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



“Further, O Mahamasti, the five categories are: Appearance, Name, Discrimination, Suchness, and Right Knowledge.

“O Mahamati, what is Appearance? Appearance is what is seen in colors, forms, figures, which are distinctive and not alike, –this is what is called Appearance.


“O Mahamati, depending upon this appearing of things, there arises Discrimination, saying that ‘this is a jar’, ‘this is a horse, a cow, a sheep, etc.,’ that ‘this is such and such’, ‘this is no other things’ –this, O Mahamati, is called Name.

“O Mahamati, depending upon these objects thus named, their characteristics are distinguished and made manifest, whereby such various names are set up as cow, sheep, horse, etc. This is called the Discriminating of mind and objects belonging to mind.

“O Mahamaati, when one surveys names and appearances even down to atoms, one never sees a single reality, all things are unreal; for they are due to the Discrimination stirred up in one’s deceiving mind.

“O Mahamati, when is known as Suchness is non-emptiness, exactness, ultimate end, self nature, self-substance, right seeing, –these are the characteristics of Suchness.

“By myself and the Bodhisattvas and [other] Buddhas who are Tathagatas, Arhats, and All-knonwing Ones, it is said that though names differ the sense is one.”

An English translation of an excerpt of Bodhiruci’s translation cited in, Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra, pp 26-28.