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Dec 06
Sakyong and Family
Sakyong Calls for Protecting the Earth

A Call to Contemplation and Action on Climate Change by Sakyong Mipham (republished from April 2009)

On April 19, 2009, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche offered the following teaching in support of Earth Day, and the work of the Touching the Earth working group of the Sakyong’s Council. We are featuring this teaching as part of our series of offerings to encourage the Shambhala community to sign the Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change

The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, would like to like to encourage everyone to read and sign the statement if they so wish, as it is a significant contribution to the discussion of Buddhist contemplation and action on environmental protection.

Our precious planet and the innumerable beings who dwell here face an unprecedented crisis. The escalating threat to the world’s environment and climate stems from a profound predicament that affects all humanity. We are ever more rapidly losing our connection with the sacred nature of our world. This tragedy affects us in so many ways, but at its heart, it is a crisis of the spirit. We are harming our planet and fellow beings because we are losing touch with the basic goodness of our own sacred being.

This disconnect from our primordial basic goodness is amplified by unparalleled technological and industrial capacity, dramatic population growth and the vast inequalities we witness everywhere in our world.

Disastrous as this situation is, it is still possible to change course. The Earth is calling to us for protection and for a return to basic sanity. We must all heed this call by adopting an approach that returns to a deep respect for our environment, and conserves our threatened resources.

We can take advantage of both traditional methods and innovative technological advances based on living in harmony with the fundamental intelligence of nature. But this global crisis cannot be transformed into a new way of living if we rely on the same attitudes and habits that brought us to this terrifying brink in the first place. To do that would merely reinforce, despite our good intentions, the degradation and inequality that are already so widespread.

This emergency calls for a complete transformation of how we live–a transformation of our underlying attitudes, our approach to human society and our relationship to planet Earth and all its inhabitants. My father, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the great Tibetan meditation master and founder of Shambhala, foresaw this turning point in human history. His words could not ring truer: “When human beings lose their connection to nature, to heaven and earth, then they do not know how to nurture their environment or how to rule their world … Healing our society goes hand in hand with healing our personal, elemental connection with the phenomenal world.”

In the Shambhala tradition is it said that it is precisely in dark times like these that the inherent wisdom of the universe makes itself felt. Now is the time to draw on the inspiration of humanity’s wisdom traditions. All remind us of the sacred oneness of life, the interdependence of all beings and the inexorable laws of cause and effect. These teachings could not be more relevant to our collective imperative: the creation of enlightened and sustainable societies.

Purple Flower Reflection. Photo courtesy of Joey Johannsen.

Purple Flower Reflection. Photo courtesy of Joey Johannsen.

I am delighted that, within the Buddhist world, there is increasingly deep reflection on how the wisdom of this particular tradition can shine light on this common goal. Now is the time for us to tap the power available to us from our diverse disciplines, cultures and societies to cultivate the dignity, confidence and fearlessness necessary to protect our Earth. By doing so, we can help to reconnect all humanity with its primordial basic goodness, transform our relationship to sacred world and be inspired to sane choices, compassionate leadership and wise activism.

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5 responses to “ Sakyong Calls for Protecting the Earth ”
  1. One of my favorite ways of re-connecting to the earth is by walking. Walking to the bus, walking to work, walking to the Shambhala Center. Walking with my own two feet on the earth.

    I have heard many people say we need to bring meditation to our everyday practices, such as mindfulness while driving, etc.

    I also think we need to bring our everyday practices to meditation. Less driving, more walking. Less constant motion, more sitting.

  2. Swami Sri Nabuji
    Dec 6, 2009

    It is a sad reality when one takes into consideration that the money spent on war in one day could clean six rivers, clean the trash out of every park that our children play in. It seems that compassion for the earth has been placed aside. I think daily on what is the world going to be like for my young son when he is in his mid fifties as I am today. The air already burns our eyes. Let us join together in a spiritual movement to ensure that our children may swim in clean waters and play with colorful butterflies as we did. As of now many species of bees are disappearing. When cross pollination ends so will the bulk of the world’s food supply. Too much power, too much greed, in the hands of few. We, however, the hands of many may raise our hands in prayer and make a difference.

  3. A quiet group of Shambhala green warriors have been engaged in developing and testing an after market device that lowers emissions 30 to 80% on cars and light trucks significantly as well as raising fuel economy for highway driving 20 to 30 %. The lab result for a 4 cylinder 2008 Nissan Versa came in at 40.87 MPG verses 32 mpg for EPA sticker mileage. We are actually getting closer to 45-47 mpg with this vehicle. We are seeing very similar results for 6 cylinder cars as well.
    We are currently testing units for diesel,natural gas and propane fuel. Initial results are just as note worthy. May all beings be happy and at their ease. Bob Cox

  4. A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change

    In the run-up to the crucial U.N. Climate Treaty Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, the Declaration that follows will present to the world’s media a unique spiritual view of climate change and our urgent responsibility to address the solutions. It emerged from the contributions of over 20 Buddhist teachers of all traditions to the book A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency. The Time to Act is Now was composed as a pan-Buddhist statement by Zen teacher Dr David Tetsuun Loy and senior Theravadin teacher Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi with scientific input from Dr John Stanley.

    The Dalai Lama was the first to sign this Declaration. We invite all concerned members of the international Buddhist community to study the document and add their voice by co-signing it at the end of this page: http://www.ecobuddhism.org/buddhist-declaration.php

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