We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Wisdom of Lake & Forest

In the drifting quiet of a North Woods morning, nature herself seems to speak.  Whatever humanity does or fails to do, however destructive its presence seems to be, life will prevail.  If diversity is being lost, it will be regained.  If climate change is rapid, its effects increasing, this is just another era, another phase.  Life is fragile and resilient.  And there are still places of silence where the natural wisdom planted deep in our souls is nourished and coaxed to the surface.  This is not the end.  It is just another beginning, things are always beginning, even in pain and bloodshed and in the rumors of crises things are always new, always beginning.

If cultures are dying, culture is alive and as vibrant as ever.  Right here in the North is a culture built out of longer winters, shorter summers...built out of migrant peoples...with its own words, its own ways.  It is sad, yes, to lose languages at the rate of a hundred or more a year, but language itself lives on, thriving in us as it always has since we first learned to speak.

One wonders, drifting quietly on the lake in the midst of the forest, one wonders what it is all of our heedless destruction of the old worlds and words of the past is building for the future.  Birth requires pain.  Is that what is going on?  Or are we crafting a painful death for ourselves and an end to our human version of wisdom?  The lake says, life goes on.  The forest says, ends are beginnings too.