Went out after dawn meditation this morning to chop long grass that had been pulled from beds so as to make a mulch. Got to the beds and … hmmm, a two-legged had been to them. The lettuce seed bed had a big track from the zero radius mower and the other bed, newly planted with herb plants and a few different kinds of seeds had been roughly roto-tilled, herb plants destroyed. The seeds? Some will come up but certainly not in the intensive, reachable way intended.
I smiled at each bed. Was this a big deal? No. The plant life delighted with the attention during weeding and creation. The devic life appreciated the communication. My body enjoyed every part of it, as did emotions, mind, and spirit. Only good came of the initial efforts and simply more effort and more communication with the two-leggeds is necessary. Certainly, I was surprised about the herb plants because the person who machine tilled the bed works for a landscaping company. Basil doesn’t look like a weed, nor parsley plants neatly arranged. But, no judgements, no more thoughts on the small scale. All can be remedied. The primary goal with the beds is frugality. One package of seeds well tended will bring edibles until I leave in Autumn. That’s a lot cheaper than the farmer’s market, thought I value them greatly.
Instead of anger and judgement, the event brought on a pondering of similar on a larger scale. Ignorance and non-appreciation or non-valuing go hand in hand. My lack of posting a small sign saying “planted beds” meant the person didn’t know. He didn’t know the outer fact, the work and thought that had gone into it, or the intended result; and that’s what has been done over and over again through our history. Desecration results from not knowing or understanding the value placed upon something by those who use or need it.
In Guatemala, Mayan pyramids have been taken apart, their exactly placed stones used to build other buildings. Sacred sites around the world have been leveled, blown up, grafittied, or replaced with a new model of worship or use. Other examples include the desecration of the treasures of Babylon in the Iraq invasion by the USA, or the destruction of almost all of 6000 monastery-universities in Tibet as well as almost everything in the city of Lhasa. Tibetan architecture has been torn down and replaced with cement and steel buildings complete with concrete pavements. My bias comes through, but not just for Tibet and its culture. My concern is what, in our haste, do we not notice or care to see, just like the person roto-tilling the herb plants? No comparison in importance, of course, but we will never know the information contained in the Guatemalan pyramids that have been dismantled. A set of values is behind the construction of these amazing structures, just so with the thousands of years worth and thousands of objects destroyed, stolen, sold on the black market of Babylonian or Tibetan history.
I meditated on impermanence and emptiness to address the emotions that had arisen. The point was not to eradicate my emotions but to address the reason I was having them. Impermanence is. Attachment to anything will ultimately generate detachment by some mechanism. I understand this and find no argument in the cause and effect of it. Yet is the value of something always tied to attachment? Yes. Are there any values or truths that are self-evident and thus can be valued by everyone? History suggests not.
Did the Taliban understand that the giant buddhas carved into mountain side walls that they blew up did not represent worship in the way that they worship? To the Taliban, the giant buddhas were graven images. To a Buddhist practitioner, any representation of Buddhist art is a reminder of the potential of awakened MIND or that which obscures awakeness. Interestingly, that’s where my meditations led me all day. One sitting after another contained experiences of an aspect of awakening MIND, the seeds already there, and being ripened as such. May we simply let be that which we don’t yet understand. May we ask one another about that which may be important, may we listen to the response with the heart. The treasures made of stone, bone, clay, or gold are precious because they, too, remind us of that which at one time we saw as a potential to aspire toward. In many cases, they were lofty, even profound, ideals. May we care about these things because then we would be caring about what they represent.