“Dear Mother Earth,
The Human Species is but one of your many children. Unfortunately, many of us have been blinded by greed, pride, and delusion, and only a few of us have been able to recognize you as our mother. Not realizing this, we have done you great harm, compromising both your health and your beauty. Our deluded minds push us to exploit you and create more and more discord, putting you and all your forms of life under stress and strain. Looking deeply, we also recognize the you have enough patience, endurance and energy to embrace and transform all the damage we have caused, even if it takes you hundreds of millions of years.
…There are times when we have not loved you enough; times when we have forgotten your true nature; and times when we have discriminated and treated you as something other than ourselves. There have even been times the, through ignorance and unskillfulness, we have underestimated, exploited, wounded and polluted you.
…we have turned to you dear Mother, and asked whether or not we could count on you, on your stability and compassion. You did not answer right away. And then beholding us a great compassion, you replied, ‘Yes, of course, you can count on your Mother. I will always be there for you.’ But then you said, ‘Dear children, you must ask yourself, can your Mother Earth count on you?'”
~Thich Nhat Hanh, (Excerpts from Love Letter to the Earth)
Generally speaking, Heaven and Earth endow the generality of men with the same mediocre qualities, so that one is hardly distinguishable from the other. Not so, however, in the rare instances of the Exceptionally Good and the Exceptionally Evil that flash through the pages of history. The first embodies the Perfect Norm of Heaven and Earth; the second, its Horrid Deviations. The first comes into the world when Harmony is to prevail; the second, when Catastrophe impends. The first ushers in peace and order; the second brings war and strife. Examples of the first are the Emperors Yao, Shun, Yu, and T’ang, the Kings Wen and Wu, the sages Confucius and Mencius, and such philosophers as the Ch’eng brothers and Chu Hsi; examples of the second are the tyrants Ch’ih Yu and Kung Kung, Chieh and Chou and the First Emperor, and such usurpers and traitors as Wang Mang, Huan Wen, and Ch’in K’uai.
Today, under our divine Sovereign, peace and prosperity reign…which manifest itself in the form of sweet dew and gentle breeze. …there is no place under the clear sky and the bright sun for the Deviations from the Norm; these had to hide their ugly heads in the abysmal chasms in the bowels of the earth, where they lie inert and powerless. But occasionally, pressed upon by the clouds or wafted by the winds, traces of these evil elements find their way into the upper air and clash with the traces of the Norm, causing violence storms and thunder and lighting. (Trans: Chi-Chun Wang: Tsao Huueh-Chin, Dream of the Red Chamber, pp. 22-23)
I began the day with the intention to nourish myself by avoiding the Twitter Wars by engaging in literature; that is, Dream of the Red Chamber which was written sometime around 1742. Yet, as my eyes fell upon page 22 I stumbled out of historical China and into the present time, this time of Horrid Deviations.
This passage and image are submitted in response to the”traces of the past” challenge posed by Lost in Translation.
I believe that in order to move forward, to identify one’s own path and not another’s, requires time to contemplate where one has been, one’s regrets and celebrations; as well as a review of one’s beliefs, values, and guiding principles.
The state of the world today leaves me unsettled in that my own grounding principles seem to be shadowed by the ramifications of war, negation of principles, righteous anger, and divisiveness. All of this leaves a world formulated less and less by rational thinking and more and more by emotional reactivity. Therefore, I find that my path is not an earthly one, but one drawn from the words of Buddha:
Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing, nor upon tradition, nor upon rumor, nor upon scripture, nor upon surmise, nor upon axiom, nor upon specious reasoning, nor upon bias towards a notion pondered over, nor upon another’s seeming ability, nor upon the consideration ‘The monk is our teacher.’
When you yourselves know: ‘These things are bad, blamable, censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,’ abandon them.
When you yourselves know: ‘These things are good, blameless, praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,’ enter on and abide in them.
A photographer, model, bystander…what were the various causal factors that created this moment in time? Submitted in response to Robyn’s Seeing Differently challenge for October.
I hope you enjoy this video inspired by the photography book, Tao of Photography.
…”There is a charming quality, is there not,” he said to me, “in this silence: for hearts that are wounded, as mine is, a novelist whom you will read in time to come asserts that there is no remedy but silence and shadow. And see you this, my boy, there comes in all our lives a time towards which you still have far to go, when the weary eyes can endure but one kind of light, the light which a fine evening like this prepares us in the stillness of darkness, when the ears can listen to no music save what the moonlight breathes through the flute of silence.”*
I will be taking a break for a bit as I have two eye surgeries scheduled for December and January. It is a bit of a wonder to the possibility of “seeing” what I have not been able to see. Hope all who visit find the days within the next two months to be filled with loving compassion and equanimity.
In Search of Lost Time
A fish cannot drown in water,
A bird does not fall in air.
In the fire of its making,
Gold doesn’t vanish:
The fire brightens.
Each creature God made
Must live in its own true nature;
How could I resist my nature,
That lives for oneness with God.
~Mechtild of Magdeburg*
spring creek trail
Women in Praise of the Sacred
A Meditative Journey with Saldage
This work interweaves elements of the author’s own history within a fabric composed of Buddhist philosophies of suffering and Christian ideals of forgiveness, as well as traditional elements of psychology and universal threads of myth. The result is a rich tapestry of value to anyone seeking a personal and compassionate guide towards self-discovery and recovery from the sources and consequences of human suffering. The practical illustrations of overcoming suffering within this experience make this work a valuable tool for individual women and a significant contribution for the therapeutic environment.
Barnes & Noble
Better World Books
It is my hope that those who journey through A Meditative Journey with Saldage return again and again to the wisdom within the Kalama Sutta. If you find that the words, images, and/or cited quotes trigger any discontent within, please abandon them. If you find that they lead to an easing of discontent, please accept my written thoughts as a gift from me to you.