34 minutes ago
When the Buddha, at age 29, left his palace life to seek liberation, he spent most of his remaining fifty – one years living in the forests, woodlands, and parks of Northern India. These natural settings were the incubator for both his awakening and his teaching. The important connection he saw between nature and the practices he taught is encapsulated in his emphatic instruction to meditate in the forest at the foot of a tree. He claimed that as long as his followers practice in the forest the path of liberation would not decline. The Buddha’s great Awakening, or bodhi, at the age of 35 occurred as he sat meditating outdoors under a tree, protected by its canopy. One legend explains that after his Awakening he spent seven days gazing in gratitude at the tree that sheltered him in his final quest for liberation. The tree — known scientifically as Ficus religiosa — is held up as the living symbol of the Buddha’s Awakening and represents the important connection between Buddhism and the natural world.
The Buddha chose to die in a quiet forested area. His lying down to die peacefully and mindfully between two trees is a powerful image of living (and dying) in harmony with the natural world. In Buddhism nature is not seen as an adversary; it is our partner for liv ing at peace. In between his Awakening and his death, the natural world was ubiquitous in the Buddha’s life and teachings. Forests and woodland parks were the most common setting in which people met the Buddha and heard his teachings. As such, nature provided the backdrop and unspoken context for his teachings and how people heard them.
Nature can also be an effective teacher. In particular it can provide lessons in the impermanence of life; just as change is inherent in nature, so we can expect we will change. Being in nature can also teach us the importance of living in harmony with nature. ✨Source: www.insightmeditationcenter.org/ ; Author: Gil Fronsdal 🦋Art by @suzannegayleart 🙏🧘🏽♂️💐