Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/11/2017

The Little I Can Do

Everyday the news gets worse and it’s beginning be nearly impossible for me to believe that the earth will be suitable for human habitation when my son is my age. I have been fearful and heartbroken for so long but all this has done is weaken my resolve and strengthened the tendencies to fear and dread. All conditioned things are impermanent and what is now happening is the result of a complex matrix of decisions made collectively by the beings on this planet. Now we cannot but reap what we have sown.
And yet, I must live in this world. I would like to do so in a way that is at once as compassionate as possible while furthering my practice. How can one live in a collapsing civilization in a way that minimizes harm? I’ve been thinking of actionable practices I can take up and we’ll share them. If anyone is moved to share their own ideas I would love to hear them.

  • Use water sparingly. Take short, cold showers every other day.
  • Use paper supplies sparingly. Get a handkerchief, use hand towels instead of paper towels.
  • Compost.
  • Go vegetarian, or better yet, vegan.
  • Be thrifty. Fix what’s broken. Only buy new things if you can’t.
  • Donate to humanitarian and environmental organizations.
  • Deal with the heat. Use AC sparingly.
  • Deal with the cold. Use heaters sparingly.
  • Fast. Consume less and share more. I dry fast according to Islamic tradition Mondays and Thursdays and one a week for the uposatha.
  • Practice the Dhamma. When we eventually make an end to suffering that’s one less mouth to feed.
  • Consume everything with care. Everything we consume depend on the suffering of other beings.
  • Be mindful of what they have given and moderate in what you impose upon them.

Clearly this list isn’t exhaustive and may not even make sense for everyone but it’s my own attempt to work out a way to live lightly while cultivating the paramis. Be well.


Responses

  1. Hi, nice post. Inspiring. I’ve never heard about uposatha before. I’m reading about it a bit. I’m considering incorporating this into my practice. Thank you.


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