A man smiling in front of weed plants.

Learning about Cannabis, Buddhism, and Spirituality with John Bayes, the Founder of Green Bodhi

John Bayes has been a key player in the cannabis industry in both Oregon and California for the last 20 years. His focus has been cultivation education in combination with high level Buddhist teachings which integrate intention into the cultivation practice. These practices along with sourcing the highest level of organic inputs combine to create the methodology we call “Intentional Horticulture.” John has also consulted at nearly every level in the cannabis industry, whether it be in cultivation, or at the State and National level with many politicians that champion the cannabis industry.

PositiveVibes Magazine: For the people who do not know you, John, please tell us about yourself.

My name’s John Bayes, I have been in the cannabis industry for quite a while. Basically, you know, been kind of in the industry for years, and then worked in a lot of legislation, rule-making processes of the state of Oregon. Been in organic cultivation for about, you know, two and a half decades now, so that has been my main focus. Other than that, just a normal guy trying to be happy, you know, a normal kind of thing.

PositiveVibes Magazine: When were you first exposed to cannabis, and really inspired you to get involved in the industry?

Well, I was first exposed to cannabis, I guess—I mean, the plants always called to me really, to be honest. Even when I was—I think I was five or six years old, there were these plants in someone’s backyard that grabbed my attention in Nebraska just, like, wafting over. So, me and a friend jumped a fence, ripped them out of the ground, took them back to my house, put them in a little blue swimming pool and filled it with water, and were just tromping around in there until my dad came out and lost it a little bit, seeing what was going on. This was in Nebraska, 1980-81, so it was a little different climate.

PositiveVibes Magazine: Tell me then about Green Bodhi, and what made you decide to start your own company—and then, did you really think it would grow as much as it did?

Well, Green Bodhi—the name was termed after I met my first teacher when I was twenty-eight or so. So, the “Green” basically represents the wisdom [of] plants, the power [of] plants, the entheogens that are going to evolve human consciousness, to some degree. And “Bodhi” basically means “enlightenment,” but if you break it down in Tibetan, it is [Jang Chub]. So, Jang means “purification of all defilements,” and Chub means “omniscient, of ultimate and relative reality simultaneously.” So basically, Green Bodhi represents the awareness and wisdom that is derived from the power [of] plants—essentially, the Path of Poisons.

PositiveVibes Magazine: What made you decide to actually start your own company?

This is my life, I guess a company is a representation of all aspects of my life to some degree. It was never really a choice to start a company. That is not how it worked for me.

I have taken this on as more of a revolutionary path, to some degree. To offer peace of mind to as many people as possible, to be able to share this type of insight and information with a large collective of people, so I am using this plant as more of a vehicle. Obviously, we are working together more symbiotically than me using anything, so it is more like that. As a business, we all have to survive, and make money, so it was kind of a side—an afterthought, more than anything.

To utilize what we have to share this type of outlook, more as an example to the industry—because it is kind of slim and few and far between—and people that are actually doing things for philanthropic and altruistic intention versus greed and self-centered views.

PositiveVibes Magazine: People still see cannabis as controversial; some people are not convinced. What do you say to that—or what do you say are the huge positive benefits of using cannabis?

I mean, you cannot really compare what the status quo is of humanity, really, to what is good or bad. I mean, most humans are unhealthy, eat corn syrup, they do not even have any understanding of how their vehicle works. They are not healthy. They are not healthy mentally or physically. So, my perspective honestly is that usually the more edgy kind of topics in humanity are something that is going to be more controversial, or the things that are going to be the things to enlighten or stimulate change and growth. Humanity’s stuck in a comfort zone right now that is pretty much spoiling the planet to such a degree that we are not ever going to come back from it until a majority of humans are extinct, so it is just a reality we are all facing right now. No matter what anyone wants to sell some pipe dream of this or that. The truth is, we ruined our vehicle, and the vehicle’s going to take care of itself, but that means it is going to create conditions to put the parasite in check, to some degree. You spoil your home, you burn it down, and you have nowhere to live anymore, so…

PositiveVibes Magazine: Why do you think we should focus on positivity and you think cannabis will help people be more positive?

Well, for sure it can, but some people take it differently. A lot of people think what they are doing is positive for their self, but actually it is a poison. What this plant, in particular—it creates a type of peace of mind and balance in your endocannabinoid system that is going to—so basically, they found that the cannabinoid molecule fits into the same receptor as oxytocin, or the endocannabinoid receptor system. So, if something is going to induce a similar feeling as what is created when love is experienced, I mean, that is pretty much a no-brainer. A lot of people maybe will experience it in different types of aspects through their own state of being, whether it be ignorant or aware. So that is going to have some type of positioning in how they are going to experience things.

