Andrew Cheffings, Footsteps steering group member, reflects on the view from local nature spot, from a Buddhist perspective:
Buddhism is well known for its beautiful art – graceful sculptures, and I’m thinking particularly of pictures of colourful Buddhas surrounded by pristine blue sky.
These images are often linked to Buddhist visualisation practices. You start by imagining the pristine blue sky, then everything else in the picture you imagine emerging from it.
So I’ve been thinking of pristine blue sky and how well or not I care for it and I’ve been looking at the sky from Rowheath and seeing how it changes from day to day:
But the sky is not sky without the Earth. So first I thought of an earthly realm – pristine forest – and wondered how well I treated that – and I thought –
“I do not care for a pristine forest by removing all the trees and replacing them with grass and cows.”
Then I thought –
“I do not care for the pristine, blue sky by burning wood, coal and oil, changing the mix of gasses and particles in its air.”
Before, when the Earth had almost endless pristine forest, the trees took carbon from the air to build their great bodies, and gave back life-giving oxygen to the air.
Their bodies were made of the carbon they took from the air, as are the bodies of all plants. Plants make themselves from air, solidified, and all the creatures and people who feed on plants and on each other are built of the same.
We all come out of this pristine, blue sky, yet do we all truly care for it?
The sky is speaking to us in acid rain, hot winds spreading forest fires, air so hot and wet that peoples’ bodies break down, air-born poisons and pathogens, spreading disease.
How loud does the sky have to sing before I listen with intent and care for it, this pristine blue sky from which all beings manifest – Buddhas appearing from blue emptiness, full of healing, love and wisdom – but only when we all truly listen with intent to the pristine blue sky.