To study Buddhism, is to study the nature of reality, unless you are studying Buddhism as religion. That is something else altogether. The nature of reality is what the Buddha was studying. Zen teachings say that the study of Buddhism is the study of the self and to understand the self is to understand all beings. I would say these are accurate statements, speaking from my own experience.
I don’t like getting bogged down in semantics and scholarly explicits. Yet, a little word may go a long way to help get our minds around what it means to say understanding the self and understanding the nature of reality.
Let me put it this way. Many people are pretty well convinced, as am I, that an important source of all human beings’ problems is the disconnect from nature. Nature is that in which we were born into on planet Earth. We were born into a natural world of earth, ground, air, water, ether, fire. These are the elements of the natural existence on earth. They were not created by humans. Humans were created by them, and are comprised of these elements. So are the trees, all the plants, animals, rocks, and mountains.
When you can see that you are made of the same elements as the naturally occurring world around you, you may more deeply understand yourself. Especially if you place yourself in a location in which these elements are strongly experienced through your senses of touch, smell, taste, and hearing, you are even more likely to have insights about your own nature, and the question of “who am I” begins to have some answers.
In a time of global chaos, gardening has become an increasing trend. Seed companies are having a difficult time keeping up with orders. Nurseries are selling out of garden soils and plants. I think that in a time of global chaos, people are intuitively looking to nature for answers.
Whether you plant a seed in the ground, purchase a plant to transplant in the ground or to keep in a pot, or whether you grow one or more plants anywhere at all, you are a big step closer to understanding yourself. Imagine a world in which more and more people understand themselves through understanding plants and find that as a way to calm their minds and emotions, as a way to find peace.
People who find peace in growing a plant will find that they care deeply about the protection of the environment on earth, and this will impact their choices in many areas of their lives. You will find that your actions will have an impact you did not expect, as your actions accumulate with the actions of others and you see your connection to them. You will feel less lonely, and you will join the stream of human beings who care about the nature of themselves, the nature of others, the nature of reality, and nature.