Friday, July 14, 2006

Sogyal Rinpoche on Spiritual Environmentalism

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To serve the world out of the dynamic union of wisdom and compassion would be to participate most effectively in the preservation of the planet. Masters of all the religious traditions on earth now understand that spiritual training is essential not solely for monks and nuns but for all people, whatever their faith or way of life. The nature of spiritual development is intensely practical, active, and effective. The danger we are all in together makes it essential now that we no longer think of spiritual development as a luxury but as a necessity for survival.

As a famous Tibetan teaching says: “When the world is filled with evil, all mishaps should be transformed into the path of enlightenment.”

~ Sogyal Rinpoche, Glimpse of the Day
This is so true it hurts. I'm not even sure how to look at this integrally because it feels so overwhelming in many ways. There is probably a developmental line that relates to this stewardship idea -- it certainly isn't limited to "second tier" thinking.

One of the most heartening things I have seen on the political landscape in the past few years is the Christian environmental movement. While we may not agree with their reasoning, they are beginning to take responsibility for the health of the creation over which their God presided. With as much political power as Christians have in this country, I am hopeful that they will begin to exert their influence in the area of environmental policy.

But the bottom line is that a useful spiritual life in an engaged spiritual life. We are all residents of this planet, and we each can take steps to reduce our impact, our environmental footprint, and to educate others in reducing their impact. If not us, then who?

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