In Praise Of Mother Earth

Deer Park Monastery

Pond at Deer Park Monastery

This poem came to me by email from the monks and nuns at the Deer Park Monastery of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in honor of Earth Day.

IN PRAISE OF MOTHER EARTH (written by Thay, Thich Nhat Hanh)


Homage to you Refreshing Earth Bodhisattva

Mother of this world with its many species.

We want to turn to you with respect,

Beautiful green planet in the midst of the sky,

You who have given birth to countless species,

Produced so many wonders of life,

Loved in the ultimate sense of non-discrimination,

Embraced all species not barring a single one,

Loyal and reliable, tolerant and stable,

The mother who bears all species.

Countless bodhisattvas spring up

From your fresh green lap.

Mother you embrace and transform

Sweeping away the hatred of humans,

Creating new life day and night,

Helping the earth to bloom with the flowers of heaven.

You are open to thousands of other galaxies,

Sharing your joy with the trichiliocosm,

By seeing that your true nature is interdependence.

Conserving and protecting so that nothing is lost,

Not being, not nothing, not eternal, not annihilated,

Not the same, not different, not coming, not going.

Your love knows no limits,

Your virtues no shortcomings.

Your nature is the Four Immeasurable Minds

Like the four great oceans they never dry up.

Whenever spring returns you wear a new robe

Of red roses, the green willow, beautiful and fresh.

When summer comes the vegetation displays its bright colours,

Wholesome seeds, sweet fruits are to be found everywhere.

How brilliant are the colours of the autumn forest

Until winter comes and snowflakes fill the sky.

The afternoon tide chants like the roll of thunder

The morning sunrise paints an incomparable picture,

Making visible all the splendours of the universe.

You are the most beautiful flower of the Solar System,

The wisdom that lights up the ten directions,

The mind that is open to all places.

Mother, you are the Paradise of the Present,

Making possible the future for all species.

We come back and take refuge in you,

With nothing to run after, accepting the unfavourable as also favourable,

Seeing that you are always in us and

Seeing ourselves in you for all of time.

May we follow your good example,

And live every moment with true peace and joy.

Homage to the Refreshing Mother Earth Bodhisattva


Thay’s poetry is beautiful and moving. In honor of Earth Day, he writes in praise of mother earth.

Mother Earth’s nature is the Four Immeasurable Minds – loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity or inclusiveness (as Thay prefers). She accepts everything we throw at her with grace and ease.

Thay calls Mother Earth a bodhisattva – an enlightened being who vows to not enter final nirvana, until all sentient beings are enlightened.

There are many bodisattvas in our midst. I think Thay is one of them. The Dalai Lama also. Then there are those wonderful people who look out for Mother Earth in the way they live and work for her care.

And, what about those amazing people that help the dying in hospice?

And all the great teachers bringing awareness of interbeing (interdependence), mindfulness, concentration, insight, and mindful consumption to the mainstream of human activities? I think they are bodhisattvas as well.

Mother Earth is the great bodhisattva. You must know some bodhisattvas. Who are they? What do they do?

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