiritual thing. And they start watching my interviews or other videos and stuff, and then they get in touch to say, why life is just changing. And I don’t know why. So that kind of to me, indicates that perhaps the ground is rising, or the, the the forest floor is becoming more fertile. And, you know, plants are beginning to sprout, which would have withered or couldn’t have sprouted in the past.
David Loy: I think that’s happening more and more. Yeah. I mean, I don’t have any way of calculating that. But I have the same sense as you that, you know, it’s happening more and more, which is, you know, it, it’s something, it’s something deeper going on, and just individual.
Rick Archer: Yeah, another person made a nice analogy. He said, You know, there were back in the day of the Buddha, there was sort of a heaviness and a thickness, we could say, in collective consciousness. And it took a kind of a Superman, like the Buddha to break through the membrane, you know, of that density and awaken, but he said, you know, by virtue of him, and by virtue of all the 1000s, and millions of people who’ve been poking away at that membrane, ever since it’s become much more porous, much more thin, and easily, more easily broken through. And so, you know, a little bit of practice, or a little bit of something can yield fruits much more readily than might have been the case a long, long time ago.
David Loy: Part of that, I think, what I know this, because I spent a lot of time recently talking about eco Dharma, what I’m noticing is that activists who, you know, in the past might have been, you know, very resistant to sort of spiritual concerns. I mean, a lot of, and if you think about the history of activism, and the oil and the left, and the sort of anti religious rhetoric of Marxism, that sort of thing. I mean, activists have often looked upon religion as sort of part of the adult people. Yeah, exactly. And, but it’s interesting to notice that part of this more and more that’s happening is more and more people who have been deeply engaged, are now feeling the poll feeling the need to connect to their activism, with the with the spiritual practice. So, one, one thing that I’ve been doing the last few years is CO leading some wilderness retreats with with a good friend here in Boulder, Johan Robbins, and I also went to an eco Dharma Center in in Spain. And it’s just amazing to see to see the first of these people. And if I can just add to that kind of plug. One of the main things that’s going on in my life right now is, I’m one of the Dharma teachers involved in setting up this new eco Dharma Center in near Boulder, we have a rocky mountain eco Dama retreat center, just about half an hour from North boulder 180 pristine acres with a river meadow, forest Lodge, and you know, we’re going to be we’re going to be meditating in nature, but we’re also going to be exploring the ecological implications of Buddhism and other spiritual traditions, and also working together to, you know, how to consider the implications of all this for how we actually engage, how we do go out and what kind of eco activism that we feel drawn to.
Rick Archer: That’s great. Yeah, I watched that video. I’ve hiked and camped up there in Indian Peaks hike. Have those mountains around there? That’s a beautiful area. And I’ll link to that video from your page on BatGap. So that people can watch it.
David Loy: Thank you. We’re still, it’s, we’re still it’s going extremely well. But I have to say raising money isn’t easy. So if any of your listeners have a pile of cash lying around, they don’t know what to do. Let me know.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’m sure that many of them have closets full of it. It’s just Okay, so we’ve covered quite a few things. I have a lot of notes here, which I haven’t like carefully gone through while we’re talking because we’ve just been talking, but is there anything that you can think of that, you know, we haven’t touched upon that you want to? You want to discuss before we wrap it up?
David Loy: Throwing it back on me?
Rick Archer: Well, I might come up with something else here.
