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Growing Our Spiritual Intellect

As we consider what it might mean to Decolonize Our Sanghas (continuing with this month’s systemic take on the Fifth Precept of Buddhist ethics), I love imagining “spiritual intellect” as a capacity that we could strive to cultivate and offer as Buddhist activists.

As aneeta mitha reports (in her photography series for BPF, on the fight against tar sands extraction and the Keystone XL Pipeline in Alberta, Canada), Francois Paulette of the Chipewyan First Nation used the phrase in describing the oil developers — corporate owners and employees who view the earth as a heap of resources, potential dollar signs.

And they are not the only ones reducing nature to the role of people-pleaser.  Every time I complain about the weather (no hot summer nights in the Bay Area??? Serious seasonal shortchanging!), I’m subtly demanding that the environment please me, become a resource for my comfort and superficial enjoyment.

I’m gonna venture an opinion that companies like Shell, TransCanada, Enbridge, and others are operating at a deficit of spiritual intellect, and that our economic arrangement encourages and exacerbates this deficit.  So what can we do about it?  Contending with economics and ideologies based on profiting off the land, how can we reclaim our spiritual intellect to help humans to live with, or even as the land?

Appreciating this wisdom and would love to hear your thoughts, BPFers!  Join us next week as aneeta shares more of her reportback from Alberta.

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