Author Topic: Permaculture - dharma in action?  (Read 6184 times)

Paul

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Permaculture - dharma in action?
« on: February 25, 2009, 03:47:35 PM »
I'd love to hear what you all think of this.  I've been meditating and practising yoga for a couple of years now.  It was great to have an individual path, spiritual experience and to see things in a more realistic way, but after a while I started wanting to translate all this into a change in everyday, practical life.  After searching around I came across an idea called Permaculture, here's a definition: http://www.permaculture.org.uk/mm.asp?mmfile=whatispermaculture which seemed to me to be an excellent practical application of dharma in everyday life.  What do you all think?  Also have you made any changes in your everyday life to incorporate a more dharmic approach into it? 
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 03:49:01 PM by Paul »

Matthew

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2009, 06:59:03 AM »
Permaculture is good, you need a lot of land to make it work well. Getting off the grid and going self sufficient is a wise investment for self and family. Many services may fail in the next couple of years.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Paul

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2009, 08:31:51 AM »
Hi TIB,

I agree with what you say about failing services!  In fact permaculture is not necessarily off-grid or self-dependent living, there's an important community aspect to it.  For example, someone without a lot of land (like me) could trade services for food with a local farmer in a LETS scheme.  Its the focus on living in harmony, both in nature and the community, that I find very close to dharma or the Tao.

Here in France where in some areas you can buy a small house and patch of land without being up to your neck in a mortgage for the next 25 years, some communities have managed to live in this way since the 60s.  A good example is in the Ariège.  Its widely recognised now that these systems have produced some of the best educated people and most innovative, environmentally-sound businesses in the country.  All that without the help multi-nationals, government officials, and greedy investors.  Comme quoi.....

frepi

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2009, 02:02:20 PM »
This seems to fall into the category of the many utopian projects that were born in California in the 60s and 70s. Though they look very attractive to some, I believe that not enough people would be drawn to that way of life to make a difference environmentally or politically. The majority of people still seek to have a big car, a big house, a big boat, a big TV in the country with all the accomodations of city living, and all the environmental costs of these goods overseas. If these projects ever spread, I believe it will be because of a huge economical and environmental catastrophy. Friedman, though not someone I admire, said it very clearly :"Only a crisis, real or perceived, produces real change".
« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 04:22:34 PM by frepi »

Paul

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2009, 03:47:21 PM »
Yeah, I see where you're coming from frepi.  At the same time, if things stay as they are we are almost guaranteed huge economical and environmental catastrophy.  I hope people are now more realistic than the utopian hippies of the 60s and 70s, and I know that there are people out there making a serious effort to change their lifestyles to ones that are less environmentally damaging and more community-based than our current lifestyles.  There are of course people sitting in eco-mansions that were with eco-swimming pools, widescreen TVs and eating Organic food that has travelled half way round the globe to get onto their plates, but I'm hoping all this won't go in that direction.  I doubt these projects will spread quickly, but I'm sure they'll spread, I just hope your prediction is wrong.  I think a lot depends on the honesty of the project.

frepi

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2009, 04:17:02 PM »
Nice video that puts it all very nicely

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKv6RcXa2UI
« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 04:19:54 PM by frepi »

Paul

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2009, 04:39:29 PM »
Excellently put.  I can fully relate to that, my job is being outsourced to Eastern europe where it will stay for a few years before going to India.  Well, here's to hoping that we (mankind) can find a more intelligent way of running things than that which is depicted on the video.  That's why I'm looking at alternatives in the hope that we can take a step towards living by common sense instead of corporate greed.  Not sure that it will work, but its got to worth trying surely?

frepi

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2009, 05:30:08 PM »
Mankind has long suffered from the West's appetite for ressources and power. This appetite is now shifting to the East, which is some kind of a turn of  fate. We see the coming years with apprehension because our society is on the down slope but that is not the case in China and India. For a lot of these people, the future looks brighter now than 50 years ago and they want their share of luxury and material comfort. Will the Planet be able to supply it to them? I doubt it very much. We scorched our planet with our "spoiled brat" attitude and we were less than 500 millions to pump the resources. Now more than 3 billions are asking for the same way of life. The future looks grim.

Paul

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2009, 06:02:31 PM »
Yes, you sum it up well.  I'm a born optimist but I have to agree 3 billion hungry consumers in the East are going to cause a lot of damage.  I just hope that if push comes to shove that the earth finishes man before man finishes the earth, which I think will probably be the case if we continue in this way.

frepi

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2009, 06:40:08 PM »
I don't think man will disappear, but the party will be definitely over soon. US hegemony on the international scene will be replaced by China, which is not necessarily better in my opinion. Energy will likely be more expensive, which is the only sure way to reduce pollution and encourage reuse and reduction. Social turmoil is bound to happen, man never reacts well to a reduction in quality of life (read here material comfort).

Paul

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2009, 10:07:35 AM »
I just came across this Cree prophecy this morning, its very apt:

"When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money."


mettajoey

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2009, 01:13:25 PM »
I like this concept a lot and try to support the local farmers in the area.  There is always some kind of trade-off, though.  One drive to one store can net me all my groceries for the week.  To support the local economy I need to drive to many places.  Mass transit, unfortunately doesn't work well in the US.  It could be much better implemented in urban areas than it is but for the whole country, it's just too spread out.  An good infrastructure, I feel, will make or break this concept. 

Also, in reading the site I balk at people who write things like, "Our own survival demands that we preserve all existing species, and allow them a place to live", this is so completely unrealistic and that kind of thinking runs contrary to the development of this planet.  If trillions of species hadn't become extinct we wouldn't even exist today.  These kind of attachments and resistance to change are the dichotomy of Buddhist thought.  The idea we should stop change will end our species prematurely.  We need to accept the fact the our species will cease to exist at some point but who wants to hear that?!  These are the harsh realities that people tend to put their head in the sand over and why we are already past the tipping point of global warming.   
 
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do

Paul

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2009, 01:35:46 PM »
Its interesting what you say about infrastructure, Joey I hadn't thought of that but you're quite right, without that this kind of idea is limited.  I guess it depends on the scale of where you live too, around here you could cycle to the local farm and most of the shops you'd need.  I guess in the states the distances would be too far in most cases for a cycle to be a viable proposition.  I also think that smallish supermarkets, that source their products locally can be a good step forward, I notice shops like these are doing pretty well at the moment.   Many people would say that the prices are too high in such shops and the average family just couldn't afford to live in this way.  I'm not convinced of that argument though, if you cook and prepare most of your own food instead of buying industrially processed foods I think its actually cheaper to live this way.  I'm planning to put this to the test next month.

I know what you mean about the saving species comment, well I didn't say that everything written there was perfect!

frepi

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2009, 03:05:17 PM »
The first step is to pay the real price of a good. Companies and people pollute because there is almost no cost for throwing garbage in a land fill and letting smoke go out in the atmosphere. For example, if companies had to pay for excessive wrapping (to reduce shoplifting and prevent damage in the transport but mainly to give the product more appealing on the shelves), they would certainly think twice before adding useless plastic and cardboard. If polluters paid the real cost of transportation (fuel and the effects of its burning), locally produced goods would have a better chance competing.

One thing humans have to learn: they're are too many of us on the earth. The most numerous mammal on the earth is the human being. More numerous than the rabbit and the rat.

mettajoey

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2009, 10:24:40 PM »
Its interesting what you say about infrastructure, Joey I hadn't thought of that but you're quite right, without that this kind of idea is limited.  I guess it depends on the scale of where you live too, around here you could cycle to the local farm and most of the shops you'd need.  I guess in the states the distances would be too far in most cases for a cycle to be a viable proposition.  I also think that smallish supermarkets, that source their products locally can be a good step forward, I notice shops like these are doing pretty well at the moment.   Many people would say that the prices are too high in such shops and the average family just couldn't afford to live in this way.  I'm not convinced of that argument though, if you cook and prepare most of your own food instead of buying industrially processed foods I think its actually cheaper to live this way.  I'm planning to put this to the test next month.

I was at a "supermarket" just today and couldn't buy much of the stuff there.  I know the quality of the produce is so much better at the smaller shops.  Even packaged goods, though priced a bit more, are so much better quality.  We should support these local businesses that are offering us better quality for our dollars.  Big stores have their place as well and support many of our friends and neighbors.  As always, it seems to boil down to being aware and choosing the middle path.

I know what you mean about the saving species comment, well I didn't say that everything written there was perfect!
Yeah, I get that.  It just irks me how ignorance sneaks into even the best ideas.
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do

mettajoey

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2009, 07:28:51 PM »
Sorry to belabor a point but I ran across this little tid bit today...

First Acceptance, Then Change
By Russell Collins, Noozhawk.com, Feb 25, 2009

A Zen master has this to say about hard times ahead: It is what it is...


""Thich" Nhat Hanh sat among a crowd of robed Vietnamese disciples and lectured from the stage of Royce Hall, a large auditorium filled with mental health professionals — quite a few of us from Santa Barbara — trying to understand how to apply his message to our work. For me, the most memorable moment of the day came just after the Zen master took a question from the audience about global warming. The questioner wanted to know what we, as ordinary people, can do.

Nhat Hanh is a proponent of “engaged Buddhism”; rather than live peacefully with his Buddhist community in southwestern France, he travels the world delivering his message of peace, and he’s an activist on global issues of many sorts. At the same time, he comes from a Zen tradition of compassion for all beings. So I was curious how he would straddle that line — issue a call to the barricades or preach compassion and understanding for the polluters of the world.

He went down a road I didn’t expect.

“I have prayed to my inner Buddha about this” he said, which suggested to me he had no pat answers. What his inner Buddha told him, Nhat Hanh said, was that the human race will end, and that perhaps that end is approaching fast.

