top of page

The Tao of Permaculture

A philosophy of life

Learning to live well with how the earth works.

The relationship of permaculture design to taosim,buddhism mysticism and mythology.

This is the first entry in a series I am very excited and inspired to share with everyone taking the time to explore how introspection, spirituality and mysticism open doors of perception and awareness that are invaluable to first, living a good life and second, to creating good designs and a healthy world. In these writings we will explore how to create positive nurturing relationships with each other and with the entire web of life.

I am starting with the Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu.

Having fun passage by passage and discussing their connections to permaculture approaches to design, the design process and techniques.Then we will explore the later teachings of Lao Tzu and onto Chuang Tzu, ancient Sanskrit writings, Dogen, a zen buddhist philosopher from the 13th century and Wang Yang Ming a neo-confucian will complete our eastern survey.Then we will venture into the west with Neo-Platonism, Meister Eckhart and the philosophies and mythologies of indigenous peoples of the world.

Our Theme

How the ethics and principles of permaculture come from an experience and awareness of natural energies and a deep understanding of concepts, core ideas and perspectives that we will find at the heart of many mystical and spiritual traditions from around the world. In particular these writings will orbit around the connections between Permaculture ideas and approaches and the primary texts of taoism,buddhism,hinduism and esoteric mysticism and mythologies of the west.

I will expound on what i consider to be key potent passages that resonate with the essence of permaculture as I know it. I will retroactively categorize them in these subjects below as I write about each passage and how they relate to Permaculture.

  • Land/Earth

  • Water/Movement

  • Fire/Light

  • Plants/Growth

  • People/Social Systems

The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

translated by Stephen Addiss & Stanley Lombardo

Tao called Tao is not Tao.

Names can name no lasting name.

( The only way we can begin to know a place on this earth, is to first be in the place to observe, to just be and observe, no presuppositions or desires clouding our ability to notice what is.The act of naming is a distraction from being in the present and occludes our ability to sense the true essence of the place. )

Nameless: the origin of heaven and earth.

Naming: the mother of ten thousand things.

( When we are deeply present in the moment we can tune into the umbilical cord of all creation and understand without words the nature of things. As soon as we begin the act of verbalizing and naming what we are observing with words and thoughts, we have entered the world of human values and artifices, which has it’s place, but they are not truly the essence of reality, they are merely a phenomenon to notice and observe but not to become attached to or to take too seriously.)

Empty of desire, perceive mystery.

Filled with desire, perceive manifestations.

(The foundation of good design and good living is grounded in being clear of any desires or goals as we observe and attempt to know as much as we can about who we are and about where we are designing and who we are designing for. We want to perceive mystery and be empty of desires to notice more completely what is the nature of that place and the community of beings that dwell there, outside of what we want it to be.

Then allow ourselves to be filled by our passion and vision and manifest as only human beings can what we want it to be! )

These have the same source, but different names.

Call them both deep—

Deep and again deep:

The gateway to all mystery.


85 views0 comments
bottom of page