David Robert Loy is a professor, writer, and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Zen tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. David began Zen practice in Hawaii in 1971 with Yamada Koun and Robert Aitken, and continued with Koun Roshi in Japan, where he lived for almost 20 years. He was authorized to teach in 1988 and leads retreats and workshops nationally and internationally at places such as Spirit Rock, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, Omega Institute, Upaya Zen Center and many others. David was a formerly a professor of Buddhist and comparative philosophy, and recently received an honorary PhD from his alma mater, Carleton College for his scholarly work on socially engaged Buddhism. David Loy is one of the founding members of the new Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, near Boulder, Colorado.
In this episode, we discuss David Loy’s latest book, ECODHARMA: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis, available from Wisdom Publications. EcoDharma is a landmark work that is simultaneously a manifesto, a blueprint, a call to action, and a deep comfort for troubling times. David masterfully lays out the principles and perspectives of Ecodharma—a Buddhist response to our ecological predicament, introducing a new term for a new development of the Buddhist tradition. Our conversation explores why both Western Buddhism and the modern mindfulness movement have given little serious attention to the ecocrisis. Even socially-engaged Buddhism has operated primarily in terms of a one-on-one “service” model. David comments, “Buddhists have become much better at pulling drowning people out of the river, but-and here’s the problem – we aren’t much better at asking why there are so many people drowning.” Our dialogue ventures into tracing seedlings of social-engagement by the Buddha, the radical expression of the sangha as counter-cultural force, and other related strands of thought. EcoDharma is not afraid to take a moral stand and is not afraid to act. In fact, it demands it.
Some of our favorite books by David Loy include: