By Alice (Yingke) Zhao on
As the winds of change swept across the land, a call to action echoed in the hearts of many. The scorching heat waves and heavy downpours of the summer of 2022 had left a trail of destruction in their wake, and the people yearned for a better world.
But where do we begin? How do we make a change in the face of overwhelming crisis? Our beloved teacher Thầy offers a glimmer of hope. He reminds us that we have the power to change our minds, and that our way of looking, seeing, and thinking determines every choice we make. Inspired by Thầy’s teachings on Engaged Buddhism and by the successful flash mobs of Wake Up London, Wake Up Amsterdam decided to organise a meditation flash mob to wake up to the beauty and suffering of our Mother Earth. We planned the flash mob for the first day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 27—November 6th, 2022.
Despite the difficult Dutch weather full of strong winds and rains, many members of the Wake Up Netherland Sangha and Leven in Aandacht Sangha gathered in front of Eye Filmmuseum with their families and friends for our meditation flash mob. Together, we sat in silence and sang beautiful songs, not only from the Plum Village tradition, but also Hindu mantras accompanied by harmonium and drums played by followers of Babaji. The gathering was open to all regardless of religion, creed, or peace organizations; Thầy’s makes clear that “wrong perceptions of self and others are at the foundation of separation, fear, hate, and violence” and that “togetherness and collaboration is possible.”
As drops of rain fell steadily, we were reminded of the interconnectedness of all beings and of the urgent need to “wake up” and take action. We found solace in the beautiful sound of the rain, in the breeze on our faces, and in the knowledge that we were not alone in our grief or our longing for a better world. We were united in our desire to come together, to grieve, to reflect, and to wake up. It was a powerful moment of coming together in the face of adversity to water the seeds of hope. Though the winds of change blow fiercely and the rains may fall heavy, we can find strength in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.
The beautiful meditation flash mob was a stirring reminder that we all have the power to change our minds and our actions: by working together, we can create a better world for ourselves and future generations.
In Thầys words from Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet, “When you wake up and you see that the Earth is not just the environment, the Earth is us, you touch the nature of interbeing. And at that moment you can have real communication with the Earth…. We have to wake up together. If we wake up together, we have a chance.”
We hope to continue planning public meditations for reflection, grieving, and waking up together. Perhaps other Sanghas around the globe will be inspired to do the same!
A version of this article was previously published on Wake Up International.