The life in the ocean is dying. I've lived here since 2003, and when we first moved here, the local beach was full of life, teeming with it. There where hermit crabs, crabs of all different types and sizes, fish, sandeels, starfish, shrimps, coral, sea anenomes, shellfish and seabirds of all different kinds. Now when I walk along the beach, look in the rockpools and the water, there's hardly anything there. I am lucky if I see the occasional tiny crab, even the shellfish are disappearing at an alarming rate and there's no more hermit crabs or sandeels to be found anywhere. The seabirds are fewer, and many species have gone completely, even the herring gulls are growing fewer. What can be causing this worrying loss of life? I don't know. I am guessing it is a combination of the horrible destructive practise of dredging, salmon fish farms, pollution and over-fishing. It breaks my heart man.
How is one supposed to feel any joy in this world?
As you are Buddhist, you may appreciate reading some of Thich Nhat Hanh's writings. As a young zen Buddhist monk during the times of the Viet Nam wars, he saw and experienced many bad things. He is a sincere practitioner who has also taught on environmental issues.
You can also hear him on YouTube and via the Plum Village website. Unfortunately, he is no longer teaching as he had a severe stroke a while back and he is no longer a young man, but he is still practicing to the best of his ability at a monastery in Viet Nam.
There are still sparks of joy to be found, even in the darkest times times.
I go for refuge to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha (and also medicine when appropriate )
New commentThanks Jan.
Aye, I have heard of Thay and read some of his stuff. He is a good person and done a lot for the dharma, and I respect him. Although I don't agree with everything he teaches. Particularly his thoughts about the jhanas which I see as an important part of the path. The eighth factor of the noble-eightfold path was defined by the Buddha as the four jhanas. However, I also understand why the jhanas are downplayed particularly in the West, where people do not have the time or patience to learn these states of absorption. And it is possible to get to the first two stage of enlightenment without knowing anything about jhana, but if one wants to reach the third and fourth stages of enlightenment one must learn jhana, else one tends to get stuck I've heard. At least that is my understanding anyway. I am a little bit suspicous of Mahayana Buddhsim and Zen as it has deviated somewhat from the early teachings of the Buddha, so I mistrust it a wee bit. I trust the earlier suttas more as I feel they are the closest we have to what the Buddha actually taught. I guess I am more of a Theravada Buddhist (But not vipassana, as I mistrust that a bit as well). I do have the heart of wanting to share and preserve the dharma for future generations and help liberate as many beings as I can when I have more experience in the practise.
I'm glad you've had a chance to read some of his teaching, but I understand why Theravada is better for some people.
New commentWhen I say vipassana, I mean I mistrust the vipassana movement a bit, as they are a bit narrow-miinded in their approach and insist that their meditation technique is the only one that leads to enlightenment, which just isn't true and makes me feel somewhat suspicous of them. The Buddha taught many different meditation techniques to suit different people, and the bodyscan was just one technique of many he taught, but it wasn't something meant to be practised alone, there's more to it.
Also with medicine, all our Western medicine is mostly synthetic and gets tested on animals. Those animals are sentient beings that suffer and feel pain and if they could speak would definitely not consent to being experimented on. I take medicine myself, although I am planning to see the doctor to come off my meds as I don't like the side effects;but also because knowing the medicine has been tested on animals doesn't rest easy on my mind. I prefer to use herbal medicine wherever possible. I don't feel as Buddhist me thinking this way is necessarily wrong view and I feel I have the right as well to refuse some medicine on ethical grounds and also if I feel the medicine is going to be more harmful to me than what it is tring to treat.
New commentDon't get me wrong though I have nothing but admiration for Thay, he was a good bloke, who did a lot of good things in his time. Definitely a light in this world for sure, an inspiration.
You may have seen a comment from me come and go. It was sent by mistake full of typos.
It wasn't anything important, just to say that Thay is still with us and recently had his 95th birthday (or "continuation day" as they call it in the Plum Village tradition). He will still continue with us in all his thoughts, words and deeds even after what we conventionally call death.
Best wishes for you in your practice,
Thanks Jan, yeah he (Thay) has lived a long life for sure. He was friends with Martin Luther King if I remember right. And has seen a lot of changes in the world and always been on the right side of history.
You are also right about joy. Joy is important, it is the fourth factor in the seven factors of awakening. My problem is I have trouble sometimes generating joy, and I can get stuck with that factor, but it is part of the Buddhist training and one of the factors of the enlightened mind, so is very important to cultivate it.
I just find it hard with all the suffering that happens in this world to feel joy at times.
All the best to you too (-: