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Letter from the Editor

Dear Thay, dear Sangha,

My heartfelt thanks to Sister Jewel and Brother Phap Ho for serving as guest editors for this issue on climate change and for sharing wonderful insights in the editorials below. It has been a deeply nourishing and joyful collaboration.

– Natascha Bruckner, True Ocean of Jewels

Dear Thay, dear Sangha,

I am deeply grateful for the invitation to join in the crafting of this issue as guest editor. Engaging with all the contributions has helped me “use my Sangha eyes” to see and understand climate change from many different angles, and in processing all the diverse insights, to even use my “Sangha stomach” as we digest and integrate together a clearer purpose and direction for our lives in response to our global crisis. All the articles inspired me with the vast variety of ways we can intelligently, compassionately, and joyfully reduce the Earth’s suffering. One author has committed to planting one tree each year for the rest of his life. Several articles detail how, as practitioners and as Sanghas, we can bring mindfulness into our activism, and others show us how we can bring our engagement with society into our mindfulness practice, including what we choose to eat for dinner. From stories of reverent, nonviolent birth practices to allowing sisterhood and brotherhood to be the foundation of our social activism, from planting a rainforest in Mexico to starting a residential mindfulness community in the UK, we hear in each author the echo of a sentence in Thay’s Dharma talk here, “Love is fulfilling.” And it is this fulfillment that gives us energy, creativity, and courage to go forward, even if we cannot know the final outcome of our actions.

We are delighted by the wide range of contributors and perspectives, and we think you will appreciate the diversity of voices: children, young Wake Up practitioners, folks from Sanghas in Africa, people of color, monastics, practitioners from other traditions, as well as writers and thinkers working outside of a Buddhist framework. Their unique efforts unite us all in creating a new story of oneness, wholeness, sustainability, and ease, for us, all species, and our beloved Mother Earth.

May this offering help heal and preserve our precious planet.

– Sister Jewel (Chan Chau Nghiem)

I try to frame my practice and engagement in Earth Holding practice and climate change issues as a great opportunity and catalyst to grow understanding and love. We don’t have the time and luxury to play with our little toys in our small and separated world anymore. Actually this does not make us very happy anyway. We are invited by the suffering caused by humans to the Earth, our ecosystem, and many living beings, to wake up and to come together. I also clearly recognize that climate change issues are deeply connected with peace and social justice issues; interbeing can be seen everywhere. The easy part of this practice is to recognize the ignorant and greedy behaviors of humanity. A more challenging aspect is to stay open to our deep emotional response to our situation and open to love and acceptance. For me it is also too late to judge and blame politicians, CEOs, or bankers for our predicament. I feel no energy behind taking sides in partisan conflicts. The inspiration and energy for me comes from the potential to help our society and our world transform into a more just, loving, and sustainable one. This path can be scary, though, because we are not confident that we know how to be the change we want to see. We also do not know if there is a realistic chance to help a collective awakening take place. Moment to moment, do we have a choice? Where is our deep aspiration and love leading us? Can we not hear the calling of love and understanding from deep in our heart, inviting us to be an instrument of healing in this troubled time? Being part of the editorial team for this issue has been an expression of staying on the path, of learning and growing as a Sangha. To hear the different stories from our widespread Sangha and beyond offers me a clear and solid source of refuge. I am looking forward to continuing our journey together in the spirit of “I have arrived, I am home.”

– Brother Phap Ho

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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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