Br Phap Lai teaches on protecting Mother Earth. Protecting Mother Earth was one of Thay’s greatest teaching. He had the courage to love Mother Earth and face her suffering. In Thay’s book, Love Letter to the Earth, and his calligraphy “I am in love with Mother Earth”, he asks us to fall in love with Mother Earth, as it allows us to realize that we are not separate from her. With love we can move into a space of wonder and awe, and experience heaven on earth which is not a place without suffering. We can be aware that extinction is happening around us, but we do not run away. Br Phap Lai asks us “Have you cried for Mother Earth?” When we breathe while we cry, we cry with stability, which enables us to honour and let go of our pain.
When we choose to act from a place of love, our actions can have a profound strength and we are able to make a clear stand. Br Phap Lai teaches from the sutra “The Diamond that Cuts through Illusion”, the most ancient text on deep ecology. They are trainings on not being caught in the four notions of a self, a person, living being and life span. These are all expression of emptiness, the absence of a separate self from the earth. The sutra is also about taking action, and not only about training the mind; it is about taking action without being caught in the four notions. We can take action in the here and now, with understanding and clear intention, acting from a place of great love. While we make the vow to save all beings, we are also saving ourselves.
Br Phap Lai then touches on a variety topics such as species extinction, climate refugees, how community living can be important in the context of climate change, and veganism.
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