Inverted Banyan Tree of Understanding

We ask experts of diverse faith, cultural, knowledge, identity, ancestral, age, and professional backgrounds to share the theoretical, historical, and practical framework underyling their unique paths (systems) to reach our common ultimate goal of ending human suffering and thereby increasing our wellbeing. We elicit this sharing of paths (systems) by anchoring their elucidation to an innovative scaffold (Symbilution) through which individual innovative approaches to sustainable progress can be discerned in their commonalities as well as differences. We also encourage members of diverse communities to share their Stories of Adversity & Resilience so that we can understand the challenges that they face. The Inverted Banyan Tree of Understanding project thus enables us to weave a Tapestory of Paths (systems)  to end human suffering, thereby creating a rich resource of common and different problem-solving strategies and approaches. This Tapestory of Paths (systems) will enable diverse communities to understand each other and begin the process of accepting, valuing, collaborating with, and transforming each other.
EXPLAINING THE METAPHOR
"Inverted Banyan Tree"        
Origin: Path of Dharma (India)
The Banyan tree is a remarkably curious tree found throughout India. Most often a Banyan seedling begins growing on the branches of a different host tree. From high above the seedling sprouts aerial roots, which journey downwards to the earth anchoring the seedling and enabling it to develop its main tree trunk. The growing Banyan tree retains this habit of sprouting aerial roots, most of which then descend to the earth and form into what seem like myriad thinner trunks. And so, after centuries, one Banyan tree appears as though it were a forest of countless tree trunks, branches, and leaves, providing abundant shelter to the travel-worn and an abode of peace to those seeking enlightenment. Millennia ago, the practicing scientists of the path of Dharma (an integrated system of implementary science aimed not only at exploring and describing existence, but also understanding, experiencing, and living according to its true nature) created the metaphor of the inverted Banyan tree. This special tree with its countless leaves and branches representing the diverse living beings on earth, its main trunk extending upward to the skies, and its main roots disappearing into the great beyond serves as a metaphor for the human experience of existence and knowledge. The goal is to climb ever upwards to reach the main roots of the Banyan tree to its source, where the riddle of existence is solved. But the paths to get there are many, beginning at any one of the countless leaves and branches spreading across the earth.

A Few Major Paths (Systems)

  1. 
Dharma/Yoga
    Dharma/Yoga
    An integrated system of implementary science aimed not only at exploring and describing existence, but also understanding, experiencing and living according to its true nature. Origin: India (Bharat)
  2. 
Hinduism
    Hinduism
    A system of beliefs and practices based on dharma/ yoga encompassing myriad paths to experiencing the true nature of existence. Origin: India (Bharat)
  3. 
Judaism
    Judaism
    A system of beliefs and practices aimed at living in accordance with God's laws. Origin: Middle East
  4. 
Buddhism
    Buddhism
    A system of beliefs and practices based on dharma/ yoga prescribing an 8-fold path to experiencing the true nature of existence. Origin: India (Bharat)
  5. 
Jainism
    Jainism
    A system of beliefs and practices based on dharma/ yoga emphasizing non-violence and restraint to enable experiencing the true nature of existence. Origin: India (Bharat)
  6. 
Christianity
    Christianity
    A system of beliefs and practices aimed at living in accordance with God's laws so as to be saved and rewarded by God. Origin: Middle East
  7. 
Islam
    Islam
    A system of beliefs and practices aimed at living in accordance with God's laws so as to be saved and rewarded by God. Origin: Middle East
  8. 
Sikhism
    Sikhism
    A system of beliefs and practices based on dharma/ yoga emphasizing integrity and valor to enable experiencing the true nature of existence. Origin: India (Bharat)
  9. 
Psychology
    Psychology
    Study of human behavior, mind, and cosciousness
  10. 
Economics/ Law
    Economics/ Law
    Study and regulation of human activities related to exchanging and utilizing resources
  11. 
Culture/ Wellbeing
    Culture/ Wellbeing
    The totality of knowledge, practices, and beliefs developed by a particular community to ensure their wellbeing
  12. 
Ecology
    Ecology
    A system of intricately inter-connected living beings and inanimate substances who depend on exchange of resources with each other to survive and prosper
  13. 
Technology
    Technology
    Material innovations that aid human beings in their various activities and materialism (knowledge based on sensory perception & extension)

Symbilution: A Novel Scaffold for Understanding Diversity

To enable us to understand and value each other's unique paths we have created an innovative scaffolding framework called Symbilution.

We encourage experts of diverse faith, cultural, knowledge, identity, and ancestral backgrounds to share the theoretical, historical, and practical framework of their unique paths (systems) by anchoring their descriptions to the scaffolding framework of Symbilution. 

By anchoring the description of each path to the common scaffolding framework of Symbilution outlined in the figure we can begin to discern and integrate the valuable problem-solving approaches of different paths (systems) in our common goal of achieving sustainable progress (ending suffering and increasing wellbeing).
Śramani Institute
The Śramani Institute is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit institution currently active in the United States and India. Our Mission is to generate and implement effective, long-term, sustainable, and equitable solutions to concertedly solve the 5 Major Human-Ecological Challenges facing humanity today: poverty, hunger & ill-health, environmental degradation, violence & disenfranchisement, and identity loss. 

The Śramani Institute synergistically solves these Challenges by promoting attitudes and behaviors (cultures) and Knowledge & Technologies (KT) that are rooted in ourselves and in nature. From our grassroots work over several years working with ancient and tribal communities we have learned that when individuals and communities are rooted in themselves and/or in the natural environments (ecosystems) they live in, they are remarkably innovative, peaceful, self-reliant, and enjoy a high overall Quality of Life.

Thus, an important part of the Śramani Institute's approach is to learn from diverse rooted – especially ancient and tribal – communities across the world, help them revitalize their cultures and Knowledge & Technologies (KT), and adapt these cultures and KT to rural and urban settings to enhance the wellbeing of a larger number of communities and ecosystems through Hybrid Knowledge & Technologies (HKT).

tapestory@sramani.org