"If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper.  Without a cloud there will be no water; without water, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, you cannot make paper.  So the cloud is in here.  The existence of this page is dependent upon the  existence of a cloud.  Paper and cloud are so close."

~Thich Nhat Hanh

It seems to me that the earth is the very embodiment of bodhicitta - she unconditionally provides the grounds for life and no matter who we are or what we have done, we equally receive compassion from her. It is quite amazing when one thinks about it - that there is oxygen which we can breathe, that there is water which we can drink, and that there is soil on which plants can grow to feed us.

It is very important that we emulate the earth's attitude of generosity towards us. Just as we would do when receiving a precious gift from someone we love, we need to nurture what we have been given. This includes the earth's many wonders and biodiversity, as well as our relationship with all sentient beings. ... If we are able to do this, we will no longer simply be a burden upon the earth but will be a source of relief.

~ The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, from 'The Seed of Compassion'

The Connection

 

Once we were fish

moving freely in the sea.

Our bodies were soft and swift

and we had no belongings.

 

Now that we crawled out of the sea

we are dry and full of cravings.

We wander city to city

carrying the memory of the sea

(but it isn't just a memory).

 

Listen very carefully and you will hear

the sea in your body.

You know, our blood is seawater

and we are all seacarriers.

 

~Yoko Ono, from 'Seven Little Stories'

THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

We depend on nature not only for our physical survival. We also need nature to show us the way home, the way out of the prison of our own minds. We got lost in doing, thinking, remembering, anticipating - lost in a maze of complexity and a world of problems.

We have forgotten what rocks, plants and animals still know. We have forgotten how to be - to be still, to be ourselves, to be where life is: Here and Now.

~Eckhart Tolle 'Stillness Speaks'

Such a fantastic universe, with its great spiralling galaxies, its supernovas, our solar system, and this privileged planet Earth! All this is held together in the vast curvature of space, poised so precisely in holding all things together in the one embrace and yet so lightly that the creative expression of the universe might continue on into the future. We ourselves, with our distinctive capacities for reflexive thinking, are the most recent wonder of the universe, a special mode of reflecting the larger curvature of the universe itself. If in recent centuries we have sought to collapse this larger creative curve within the horizons of our own limited being, we must now understand that our own well-being can be achieved only through the well-being of the entire natural world about us. The greater curvature of the universe and of the planet Earth must govern the curvature of our own being. In the coincidence of these three curves lies the way into a creative future.  

~Thomas Berry, 'The Dream of the Earth'

The wilderness pilgrim's step-by-step, breath-by-breath walk up a trail, into those snowfields, carrying all on back, is so ancient a set of gestures as to bring a profound sense of body-mind joy. The same happens to those who sail in the ocean, kayak fjords or rivers, tend a garden, peel garlic, even sit on a meditation cushion. The point is to make contact with the real world, real self. Sacred refers to that which helps us (not only human beings) out of our little selves into the whole mountains-and-rivers mandala universe. Inspiration, exaltation and insight do not end when one steps outside the doors of a church. The wilderness as temple is only a beginning.

~Gary Snyder

Work Song (Part 2), A Vision

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it…
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides…
The river will run
clear, as we will never know it…
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down
the old forest, an old forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields…
Memory,
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament. The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisaical dream.
Its hardship is its reality.

~Wendell Berry

We suffer from a hallucination, from a false and distorted sensation of our own existence as living organisms. Most of us have the sensation that “I myself” is a separate center of feeling and action, living inside and bounded by the physical body — a center which “confronts” an “external” world of people and things, making contact through the senses with a universe both alien and strange. 

This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated “egos” inside bags of skin.

~Alan Watts

A wave is made up of other waves. You can discover the relationship between that wave and all the other waves with the principle of cause and effect. But there is another level of relationship, and that is the relationship between the wave and the water. The wave is aware that she is made of the other waves, and at the same time she realizes that she is made of water too. It is very important for her to touch the water, the foundation of her being. She realizes that all the other waves are also made of water.

In Buddhism we speak of the world of phenomena (dharmalakshana). You, me, the trees, the birds, squirrels, the creek, the air, the stars are all phenomena. There is a relationship between one phenomenon and another. If we observe things deeply, we will discover that one thing contains all the other things. If we look deeply into a tree, you will discover that a tree is not only a tree. It is also a person. It is a cloud. It is the sunshine. It is the Earth. It is the animals and the minerals. The practice of looking deeply reveals to us that one thing is made up of all other things. One thing contains the whole cosmos.

~Thich Nhat Hanh