“We Must Look Beyond Our Separate Self To Save Mother Earth”

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (known as Thay by his followers) stated, “We must look beyond our separate selves to save Mother Earth from climate change.”

Thich Nhat Hann in Plum Villages 2006

Thich Nhat Hann in Plum Villages 2006
photo by Jerome Freedman

The statement was made in an article by Joe Confino on the Guardian Sustainable Business website today.

This article is a wake-up call to citizens of the world. We must stop thinking about our separateness and begin thinking about how we are interconnected to each other and the enviornment.

[Thay] warns that if people cannot save themselves from their own suffering, how can they be expected to worry about the plight of Mother Earth?

By recognizing the interconnectedness of all life, we can move beyond the idea that we are separate selves and expand our compassion and love in such a way that we take action to protect the Earth.

Thay thinks that we need a grassroots movement to help people wake up to the fact that at the rate we are going, there could be an end to the human species in 100 years. We need to harness our energies to improve our climate so we can survive as a species.

Our political leaders and giant corporations will not speak out about this problem for fear of being ostracized and ridiculed. He says,

You have the courage to say it because you are not afraid of losing anything, because you know that understanding and love is the foundation of happiness. But if you have fear of losing your status, your position, you will not have the courage to do it.

Thay teaches that the insight of interbeing (interconnectedness) is what can help us recognize our connection with mother earth. He encourages us to eat a carrot with mindfulness and see how the carrot inter-depends on Mother Earth, the sunshine, the rain and other non-carrot elements.

I love his insight that the coming Buddha of our generation may not be an individual person. He may come in the form of a sangha (a community of monks, nuns, lay men and lay women) working together to enlighten the world.

The article goes on to talk about the life of Thich Nhat Hanh. He is now 86 and continues to teach around the world. This summer, he will make another trip to the United States, Canada and Asia.

This article and its warning is very important for us to share. You could help by signing The Declaration of Interdependence and sharing with your friends.

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