Dear Beloved Mother Earth and Father Sun, Dear Thay, Dear Sangha
Our Teacher has been showing us how to wake up as responsible children of the Earth for a long time. In the 70’s Thay attended environmental conferences in the West. He reminds us that the Buddha’s teaching in TheDiamond That Cuts Through Illusion, which invites us to let go of notions of a self, of humans, of living beings, and of a life span, is the first text on deep ecology. In our spiritual practice we have grown up with Thay’s metaphors of garbage and rose, mud and lotus; we are learning to drink our cloud and to transform our suffering instead of covering it up with consumption. On the US Tour of 2007, Thay shared about the impermanence of our civilization, that it might already be too late, but that if we do not get caught in denial, fear or despair, we can live and act peacefully in a way that can help ameliorate the situation of the Earth and coming generations. The book The World We Have appeared. A couple of years ago a beautiful essay manifested: Love Letter to Mother Earth, which grew into the recent book: Love Letter to the Earth.
In the last several years many initiatives have been taken in our wider community. Earth Holding Practices, simplicity circles, vegan cooking, solar panels, car free days and many more have been offered by our fourfold Order of Interbeing Sangha across the world. More recently it seems that many seeds of aspiration to engage our practice in climate change issues have emerged: OI response to climate change, Earth Holding Here & Now blog, Earth Protection weekend at Deer Park, many OI Dharma Teachers in the North America Dharma Teacher Sangha aspire to form a committee on the topic, the Mindfulness Bell issue this fall on the theme of climate change and on and on…
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Bill McKibben and 350.org announcing their march on New York and the UN on September 20-21. I have been impressed with the clarity and skill of communicating information and building community that they have shown. Their intention is to offer the people’s voice as world leaders gather at the UN for conversations on climate change. Spiritual elders including Thay have been invited to write statements in order for these conversations to have a deeper spiritual component. In my heart the yearning to support these efforts is manifesting. I know that the Wake Up movement across the world is planning flashmob meditations on International Peace Day, September 21. Several Buddhist traditions are coming together for the People’s Climate Train to support the march. I aspire to fast that week and to participate in a peaceful flashmob meditation that is being organized in Oceanside. I know that our Sangha has a lot to offer this cause, especially through our insight of interbeing, our peaceful togetherness, and our capacity to listen and speak without blaming or criticizing.
As I shared some of these thoughts with Brother Fulfillment at Blue Cliff Monastery he clearly stated: This is the Time! So let us live in the present and come together as a fourfold community, guided by the teachings of Thay, to offer our support to the Earth, our world leaders, and other caring people on September 20–21. Visit the links below and consider what action you can take on September 20-21 to express your deepest spiritual practice and love of Mother Earth. Encourage others in your local Sangha to do the same. Then, engage. This is the time!
Lotuses to you Bodhisattvas in engaged and loving action
A cell in the Sangha body – Brother Protection
One Earth Sangha, People’s Climate March: http://www.oneearthsangha.org/articles/the-peoples-climate-march/