The Green Awakening: Touching Earth with Our Hearts

Let us embody our world together since our earth and body function in the same way. We are going to engage since our ISSUES are within our TISSUES.

The Buddha name means the awakened one which happened during his own climate crisis when he touched the earth to bear witness! Today’s climate crisis requires a “green awakening” (touch your heart 3 times) that we are ONE with all things.

The Buddha offered practical guidelines on how to respond to our present crisis in his teachings of the Noble 8 Fold Path. Today we will talk about building a new green mind-set or house. This 8 fold blueprint provides clear instructions on how to awaken and best respond. Climate change can be addressed using this profound wisdom with simple environment-friendly techniques. Skillful or right mental tools are required to save our fragile earth observing the 8 Fold Path.

The word “ECO” means home in Greek so it is about taking care of what I will call a house/Earth. Skilful or right means doing what is of benefit.

By following the Noble Eight-fold Path we can certainly minimize waste/maximize well-being. We shall now go through a quick summary of the 8 Fold Path basics in groups and how they are all interconnected as one when we minimize waste/maximize well-being;

THE FOUNDATION: Virtue/Ethics Group: Skilful Speech, Action and Livelihood

THE WALLS: Concentration Group: Skilful Energy, Mindfulness and Concentration

THE ROOF: Wisdom Group: Skilful Understanding and Thought

This mental home will protect us from the harsh weather elements caused by climate change.

(I) THE FOUNDATION: Cultivating Virtue- Skilful Speech, Action and Livelihood are the ethical basis and support for developing this home.

Our foundation becomes solid with right speech, actions and livelihood translating into virtue practices and wholesome deeds. Ethical conduct happens when we treat all things and ourselves with compassion. We cultivate virtue when we care for and respect all things since we and the earth are one.

1) Right Speech: Speak the truth with heart and meaning so as to unite not divide. It is important to clarify the facts from fiction. Be wise and give out words that are helpful regarding Climate change. Speak what is meaningful and beneficial to engage people of all walks.

2) Skilful Action: Mending Not Ending- show reverence and respect for all things, we must protect and preserve all forms of living beings. Try always to conserve life not destroy it. Also, it means eating an environmentally friendly diet (fruits, veggies, etc.) that reduce our carbon emissions.

3) Skilful Livelihood: Earning ones living in an eco-friendly way by respecting life, personal relationship and welfare of others. Causing no harm with your life or creating no problems. (It means living simply so that others can simply live- thus insuring future generations.). To achieve this end, we have to practice the Triple “S”: Simplicity + Sufficiency=Sustainability.

II) WALLS: CONCENTRATION GROUP- Skilful Energy, Mindfulness and Concentration: All this factors work together.

4) Skilful Energy or Effort: The function of energy is to support:

Prevent, Reduce, Preserve, Perpetuate: Determination to:

Prevent Climate change by changing our carbon habits;

Reduce Climate damage by eliminating energy waste or inefficiency;

Preserve our natural resources by using renewable energy;

Perpetuate our natural resources to insure that we maximize our well-being without hurting our Mother Earth. We profit and prosper from pollution prevention because when we degrade the earth we all have to pay a huge price.

At the Uganda Buddhist Centre, we employ numerous conservation and best management practices (from composting to solar light) to show our reverence for our earth and ourselves.

5) Skilful Mindfulness: Paying close attention to what is happening now with our climate, in a non-judgemental way. On the contrary, mindlessness is like hitting your thumb with the hammer when building our walls! So mindfulness is the new mental blueprint we need to securely build our sacred mental house.

Constant mindfulness results in concentration where waste is minimized and well-being is maximized.

6) Skilful Concentration: Concentrating on positive solutions to save the Earth while maintaining tranquillity and calmness of mind and body. Also, it means clearly focusing on a wholesome mind-set to increase your mental power. This mental power becomes a supporting cause for the arising wisdom and understanding to penetrate into the problem of Climate change. (Getting the walls squared requires concentration!)

(III) ROOF/CAP: WISDOM Group – Skilful Understanding and Thought interconnecting it all together SEPARATION = SUFFERING.

Now that we have the foundation (virtues) and walls (concentration) what are we missing??? We all need protection from climate change or a cap for our head, don’t we?

The roof encloses our home. Wisdom via skilful Understanding and Thought caps this structure. It interconnects the walls and foundation bringing them together

7) Skilful Understanding- the roof framework that is interconnected

The Buddha laid down the teaching on “Dependent origination” – nothing is independent in the world- “everything is interconnected”. For instance if you are mindless your roof will leak and damage your walls and foundation.

8) Skilful Thought: Thought of generosity and contentment (the ability to love the contents of your life). It means to be generous enough to give up the three major causes of Climate damage/ i.e. GREED, HATRED, AND DELUSION. Practice loving- friendliness and compassion in action for our mother Earth and her living system. (These are roofing materials safeguarding the home…)

In order to address climate change, we must skilfully think before we act. Virtuous thoughts coupled with deep understanding will secure our Firm Foundation through skillful speech, actions and livelihood. Our Walls of Concentration create skillful energy, mindfulness and focus. Our roof of Wisdom brings it together through skillful understanding and thought.

LET US ALL minimize waste; maximize well-being.

Show reverence with generous ways of living, right action and speech securing a firm foundation of cultivating virtue;

Concentrating on harmonizing by holding or creating space creating the walls of loving- kindness. Love for earth and ourselves as one with an attitude of gratitude;

Finally, Compassion balances our Wisdom by understanding our interconnection and also generous nature.

We can respond to Climate Change with the tools to overcome GREED, HATRED AND DELUSION i.e. WITH GENEROSITY, LOVING-KINDNESS AND WISDOM/VISION.

Remember the Noble 8 fold -Path as a sacred eco-house.!

Take the word EARTH and take the “H” from the end of it and put it to the front! It spells HEART now let us touch our heart together to express ONE Response to GREEN AWAKENING- TOUCH OUR EARTH WITH YOUR HEART.

Extracted from Bhante Buddhrakkhita’s talk: “ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE BY AWAKENING TO ONENESS” held in Copenhagen, Denmark, December 7 to 13, 2009