Touching the Earth
A Newsletter of Earth Holding Actions in the Plum Village Tradition
We are so very happy you are joining us for this second issue of Touching the Earth. As you arrive in the here and now, please enjoy this transcription of a Dharma Talk by Sr. Dieu Nghiem (Sister True Wonder) given in the Ocean of Peace Meditation Hall on November 23, 2014.
You may have seen pictures of distant galaxies. They are beautiful; they are colorful, bright and shiny. In our own solar system we have our dear Mother Earth. You may have seen a picture of Mother Earth taken from space. She is also very very beautiful. She is the only blue planet we have discovered so far. She has a blue sheen around her which is the atmosphere that protects us. I have a picture of her and I enjoy looking at it. Whenever I look at it I feel like spreading my arms to hold Mother Earth and hug her. Sometimes when I am out for a walk I actually lie down and with my cheek against her I hold her. I want to embrace the Earth because she holds us, nourishes us and heals us. She offers us shelter, she offers us food and medicine. The three essential things for our life; we call her Precious Jewel of the Cosmos. We have wounded her, but we can heal her. We can heal her by hugging a tree or spending some time with a bush, a flower, a bird, a rabbit or maybe a snake and sending her our love and gratitude.
Nowadays we speak a lot about our carbon footprint and we would like to do something about this. We could practice a no-car day once a week. In Plum Village, France we also practice this. In the Lower Hamlet, where I spent many years, Wednesday is our no-car day. One day one of our young novices came to me and said: “Dear Sister, I need to go and get something in town but as today is a no-car day I will go tomorrow”. I asked her: “That is wonderful, but how have you lessened your carbon footprint by going tomorrow instead of today? Would it not be better to see if anyone else needs to go to town one of these days and then to combine the trips?” As we live in a community, we do not need to take a car to go to work, therefore we try to combine our trips in order to lessen our carbon footprint.
Practicing walking meditation is a wonderful way of healing Mother Earth. We can heal her by our peace footprints, by walking on Earth in peace. With every step we take we caress Mother Earth offering her our peace, our love, our gratitude and Mother Earth will offer us her stability and her freedom. We can walk we arrive in every step. We can take our time to arrive in every step before taking the next step. It is a way of celebrating Mother Earth, of celebrating our being here; we arrive and come home to Mother Earth, come home to ourselves.
Sr Dieu Nghiem lived in Plum Village for the past 24 years. For 16 years she served Lower Hamlet as Sister Abbess. Sister Dieu Nghiem has Irish – Dutch ancestry. She currently resides at Deer Park Monastery.