Today we continue with our “framework for better days” topic by looking at our interdependence. I can think of no better example I may use to illustrate the topic than our own relationship with this planet (and ultimately each other).

We should aim to become more mindful of how we interact with our environment. 

If we pollute our environment, we are affecting ourselves, our children, and other living beings. Because we are mindful of being kind, we can do our part to curtail the ways in which we pollute the environment. We can carpool when going to work or school, instead of using up gasoline in a car by ourselves. We can recycle the things we use: paper, cans, plastic containers, bottles, glass jars, and newspapers. We know that simply throwing these things away or letting someone else depose of them we are not truly giving our best personal efforts to the planet.

Thus, we should do our small part to reuse our plastic bags and paper bags when we go to the supermarket. In addition, we will not leave our air conditioners or heaters on when we are not home, and will not use products such as styrofoam whose production releases many pollutants into the air. Are these all groundbreaking decisions or life changing moments? Well in some way these are bigger actions than we may realize or assimilate.

I think that if the Buddha were alive today, he would establish vows that would address our needs to  recycle and be more present to the wasting of resources. Many of our monastic vows arose because lay people complained to the Buddha about what monks or nuns did. Each time this happened, the Buddha would establish a precept in order to curb the detrimental behavior. If the Buddha were alive today, people would complain to him, “So many Buddhists throw out their tin cans, glass jars, and newspaper! They use disposable cups, chopsticks and plates, which not only make more garbage but also cause the destruction of many trees. They do not seem to care about the environment and the living beings in it!”

I know I have used just one aspect of living (recycling and less waste) to demonstrate the importance of mindfulness, but please take and apply this to a bigger picture. If we are mindful, we will notice that we have a kind heart and will enrich it and let our actions flow from it. If we realize that, we can embrace and shape our world and life through small meaningful actions we come one step closer to improving not only our own lives but the world as a whole.

Peace and Love, Jim

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