Saturday, April 22, 2006

Today is Earth Day -- Did you remember?

Today is Earth Day, a day to consider and commemorate our fair -- and frail -- planet. The first Earth Day was in 1970, certainly a time of growing awareness of the toll human civilization has taken on the Earth. While we have made some positive strides in environmental protection since then, the overwhelming trend has been a dismal one.

It's very easy for a certain kind of emotional fatigue to set in. When the problems seem so insurmountable, so unending, even the most concerned of citizens goes numb. So instead of urging you to do one more thing today to save the planet, instead just try to be conscious of your connection to the Earth and your connections to everyone and everything that inhabits it. No judgments, no worries, just spend a day in awareness.

Last Fall (here and here), I posted the first 6 lines of the Metta Sutta, a Pali Buddhist scripture. In honor of Mother Earth, I offer the rest of the piece as a prayer for a better world:

May all beings be happy.

May they be joyous and live in safety.

All living beings, whether weak or strong, in high or middle or low realms of existence, small or great, visible or invisible, near or far, born or to be born, may all beings be happy.

Let no one deceive another, nor despise any being in any state; let none by anger or hatred wish harm to another.

Even as a mother at the risk of her life watches over and protects her only child, so with a boundless mind should one cherish all living things, suffusing love over the entire world, above, below and all around without limit; so let one cultivate an infinite good will toward the whole world.

Standing or walking, sitting or lying down, during all one's waking hours let one cherish the thought that this way of living is the best in the world.

Abandoning vain discussion, having a clear vision, freed from sense appetites, one who is made perfect will never again know rebirth in the cycle of creation of suffering for ourselves or for others.

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