Earth Initiative

Taking Care of Our Hemlocks

· Earth Initiative · , , , , , ,

Hemlock trees native to the Monastery region of the northeast have been greatly threatened by an invasive insect known as HWA (Hemlock Wooly Adelgid). Sangha members in the MRO Earth Initiative’s “citizen science” project have been assessing and monitoring HWA on the Monastery property this past year and offer this update on protecting our trees.

Read more

Book Review: Not Hearing the Wood Thrush

· Creative Expression, Earth Initiative, Reviews · , , , , , ,

Oh my gosh! How did the high privilege ever come to me to review this book? I am lost in it and continually astonished.

Read more
photo by Nour C.

A Great Challenge

· Earth Initiative, Essays, Teachings · , , , , , , , , ,

by Thanissara

In Zen practice, the journey of awakening is placed within the meta­phor of ascending the mountain and returning to the marketplace with bliss­ bestowing hands. While enlightenment was the culmination of Siddhar­tha’s search, it was also the beginning of another journey. His insight still had to be honed, tested, and communicated to the people around him. He didn’t ascend to heaven, or float away in nibbanic bliss, or have a jeweled crown placed on his head to be adored forevermore. This is a childish view, which some people attempt to live, manipulating the world and others to accommodate their spiritual narcissism and inflation, usually with dubious results. After awakening, even in small ways, we have the challenging task of living and demonstrating our understanding within the world. This includes the world of relationship, money, livelihood, including what we say and do, and more important, the consciousness we do it from. The other side of insight and the clarity we hone in meditation is the rather messy business of human life.

Read more

There’s No App For That

· Earth Initiative, Essays · , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Technology and Morality in the Age of Climate Change, Overpopulation, and Biodiversity Loss

by Richard Heinberg

Technology has grown with us, side by side, since the dawn of human society. Each time that we’ve turned to technology to solve a problem or make us more comfortable, we’ve been granted a solution. But it turns out that all of the gifts technology has bestowed on us have come with costs. And now we are facing some of our biggest challenges: climate change, overpopulation, and biodiversity loss. Naturally, we’ve turned to our longtime friend and ally—technology—to get us out of this mess. But are we asking too much this time?

Read more
Photo by Matthew

This Page Ripped Out and Rolled into a Ball

· Creative Expression, Earth Initiative, Essays · , , , , , , ,

by Brendan Constantine


A rose by any other name     could be Miguel     or Tiffany     Could be

David or Vashti     Why not Aya      which means beautiful flower    but

also verse and miracle     and a bird     that flies away quickly    You see

where this is going       That is     you could look at a rose      and call it

You See Where This Is Going     or I Knew This Would Happen     or even

Why Wasn’t I Told      I’m told of a man      who does portraits for money

on the beach      He paints them with one arm     the other he left behind

in a war      and so he tucks a rose into his cuff      always yellow     and people

stare at it      pinned to his shoulder      while he works      Call the rose

Panos       because I think that’s his name      or call it      A Chair By The Sea

Point from the window     to the garden     and say    Look a bed

of Painter’s Hands     And this is a good place     to remember the rose

already has many names     because     language is old and can’t agree

with itself      In Albania you say Trëndafil      In Somalia say Kacay

In American poetry      it’s the flower you must never name     And now

you see where this is going      out the window      across water

to a rose shaped island      that can’t exist      but you’re counting on

to be there     unmapped       unmentioned till now     The green place

you imagine hiding      when the world finds out     you’re not

who you’ve said


Copyright © 2018 by Brendan Constantine. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 25, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Read more
Photo by Matthew

The Language of Trees

· Earth Initiative, Essays · , , , , , ,

by Peter Wohlleben

According to the dictionary definition, language is what people use when we talk to each other. Looked at this way, we are the only beings who can use language, because the concept is limited to our species. But wouldn’t it be interesting to know whether trees can also talk to each other? But how? They definitely don’t produce sounds, so there’s nothing we can hear. Branches creak as they rub against one another and leaves rustle, but these sounds are caused by the wind and the tree has no control over them. Trees, it turns out, have a completely different way of communicating: they use scent.

Read more
Photo by Victoria Villalobos

Restoration

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Earth Initiative, Essays · , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Robin Wall Kimmerer


summer day on the banks of the Mohawk River:

Én:skat tékeni, áhsen. Bend and pull, bend and pull. Kaié:ri, wisk, iá:ia’k, tsiá:ta, she calls to her granddaughter, standing waist deep in the grass. Her bundle grows thicker with every stoop of her back. She straightens up, rubs the small of her back, and tilts her head up to the blue summer sky, her black braid swinging in the arch of her back. Bank swallows twitter over the river. The breeze off the water sets the grasses waving and carries the fragrance of sweetgrass that rises from her footsteps.

Read more

Monastery Store launches new line of mountain-made wares

· Creative Expression, Earth Initiative, Sangha News · , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today, the Monastery Store takes a big step in increasing its offerings of sangha-made items. For several years we’ve featured bird house gourds, incense holders, beeswax candles and of course honey from our own hives. All of these products and more have celebrated age-old traditions of handcraft using resources cultivated and harvested from our own grounds. As you’ll see and read below, a number of these endeavors have been fermenting and evolving behind the scenes and we’re very excited to now share them with the wider world. (For now, most of these items will only be available at our in-person store, but we’ll expand to offering them online as quantities become available.)

Read more

Dharma Action Day

· Beyond Fear of Differences, Earth Initiative, Sangha News · , , , , , , ,

On Sunday, January 28, 2018 over 75 sangha members gathered to share and investigate ways to actively and intentionally channel our collective concern for our world into beneficial action. 

Read more

Earth Day

· Earth Initiative, Sangha News ·

ZMM Hosts the 2017 Woodstock Interfaith Earth Day

Happy Earth Day.

This week, Zen Mountain Monastery welcomed the Woodstock Interfaith Council and community members to celebrate a common vision of respect and identification with the Earth. The Council is a volunteer body of clergy and leaders of spiritual communities in the greater Woodstock region who meet regularly to discuss a range of issues, from administrative challenges to theological points of interest.

Read more