A review of Love Letter to the Earth and reflections from a recent retreat in Plum Village, contributed by a volunteer of Wake Up London.

Plum blossoms floating
Petals kissed by whispered breeze
Mother Earth, she breathes

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Book review

This is a truly wonderful book that reflects on our true nature of interbeing with Mother Earth. The following words are a gatha by TNH from the book that we may like to include in our practice today, to celebrate our Mother Earth with Thay during our walking meditation:

With each step, I come home to the earth
With each step, I return to my source
With each step, I take refuge in Mother Earth
I love the Earth, I am in love with the Earth

The book also includes reflections on daily practice and its direct relationship with Mother Earth. There are also ten beautiful meditations at the end of the book which celebrate Mother Earth, Father Sun and related themes. This is a lovely book that deepened my practice and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone with an interest in renewing their understanding of our relationship with Mother Earth and finding new ways to incorporate these concepts into daily practice.

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Reflections from Sister Chan Khong’s talk

During a recent visit to Plum Village, Sister Chan Khong gave a Dharma Talk ‘A La Carte style’. This meant that rather than a prepared topic, questions were invited from the audience. One of the questions was about non-violent direct action and protest that led Sister Chan Khong to reflect on the second precept and concepts of stealing. She noted that most people know that to steal something from your neighbour or a shop is not right, and this is generally understood. However, when we look more deeply into the concept of stealing it can be expanded to mean much more than this. Sister Chan Khong reminded us that when we leave the light on after leaving a room, this is unnecessary and is essentially, stealing resources from the Earth. She expanded on this initial thought by explaining that these actions of waste are also stealing from future generations. On first glance, not stealing seems like a very easy thing to be practicing. However, when framed in this way, it seems that the meaning is far deeper and there is much more to be explored and discussed.

Today seems like a very appropriate day to be sharing these thoughts from Sister Chan Khong with you, and an opportunity to reflect these. Her approach really does reframe the whole precept and potentially, our response to it. Today is an opportunity to look at our own behaviour and consider how we might make positive changes both big and small. What actions will you commit to, to support our Mother Earth so that she can heal and be alive and well for eons to come?