Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do Bugs Have Buddha Nature?




Shunryu Suzuki said,

"If you are not a Buddhist, you think there are Buddhists and non-Buddhists, but if you are a Buddhist you realize everyone's a Buddhist—even the bugs."

I've enjoyed the sentiment of inclusiveness in that quote.

Today I find Suzuki's remark a little Buddhocentric. (Is "Buddhocentric" a word?) Whatever: we can say bugs are sentient beings, yes they are. Bugs have "Buddha nature" and so do all the bacteria that live inside bugs' digestive systems.

Plants have have sentience so deep and so powerful and so profound that their multiple intelligences are barely discernible to any but the most spiritually connected humans. Plants have "Buddha nature" too. Not to mention fungi.

I've come to feel that all of life—from the mitochondria in cells to blue whales to the daffodils awakening outside my front door—all life is deeply and irrevocably interrelated. All life is sentient. All life is sacred. Even stuff we think of as not living is sentient: rocks, water, air. I think rocks know when they're hot or cold. Water freezes when it gets cold; evaporates quickly on hot days. Sentient.

We can say this or that has Buddha nature. Better yet, we give the Buddha some time off. I don't think he wants to lay claim or put his name on wisdom that is self evident to anyone willing to look closely and feel deeply about anything and everything alive.

9 comments:

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Ta da! Beautifully expressed Dan.

Dayne Gingrich said...

I love this. Incredibly written!

Delwyn said...

Hello dan
I'm with you and the bugs...
I have missed our communications and look forward to getting back to my friends soon.
Til then happy days

steven said...

dan i am very grateful for this! i wish my dad were here so i could share your words with him.
my own sense is of a deep connection between all living things beyond their material state that is comprised of a nameless and unconditional love. have a peaceful day. steven

Jenny Stevning said...

WOW! Dan, your last sentence is just what I needed this morning. In fact, it was the thought I held in prayer this morning, but your words capture it so beautifully!!! Thank you!

Dan Gurney said...

Bonnie and Dayne, thank you for your kind words of appreciation. It is encouraging to hear from you.

Dan Gurney said...

Delwyn, I've been missing your voice and presence on the blog, too. I look forward to your return... but I should say that I expect to get a bit quieter online when school resumes after the holiday. Teaching keeps me too busy to blog a lot.

Dan Gurney said...

steven, thank you for your remarks. I wish I could have met your dad. He sounds like a real kindred spirit. Reading your blog has heightened my own resolve to look for the miraculous in the natural world, not that it's hard to find, and to spend more and more moments in the present moment in the presence of the miraculous, the nameless ever-present unconditional love. So... thank you!

Dan Gurney said...

Jenny, I believe in the concept/reality of synchronicity, so I'm glad to hear your report of having had parallel thoughts in your morning prayer/meditations. Thank you for telling me.