Month: December 2019

Dear Earth, I’ve got a New Year’s gift for you.

I’m going to offer you a daily pause. Rituals contain magic. They don’t have to be complicated. There are only two rules – that they are repeated over and over, and that they are inspired by love. I already have a daily nembutsu practice – ten minutes of calling out to the Buddha of Infinite Read More

Dear Earth, help me to give up resolutions.

I’ve always been a sucker for self-improvement schemes. I have hope that if only I was cleverer, a tad more famous, a little bit thinner (etc.) that life would be perfect. This means I get strong urges to better myself, especially at this time of year. There’s nothing wrong with aspirations. If I didn’t have Read More

Dear Earth, my word for 2020 is…

Gentle. The gentle of my cat’s soft paw when he places it on my cheek in the mornings, patting me awake. The gentle of tucking a sweet-pea seedling into the duvet of the earth. The gentle of receiving sharp anger, hot jealousy and abysmal mistakes with sweet tenderness. You know gentle, darling Earth. You know Read More

Dear Earth, sometimes we need naps.

At the weekend I gave out leaflets to a few hundred people and was refused by a few hundred more. Twenty of my Buddhist colleagues were sitting behind me in meditation posture on the wet city pavements. We were there to encourage people to ‘be kind to the Earth at Christmas’, without scrimping on any Read More

Dear Earth, meet our Buddha of the car park.

He came to live at the front of our temple last February, after we went on a trip to Japan and were inspired by their roadside shrines. He weighs a tonne – four strong men just about managed to walk him inch by inch from the pick-up truck to his tree stump. Yesterday morning I Read More

Dear Earth, today we are voting for our leader.

I’m no political expert, but I do know people. People are selfish. People make decisions based mostly on what suits them, and on what keeps them safe – even the decisions that look to most people like altruistic ones. A pessimistic view? I find it a realistic one, and a deeply liberating one. It gives Read More

Dear Earth, I made you bakewell tarts.

I know how you like them, with crisp pastry and a generous splodge of sticky raspberry jam. The people who come to our temple open morning will eat them for you, and enjoy them. That will make you happy. Now I am stringing words together for you. Later I will clean out the cat litter Read More

Dear Earth, here’s to enjoying the delightful.

Indigo? Sapphire? Cobalt? I’m searching for the perfect word. The sun hides behind the hills across the valley and the sky becomes saturated: such a rich, deep blue. Spotted with warm yellow lights and framing the pale speckled moon, I could gaze at it for hours. During one of his Dharma talks this week, my Read More

Dear Earth, we stayed up all night for you.

Did you hear us? We filled the room with our voices and we circled the shrine we made for you, with a globe and a sprig of green alkanet and a scarlet autumn leaf. Sometimes it still strikes me as a very strange thing to do. Why spend a whole night walking in circles, singing Read More

Dear Earth, they are starving.

I just woke from a nap in my cosy bed, and the first thing I thought of was them. Petra, Marko and Peter. They are on the cold streets of London, waiting to speak to our Prime Minister about you, dear Earth. They haven’t put food into their mouths for fourteen days. They say they Read More