Saturday, January 28, 2017

To make compassion our action

I recently came across the little video below. These wonderful Tibetan Buddhist nuns are using the spiritual values of interdependence and compassion to heal the earth where they live:

Their message to us:

"Listen to the water. I am here for the well-being of all life.

Listen to the forest. Care for it like your own child.

We need to work together. Listen to the changes affecting us all.

Compassion is action!"

How can we bring this kind of action about in the spiritual spaces of our North American culture? Can we convince our church, synagogue, or temple communities to put our faith into action for the environment's sake? For the sake of Our Common Home, our sister, Mother Earth? It's been a while since I've moodled around topics related to Pope Francis' letter to the world, Laudato Si.

To start with, we need to give compassion a much higher place in our lives -- to care for our earth, its creatures and its climate more than we do for economic growth. Because of the climate-change-denying, backward-moving politicians in this part of the world who are more interested in pipelines than in encouraging people to reduce their reliance on greenhouse gases, I was delighted to receive an email yesterday about efforts being made by some religious groups to divest from investments connected to fossil fuel industries.

Wouldn't it be something if all the faith communities on our planet put our compassion for the earth into action? There are at least a half dozen religious organizations already involved in divestment campaigns, the Canadian Jesuits among them. And there are several websites encouraging us to start our own divestment campaigns, with free resources to help us get started. Even if we're not ready to consider divestment, tackling our personal dependence on fossil fuels is something we can all do, simply by reducing our own use of vehicles, carpooling and taking public transit more often, or better yet, walking or cycling. And how about those mostly unnecessary tropical vacations? Maybe we need to learn to love where we live and do our utmost to keep it beautiful, like these wonderful Tibetans.

Action turns compassion into more than a feeling. It becomes life for the world. And isn't that what the greatest religious teachers have tried to tell us through the centuries? The way, truth and life that humans seek comes through working together for the good of all of creation.

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