Pagan Portals – Zen Druidry
Living A Natural Life With Full Awareness
Author: Joanna van der Hoeven
“May we live our lives fully – not simply going with the flow,
but by being the flow itself.”
from the book
I found this to be an incredible book! Combining the modalities of Zen and Druidry, we find ourselves with a very peaceful life path, devoted to nature and mother earth, and to consciously living in the present. The first half of the book is devoted to understanding the basic tenets of both Zen and Druidry.
In the section on Zen, van der Hoeven presents the basic concepts of:
The Three Treasures: (1) Everyone has a Buddha nature, (2) Follow the Dharma, (3) We are all one.
The Four Noble Truths: (1) All living things experience suffering, or dukkha. (2) Suffering is caused by desire, or attachment. (3) Getting rid of desire shows us that we already have everything we need. (4) All things in moderation.
The Five Noble Precepts: (1)The destruction of life causes suffering, so we learn compassion for all things and protect all that we can, whether it be the lives of people, plants or animals. We refuse to kill, or to condone any acts of killing. (2) Injustice exists in the world, and we vow to learn loving kindness so that we may work for the well-being of all, whether they be a person, a plant or an animal. We learn the value of sharing, of helping the community, and refuse to steal or harm in any way. (3)Sexual relationships must be treated with full respect, and we must not engage in any sexual misconduct, for this causes suffering. We must protect ourselves and others from sexual abuse and any other sexual misconduct. (4) Speech is a powerful thing – words have power. We must speak with attention to what we are saying, with loving kindness and working to resolve conflict. We must also listen with full attention to what others are saying. (5) Seek out the Middle Way – unmindful consumption causes suffering. We vow to create good physical health in ourselves
The Eightfold Path:
Van der Hoeven continues on to discuss the Zen approach to the nature of suffering, and its association with attachment. She notes that Zen teaches us perception. In this section she shares the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change,
courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know
One of the major thoughts expressed in this section is than in giving up the illusion of control we
Still retain responsibility for ourselves.
In her overview of the Celts (which begins the section on Druidry) van der Hoeven talks about their Indo-European roots, and their migration to France, Britain, and Ireland. The Celts followed an oral tradition, meaning that there is no written record in their own voice. Van der Hoever states that the Druids are thought to be the priestly caste of the Celts, and were of service to the gods and to their people. It is interesting to see how the Druids fared when Christianity came along.
Van der Hoeven notes that the Druid approach to life is centered in “awen” – loosely translated as flowing spirit, or inspiration. Awen is experienced through the senses. The Druid approach to life is to live in peace, to honor all things, and to live responsibly.
In combining the modalities of Zen and Druidry, van der Hoeven notes that the concept of Zen is compatible with all religions. It is all about living in the here and now. There is a section on associating the Five Noble Precepts with Druidry that I found to be quite interesting.
Meditation becomes the starting point for practicing Zen Druidry, as it functions as a reference point for remaining fully aware in the present moment. Zen teaches us all about non-attachment. Druidry teaches us about relationship. Together they allow us to flow with life.
The tone of this book is friendly … one of presenting and discussing concepts in a non-judgmental manner. It is told through the presentation of facts, as well as the presentation of story. It is a humble book, packed with a great deal of wisdom.
© May 2013 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction in any format prohibited without written permission of the author.