Sangha Reflections: On Earth Medicine

· Earth Initiative, Reflections · ,

Increasingly these days I notice how a play of light, a sound, a smell can send me back in time. I live in the same town I grew up in. During Ango this spring I was struck, during one of these moments when the feeling was particularly intense, by the realization that this place is, in a very real way, a part of me.

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Photo by Partha Chowdhury

Arousing the Aspiration for the Unsurpassable

· Teachings · ,

by Eihei Dogen, translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi

The high ancestor of India [Shakyamuni Buddha] said, “The Snow Mountains [the Himalayas] are like great nirvana.”

Know that this is a precise analogy, intimate and direct. To take up the Snow Mountains is to speak of the Snow Mountains. To take up great nirvana is to speak of great nirvana.

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Photo by Tambako The Jaguar

The Most Amazing Challenge

· Earth Initiative · ,

by Paul Hawken

The evening before I gave the commencement speech, I threw the original away. That night, at a dinner given for those receiving honorary degrees, I got the distinct impression that some of the trustees and officials were not happy about my being the commencement speaker. I was introduced as Paul “Hawker,” and someone read a desultory bio. I had a crisis of confidence and wondered if I should even be there. I decided that my mandate was to talk to the eight hundred young people who were graduating the next day, not to try to please the bishops and faculty and alumni.

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Photo by Bureau of Land Management

An American Land Ethic

· Earth Initiative · ,

by N. Scott Momaday

One night a strange thing happened. I had written the greater part of The Way to Rainy Mountain—all of it, in fact, except the epilogue. I had set down the last of the old Kiowa tales, and I had composed both the historical and the autobiographical commentaries for it. I had the sense of being out of breath, of having said what it was in me to say on that subject. The manuscript lay before me in the bright light, small, to be sure, but complete; or nearly so. I had written the second of the two poems in which that book is framed. I had uttered the last word, as it were. And yet a whole, penultimate piece was missing. I began once again to write:

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Photo by Shinji Hoffman

Orchard Revival

· Earth Initiative, Essays · ,

by Linda Shinji Hoffman

An apple tree was concerned
about a late frost and losing its gifts
that would help feed a poor family.

Can’t the clouds be generous with what falls from them?
Can’t the sun ration itself with precision?

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A Daring Compassion

· Earth Initiative, Editorial, Essays · ,

by Suzanne Taikyo Gilman, Mountain Record Editor

The news on environmental activism rarely makes headlines, despite some prominent demonstrations and the groundswell of change they can lead to. Occasionally there are clashes or even violence against those who continue working, courageously, to protect and defend. Communities are torn apart, resources are depleted, our human greed and destruction takes its toll. I feel anger, a familiar despair. When facing these feelings of discouragement, or simply not knowing what to do, how is it that being on the path and having a spiritual practice can sustain us?

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Photo by totaledcou

Build a True Sanctuary

· Teachings · ,

by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

The World-Honored One Points to the Ground
Book of Serenity, Case 4
Listen to this talk

As soon as a single mote of dust arises, the whole earth is contained therein; with a single horse and a single lance, the land’s extended. Who is this person who can be master in any place and meet the source in everything?

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What We’re Fighting For Now Is Each Other

· Earth Initiative, Reviews · ,

Media Review
What We’re Fighting For Now Is Each Other: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Climate Justice

By Wen Stephenson
Beacon Press, 2015

what we re fighting for now is each otherWen Stephenson shines a bright light on the emerging climate-justice movement in his new book What We’re Fighting for Now is Each Other. He weaves together the stories and voices of people who, having grasped the reality of climate change and its implications, are coming together in action. He integrates his passionate personal journey with quotes drawn from his conversations with more than a hundred people involved in the struggle for climate justice.

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The Intelligent Heart

· Reviews · ,

Media Review
The Intelligent Heart: A Guide to the Compassionate Life

By Dzigar Kongtrul, Rinpoche
Shambhala Publications 2016

the intelligent heartThe transformative practice of tonglen, described as “the exchange of self and other,” is the subject of this book. The author, a contemporary teacher in the west with deep roots in Tibetian monastic training, takes us in a very systematic fashion through a series of lojong (mind transformation) teachings designed to help us diminish our own sense of self importance and shift towards extending bodhicitta compassion to others.

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