Friday, October 2, 2015

The Tao of the Tree of Life

Paradise Found David Miller

Cosmological Science, Psychedelic Christianity and Sexy Greenpeace Buddhism

The Problem:

Every person on the planet shares a desire to see the world continue and flourish, so that there will be a habitable world for our offspring, for the future generations of humanity and for the diversity of life to continue. We also want to see a world without war and one in which justice prevails for the rich and poor alike. Even highly religious people, except for those pursuing martyrdom, often for violent ends, and a few fundamentalist rapture seekers, want to see a world in which their children and other people can survive.

The trouble is that, while we want to have a sustainable world, achieving it seems to always be beyond the horizons of economic and political realities. Economic realities keep up the pressure on for short-term thinking and political realities are contaminated by vested interests in the business world who deny the damage done to the climate and biosphere by human impact for their own self-interests, despite the obvious mounting scientific evidence that human impact is causing increasing, and possibly irreversible, detrimental change to our future.

Worse still, the world's religions, despite some very good words from a few religious leaders, including the current Pope, are more devoted to ascendency and internecine apocalyptic warfare combined with utopian visions than actual care of the planet. The two major religions Islam and Christianity both promote unrestrained population growth and have ingrained agendas to control female reproduction. One only needs to make a rough assessment of how little financing of environmental projects comes from the major religions to see the actual thrust of their activity.

The large numbers of people who would like to contribute personally to protecting the planet and its future, face an uphill battle  because, in the absence of a society-wide ethic to actually cherish and replenish the Earth, effort remains confined to protest groups such as Greenpeace and sporadic government action such as creating nature reserves. Thus investment in saving the planet is like throwing money over your shoulder in a cold shower, because one can put time and effort and money into it until one becomes destitute and depleted, while the problem still grows larger, leading to a tragedy of the commons from the failure of people to act together with a coherent common sense of purpose ,while others exploit it for gain.

The Solution:

Is there a way out of this dilemma? Yes there is! Lets simply extract the two key ideas that convey the two most world-transforming insights from major world religions:

The first is the key insight of the monotheistic tradition with subdue amended to cherish: To cherish and replenish the living planet and its diversity throughout the generations of life.

The second is the mahayana of the Buddhist and Vedantic traditions: To facilitate the enlightenment of all sentient beings.


1. I vouchsafe to cherish and replenish the living planet and its diversity throughout the generations of life.
2. I vouchsafe to facilitate the enlightenment of all sentient beings.

These two are sufficient to bring about a common sense of purpose, both to protect and sustain the planet, and to enable all people to reach a deeper state of understanding of the universe in which they live. They are thus good cosmological science and consistent with the scientific pursuit of knowledge unhindered by beliefs and assumptions. Affirmative belief is not essential to religious meaning. In Judaism, the virtue of keeping the covenantal traditions and in Buddhism observing the dharma, or way, - i.e. actions - are what is critical to bring the blessed condition into being.

The Sanctity of Nature:

The covenant to cherish and replenish the Earth is a commitment to preserve and restore the bountiful diversity of nature planet-wide. It is the key that unites the latent energy of people across the whole face of the globe to have the confidence and energy to realize we can together, without pain or privation, actually achieve the perpetual sustenance of the Planet in the immortal passage of the generations of life. This brings with it an immeasurable sense of relief from the anxiety that we are living in an insecure world of conflict and degeneration, where the very meaning in existence is occluded, and our futures, and the future of the whole world remain in an unacceptable degree of doubt.

By drawing people together with the clear and simple purpose of sustaining the immortality of life, the covenant to cherish and replenish can potentially unite the energy of the entire planet's population around the central activity for which the human species has inherited the Earth to perform. We thus become the guardians of the perpetual diversity of life and find our place in nature not to subdue and have dominion over it, but to act as verdant guardians of a perpetual paradise in the universe at large.


By facilitating the enlightenment of all sentient beings, we are also accepting the scientific pursuit of knowledge of the natural universe and the spirit of skeptical inquiry, where we test our assumptions against the oracle of nature, rather than imposing our preconceived beliefs. Enlightenment can have no meaning if it is simply a spiritual conviction or vision in the absence of affirmation from the nature of the world around us. We need both the knowledge and the wisdom to fulfill the engagement.