David Loy: Yeah. Well, in a way, just a little bit of a backstory. I think the the ecological crisis, for example, or even this larger, civilizational crisis, as I see it, I think it’s also a real crisis for our spiritual traditions, you know, certainly for Buddhism, because they are really being called upon to clarify their essential message. So, you know, as, as we kind of pointed out before, well, let me let me say it this way, the Buddhist tradition is actually a, a cluster of traditions, and they don’t always completely agree. But within certain types of Buddhist Buddhist teaching, what we are calling cosmological dualism is quite strong, you know, the idea that the goal samsara, samsara, the world of this world of craving, delusion, ill will, and so forth, that we need to transcend it. And, you know, if you take the Pali canon, literally, it seems to be saying that the goal is not to be reborn back in this horrible world of suffering. So there’s a kind of cosmological dualism built in there, in certain types of due to types of Buddhism. But at the other, the other side, you get Nagarjuna, who talks about the, there’s literally no difference between samsara and nirvana. They’re not two different places. But it comes down to the fact that there are different ways of experiencing and living in this world. And so what I see unfolding, if you look at the whole history of Buddhism is the tension between these two. And in a way, I think we’re in a situation where Buddhism, for example, really needs to clarify what the goal is. And I think Buddhism is in a good situation, because every time it’s spread to a new culture, it’s it’s interacting, it doesn’t just impose itself if it’s able to embody its own emphasis on impermanence and insubstantiality. And actually transform according to a new situation. And so it’s really exciting now that as Buddhism, for example, as an example of a spiritual, non dual this tradition, as Buddhism comes into the modern world, it’s not just coming into a secular world is not just coming into a civilization that is totally different than anything, it’s found before. It’s it’s coming in to a civilization in crisis, civilization, that it seems to be a self destructing. And, you know, the, the coming together of these two things is going to transform both, I hope. Yeah, I see it to some degree. Buddhism itself needs to clarify its message and transform. And I tend to see socially engaged Buddhism and eco dharma as as beginnings of this that sense, something is happening to the traditions as well, I guess that’s what I’m saying. It’s not just the individuals we were talking about. It’s not just that those organizations that Paul Hawken was talking about, but I think the the transformation is also going to be is starting to be in the way that we understand our traditions. It’s not simply a matter of, you know, accepting what Shankar has said, or even Ramana, Maharshi or Nisargadatta, or whatever. But living traditions are living because they engage, they find new ways of expression, new ways of understanding new ways of articulating what our problem is, and what we need to do to respond to it. So even in spiritual terms, simply in spiritual terms, I think we’re in a really exciting and transformative time.
Rick Archer: I think so too, and everything you just said about Buddhism, since you just mentioned Shankar and Nisargadatta and Ramana could also be said of the Vedic or Hindu tradition. Phil Goldberg wrote that great book American VEDA about the influx of Eastern Vedic teachings into the west over the last couple 100 years. and how they have not only influenced but been influenced by, you know, the cultures in which they landed. And I just want to comment on one other thing you said, which is that, you know, Transcendence I think can be and can be an has been thought of as a kind of an escape or, you know, taking refuge in something that’s beyond this world and not have it, and so on. But um, I can, I tend to think of it more, at least in my own experience, it has always been more like, you know, you go to the bank, and you can withdraw some money, and then you can come to the market and buy things, so to speak. And I don’t mean that literally, I mean, that what I was saying earlier, infuses you with greater liveliness, and energy and intelligence and so on, which you can then apply in your more in your active life, and hopefully, in beneficial ways. And, and hopefully, in this is an issue we touched upon the very beginning of our conversation, hopefully, that alignment or attunement with, or establishment in the transcendent also begins to rearrange your, your motivations, so that you not only become so you don’t just become like a better bank robber or a better scoundrel in some way more effective, you know, rip off artists, but that you actually change your motivations and become more altruistic and more, you know, beneficial in the ways you express yourself in life.
David Loy: That that’s well said, and I would agree with it holy. You know, Transcendence can be understood in this dualistic way. But it can also be understood more metaphorically that coming to experience this world in a different way, so that what we transcend is not this world in Toto, but what we transcend is the old way of understanding it the old way of understanding who we are and how we should live in it. And that kind of transcendence opens up to these other possibilities. Yeah,
Rick Archer: yeah. Just to come back at you once more on that point. I think whatever intelligence we express whatever, creativity, whatever energy we express in life, has its ultimate source in that transcendent field. There are all sorts of Vedic scriptures, I can quote, you know, reinforce that point. But it’s sort of the, the resource, it’s the well, from which we draw in order to live our lives and people who feel overwhelmed who feel they just don’t have the energy to get out of bed in the morning, or, or, you know, make it through the day, and they can’t wait for the weekend, and so on and so forth. I sort of feel like perhaps they’re, like, not sufficiently in tune with that inner reservoir of, of energy and intelligence, and that, if they could somehow learn in their various ways of doing that, to, to make contact with that, and, and maintain that throughout the day, then they wouldn’t ever feel that burnout thing, there would always be, you know, a sense of joy and enthusiasm. And, you know, life is life is great kind of thing. That’s been my experience anyway.
