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Clodagh Gray reports on the “Earth Evening: Practicing for the Planet” Young Buddhist Group meeting which looked at some of the big challenges of our time and how we can respond together as a Sangha to these issues:-
On Friday the 26th of June, coming towards the close of BAM, the Young Buddhist Group congregated in the DBC for a very special theme ‘Practicing for the Planet.’ As usual the atmosphere in the Centre on the Friday evening was warm and full of Metta, however there was an extra special glow as we sat in candle light in an effort to conserve energy.
Kasey kicked off the evening and led a beautiful Metta Bhavana with a slight twist where we brought ourselves, our friend, the neutral person, the difficult and the rest of the world to mind in to the future tense. This slight alteration to the practice was really effective in forcing us to think past the here and now in terms of the environment and anticipating the future needs of all living beings and the planet’s ability to meet these needs. It reminded us that, although we should be mindful and focus on the present moment, we also need to remember the teaching of Karma and that all our actions have consequences, both positive and negative.
Lisa then gave a thought provoking talk around the importance of myth in Buddhism and the inspiration we can draw from myth when thinking about sustainability issues. We discussed how we tend to gloss over the mythical aspects of Buddhism especially in the West as we have a tendency to want to rationalize the world we live in. We might tend to gloss over certain part of suttas like the Dhammacakkappavattana sutta (where the Buddha sets the Wheel of the Dharma in motion) that don’t fit into our rational world view. However myth does have a crucial role to play in our practice as it inspires us to go beyond ourselves, beyond the mind, beyond the physical plane to the transcendental. This going beyond our current reality and experience is crucial if we are to creatively find new ways of sustaining our planet for the generations of all beings to come.
As always we had our tea break with lots of lovely chats and Metta and discussed how we were finding our personal action commitment for BAM. What was really lovely to hear was, instead of hearing the effort people were putting in and the sacrifices they were making, everyone naturally discussed how much they had gained personally for leading a more altruistic life. To remind ourselves to use only what we need we made sure to only boil as much water as we needed for the amount of people in the room. Again this simple action, if carried out by more and more people on the planet, would have a resounding positive effect on our natural resources.
Kevin the closed off the evening with a group discussion on what would each of our ideal worlds look like. Again we were reminded here that the concept of the imagination is important when dealing with sustainability. We must be able to imagine what our utopia will be before it can be. By focusing our minds on a positive picture of our planet’s future and taking steps collectively to make the change we can see the change required is in our hands and starts with ourselves, each and every one of us has the power and capability of helping to save our planet and it starts within our own being. How inspiring!
‘What you think you become,
What you feel you attract
What you imagine you create’
~ The Buddha