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Author: Jillian_Johnson

Number of entries: 19
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://shambhalanetwork.org/members/Jillian_Johnson

Jan 27
Friday

Shambhala Touching the Earth Collective – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refresh, Repurpose, Redharma

Filed underCommunity Article

By Irene Woodard

This new feature will be part of a series of articles, investigating the dharma as a way to explore protecting the earth. This inaugural article was inspired by considering Atisha’s slogan, “Be grateful to everyone.”

From the Online Etymology Dictionary, the prefix “re” means “back, back from, back to the original place;” and also “again, anew, once more.” It conveys the notion of “undoing” or “backward.”

Protecting the earth requires us to reduce, reuse, recycle, refresh, repurpose… As Buddhists, we have the opportunity to reach into the treasury of teachings and select the jewel that might refresh our understanding of the teachings and provide a path to healing the earth, re-dharma…We are coming back again, to look at a teaching anew…

I was inspired to contemplate gratefulness and, being a Buddhist, I chose the slogan, Be grateful to everyone. In particular the word “to” jumped out. The “to” made it active. To everyone, invigorated the slogan as a pathway to action. Not only would I be grateful “for,” which had me sitting and contemplating, but “to” everyone, got me out of myself and expressing the gratefulness.

It suggested a stand-up-and-do-something attitude. So in regards to the earth, I was prompted to consider my communications with the earth, how “to” protect that which I loved. Both the people and the trees so to speak. Grateful to the water meant not letting it run and run in my sink… grateful to the earth meant holding a lhasang and making offerings of chants and juniper.

Chögyam Trungpa’s teachings speak of this slogan in the book Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness, in the section entitled Transformation of Bad Circumstances. The bad circumstances are that which provide us a path to awakening…  In this case, the bad circumstance is the plight of the planet.

“The idea of this particular teaching is actually to give our blood and flesh to others. If you want me, take me, possess me, kidnap me, control me–go ahead, do it. Take me, I am at your service. You could bounce on me, shit on me, cut me into pieces, or anything you want. Without your help, I would not have any way to work on my journey at all. That is a very, very powerful thing.”

When I read of a terrible situation of human-made pollution and massive excess I am inspired to action. I read of the glaciers melting and it inspires….I become curious about my own participation in the cause of it, and my dependence on fossil fuels.

In this section of the book, Chögyam Trungpa relates the famous story of Atisha’s tea boy.
“Atisha was invited to teach in Tibet, and he heard that the Tibetans were very kind, gentle, hospitable people. So he decided that he should take along with him one object of practice–his attendant, a Bengali servant who was short-tempered.” Atisha took him along so he could practice lojong (mind training).

So who are we grateful to?  Who or what helps us stay on the path? 
My brother asked me this question this year, how do I stay inspired to continue this work? And this was part of the answer. I am grateful to everyone. In that case, I was grateful to him for asking the question.

Please recycle this teaching.
Coming into the new year is a time of renewal.
Please join us in this practice, redharma
Consider the dharma and apply it to protect the earth.

Love,
Irene

P.S. When we say everyone, we mean all sentient beings and the rocks, the greenery, and so on…

Click here to listen to Irene’s Sunday Gathering podcast: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Redharma

*****

This post is an excerpt from the Shambhala Touching the Earth Collective January 2023 Newsletter. To read the complete newsletter please click here.

Author Archive


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no responses - Posted 12.19.22
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no responses - Posted 12.13.22
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Out of the Headlines and Into the Heart – HIGHLIGHT
no responses - Posted 12.07.22
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Social Action Work in Shambhala – HIGHLIGHT
no responses - Posted 11.22.22
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Fiona Woke Us Up
Fiona Woke Us Up – HIGHLIGHT
no responses - Posted 11.15.22
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Generosity as Path & Practice During Climate Change by Rebekka Henrikson – HIGHLIGHT
no responses - Posted 11.08.22
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Touching the Earth Collective: October 2022 Newsletter
Touching the Earth Collective: October 2022 Newsletter – HIGHLIGHT
no responses - Posted 10.04.22
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