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Superficial vs. deep
January 30th, 2014

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

Superficial vs. deep

Sometimes the mind is compared to the ocean, and turbulent thoughts to the waves agitating its surface…

There is no difference between pieces of dead wood  agitated by the deep sea (be the wood called 'seaweed' or 'boat'), and simple drops of water  agitated by the deep sea. The underlying agitation, the observable phenomenon, is caused by the sea under!

But is there agitation if there is no land? No piece of wood? Only water (not even an observer to conceptualise the 'average' sea level)?

Whether you're tempted by a materialistic view or by a Only-Mind view, you may miss that the ocean is unlikely to see a wave a few meters high as a meaningful agitation where it's 11,000 meters deep…
The usual wave is about as significant as a lock of your hair moving on your head due to the wind, or a wrinkle of your skin! If deep, long water currents are affected by climate change, this is more like a circulatory problem for you, and you might indeed take so more seriously than a mere hair cut… or risk dramatic consequences if you ignore the issue.

To focus on the superficial agitation is to miss the big picture!

Understanding causality in Buddhism goes deeper than the superficial aspects; this is not just about the causality that affects 'me'.

Climate change affects all of us, this includes 'me' but this also includes others. Additionally, the solution lies with the concerted effort of all, not just 'me' but also 'me': a selfish "counting on others" is the best way to fail to address the issue and to create a bleak future (Guess who will suffer from it? And who will then blame 'others' for not having done enough?).

What about a modern buddhist vow such as « I vow to pay attention to shut off the lights and electric equipments, when I leave a room (whether I'm the one paying the electricity bill, or not —offices!); I vow to refrain from heating —or cooling— rooms when unnecessary; I vow not to let energy go to waste (simply because it's convenient not to think about it and convenient not to adjust settings "all the time"… although it only takes a few seconds in reality) »?

Complacency and laziness (the opposite of "right effort") are deep root-causes of suffering… And we need to tackle the deep hindrances, not just our superficial cravings. Setting lights and temperature to what's needed, everywhere, every time is part of this effort to cultivate the cessation of suffering (and 'comfort' is often substantially different from 'need'… even in mundane common situations, without falling into some righteous absolutist stance). Not 'wanting' to 'pay' attention, or 'disliking' that the room is not instantaneously at the 'right' temperature when one enters it, are extremely poor reasons to cyclically suffer. As we're approaching the extrema of temperatures in both hemispheres, may we refrain from wasting energy.

#Buddhism #ecology #globalwarming  
Photo: The Kyetrak Glacier, located on the northern slope of 26,906-foot Cho Oyu in Tibet. Photographed in 1921 (top) by © Major E.O. Wheeler and in 2009 (bottom) by © David Breashears.