An Excerpt from Jim
of July 6,
from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve Headquarters in
Jalpan, Querétaro, MÉXICO
TRAININGS FOR MINDFULNESS
The other day Hilary in Mississippi sent me the link to a website for a Buddhist
Center near Memphis, in Batesville, Mississippi. Reading over the teachings of the
Center's teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, I was touched deeply, as I always am when reminded of
Buddhism's core teachings.
I have seen that Buddhism in many places has degenerated
into a religion where people pray to Buddha statues, asking for Devine intervention in
their daily lives. However, it seems to me that Buddhism in its purest form is not a
religion, but rather an insight or philosophy.
On the Center's webpage "The Five Mindfulness Trainings" are described
- The first reads, "Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I
vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants
- The second, as if patterned upon Nature's recycling of resources, says, "I vow
to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those in
- The third, as if patterned upon the interdependency of all Nature's components, says, "I
vow to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of
individuals, couples, families and society."
- The fourth, as if recognizing the joy arising from knowing and living by the Laws of
Nature, says "I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire
self-confidence, joy and hope."
- The fifth, as if recognizing the pain and destruction caused to Life on Earth by
consumption-oriented societies requiring cut forests, stripmined land and the release of
so much carbon into the air reads "Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful
consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my
family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming."
These teachings are ecologically sound. They are sustainable. They are harmonious with
patterns expressed in the fabric and structure of Nature. The teachings are not inert
commandments handed down from above, but rather invitations to sensitize, and then change
ourselves once we understand things more clearly -- to evolve to higher levels of being,
as Nature always has evolved. .