The Radical Chimp

140923_SCI_chimphavenbaby.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlargeEarly one morning, deep in an African rain-forest, as has happened for generations, a new chimpanzee was born. Life was good in the remote jungle. The new baby was embraced by his mother, aunts, and siblings. He looked up to the adult men of the troop, and to one day taking his place among them. The days were long, peaceful, and simple in his mother’s arms and on her back. Continue reading

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Contemplative Chameleons

582783189With two Jackson’s Chameleons in a comfortable carry cage I entered the room just as Adi Da came in through the other doorway. He looked at me warmly as I gave him a simple flower gift. Adi Da was very attentive as I turned to the cage to bring the chameleons forward. Continue reading

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New Priests of the Real

maxresdefaultOur view of zoos is incomplete. We do with zoos what we do with our own cultures. The evolution of human cities is at about the same level as the evolution of zoos.

For zoos to evolve further a deeper understanding of animals is required. And for that to happen we need a deeper understanding of what it is to be human. Science and scientific research is a powerful tool for understanding many things, but alone it falls short. Beyond science and the old religions of separation, a change is needed in the way we recognize and relate to ourselves and the world. Continue reading

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Let The World Be

BlythsHornbillMtAustinGaudalcanalSolomonIsApr13“We need another and wiser concept of animals. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not our brethren, they are not underlings. They are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.”     – Henry Beston

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The True and Sacred Zoo

HornbillThe necessary essence of the true zoo is love. The true zoo is sacred. It must invoke and allow for the magic that causes people to participate in conditional reality in the sacred sense, or in the sense of love, in the sense of self-transcendence, of ecstasy.

True zoos should permit and invite self-transcendence. The true zoo is not merely the product of an idea, which is then to be passively admired, or observed, by others. Participation in a zoo should be a great exercise that enables one to transcend oneself. If it does not serve that purpose, then it has missed its potential. The true zoo has a unique purpose for others, both human and non-human.

The true zoo is not about being removed from the non-humans one encounters there, only standing back to look and wonder.

Such is the method of separation. True participation with the non-humans results when the visitor combines himself or herself completely—mentally, emotionally, psychically, spiritually—with them.

The Vision of Fear-No-More is the art of heart-participation, heart-activity, with all beings. It is artful intelligent participation made of feeling, rather than of a perception or a conception merely. The total field of feeling—perceptually located, ecstatically Realized—is the potential of the true zoo.

Zoos should not be made into secular institutions merely, into ego-business. They should 12227569_1037505039604321_9185466416989273375_nnot be divorced from their right principle. This modern secular materialistic age is all about being divorced from the right principles of life, and of everything altogether.

This time is about being sunk in separateness and ego-possession and struggling and seeking. It is profound suffering, and it is infecting everyone.

Therefore, among all the things to be transformed by the embrace of right and sacred principles are our relationships with all non-humans.

True zoos serve this purpose, and in so doing the true zoological sanctuary is a useful part of life here especially when so many humans today live so far from natural areas and natural things.

The function of the true zoo is to draw the viewer sympathetically into Divine contemplation. Such zoos are really possible only through the cultural participation of the people who visit them. Participation in zoos is what is really significant.

It is a Mystery that something appears or exists at all. Arising forms are Divine Mystery. Participation in Divine Mystery is the purpose of the true zoo.

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The above passage was adapted from a spectacular discourse given by Adi Da Samraj on the subject of true and sacred art.
Today’s zoos, even the very best among them, have not yet attempted to serve and honor their sacred potential. To do so is a great undertaking that would require almost everything about zoos, and the human cultures around zoos to change in dramatic ways.
Today’s zoos communicate a very basic and limited level of existence and awareness, yet the animals within them have so much more to offer us if we would just stop, listen and feel…
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