A PERSONAL WAY TO A SYLVAN BUDDHISM
Rites and music of the woods are timeless.
Shihwu (1272-1352, translation Red Pine)
Starting from the concept-seed of Homo Radix, a deep and an intimate research of a migrant and natural identity, Tiziano Fratus gave born to the discipline of Dendrosophy and to an everyday practice of meditation in Nature, ispired by zen practices, in specific by figures soo telluric as ch’an chinese masters (Bodhidharma, Huineng, Shihwu, Baizhang, Huang Po, Lin Ji, Puhua, Hongzhi Zhengju, Rujing, Wumen Huikai), zen japanese masters (Eihei Dogen, Shinichi Kakushin, Daito Kokushi, Kanzan Egen, Bassui Tokusho, Ikkyu Sojun, Yotaku Bankei, Hakuin Ekaku, Baisao, Hara Tanzan, Kodo Sawaki, Sodo Yokoyama, Zenkei Shibayama, Shunryu Suzuki, Soko Morinaga) and contemporary philosophers (D.T. Suzuki, H.S. Hisamatsu, Masao Abe, Alan Watts, Jacques Brosse).
A LITTLE PLANT IN THE WIDE AND THICK ZEN FOREST
Seeds and Roots Orchestra: cultivating simplicity
The teaching of the Buddha is so simple:
when hungry, eat; when thirsty, drink;
when cold, wrap yourself in a good warm cloak.
Gudo Toshoku (1577-1661)
Fratus is developing a wild, sylvan, woody spiritual buddhist practice that he’s calling – not to be considered seriously – “silvobuddismo” (wood-buddhism) or “ecobuddismo” (eco-buddhism), as experiences already described in recent international essays such as Journeys on Mind Mountain (G. Bluestone), Winter Moon (B. M. Treace), EcoDharma (D. R. Loy) or Green Buddhism (S. Kaza), new variations of ancient buddhist attention about nature and mountains.
Invited by festivals, Fratus leads meditations and poetry readings, seminars of “boschese” (woody and rooty language), immersions in nature, opportunities to feed italian lay people interested in an intimate connection with the dimension of what we call Nature. Fratus gets form to a migrating refuge or hermitage he calls Seeds and Roots Orchestra, not a singular stable place but a series of occasions and situations.
You could listen “the orchestra of seeds and roots, of leaves and barks”: practicing walk and meditation in forest, reading and composing poems, understanding notions about botanics and natural histories. It do exist an original or primordial root connecting all beings and forms of existence, every of us and Patriarches and Buddhas of the history. We have to join it to be and to feel completely free.
Fratus sewed a sort of definition :
Wood or Eco buddhism – s. m. [from lat. selva, wood, from greek oikos, home, land, environment] – Practice of meditation in the woods, inspired by buddhist patriarches’ teachings and trainings; it considers exercises of seated meditation (zazen) and walking meditation, reading of classics and writing poems. It is preferably to make experience into the wild distant forests in the mountains, or in woods in the countryside, but it is possible also in arboretum and private or public city gardens.
ZEN ATQUE NATURA MATRES SUNT
Just an alchemy: zen, nature and poetry’s roots mix together to create a language both concrete and imaginative. Everyday Fratus practices zen meditation. Everyday he learns from the teachings of eminent masters, in part of the Caodong / Soto lineage and in part of the Linji / Rinzai School. His main references are masters Eihei Dogen, Daito Kokushi and Yotaku Bankei, not forgetting the foundamental echoes of spiritual examples in Christian world, such as mystical saints, first Francescans, modern and contemporary hermits.
Hi founded the Ne-an or little hermitage of roots, Eremo delle radici. For centuries monks and hermits practiced ascetic traditions in woods and mountains, a way sometimes called shugyō-an (shugyō, practice and an, hermitage, 庵), from which the inspiration of the name, Ne-an (根, ne, root, and 庵, an, hermitage).
Ne-an is a pocket-size place, sometimes migrant, sometimes permanent. Sometimes Fratus meditates into forests, sometimes in a studio. As we are learning, recent Covid-19 Disease paralyzes human freedom. Waiting to go back in forests, Fratus identified a personal Buddha in a section of an old Monumental Italian Tree, a Giant Sequoia lived for 125 years (1890-2015) in the city of Merano. A new spiritual life for this piece of wood.