This alarmed me a little, and caused a buzz in Royce Hall. Was he saying the tipping point has been reached, we’re on the downhill slide and that there is nothing we can do? This seemed a little fatalistic. I had expected something more ... actionable.

But as he talked — his quiet voice just barely audible, even with a microphone, so that we had to strain to hear — I began to see some wisdom in his words. Did I really think the human race was destined to go on forever? Not likely on a lot of counts. And is there a something so special about this moment in history — my moment — that would prevent my generation from being among the last to die? Moreover, it’s pretty clear that the news on climate change seems to be getting worse, not better.

What Thich Nhat Hanh proposed to us, as we sat noiselessly in the great hall, was that the enlightened response to the possibility of climatological Armageddon is exactly the same as that for facing any manifestation of our impermanence. It is what it is. And it’s perfect that way."
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2009, 05:07:42 AM »
Mankind has long suffered from the West's appetite for ressources and power. This appetite is now shifting to the East, which is some kind of a turn of  fate. We see the coming years with apprehension because our society is on the down slope but that is not the case in China and India. For a lot of these people, the future looks brighter now than 50 years ago and they want their share of luxury and material comfort. Will the Planet be able to supply it to them? I doubt it very much. We scorched our planet with our "spoiled brat" attitude and we were less than 500 millions to pump the resources. Now more than 3 billions are asking for the same way of life. The future looks grim.

Frepi,

I agree with most of what you say but not all is true. Most of the world's population could live reasonably well, in harmony and without damaging the planet with today's level of resource use level or less - if only used more efficiently.

The greatest inefficiency is due to inherited wealth - a crime against children of the future. Plus the top 5% or so of the global elite own around 70% of the worlds wealth and PAY NO TAX because they own it offshore. The entire government-industrial-military complex is owned by these people for their protection. They also believe they are a superior race of humans (proved by their success over generations - they forget inherited wealth makes it easy) and that they must control the "useless eaters" that make up most of the population. In fact the chances seem very high that there is a planned cull of around 5 billion humans over the next 50 years or so.

If it was not for the greed of the greediest, and this being seen to make them "successful" and worthy of imitation, we would be much better off.

Unfortunately they now control most governments and have just successfully blown the lid off the world economy (totally deliberate act).

The plan now is to let things get so bad we demand a one world government and currency to "solve" our problems. The plan for this is all in place and the financials are all geared around keeping the wealthy wealthy - and the rest of us living off the scraps.

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

ravalbapu

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2009, 06:53:10 AM »
My salutations to Matthew,
Your analysis is chilling and precise.
We WILL learn to live on scraps with total awareness that we are going towards extinction.
Does nirvana not mean the same thing?

May you retain happiness,
raval

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2009, 05:21:43 PM »
“I have prayed to my inner Buddha about this” he said, which suggested to me he had no pat answers. What his inner Buddha told him, Nhat Hanh said, was that the human race will end, and that perhaps that end is approaching fast.

They also believe they are a superior race of humans (proved by their success over generations - they forget inherited wealth makes it easy) and that they must control the "useless eaters" that make up most of the population. In fact the chances seem very high that there is a planned cull of around 5 billion humans over the next 50 years or so.

Joey,

I had missed your response when I posted that ^

 :o

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

frepi

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Re: Permaculture - dharma in action?
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2009, 05:39:03 PM »

Frepi,

I agree with most of what you say but not all is true. Most of the world's population could live reasonably well, in harmony and without damaging the planet with today's level of resource use level or less - if only used more efficiently.

The greatest inefficiency is due to inherited wealth - a crime against children of the future. Plus the top 5% or so of the global elite own around 70% of the worlds wealth and PAY NO TAX because they own it offshore. The entire government-industrial-military complex is owned by these people for their protection. They also believe they are a superior race of humans (proved by their success over generations - they forget inherited wealth makes it easy) and that they must control the "useless eaters" that make up most of the population. In fact the chances seem very high that there is a planned cull of around 5 billion humans over the next 50 years or so.

If it was not for the greed of the greediest, and this being seen to make them "successful" and worthy of imitation, we would be much better off.

Unfortunately they now control most governments and have just successfully blown the lid off the world economy (totally deliberate act).

The plan now is to let things get so bad we demand a one world government and currency to "solve" our problems. The plan for this is all in place and the financials are all geared around keeping the wealthy wealthy - and the rest of us living off the scraps.

Matthew

I absolutely agree with you on all you wrote.  I meant to say that the Earth cannot sustain the western way of life if China and India adopt it. The problem is that the people in those countries have been living in misery for so long that they think that now it is their turn to have a party. We can hardly blame them for that. Yet the reality of our limited world won't allow it, no matter how unjust this might seem.

I also agree that the richer people are, the more inefficient is their way of life. Look at it form any angle you can think of, the definition of wealth can be reduced to the capacity to pollute more, even when making "green" consumer choices. A Prius might be a fuel efficient car, driving it is still thousands of times more polluting than riding a bike or walking, and this is not even counting the pollution involved in its manufacturing.

 

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