Friday, June 10, 2011

Why We Love Trees (Tree Hugger's Ball)

We love trees. And what better way to show it than to save them, meditate under them, and hug them? The Buddha was born under a Sal tree in Lumbini Garden.

During his quest, he sought shelter under a great Sal tree. There he realized that a course of austerities was no way to enlightenment; then, mistaken for a tree spirit (dryad or bhummi-deva), he was fed good food that fortified him for the more difficult effort of balancing striving-and-receiving.

He then sat under a Bodhi tree and reached enlightenment. He taught under trees, taught others to sit under trees, and frequently retreated to the forest alone to enjoy the silence and bliss of meditation under trees.

Such was his experience under the canopy that when it came time to pass into final nirvana, he laid out between twin Sal trees. He joyfully said goodbye, gave his last words of advice -- "All conditioned-phenomena are hurtling towards destruction; work out your liberation with diligence" (Parinirvana Sutra) -- then entered the purifying absorptions (jhanas) before going beyond:

"Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, so it is!" (the Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra mantra)

(OC Weekly: Tree Hugger's Ball)

It’s that time of year again -- the annual Tree Hugger’s Ball takes over Silverado, and OC’s eco-maniacs get their day in the Sun. The afternoon begins with the Go Green Expo, an environmental fair dedicated to teaching everyone how to do just that via food, art, auctions, shopping, costumed dancers, and information about alternative energy and fuel-efficient vehicles. Eco-hero Daryl Hannah is the night’s guest speaker; she’ll be followed by bands playing folk, Appalachian music and “environmental blues” (gas prices, oil wars?) and dancing until midnight. Guests are encouraged to wear their own earthy costumes. It is a ball after all.

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