earth, a closed or open system


After reading the below except from Thich Nhat Hanh’s Being Peace,

“…The human species is a very young species–we appeared on the Earth only recently. Before that, we were rock, we were gas, we were minerals, we were single-celled beings. We were plants, we were trees, and now we have become humans…”

I found myself pondering, “is life today the outcome of a recycling process of matter within a closed system?”

In a quick Goggle search (The earth a closed system) I found OERu, an amazing open educational site which offers a course, The Inspiring Challenge of Sustainable Development.  One of the lesson plans, CSF101, notes:

The Earth is a closed system for matter

The Earth is made up of chemical elements – think of the periodic table. That is a list of all basic elemental materials on our planet. Because of gravity, matter (comprising all solids, liquids and gases) does not leave the system. It is a closed box. And, the laws of thermodynamics, long agreed by scientists, tell us that it’s impossible to destroy matter. So the chemical matter we have on Earth will always be here. The important question is, how are those chemicals organised?

The Earth is an open system for energy

It is accepted science that the Earth is an open system for energy. Energy radiates into the Earth’s system, mainly from the sun. Energy is then radiated back into space from the Earth, with the flows being regulated by the Earth’s atmosphere and ozone layer. This delicate balanced transfer of energy maintains the surface temperature at a level that is suited to the forms of life that have evolved and currently exist.

While the course CSF101’s discussion centers on global warming and climate change it seems to correspond with Thich Nhat Hanh’s writings that at one time I was a tree, a rain drop, a cloud, a dandelion.

Today, a participant in Debbie’s Six Word Saturday.

dandelion project

“Bodhi means being awake, and satttva means a living being, so bodhisattva means an awakened being.  All of us are sometimes bodhisattvas, and sometimes not.


“Understanding is like water flowing in a stream. Wisdom and knowledge are solid and can block our understanding. In Buddhism, knowledge is regarded as an obstacle for understanding. If we take something to be the truth, we may cling to it so much that even if the truth comes and knocks at our door, we won’t want to let it in.”

Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of Understanding

Alphabet with a twist: ap

Is the water bottle an apparition?


The CDC notes that since plain drinking water has zero calories, it helps with managing body weight and, when substituted for sugar drinks, it reduces caloric intake. Water prevents dehydration, a condition that can bring about unclear thinking, mood changes, overheating, constipation, and kidney stones.

So…the appearance of water bottles within daily activities has me wonder if during the years when there were no marketed water bottles were most children impacted by various levels of  dehydration?   Why this question…because as I reflect back to my childhood, I cannot recall drinking water other than an occasional water foundation sip and a summer water hose gulp.

Koolaid, yes.  Water, no.

Image submitted in response to Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge


hungry ghosts


“,,,when we offer food to the hungry ghost, the ceremony always begins with a dharani for the hungry ghost to help increase the size of their throats so that they can receive our offerings. In classical Buddhist literature, hungry ghosts are described as having a big belly but a very tiny throat–so even though they are always very hungry they are never able to take in enough nourishment. There are many kinds of hungry ghosts that need our help to transform their suffering. They are hungry for love and understanding but because they are so suspicious, because their hearts are not open enough, they cannot receive our love and compassion.

“All the hungry ghost bear great injustices in themselves and that is why they have become hungry ghosts. Many of us are victims of injustice, and if there is no compassion and understanding there is no way we can undo the knot of injustice within ourselves and become free. We still continue to suffer if no one can help us undo the knot of injustice in our heart.
“There are so many hungry ghosts in the world. Many of them are caught in their situation and have no opportunity to experience the kind of safe, calm, stable space that will allow them to get in touch with what is nourishing and healing…they will be hungry ghosts all their lives, wandering aimlessly in suffering, destroying themselves physically and mentally.

“Hungry ghosts are drive by the habit energy in themselves. They may want to tear up the new roots, they may not be able to feel peace, they may not be capable of establishing themselves in the here and now. …it is important for us to become aware of the habit energy in ourselves. It is always pushing us to tear up our roots, to play the role of a wandering soul, a hungry ghost. We can become so used to being a hungry ghost that staying in one place becomes very difficult.  So we practice mindful breathing and recognize that the habit energy of being a hungry ghost is still very strong in us.


“All of us who are the friends of the Earth-Store Bodhisattva must pool our ideas and energies to help the many hungry ghosts in our family, community, and society…

~Thich Nhat Hanh, Opening the Heart of the Cosmos

The images within this posting were drawn from the internet and reflect historical representations of hungry ghosts.