A lot of people experience this plant—“Oh, I had anxiety!” “I had this!” Well, maybe if you had not lived such a life that you live, you would not have that type of anxiety when you focus critically on your actions, and your thought patterns, and who you actually are. And a lot of people, I think, the plant puts them into a state where they have not actually done that introspection, to such a degree, of their mortality, of their being, of their actions, of who they actually are, and this plant will show you that. So, a lot of people will have a big fear response because they thought they were someone they are not, which is pretty much how most humans live their daily lives, so it is no surprise.

PositiveVibes Magazine: What advice do you have to people who are struggling to start a business, or are just having a hard time doing that? What do you say to that?

Work harder. Be more aware. I mean, if you are struggling, it is because you are not working hard enough, and you are not seeing the big picture clearly. And you are getting caught into more of your myopic view of your depressions and your lack thereof. Inaction—then, just putting all your energy into action and into making it happen. People that struggle—It is a mindset.

You can do it in a struggling mindset, or you can do it in an accomplishment mindset, so it is based off of your mindset. People that struggle usually struggle with everything. Why? Well, from a Buddhist standpoint it is called ignorance, a lack of knowing, so you do not know the big picture and the state of conditions of reality, to such a degree to where you are suffering. It is really simple.

If you [knew the conditions and you understand reality well], the suffering nature’s much lower, because you are not creating the conditions to suffer. You are not creating the illusion to trick the ignorant mind into having a good or bad state.

PositiveVibes Magazine: Since you did bring up Buddha, what is your experience with Buddhism and what exactly is it, for people who do not know?

My experience with Buddhism—I have been studying and practicing for about 20 years. For the last ten, I have been rigorously trained through Namgyal Monastery, which is His Holiness, the Dalai Lama’s personal monastery. Prior to that, I followed His Holiness, the Dalai Lama for five-eight years prior, so I have been following His Holiness, the Dalai Lama for about seventeen, eighteen years now. Prior to that, I did quite a bit of preliminary study and practice and it has just been an evolution process since then, of training, studying, and memorization. I do not really have any realization.

PositiveVibes Magazine: You mentioned the Dalai Lama. Would you consider that person your role model? Did you have any role models or mentors growing up?

For sure, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama’s a role model, for the whole entire planet. Not just me. When you have every spiritual leader of every single religion that will bow to you, you are doing something right. So, for sure he is a role model. He is a role model for this whole planet. I think if people acted more altruistically in their intentions, we would not be in this state we are. But since most humans on Earth work off desire, attachment, greed, and hatred, here we are. We get to experience the collective condition of humanity. That greed, self-centeredness, ignorance has been the main focus for pretty much a century, and now we are going to experience what that is like.

PositiveVibes Magazine: Are there any upcoming and exciting projects you are working on?

I am always working on exciting things, good things. Breeding projects and got a lot of stuff coming in line. Got an organic soil collaboration that I am doing with a really famous organics person.

PositiveVibes Magazine: Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share?

With everything right now, we really got to balance and focus on what our intention is. Seems like most people right now, in this day and age, are focused on serving themselves and their own view and their own thoughts of how things are instead of critically analyzing that. Critically analyzing your intention, who you are, your action, what you are bringing to the world, what you are bringing to the beings around you, what your impact is. And, really, to analyze that critically, to really judge yourself by who you are versus who you think you are. They are totally different.

Just looking at the state of the world right now and how we can help instead of just, playing social media, thinking of a post or who is going to do something. Really getting out there and getting into action and helping relieve the suffering of what is going on, meaning the collective condition of humanity and what we have done here. And that is really all up to us. We have the ability and choice to make a change, or we do not. And that is all based off of awareness or being ignorant to the bigger picture and to the state of the conditioned self. We start to analyze all these things very clearly in a more unbiased way. We will see what we have done, and we will see what we can do to change it. Focusing on politics, focusing on things that we have no [change].

There is nothing we can do about COVID? Nothing any one person can do about a disease like that. So why put so much energy into what others are doing or not doing? Why not put more energy into staying healthy, staying clean, and being aware? Making aware actions of health for yourself and others around. It is really interesting. Most humans want to put the onus of the problem outside on someone else, instead of really analyzing their input and their play they have with it. And I think if people would do that, very critically, and do that in an honest way, a lot of change could happen. It is just that it is really hard for people to separate their self from their view, and then make action and change to evolve towards helping others, cause most people are more interested in helping their self than others, sadly. That is what this system—the entire global consumerism system has created.

Interview by Zane Landin

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