Bells of Mindfulness

The-Physics-of-Tsunami-Waves-2Today is Earth Day, and there is no one I know who is more committed to save Mother Earth than Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. He uses the bells of mindfulness to try to wake us up and look deeply at the condition of Mother Earth.

In recent years, we have had many mindfulness bells, but we seem to be deaf to the warning sounds that they offer us about the conditions existing on Mother Earth and in the atmosphere.

In 2004, the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami (Sumatra–Andaman earthquake) caused a lot of damage and took the lives of more than 230,000 people in fourteen countries. We sent a lot of aid to the people affected by the tsunami and ignored the bell of mindfulness that something is wrong inside Mother Earth.

History_Hurricane_Katrina_SF_HD_still_624x352In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States and broke through the levies in New Orleans. More than 1800 people lost their lives and displaced about 400,000 people. Did we listen to this bell of mindfulness?

The Haiti earthquake of 2010 killed approximately 220,000 people and cause 600,000 others to find housing elsewhere. We watched the relief efforts and still, the bell of mindfulness was not heard.

If this wasn’t enough, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico later the same year killed 11 people and countless other forms of animal life. The oil flowed for 87 days and no one could stop it. Our dependence on oil to satisfy or greed and minds of consumption did not recognize this oil spill as a bell of mindfulness to enhance our development of renewable energy sources.

To make matters worse, people still think that the Earth is made up of East and West, and that what happens in the West does not affect the East, and visa versa. Did you ever think that the Deepwater oil spill had anything to do with the Japanese earthquake and tsunami? Now we also have a nuclear disaster to deal with and a lot of radioactivity. This bell of mindfulness is going on and on and no one is listening.

Well, perhaps not no one. We Buddhists who are concerned about the welfare of all sentient beings recognize the interconnection between all these events. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh has this to say:

The bells of mindfulness are calling out to us, trying to wake us up, reminding us to look deeply at our impact on the planet…

All over the Earth, we are experiencing floods, droughts, and massive wildfires. Sea ice is melting in the Arctic and hurricanes and heat waves are killing thousands. The forests are fast disappearing, the deserts are growing, species are becoming extinct every day, and yet we continue to consume, ignoring the ringing bells…

I hope you will take the time to sit down with each other, have tea with your friends and your family, and discuss these things. Invite Bodhisattva Earth Holder to sit and collaborate with you. Then make your decision and act to save our beautiful planet.

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

Bell Tower in Plum Village

And what about the recent droughts in Western Texas, Syria, and the Amazon as reported in What Do Harrison Ford And Don Cheadle Know That We Should. Shouldn’t we consider these also to be bells of mindfulness?

With all these bells of mindfulness, you’d think our government and industrial leaders would want to do something about them. You’d think that they would concern themselves with sustainable energy resources that extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere rather than continuously adding to it. However, their only action is to expedite the Keystone Pipeline as we continue to eat our children.

On this Earth Day, let us make a commitment to take action to increase public awareness of all that is going on with climate change and destruction of the rainforest.

How many more of these so-called disasters will it take for use to stand up and take action? We are in desperate need of help.

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