December 07, 2010

In Care of Earthly Hands

During the month of December, the Tricycle Book Club is discussing Lin Jensen's Deep Down Things: The Earth in Celebration and Dismay! Look for daily excerpts from the book on the Tricycle Blog to inspire the conversation, which is happening here.

From Deep Down Things:

"There’s nothing in Buddhist philosophy like that of the biblical tradition granting humans “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Nor is there anything in Buddhist teaching that puts the care of earth in human hands. What the teaching actually does is put we humans in the care of earthly hands. We are the offspring of dirt and air and water, and no prideful boast to the contrary alters that. In my mind’s eye I picture the Buddha sitting cross-legged on the ground. I like to think that earth somehow holds fast to him and secures him in the face of Mara’s attempt to shake him loose. I like to think that when the Buddha put his hand to the ground that, in a single gesture, he pointed to the birthplace of his and all our lives, and thus could not be dislodged by the cleverest effort to bring him to doubt."

Have something to say? Visit the Tricycle Community Book Club to discuss Deep Down Things!


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: In the moments leading up to his enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, the Buddha was attacked by the armies of Mara. The armies came wielding many weapons— bows, arrows, tridents, and swords. However, as they approached the sitting Siddhartha, their armaments were transformed into flowers, which then showered him like offerings. (From the Tricycle Gallery, Buryatia, 19th century, Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton; 21 x 16 in. © Rubin Museum of Art (HAR 699))

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