Merging Deep Ecology and Zen Buddhism

Takaka Zen teacher, Dr Sean Weaver (pictured) will teach alongside a prominent Deep Ecology figure, John Seed, and ...
Nina Hindmarsh

Takaka Zen teacher, Dr Sean Weaver (pictured) will teach alongside a prominent Deep Ecology figure, John Seed, and Takaka Zen practice leader, Jo Campbell.

A prominent leader in the Deep Ecology movement is coming to Golden Bay to teach alongside two Takaka Zen teachers.

John Seed is an Australian environmentalist and founder of the Rainforest Information Centre. 

Seed will teach at a four-day workshop in March alongside Zen practise leader, Jo Campbell and Zen teacher, Dr Sean Weaver, both of Takaka. 

Campbell and Weaver are founders of Ekodo, a training programme that builds inner resources for assertive, compassionate environmental and social action.

Seed said Deep Ecology was a philosophy of nature, which looked at the psychological underpinnings of the environmental crisis. 

"It asks the question, 'why do people do foolish things?' There's a great quote that says, 'we are sawing off the branch we are sitting on'," Seed said. 

"Deep ecology understands that underlying all the symptoms of the environmental crisis is the illusion of separation between ourselves and the natural world." 

The recognition of this interconnection was pertinent, he said.

"The degradation and destruction of the life support systems that we depend upon for our survival are happening all around us. Once we understand deep within our psychology that we are doing this to ourselves, then it's possible for our behaviour to change," he said.

There were many parallels between Buddhism and Deep Ecology, and the two have often been practised together, he said.

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Environmentalist Dr Sean Weaver was ordained a Zen Buddhist Sensei (teacher) in 2015 in the Diamond Sangha Lineage. 

He said the workshop was a training space for current and aspiring activists to practise the effective skills needed to be "agents of positive change". 

"Zen is about clarity. In Zen, we practise truly listening to all the sounds around us; the birds and the land. Most often, however, our head is filled with junk, and we have a tape recorder playing all-day-long. So it's about finding the clarity underneath all that.

Weaver said he was all about bringing the people back into environmentalism and dissolving the divisiveness that can exist in communities.

"If we get beyond the initial conflict and truly meet people the way we can truly meet a tree, a river or a forest, then out of that is an enormous emotional and political resource."

For more information on the workshop, Zen and Deep Ecology, please visit


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