Teachings on Interbeing

The teachings on interbeing (the interconnectedness of all things) have been seen on these pages for more than four years now, and a couple of recent documentaries made these teachings very to me.

One of these documentaries is The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, which traces the flow of genes and the migration of humans out of Africa to places all over the world. Spencer Wells, the author of the book and narrator of the video, interviews people from obscure places such as Kazakhstan,  the Russian Arctic where the Chukchi people in the frozen tundra all year around, and Navajo Indians in North America. What these people all have in common is that they share a common Y chromosome that first appeared in East Africa and is still present in the Saan Bushmen.

The shows that what we consider to be diverse races all actually came from this source. This was demonstrated also by David Attenborough’s Rise of the Animals, a two part series on Netflix.

Here are some salient quotes from teachers in two different traditions.

It is entirely appropriate to examine in our moment-to-moment experience how craving and aversion manifest in personal psychological suffering. It is also important to follow that strand out through the interdependent karmic relationships in which each moment is entangled, to see how our desire is affecting everyone and everything around us.

Andrew Olendzki, “The Other Dukkha

In connection with the Orlando slayings, Lama Surya Das wrote (he votes for the separation of church and hate):

As Thich Nhat Hanh sings, “It is my conviction that there is no way to peace – peace is the way.” Myself, I found that connecting to my source– what Buddhists call the groundless-ground of being and others may call a higher power– makes clear my purpose and place in the world, infuses warm feelings of connectedness, belonging, and interdependence,  and gives genuine meaning and direction to my life. Then it doesn’t matter so much what I’m feeling or doing, or what is happening-for good or ill– ; for in the bigger picture, everything is a lawful unfolding: grace-full, blessed, a cause for gratitude, reverence and rejoicing–even life’s gritty and hard parts.

Lama Surya Das

Sent Ts’an was a Chinese Chan master who lived in the 6th century. He wrote:

In this non-dual world
all is one, nothing left out
In this unmeasurable truth
one instant is ten thousand years.

Things do not separate into here, or there
infinity is manifested everywhere.
One thing is everything
all things are One.

If you know only this, then
don’t worry about attaining perfect knowledge.

It was Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh who coined the word, interbeing and his teachings all point to this.

What will you do to study, practice and observe the teachings on interbeing?

Books by Spencer Wells

The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey

Spencer Wells

Around 60,000 years ago, a man—genetically identical to us—lived in Africa. Every person alive today is descended from him. How did this real-life Adam wind up as the father of us all? What happened to the descendants of other men who lived at the same time? And why, if modern humans share a sin…

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