Environment

Preserving our environment and mindful consumption are a part of our practice
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    That Body Is This Body Paid Member

    If [a monk] were to see a corpse cast away in a charnel ground, picked at by crows, vultures, and hawks, by dogs, hyenas, and various other creatures . . . a skeleton smeared with flesh and blood, connected with tendons . . . a fleshless skeleton smeared with blood, connected with tendons . . . a skeleton without flesh or blood, connected with tendons . . . bones detached from their tendons, scattered in all direc­ tions-here a hand bone, there a foot bone, here a shin bone, there a thigh bone, here a hip bone, there a back bone, here a rib, there a chest bone, here a shoulder bone, there a neck bone, here a jaw bone, there a tooth, here a skull . . . the bones whitened, somewhat like the color of shells . . . piled up, more than a year old . . . More »
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    Death: As Common As Life Paid Member

    At least half the organic matter you see on a walk in the forest is dead: dead leaves, deadwood, dead weeds, insect carcasses, maybe even the stinking corpse of some higher animal if you're lucky. There are massive die-outs: suddenly the cicadas are silent, and the husks of their bodies litter the trail. Great plagues sweep across the vegetable kingdom: plagues of viruses, plagues of herbivores, plagues of invading plants, as the monastery's gardeners know only too well. And then all this carnage is brought to an abrupt halt by that biggest mass murderer of all, the first hard frost. The katydid's song grinds to a halt, the dainty jewelweed shrivels and collapses into putrid slime, the birds get out while the going's good. Autumn's splendid tragedy unfolds, and we have the beauty of a dying world. The spectacle makes us pensive: we think of our own demise, our approaching winter. More »
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    Buddha On The Rio Grande Paid Member

    For centuries, the northern stretch of the Rio Grande has lured religious seekers to its stark, awesome landscape. And as the people—among them Pueblo Indians, Spanish Catholics, and now a growing population of American and Asian Buddhists—have settled in, the region has marked their practices with its indelible stamp. Guest editor: Michael HaederleImage: The canyon of the Rio Grande near Toas, circa 1911. Photo by H. F. Robinson, courtesy of the Museum of New Mexico.  More »
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    Planting Paradise Paid Member

    Last summer about this time when the Dragon Tongue beans began to thicken their speckled fingers and clutch heavy to the vine, I helped plant a circular "house" of sunflowers with an eager passel of kids. This sunflower circle was a ragged ring of paradise planted on the far edge of the kitchen garden near our giant Rosebrook apple tree. More »
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    The Death of the Dharma: A Prophecy Paid Member

    As far back as our sources can take us, Buddhism has taught that all things that emerge in time and consist of separate components (in technical terms, all “conditioned” phenomena) are subject to eventual destruction. And with remarkable consistency, Buddhists have applied this general theory not only to mundane things but even to the duration of their own religion. Within a century or two after the death of the Buddha, detailed accounts began to emerge predicting not only the eventual “death of the dharma” but also the cause and the approximate time of its destruction. Some of the accounts grew into full-fledged prophecies, of which the story found in the text translated here (a ninth-century Tibetan text) became one of the most influential. More »
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    Reading the Mountain Paid Member

    I take a level course along a steep north-facing slope, the bag of acorns tied to my belt slapping against my outer thigh. Every three strides, I jam the shovel down through ash, open a crack in the brown loam, and push in an acorn. Then I press the soil down with my boot and walk on. Someday, I imagine, these slopes will be forested in fire-resistant oaks and a new chapter in the ecological history of Lama Mountain will begin. I switchback up to the ridgeline, planting the entire hillside in an hour. Then I head north to repeat the process on another ridge. More »