David Loy: Yeah. Well, I agree completely. And I think that’s really important. In two ways. It’s interesting in the Buddhist tradition, how the word shunyata shunyata, emptiness is the usual translation. It’s very interesting how that’s been understood in different ways. Sometimes, it simply refers to the fact that things don’t have any substantial nature. But there’s also this, this side and Buddhism that emphasizes kind of something we were talking about before that the sort of transformation we’re talking about, involves realizing, experiencing the world not as a collection of separate, lifeless things that just happened to be there. But everything is a manifestation, or a presencing. of that which in and of itself, has no form, no color, no attributes. It’s beyond all that. And yet, it takes form as all these things, and that there’s a tension within the Buddhist tradition. And, you know, my sympathies are very much with with the second and and the way that I sometimes have expressed that in my own writing is as long as we have the sense of a separate self. Well, the sense of separate self is haunted by a sense of lack. By the feeling that something is wrong with me something missing, I’m not good enough, in one way to symbolize that. It’s as if at the very core of our being, there’s like a black hole, almost a kind of cosmological black hole sucking everything And we feel, you know, there’s a kind of nihilism to that it’s, we want to cling to stuff, we want to fill it in, in some way, if only I were rich enough or famous enough or beautiful enough, whatever, I could somehow fill that up, but it’s a bottomless pit.
Rick Archer: Instead, we need a, we need a quasar at the core of our being not a black hole.
David Loy: Okay, that’s exactly it. Maybe I should use that metaphor, because the one I haven’t, the one I have been using is the idea that the transformation at the base the part of Vritti, that Buddhism, for example, talks about that black hole transforms, it’s not, it becomes the the source of creativity, it’s as if it’s a spring, springing up from the source, we don’t know where we, we can’t, we can’t identify the source, we can’t grasp it. That’s not That’s not our job. Our job is to, to live that spring to, to do tu tu manifests that creativity. And but, but the point is, it’s still what am I trying to say? The emphasis is that it’s, it’s beyond the sense of self, it’s really opening up to that which is greater than our usual sense of self. And I think we have little taste of this with creativity, we true creativity springs from something deeper, doesn’t it? Yeah, yeah, I
Rick Archer: think this essential nature we’re alluding to, is, I think, probably everyone listening understands that we’re not talking about some little individuated essential nature that’s kind of deep down inside us, like some kind of little power generating station, that’s exclusive to us, we’re talking about the, the sort of the ground state of the universe, which is, you know, as physics tells us, unlimited. You know, instantly energetic and, as some would say, intelligent and that we’re, we’re kind of, like conduits to that, for that, to whatever extent we can be. Yeah. And also, I mean, you know, if you, if you, if you kind of, if that’s begins to be your experience, then you are, then your own body is, and the mountain over here, are really just expressions of the same thing. And so there’s this kinship, or Brotherhood or unity with the mountain, and you’re not going to be so in favor of mountaintop removal, you know, if that’s the way you’ll see the world, the world.
David Loy: Well, so, you know, how important that is generally for the whole of ecological crisis and how it is that we’re relating to the earth? Yeah. So if the part of Vritti we’re talking about isn’t just something that happens on our individual level, which is the traditional way of thinking, but what we’re really in a situation now is, it’s as if we need a kind of collective part of Vritti, so that we, as a species start to relate to the biosphere in a very different way. Yeah. And that’s,
Rick Archer: and that’s bringing us full circle here. And you know, because we started out, like, talking about what, what are these problems symptomatic of, and how can we solve them and so on. But if we, if we really perceive the world as ourself, there’s a Sanskrit saying, which goes Vasu, they’ve had to go back to they have to come become, which means something like the world is my family. And I don’t think it I don’t think it just means the people in the world, it means the world, the whole thing is, it’s our intimate relation. And, you know, if that were actually one’s perspective, then you know, we would be so unsupportive as a species of somebody that things that we now do, to our own detriment.
