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Lions Roar : September 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2008 49 Thich Nhat Hanh with children at Plum Village, France PHOTOSCOURTESYOFTHEVIETNAMESEPLUMVILLAGEWEBSITE/WWW.LANGMAI.ORG blossoming of one orchid in our garden. But today we can no longer afford these things. We say that time is money. We have created a society in which the rich become richer and the poor become poorer, and in which we are so caught up in our own immediate problems that we cannot afford to be aware of what is going on with the rest of the human family or our planet Earth. In my mind I see a group of chickens in a cage disputing over some seeds of grain, unaware that in a few hours they will be killed. The Chinese, the Indians, and the Vietnamese are still dreaming the “American dream,” as if that dream were the ultimate goal of mankind—everyone has to have a car of their own, a bank account, a cell phone, a television set. In twenty-five years the population of China will be 1.5 billion people, and if each of them wants to drive their own private car, China will need 99 million barrels of oil every day. But world production today is only 84 million barrels per day, so the American dream is not possible for the Chinese, nor the Indians or the Vietnamese. The American dream is no longer possible for the Americans. We cannot continue to live like this. It is not a sustainable economy. We have to have another dream: the dream of brother- hood and sisterhood, of loving-kindness and compassion and that dream is possible right here and now. We have the dharma; we have the means; we have enough wisdom to be able to live this dream. Mindfulness is at the heart of awak- ening, of enlightenment. We practice breathing to be able to be there in the present moment, so that we can recognize SEPT 48-55.indd 49 SEPT 48-55.indd 49 7/3/08 1:31:27 PM 7/3/08 1:31:27 PM