Thus the quest for enlightenment is both the scientific quest to understand the universe and the sentient vision quest to understand the very foundations of conscious experience of all kinds: waking, dreaming, mystical and visionary. The emergence of conscious sentient beings is a natural cosmological process forming the most complex complete interactive manifestation of the fundamental forces of nature emerging from the cosmic origin. It is thus a cosmological sigma point and the quest for conscious enlightenment is also cosmological.

Sacred Sexuality:

At the same time, accepting the sacredness of sex as the foundation of the passage of the generations of life, from which we all come transforms religions of renunciation such as most of Buddhism, the implicit sexual guilt of Christianity from Eve's 'transgression', and the explicit sexual oppression of Islam, through lethal penalties for adultery, enforced veiling and sequestering and seclusion of women into traditions celebrating in the mutual ecstasy and joy of sexual union and the full abundance of the flow of life, rather than the negation and control of it. Sacred sex has long been central to the Vedantic tradition and is one of the highest rites of illumination in Tibetan Buddhism as well.

Sex is a central part of social bonding key to deep human relationships and the stability of family life and is not just for reproduction, but sacred sex transcends social sex as the deepest celebration of the fertility principle between woman and man.  The sacredness of sex also implies mutual respect between men and women and the right of women to reproductive choice, not to be controlled by men or patriarchal religious dictates, because they the bearers of the principal responsibility for parental commitment in pregnancy, a sometimes perilous delivery, lactation and long-term child care. The passage of the living generations comes through sex, so it must needs command the uttermost sacred respect as the holy grail of life itself.

Sacramental Mysticism:

Complementing the meditative and contemplative traditions, the use of the visionary power plants and fungi as sacraments, which are already incorporated into religious traditions in the Americas, including an ongoing Christian movements, which identify them as holy sacraments, provide a democratic avenue to the mystical experiences that are the foundation of religious illumination - forming the psychedelic face of a new Christianity, thus healing the Eucharist which is otherwise a decadent empty sacramental religion celebrating in its central rite the consumption of human flesh and blood in remembrance of a homicidal sacrificial death two millennia ago.

Psychedelics are not dangerous drugs  and have been shown in recent experiments using mature people who are not drug takers that they can provide genuine spiritual experiences which have lasting benefits months and years later. The core of religious experience is mystical experience, so a genuine sacrament to replace the empty sacrament of the Eucharist is a pivotal step in making Christianity a real sacramental religion with the integrity to protect the Earth and one in which every person can share in the spiritual vision, rather than having to stoop to the conformity of unquestioning doctrines and a dominant hierarchy of the priesthood for instruction.


At its most universal, the way, or Tao of the Tree of Life would involve just these two points as a simple all-embracing covenant, leaving everyone free to express this in an endless variety of creative ways in both acts of restoration and celebration of life.

This evokes a path of true compassion and a human movement of empowerment, which can celebrate its existence in diverse rites of passage, from birth, partnership and death, to the fertility of the seasons, and the agape of creative musical and artistic performance. Just as people across the planet love to party and experience life to the full, the path provides the zest of life with the added sense of meaning and fulfillment and joy of living which actually bringing our energy and activity to its natural fruition brings forth in overflowing abundance.

One can think of the Tao of the Tree of Life as an integration of cosmological science, psychedelic Christianity and sexy Greenpeace Buddhism, taking the best out of each, but really it is the foundation of all spirituality. It is the common thread of sentient survival and the science of nature and cosmology because it is rooted in the realities of the natural universe discovered by the scientific pursuit of knowledge.

This Tree of Life is not just the Biblical notion of a tree in Eden hidden since the foundation of the world but is the tree of evolution of the diversity of life as it has emerged and flourished on the planet over geological time scales.

In a metaphysical way, this brings the two trees in Eden of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life together into one. Knowledge only gains the capacity and temptation for evil when it becomes divorced from our primary goal in life, which is to sustain the passage of life itself. Once this integration with our life meaning and purpose occurs evil fades away as simply a form of ignorance of the whole picture.

This is a covenant, which religious and non-religious people alike can accept and fulfill together, because its foundation lies in the very truth of the nature of existence. It can thus have a wider basis for collective action than traditional religions, which are fragmented into competing factions each vying with one another as the one 'true' way. By becoming a common affirmation of a wider section of society it would actually become possible for collective action to restore the living planet to become globally effective as well as applying ethical influence to government and business decision-making.

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