David Loy: There are equivalents in the Buddhist traditions, of course, I mean, the great Japanese Zen master Dogan after his awakening, he quoted somebody I came to realize, clearly mind is nothing other than rivers and mountains in the Great White Earth, the Sun and the moon and the stars. And that’s something that I’ve talked a lot about is the parallels between our traditional individual predicament According to Buddhism, and our collective predicament take today you know, it’s it really does seem to be microcosm, macrocosm, because, as I understand the Buddhist path, you know, the fundamental problem is the sense of separation, the delusion of a separate self inside, separate from other people and the rest of the world outside. And because it’s an illusion, this sense of self can never secure itself. It’s always uncomfortable. It’s always insecure. And we experienced that as a sense of lack that often that usually we misunderstand and we so we look outside ourselves if only I had enough money if only I was powerful enough if finally I was famous enough, we we think that what we lacked Because outside ourselves and of course, the Buddhist path is to realize, we can let go of ourselves and realize our non duality isn’t at the same now, you know, within relationship of our species we have this sense of separation is, especially in the modern world, but it really goes back I think, to the, to the Greeks, to the realization that human civilization isn’t natural in the way that say, rivers or mountains are. It’s a social construct that can be reconstructed. And we built on that, that enabled them to create democracy of the sort. But the problem in the modern world is this has aggravated more and more over time, the sense of separation. And I think we as a species, we suffer from that. You know, we alluded to that earlier, we, you know, why are we here? What do we have a role to play earlier civilizations, when you look at them, pre Greek, pre axial, they, you know, they all felt that they were a part of the cosmos and had a had a role to play. Not always a very nice one. You know, the Aztecs think you got to keep sacrificing people to keep the sun, but they felt they were embedded in a way that they had a role. And I think a lot of our problem now goes back to the fact that, no, we don’t have a role. We’re just here. And guess what? You’re gonna die, you know? And it’s like, will that mean that as a species that that that’s not a very nice situation to be in? I think,
Rick Archer: yeah. He who has the most toys when he dies wins, right? Yep. Is interesting after 911 George Bush famously said, go shopping, when he probably should have said, Whoa, something serious has happened. We should all be introspective, you know. And
David Loy: Carter tried to say something like that, you remember he, he gave a talk as a president, and about something really being wrong with our society. And he got lambasted for it. Yeah, he probably lost the election. You know, we didn’t come along. It’s morning in America, what are you talking about?
Rick Archer: Right? He put Carter put solar panels on the roof of the White House, Reagan took them down? Well, you and I could go on all day. But I think we’ve given people a sense here of what we’re talking about. I guess maybe if I were to make a concluding point on this whole discussion, it would be that you know, we have all sorts of crises in the world, but they all boil down ultimately to a spiritual crisis. And therefore their their solution boils down to a spiritual solution, which doesn’t imply that we should all just sit in our butts and meditate and everything’s going to solve itself because as we’ve discussed, you know, actually, that would be part of it. But actually doing something in the world is part is not incompatible with spirituality and is really very much in tune with it. I mean, Lord Krishna didn’t say to our Juna, just sort of sit in your chariot seat meditating say, Well, I’m unfortunately there’s a battle you’ve got to fight But first get established and being then perform action Yogastha kuru karmani.
David Loy: So So I agree completely. That that doesn’t deny, of course, that economic changes are necessary political, technological changes. But if we think that that is going to be enough, you know, we’re missing the fundamental point, we’re still just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, as it were, that the crisis we’re facing is civilizational, in terms of the whole meaning of what it means to be human, and what our role what on this earth is. And if anything, is a spiritual challenge, or a spiritual crisis, that’s it. And this is also a spiritual challenge to our spiritual traditions, to wake up and respond to that, because as I sometimes say, for example, if Buddhists aren’t interested or or can’t respond to these kinds of challenges, then Buddhism isn’t what we need. But of course, I don’t believe that because I sort of look at the Buddhist tradition, for example, and other non duelist traditions, and I just say so much that is that is relevant here. So we’re, we live in interesting times
Rick Archer: we do, I imagine there’s kind of crusty old Buddhists who want to do it the old way and don’t want change, just as there are on the other traditions. And then there are people who, you know, appreciate what the ancient traditions have given them and feel like, you know, only a new seed can yield a new crop and there needs to be a sort of a freshness and an originality in, you know, and then the expression of that ancient tradition.
David Loy: So what I do is I, you know, I really spend most of my time now, you know, talking to mostly Buddhist groups, I guess, I mean, I’m very open, but it’s mostly Buddhist groups that invite me to talk about this sort of thing. And then sort of, and you’re right, I mean, within Buddhism, as you would expect, there’s quite a spectrum right, have more traditional types of just want to do things the way they were done in Asia, and the people who really want to transform Buddhism, quite radically sometimes.
Rick Archer: Yeah. But I imagined even those old timers, if they have a serious dental problem, they don’t want it treat it the way it would have been treated 2400 years ago.
David Loy: Very good. Very good point. Reminding us that there’s a lot there. That’s for sure.
Rick Archer: Yeah. We can take the best of both worlds. Yep. All right. Well, thanks, David, this has been a joy, really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you.
David Loy: Me too. I’ve enjoyed this conversation.
Rick Archer: Yeah. A few general wrap up points, like I always make. So everyone listening knows by now that I’ve been speaking with David Loy. And as always, I’ll be linking to his website, and anything else he wants me to link to, including provide links to several of his books. And you can get in touch with David, if you want to get involved with what he’s doing. And you have some kind of, like, online Satsang type of thing or anything, or mainly, you just go places in person to?
David Loy: Yes, so far, there’s no, I mean, I do have a couple sort of online students. But in general, it’s mostly Well, it’s interesting, I don’t have a, a sangha or a like home of my own. So I’ve been waiting to be invited. But one exciting new thing about this new eco Dama center is that this will provide a home for me and many other local teachers here too. So I can actually arrange my own retreat my own workshop, and then invite people if they want to come and join me. So if people are interested in that, they should, you know, keep keep, keep in touch with my website, and this new eco Dharma Center. Great. And those opportunities should be opening up within the next year.
Rick Archer: Great. I also want to mention that we have a thing on BatGap under the Resources menu, which is like a geographic guest index. And if you type in a location there, let’s say Denver, you type and then you see events that people have interviewed have scheduled in the in that vicinity, and actually it lists them in ever increasing distances. So you might see something in Santa Fe, for instance, somewhere down the list and, and so we’ll send you information on how to register for that. David, you can register any events you’re you’re offering. Okay, thank you. Yeah.
David Loy: And there’s also the Schedule page on my website, right? It’s details where? All right.
Rick Archer: This week, for some reason, I can’t change. Oh, there I am, was named looking. Next week, I’ll be interviewing a guru from India named Shiva Rudra. Bala, Yogi. And I think that’ll be very interesting. Some good old friends of mine have become close followers of his and are very enthusiastic about fact that we’re going to be doing this. So stay tuned for that. And for everything else that we’ve got coming up, I hope to be doing this for many more years to come. Go to batgap.com to be notified to sign up to be notified by email of upcoming interviews. Actually, you get notified as soon as I posted it on YouTube. You can also subscribe to the audio podcast. You can subscribe on YouTube, for that matter if you’re just watching this on YouTube and YouTube will notify you when a new one goes up. And there’s a bunch of other stuff. So go there. batgap.com look under the add a glance menu and it’ll list in all the things we have available on the site. And more to come. Thanks again, David. Thank you, Rick.