The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Several years ago I visited a Tibetan meditation center in the great Washington, D.C. area with a group of college students.  The center is well established and conducts ongoing ceremonies, blessings and empowerments in the Drikung Kagyu tradition.  
We chanted the Heart Sutra and sat meditation.  Afterward, we were encouraged to ask questions.  
One student asked what sort of action Buddhists took  to protect our environment, and if a focus on ecology was part of the practice.  I thought it was a great question, but as it was answered, I was disappointed that the answer wasn't as skillful as it could have been.
Khenmo explained that from a Tibetan Buddhist point of view, concern for the environment and action to preserve our physical world wasn't a specific practice or focus, that the dharma, if followed as Shakyamuni taught, would naturally conserve and protect an endangered planet.  But, no, this wasn't something many Tibetan Buddhists focused upon.
While I understand her answer, I still consider where Upaya might have inspired this group of young people to take greater responsibility and action in a situation of peril--our planet is in a state of extreme stress!
This is no longer a point of debate, but a stark fact!
And those of us who recognize the delicate, sublime interconnectedness of all things, regardless of whether we are Buddhists or not, recognize a place to practice compassionate action and awareness.  Our very existence as a human race depends on it.
For young people, those who will inherit the past generation's squandering and destruction of animal habitat, natural and human resources, what better place to pour one's energy and love than into protecting the environment!
Indeed, this may very well be the most important compassionate action we can take in this century, otherwise, we may not have a planet on which to practice being human.  The Pure Land is here, now, in this very moment, on this very patch of Earth.
I've just found a new website, created for Buddhist ecologists, and for all of us who share a common concern.  Please take a moment to check it out!  There is a lot of information here, and it supplies a wonderful jumping off point for any of us who seek further involvement.  Become a frog and jump off the lilly pad!

Namu amida Butsu!

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