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Buddhadharma : Fall 2008
13 fall 2 00 8 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly We have to learn to accept the end of our civi lization. Just as we accept our own death, we ac cept the death of our civilization. We know that another civilization will be born later on, maybe one or two million years later. We touch the truth of impermanence, and then we have peace. When we have peace, there will be hope again. Scientists tell us that we have enough technol ogy to save our planet, but psychologically, we are not capable. We are not peaceful, enlightened, or awake enough to do it. That is why, while scientists are trying to discover ways to improve our technology, we as members of the human race have to practice so that we can transcend our fear, despair, forgetfulness, and irresponsibility. A collective change of consciousness will bring about a new way of life, a mindful way of living. With mindful breathing, mindful walking, mind ful dwelling in the present moment, you don’t need to consume, to run after objects of craving in order to be happy. The teaching of the Buddha is very clear, very strong, and not difficult to understand. We have the power to decide the destiny of our planet. Buddhism is the strongest form of humanism we have ever had. It is our actions and our way of life that will save us. If we awaken to our true situation, there will be collective change in our consciousness. Then hope will be possible. From The Mindfulness Bell, Winter/Spring 2008. igniTing The fire of PracTice Ajahn Munindo says that if you want to spark and sustain your practice, you should consider the monastic life. Going forth and living the Holy Life gives you permission to move through the world, touch it, sense it, observe it, without being defined by it. It 13 illusTraTions by kim scafuro The end of The World The only way to save the planet, says Thich Nhat Hanh, is to accept the end of civilization. The Buddha said that when someone realizes that he or she has to die, that person will first revolt against the diagnosis. The fear of dying is always there deep down in our store consciousness. The Buddha advises us not to run away from that fear. Instead, we should bring it up in order to recog nize it. This practice helps us to accept old age, sickness, and death as realities, facts that we can not escape. After we have accepted this, we feel much better. I have known people with cancer able to survive ten, twenty, even thirty years because of their capacity to accept and to live peacefully. Many civilizations have died because mankind was not wise enough. And the same thing will be true for ours. If we continue to consume like this, if we don’t care about protecting this wonderful planet, we will allow it to be burned with global warming. Maybe 70 percent of mankind will die. The ecosystem will be destroyed to a very large extent, and we will need millions of years to start a new civilization. Everything is impermanent. Many of us do not accept this. Oh no! God has created this world and God will not allow things like that to happen. But the fact is that we are not only our five skandhas; we are also our environ ment, which is in a process of selfdestruction. Many of us who see this course of destruction become victims of despair and fear. Before global warming brings death and destruction, we will already have died of fear and despair. We will have died of mental illness before we die from the results of climate changes. firsT ThoughTs