South Bay InsightLA
Dharma Book Club
The South Bay InsightLA Dharma Book Club is a way for our community to connect through a common interest in books that inspire and enrich our meditation and mindfulness practices.
Join us for our next online meeting
Wednesday, May 17
12:00 - 1:00 pm
Moderated by Annette Lombardi
Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge,
and the Teachings of Plants
By Robin Wall Kimmerer
About Dharma Book Club Meetings
Take a break and join us for a lunch-time get together to talk about books and authors who have written about the Dharma in a variety of genres. Each book will be covered in a single meeting. On occasion, authors will be guest speakers at our meditation practice groups after our book club meeting. Please sign up below to receive a reminder and a Zoom link the day before our meeting. Participation in the discussion is optional for those who would prefer just to read our book selection or listen to comments. All are welcome!
About our Book Selection
With deep compassion and graceful prose, botanist and professor of plant ecology Kimmerer (Gathering Moss) encourages readers to consider the ways that our lives and language weave through the natural world. A mesmerizing storyteller, she shares legends from her Potawatomi ancestors to illustrate the culture of gratitude in which we all should live. In such a culture, “Everyone knows that gifts will follow the circle of reciprocity and flow back to you again... The grass in the ring is trodden down in a path from gratitude to reciprocity. We dance in a circle, not in a line.” Kimmerer recalls the ways that pecans became a symbol of abundance for her ancestors: “Feeding guests around the big table recalls the trees’ welcome to our ancestors when they were lonesome and tired and so far from home.” She reminds readers that “we are showered every day with gifts, but they are not meant for us to keep... Our work and our joy is to pass along the gift and to trust that what we put into the universe will always come back.”
“Robin Wall Kimmerer is writer of rare grace. She writes about the natural world from a place of such abundant passion that one can never quite see the world the same way after having seen it through Kimmerer’s eyes. In Braiding Sweetgrass, she takes us on a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise. She is a great teacher, and her words are a hymn of love to the world.”
“Robin Wall Kimmerer has written an extraordinary book, showing how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people. It is the way she captures beauty that I love the most—the images of giant cedars and wild strawberries, a forest in the rain and a meadow of fragrant sweetgrass will stay with you long after you read the last page.”
"Professor and botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer knows that the answer to all forms of ecological unbalance have long been hidden in plain sight, told in the language of plants and animals, minerals and elements. She draws on her own heritage . . . pairing science with Indigenous principles and storytelling to advocate for a renewed connection between human beings and nature."
Robin Wall Kimmerer's website has more information about her background, her research, and her books. There, you can also find links to videos and a schedule of events.
Kimmerer received a MacArthur "Genius Grant" in 2022. The award "celebrates and inspires the creative potential of individuals" with a fellowship. View her video profile on the MacArthur Foundation website, and read articles about her most current projects.
Kimmerer was interviewed for the NPR program, "On Being" with Krista Tippett. The conversation offers many insights into Braiding Sweetgrass. Kimmerer expands on her view that, “Science polishes the gift of seeing; Indigenous traditions work with gifts of listening and language," as a central theme in the book.