Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Change in December 2011

This month has been full of hopeful signs of what H. H. Dalai Lama has been calling our transition away from the century of bloodshed to the century of dialogue.
This month Kim Jeong-il is dead after 17 years of his dictatorship in North Korea which have caused the systematic impoverishment and starvation of millions of Korean people. There has always been a lot of nationalistic sentiment against the North Koreans in South Korea since the Korean war. It seemed natural to think that this may have manifested in some celebration at the death of Kim Jeong-il. However, there are no crowds cheering in the streets. In fact most people interviewed by the media in South Korea said they are hoping for change in North Korea. They have expressed hope that the North Korean people will now get more to eat and that displaced families, separated by the post Korean War border, may see each other again. It is amazing and refreshing to hear that the people are choosing a more compassionate and hopeful view of the situation.
Also today the last of American troops have left Iraq after nine years of senseless and bloody war. The Iraq war was started for no apparent reason other than economic interests of the United States and it has now ended. (I think Joseph Palermo said everything there is to say about this topic in the first few paragraphs of his fantastic piece for the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-a-palermo/the-end-of-the-iraq-war-a_b_1157086.html). This is a great relief for billions of people who are victims of violent US foreign policy and are hopeful that the military force of the United States may finally stop working to serve the bottom line of giant business and American commerce. The dialogue has begun about a possible future where the United States does not serve as the world police but instead cooperates and participates in a fair and just world.

What is more, the streets and web pages are filled with the peaceful protesters and voices of the 99 percent who are saying that time is up for the ill formed feudalist style economies. This is very hopeful news. 

In support of all this and more here is a quote from the Dalai Lama's 'An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life'
I find that because of modern technological evolution and our global economy, and as a result of the great increase in population, our world has greatly changed: it has become much smaller. However, our perceptions have not evolved at the same pace; we continue to cling to old national demarcations and the old feelings of 'us' and 'them'. War seems to be part of the history of humanity. As we look at the situation of our planet in the past, countries, regions and even villages were economically independent of one another. Under those circumstances, the destruction of our enemy might have been a victory for us. There was a a relevance to violence and war. However, today we are so interdependent that the concept of war has become out dated. When we face problems or disagreements today, we have to arrive at solutions through dialogue. Dialogue is the only appropriate method. One-sided victory is no longer relevant. We must work to resolve conflicts in a spirit of reconciliation and always keep in mind the interests of others. We cannot destroy our neighbors! We cannot ignore their interests! Doing so would ultimately cause us to suffer. I therefore think that the concept of violence is now unsuitable. Nonviolence is the appropriate method.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Smokey The Bear Sutra

Just listening to a podcast from Green Gulch Farm last July. Reb Anderson gave a dharma talk on consciousness and karma, he cited Smokey the Bear in that talk and it reminded me of this poem:

SMOKEY THE BEAR SUTRA

BY GARY SNYDER

Once in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago, the Great Sun Buddha in this corner of the Infinite Void gave a discourse to all the assembled elements and energies: to the standing beings, the walking beings, the flying beings, and the sitting beings--even the grasses, to the number of thirteen billion, each one born from a seed, assembled there: a Discourse concerning Enlightenment on the planet Earth.
"In some future time, there will be a continent called America. It will have great centers of power called such as Pyramid Lake, Walden Pond, Mt. Rainier, Big Sur, Everglades, and so forth; and powerful nerves and channels such as Columbia River, Mississippi River, and Grand Canyon. The human race in that era will get into troubles all over its head, and practically wreck everything in spite of its own strong intelligent Buddha-nature."
"The twisting strata of the great mountains and the pulsings of volcanoes are my love burning deep in the earth. My obstinate compassion is schist and basalt and granite, to be mountains, to bring down the rain. In that future American Era I shall enter a new form; to cure the world of loveless knowledge that seeks with blind hunger: and mindless rage eating food that will not fill it."
And he showed himself in his true form of

SMOKEY THE BEAR

A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and watchful.
Bearing in his right paw the Shovel that digs to the truth beneath appearances; cuts the roots of useless attachments, and flings damp sand on the fires of greed and war;
His left paw in the mudra of Comradely Display--indicating that all creatures have the full right to live to their limits and that of deer, rabbits, chipmunks, snakes, dandelions, and lizards all grow in the realm of the Dharma;
Wearing the blue work overalls symbolic of slaves and laborers, the countless men oppressed by a civilization that claims to save but often destroys;
Wearing the broad-brimmed hat of the west, symbolic of the forces that guard the wilderness, which is the Natural State of the Dharma and the true path of man on Earth:
all true paths lead through mountains--
With a halo of smoke and flame behind, the forest fires of the kali-yuga, fires caused by the stupidity of those who think things can be gained and lost whereas in truth all is contained vast and free in the Blue Sky and Green Earth of One Mind;
Round-bellied to show his kind nature and that the great earth has food enough for everyone who loves her and trusts her;
Trampling underfoot wasteful freeways and needless suburbs, smashing the worms of capitalism and totalitarianism;
Indicating the task: his followers, becoming free of cars, houses, canned foods, universities, and shoes, master the Three Mysteries of their own Body, Speech, and Mind; and fearlessly chop down the rotten trees and prune out the sick limbs of this country America and then burn the leftover trash.
Wrathful but calm. Austere but Comic. Smokey the Bear will Illuminate those who would help him; but for those who would hinder or slander him...

HE WILL PUT THEM OUT.

Thus his great Mantra:
Namah samanta vajranam chanda maharoshana Sphataya hum traka ham mam
"I DEDICATE MYSELF TO THE UNIVERSAL DIAMOND BE THIS RAGING FURY BE DESTROYED"
And he will protect those who love the woods and rivers, Gods and animals, hobos and madmen, prisoners and sick people, musicians, playful women, and hopeful children:
And if anyone is threatened by advertising, air pollution, television, or the police, they should chant SMOKEY THE BEAR'S WAR SPELL:

DROWN THEIR BUTTS

CRUSH THEIR BUTTS

DROWN THEIR BUTTS

CRUSH THEIR BUTTS

And SMOKEY THE BEAR will surely appear to put the enemy out with his vajra-shovel.
Now those who recite this Sutra and then try to put it in practice will accumulate merit as countless as the sands of Arizona and Nevada.
Will help save the planet Earth from total oil slick.
Will enter the age of harmony of man and nature.
Will win the tender love and caresses of men, women, and beasts.
Will always have ripened blackberries to eat and a sunny spot under a pine tree to sit at.
AND IN THE END WILL WIN HIGHEST PERFECT ENLIGHTENMENT
...thus we have heard...
(may be reproduced free forever)