Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bird Song & Thunder Sound

Beyond the late afternoon chirping of the birds, there is the hint of a rumble of thunder here in southern Alabama. Before dawn this morning I sat perched at the window watching a spectacular lightning show.

Hours later, I find myself reeling at the sheer number of not just Buddhist resource sites online, but blogs and narratives. I would expect nothing less than an overwhelming amount of information (it being the internet of course) and once I start out on the trail, I am pretty thrilled to add these numerous sites to my ever expanding blog lists.

Amidst all the blog surfing, I came across a wonderful interview that immediately dove into the act and mindset of American Buddhists "relating" to the spirits of the land, such an act being an extension of respect, but also of grounding the spiritual practice in alignment with the local spirit realm.

Connections between Buddhism and Native American Practices is an interview with Lorain Fox Davis and Tsultrim Allione that originally appeared in Inquiring Mind magazine. They both bring in correlates of the Tibetan and Native American traditions view of the being as in a highly interactive relationship with the environment. Using the example of raven's calls and an entire Tibetan divination system based on call number and flight direction, Tsultrim notes:

"One aspect of awakening in Buddhism is an experience of this dynamic interdependence."

Lorain Fox Davis, who is Cree/Blackfeet and has been engaged with Tibetan Buddhist practices for over three decades, speaks of the similarities in Native American spirituality and Tibetan Buddhist teachings with regard to compassion for every creature. Such perceptions are threaded through indigenous worldviews on every continent. Likewise, natural phenomenon and land-forms are perceived as possessing not only the elements for creatures to sustain basic survival, but also a spiritual power. Thunder Beings, it is noted, are revered in both Native American and Tibetan Buddhism as "spiritual and physical manifestations of the Spirit."

The full interview is about three pages and and excellent read. Link to it here. I realized that this is the first, but certainly not the last time that I read or write about these women. Tsultrim Allione, a former Tibetan Buddhist nun, is the founder of
Tara Mandala, a retreat center in Southwestern Colorado and author of Women of Wisdom. Lorain Fox Davis is a faculty member for American Indian Studies Program at Naropa University, the founder and director of Rediscovery Four Corners, a non profit serving Native American youth and elders and as well as a teacher at Tara Mandala. I look forward to reading more on these figures.

With regard to your locality and all the presences it is home to, wherever you may be.

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