What is an EcoDharma Doula?

By David Takahashi

First, I would like to say that I accepted this role as a Laureate. For the coming year, I am willing to embody a birthing assistant, where we are conceiving a more beautiful future that is, metaphorically speaking, a yet unsubstantiated, but growing, light on the horizon. I pledge to work with you for a year and look for my replacement among you. The Doula is also a hospice worker, but more on that below.

I am a retired software guy who was able to help shepherd nimble Agile processes into a failing rigid factory development model. My late father-in-law was the scientist who measured the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere starting in 1958. His data proved that global warming is real and induced by human activity. Our Colorado foothills home of 20 years was torched in a 2010 wildfire, a lesson in impermanence. As a significant wildfire unfolded, I stood in my front yard and realized I was being treated to pre-Bardo training featuring all the chaos without the physical death. I have experienced climate migration firsthand. I have spent a decade trying to break an addiction to fossil fuels.

As your EcoDharma Doula, I will use the Two Loops Model that Meg Wheatley conceived. The two-loop model may be described as sociologic Bardo training. 

In it, we find ourselves transitioning from a worldview that no longer serves and is respectfully placed into hospice care while following the light of an emergent worldview that better accommodates current conditions. Between the two are the Wave Riders, and that’s what I will be helping you become. The Wave Riders act as birthing helpers, which a Doula is. We will look at where each of us fits into the emerging Two Loops model.

We also will be spending some time in deep appreciation of the Buddhist contribution to Climate Engagement. As modern Buddhists, we have moved from the original articulation of human suffering that Prince Siddhartha experienced, to an awareness of the planetary resource depletion, earth system breakdown, and the stormy waves of a darkening planetary age. But, like the Great Wave, we, in the boats, have humbling work to accomplish. And Thich Nhat Hahn may have said it best: the next Buddha may be Sangha.

From the Seventeenth Karmapa’s Kagyu Environmental Guidelines, we find this aspiration:

“Buddhism has a long tradition of environmental protection.
Buddha taught the concepts of interdependence, of cause and effect,
of karma, and of dharma values (Pratītyasamutpāda).

Most dharma practitioners want to contribute positively 
to preserving the environment, but unless we all work together,
no solution will be found. Moreover, although we have begun to

learn lessons from what has already taken place,
good wishes alone are not enough to bring about change.
We have to assume active responsibility.”


The journey ahead is, by nature, as deep and wide as the Ocean of Dharma. We will learn about putting dogmatic fragility to rest to make room for flexible agility. We will learn to be trusting co-creators of the world cheered on by coming generations. I will be counting on you to help shape our actions. I will not be hesitant to share what I have gleaned from the cracks I have found that are letting in light. Our journey becomes a goal. Just as the Buddha encouraged us to become Buddhas, your Doula is wishing you to become outer Doulas.
Wish us luck!  What are we curious about?

Contact David on Facebook.

2024-04-13 18:48:33