The phrase “environmental justice” already implies the self-so value of the planet. It has rights. Everything on it has rights. Planetary rights are not human rights; those rights must be informed by the rights of all other things. Saving the planet to save ourselves has motivational merit, but cosmo-centrism motivates a more fundamental sense of justice. The planet has its own rights irrespective of its utility to humanity.

This sense alone encourages a significant paradigm shift. It impacts our ego-centrism. When Ziqi lost his “me” this is the kind of recontextualization he experienced. All the forest’s trees have their own unique voices in response to the same wind, yet “each selects out its own”. (2:5) Each one is self-so—self-arising and inherently valuable. (If my existence has value, then every existence has value, without exception. This is the equalization of things.)

Which comes first, the loss of one’s “me”, or this sense of cosmo-centrism? They likely dialectically inform each other. For my part, meditation on the “illuminated obvious” equality of all beings serves as a gateway to a realization of the possible loss of my “me”. This “inkling” has efficacy where dialectical approximation is the actual real-world circumstance.

The promise of meditatively realizing that loss as Ziqi hypothetically did (it is just a story, after all), though worthy of pursuit, needn’t obviate the need for the real-time, practical exercise of that outcome irrespective of meditative “success”. Not only do we not need to get it right to get it, neither do we need to get it to do what’s right.

Practicing environmental justice is thus itself an act of self-cultivation. Exercising a sense of cosmo-centrism in one’s interface with the world impacts one’s relationship with one’s own self-experience. If one’s “me” is not lost, as in Ziqi’s meditative ideal, at least it is being approximatingly recontextualized.

It’s a win-win.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *