Teachings on Mindful Consumption

Tricycle.com titled this daily dharma post, “Concentration and Meditation,” as you can see below. However I think these words of wisdom are teachings on mindful consumption.

This is because Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede is telling us concentration and mindfulness can bring us back to our true home and away from the shiny objects and entertainment videos we are prone to watch.

Concentration and Mindfulness | April 2, 2015

 Off the cushion, hours can pass as we sit rapt by movies, cat videos, Angry Birds, and the Kardashians. Every once in a while, these lazy afternoons happen to the best of us. But by bringing together concentration and mindfulness, we’re less likely to indulge in such passive activities and more likely to remain alert when taking part in active ones.

– Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede, “Don’t Just Sit There”


But let’s look at what our off the cushion hours of shopping, watching, reading, and other restless activities are doing to our environment, our oceans, our forests, and our planet. Many people go about their day mindlessly consuming everything in their paths. They are almost like the beetles in the forests ravaging the pine trees because of the lack of rain and the long summer heat.

We are almost entirely to blame for the condition of our planet. We consume products packaged in plastics whose waste strangles the fish in the ocean. We crave more fish so we are over fishing the oceans. We crave more meat so we are cutting down trees to make room for animal agriculture. We plant genetically modified grains and legumes so big agricultural companies and big chemical companies can become more wealthy. Then they create more products, more videos, and more propaganda to spark our mindless consumption. The cycle continues.

So what can we do about this? Take a look at the Five Mindfulness Trainings and the teachings on mindful consumption in number 5.

First of all, practice gratitude. Remember, “To desire what you don’t have is to waste what you do have.” When we come from gratitude, we are happy with what we have and don’t go out of our way to consume.

Second, practice compassion – for yourself, your family, your community, and the world. Compassion brings about the honoring of our pain and the pain of other. We acknowledge the suffering that we have caused by mindless consumption.

Third, cultivate the insight of interbeing. Interbeing is the interconnectedness of all things. Instead of thinking of about yourself as an individual, think of your self as nature, as the universe and see what happens. We are all interconnected, whether or not we realize it.

Fourth, find something to do. Take action. Sign up to receive email from the Buddhist Climate Action Network or 350.org. Learn about activities that you can get involved in. Take part in the solution, not the problem.

Then, repeat these actions with your increased sense of awareness.

Do you feel the urgency for us to create a sustainable human culture? Can you make a commitment to consume more mindfully? Please share.

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