Each of us has our own definition of ‘sustainability’. This week, the CEFS interns describe what the term means to them, and how their experiences here at the farm affect their perception of sustainability.
Sustainability, according to CEFS intern Remy Long:
Note: You define your “suffering.” You define your “middle way.” You interpret your “Eightfold Path.” No single paradigm is correct. No single paradigm can carry the burden alone in “being wrong.”
In Buddhism, there are Four Noble Truths:
1. All life is suffering (birth, growth and death are all suffering).
2. There is an origin to the suffering, and it is believed that origin is craving (in all its forms).
3. There is an end to suffering, and that is to end craving.
4. The Eightfold Path will guide us away from craving which causes suffering, which is done by enacting the following: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
First Noble Truth:
Aldo Leopold once said: “…the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” Many of us concerned with the issue of sustainability feel the burden, or suffering, of the ignorance we have displayed in our pasts and continue to in our future. We have immense amounts of information, (some that would ease our suffering if we heeded it, some that is forced upon us as propaganda) yet some choose to perpetuate suffering further by attempting to discredit or disregard information regarding our human evolution or impacts we have upon our biota.
Second Noble Truth:
We’ve gathered concepts of what genetic and cultural pressures have caused our suffering. Our craving has come in the form of globalization, industrialization, the loss of culture, the loss of individuality, the manipulation and exploitation of the environment, and so on. But, as many of us know, there are ways to work within this world and promote the expiry of suffering.
Third Noble Truth:
We want the greater populace to understand their suffering, and show them that the end to their suffering will come with the active diminishment of their craving. We have the information to end our suffering. Distribute that information, and create or promote a healthy environment in which to access and interpret that information, and you allow those suffering to define their own middle way.
Fourth Noble Truth:
The Eightfold Path (right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration) is the path we shall walk to end suffering, and attain not only enlightenment, but also an entirely sustainable biota.
At CEFS, I find that many of the people are working, knowingly and unknowingly, within The Eightfold Path to help construct an enlightened and sustainable world. As an intern, you may develop your path toward the middle way while weeding the garden, harvesting on the farm, opening your mind in a lecture or reaching out to the community. If you are willing to embrace the madness and unknown of all things, you may begin to find peace within yourself, and from there spread the basic information of what causes craving, how to diminish craving, and therefore come closer to attaining enlightenment and sustainability.
Stay tuned for more!