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Lions Roar : September 2008
50 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 what is happening in us and around us. If what’s happening inside us is despair, we have to recognize that and act right away. We may not want to confront that mental formation, but it is a reality and we have to recognize it in order to transform it. We do not have to sink into despair about global warm- ing; we can act. If we just sign a petition and forget about it, obviously nothing is going to change. Urgent action must be taken at the individual and the collective levels. We all have a great desire to be able to live in peace and environmental sustainability. What most of us don’t yet have are concrete ways of making our commitment to sustainable living a real- ity in our daily lives. We haven’t organized ourselves. We can hardly blame our leaders for the chemicals that pollute our drinking water, for the violence in our neighborhoods, for the wars that destroy so many lives. It is time for each of us to wake up and take action in our own lives. Violence, corruption, abuse of power, and self-destruc- tion are happening all around us, even in the community of leaders, both spiritual and social. We all know that the laws of our country don’t have enough strength to manage corruption, superstition, and cruelty. Only faith, determina- tion, awakening, and a big dream can create an energy strong enough to help our society rise above and go to the shore of peace and hope. Buddhism is the strongest form of humanism we have. It came to life so we could learn to live with responsibility, com- passion, and loving-kindness. Every Buddhist practitioner should be a protector of the environment. We have the power to decide the destiny of our planet. If we awaken to our true situ- ation, there will be a collective change in our consciousness. We have to do something to wake people up. We have to help the Buddha wake up the people who are living in a dream. Yet everything, even the Buddha, is always changing and evolving. Thanks to our practice of looking deeply, we real- ize that the sufferings of our time are different from those of the time of Siddhartha, and so the methods of practice should also be different. That is why the Buddha inside of us also should evolve in many ways, so that the Buddha can be relevant to our time. The Buddha of our time can use a telephone, even a cell phone, but he is free from that cell phone. The Buddha of our time knows how to help prevent ecological damage and global warming; he will not destroy the beauty of the planet or make us waste all our time competing with each other. The Buddha of our time wants to offer the world a global ethic, so that everyone can agree on a good path to follow. He wants to restore harmony, cultivate brotherhood and sister- hood, protect all of the species of the planet, prevent defores- tation, and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. As you are the continuation of the Buddha, you should help him offer the world a path that can prevent the destruc- tion of the ecosystem, one that can reduce the amount of violence and despair. It would be very kind of you to help the Buddha continue to realize what he began 2,600 years ago. Our planet Earth has a variety of life, and each species de- pends on other species in order to be able to manifest and to continue. We are not only outside of each other but we are inside of each other. It is very important to hold the Earth in our arms, in our heart, to preserve the beautiful planet and to protect all species. The Lotus Sutra mentions the name of a special bodhisattva: Dharanimdhara, or Earth Holder, some- one who preserves and protects the earth. Earth Holder is the energy that is holding us together as an organism. She is a kind of engineer or architect whose task is to create space for us to live in, to build bridges for us to cross from one side to the other, to construct roads so that we can go to the people we love. Her task is to further communication between human beings and other species and to protect the Earth and the environment. It is said that when the Buddha tried to visit his mother, Mahamaya, it was Dharanimdhara who built the road on which the Buddha traveled. Although the Earth Holder bodhisattva is mentioned in the Lotus Sutra, there is not a chapter devoted entirely to her. We should rec- ognize this bodhisattva in order to collaborate with her. We should all help to create a new chapter for her, because Earth Holder is so desperately needed in this era of globalization. When you contemplate an orange, you see that everything in the orange participates in making up the orange. Not only the sections of the orange belong to the orange; the skin and the seeds of the orange are also parts of the orange. This is what we call the universal aspect of the orange. Everything in the orange is the orange, but the skin remains the skin, the seed remains the seed, the section of the orange remains Mindful consumption is the way to heal us and to heal the world. As a spiritual family and a human family, we can all help avert global warming by following this practice. SEPT 48-55.indd 50 SEPT 48-55.indd 50 7/3/08 1:31:27 PM 7/3/08 1:31:27 PM