Thursday, July 30, 2015

72 Labors Brought Us This Food

A Zen meal verse begins, “72 labors brought us this food…” 

Myriad beings in myriad realms serve life by enabling us to have food nourishment. Worms and insects of all sorts, bacteria, fungi and other beings, enable plants to convert sunlight, water, minerals and other “inanimates” into fruits, vegetables, grains, tubers and leaves, all of which give their life so we can eat and feed other animals whose products we use. There are myriad farmers nurturing these and providing them to us, along with truckers, grocers and others. There are producers of tractors, myriad implements, irrigators, trucks and other technologies which are used to farm, as well as those who mine and process the metal and hydrocarbon energy sources which these depend on. Our practice is to acknowledge and appreciate all of these as our each bite, chew and swallow practice which makes possible life and activity.

Failing to appreciate this interdependent interbeing that we are, believing self-centered judging and ideologies, we separate from our life and hinder this that we are, causing suffering and harm. The question in our practice life is, how to skillfully and appropriately take care of problems when they arise?

Living in California means facing the ongoing drought and doing our part in the water we use, adjusting the use of toilets and shower, and many other things.

Recently I was sent this interesting op-ed which begins:

“The worst thing about California’s drought is the suffering it has caused ordinary people. In many places, drinking wells have dried up. The crisis is so severe that the state has restricted water use.

The second-worst thing about the drought is how farmers are bearing most of the blame. We hear one figure over and over: Agriculture consumes 80% of California’s water.

That statistic makes farmers like me look like gluttons—and it suggests that if we were to reduce our reliance on water just a little, then our state’s predicament would vanish like a puddle on a hot day.

Except that it’s not true. Farmers don’t use 80% of California’s water…”

 The farmer's perspective was different from my own - it showed another world and taught me. The information and suggestions of the article can and should shed further light on our circumstances, ongoing plans and actions, as well as enhance our appreciation for the practice of all beings. Though the article included the author's anger and particular political positions, hopefully those will not hinder joint efforts by all Californians for skillful action.

For the full article see: