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A Must Read book by  Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh


...That we are actively seeking to harm nature and plunder our sacred mother earth – the very foundation of our survival – is a difficult concept to take on board, as it appears to defy logic, and the commonsense.. But the truth is that, given what we have been up to, our behaviour and actions often don’t make logical sense. 

I first came across the idea of our hidden anger at Mother Earth from what I had learnt from the wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, who wrote: “Some of us resent you [the Earth] for giving birth to them, causing them to endure suffering because they are not yet able to understand and appreciate you.”

Now, let me explain a bit more: Love Letter to the Earth

‘Dear Mother, there are those of us who walk on Earth but still wish to seek a Promised Land elsewhere, not knowing that you are the wondrous Pure Land, present in this moment. They are not able to see that the Kingdom of Heaven exists in their own hearts. They are not able to see that if their minds are calm and peaceful, then the very ground they are walking on becomes the Pure Land. We are able to play and enjoy this Pure Land day and night thanks to that insight, thanks to the practice of dwelling peacefully with mindfulness in the here and now. We have the Kingdom here and are no longer searching for it elsewhere. You have the capacity to carry us hundreds of millions of years into the future, after which you may manifest as another planet and we as other wonderful forms on you.

Respected Mother, you have children who are proud of themselves as brilliant mathematicians, skilled artisans, gifted architects, but few are able to see that you are the greatest mathematician, the most accomplished artisan, and the most talented architect. We only need to look at a branch of cherry blossoms, the shell of a snail, or the wing of a bat to see this truth. We have talented artists, but how can our paintings be compared to the works of art that you reveal to us in the four seasons? How can we paint such compelling dawns or create such radiant dusks? Our musicians are geniuses, but how can our songs measure up to your wondrous orchestra of Earth and Sky, or the magnificent sound of the rising tide? We have brave soldiers, knights, and heroes who have endured extreme heat and cold and traversed mountains and rivers, but how many of us have your patience and capacity to embrace? We have great love stories, but who among us has your immense love that includes all beings without discrimination?’- Adapted from Love Letter to the Earth by Thich Nhat Hanh © 2013. Reprinted via Tricycle, The Buddhist Review 

The Earth, our home, just looks simply awesome, gorgeous!


The following reflection is from the opening paragraphs of the book (chapter 1) , ‘Love Letter to the Earth’

‘At this very moment, the Earth is above you, below you, all around you, and even inside you. The Earth is everywhere. You may be used to thinking of the Earth only as the ground beneath your feet. But the water, the sea, the sky, and everything around us comes from the Earth. We often forget that the planet we are living on has given us all the elements that make up our bodies. The water in our flesh, our bones, and all the microscopic cells inside our bodies come from the Earth and are part of the Earth. The Earth is not just the environment we live in. We are the Earth and we are always carrying her within us.

Realizing this, we can see that the Earth is truly alive. We are a living, breathing manifestation of this beautiful and generous planet. Knowing this, we can begin to transform our relationship to the Earth. We can begin to walk differently and to care for her differently. We will fall completely in love with the Earth.When we are in love with someone and something, there is no separation between ourselves and the person or thing we love. We do whatever we can for them and this brings us great joy and nourishment. That is the relationship each of us can have with the Earth. That is the relationship each of us must have with the Earth if the Earth is to survive, and if we are to survive as well.’

Learn more about Thich Nhat Hanh:  The Life Story of Thich Nhat Hanh

Purchase the book here

Read a few related and complementary articles from the GCGI Archives: 

Mother Earth is Crying: A Path to Spiritual Ecology and Sustainability

Visions of a New Earth: Responding to the Ecological Challenge- The Report

Pursuing Common Values: A Call to Recover our Moral and Spiritual Imagination, Transforming Society

The Power of Yellowstone: ‘for the enjoyment and benefit of the People.’

 The GCGI-SES Lucca Forum: Here's to 2018, Our Journey of Hope, caring for Our Sacred Earth 

 Eruption of Hope: Earth Day 2018

 To Heal the World and People We Need to Save the Commons from Plunder

 The beauty of living simply: the forgotten wisdom of William Morris

Can we price everything, or are somethings in life just priceless?

Are you physically and emotionally drained? I know of a good and cost-free solution!

Saving the Web of Life: The Time is now to Tune into Peace, Love and Wisdom with a Spiritual Revolution

 A Sure Path to build a Better World: How nature helps us feel good and do good

Nature the Best Teacher: Re-Connecting the World’s Children with Nature