Sixteen Webster University students and staff, part of the Webster Works Worldwide team, arrived at the Missouri Zen Center early Wednesday morning to sit zazen (seated meditation), transplant trees and flowers in our garden, and make repairs to our building. After a few hours they and our staff enjoyed lunch with bon appétit under the warm sun surrounded by trees and flowers, with baby mice and a big snake they found rounding out our garden’s abundant biodiversity.


Before starting zazen, I talked about the global problématique (all ecological, economic, and ethical crises intertwined) and the sixth mass extinction – the first to be caused by humans – that threatens to destroy the whole global life system. Then, I talked about how we can avoid our catastrophic demise by sitting calm and clear, stopping our karma (cognate of ceremony, repeated action resulting in habit), and becoming truthful and peaceful, like a tree (cognate of true, dharma: norm of all forms).


After our wonderful work renewing the garden and building, I thanked the students for their volunteer work, commenting that the solution to our problems lies in this kind of aspiration and action for common causes, going beyond the self-interest that has culminated in our present crises. All universal religions aim at reunion in holiness (wholesome whole) from selfishness (sinful separation). We mostly fall into selfishness due to karma, because we are all karma-machines as the Buddha (Awakened One) prognosticated. The Buddha sat in meditation to stop karma.


When he attained awakening and unconditioned peace (nirvana, no wind), enjoying complete peace and truth under and with trees for weeks, the Buddha was besought by Brahma (the Supreme One) to go out into the world to share his way lest the world perish. If we continue our karma, we cannot continue our existence, much less lead a happy life. Remember the Keep America Beautiful campaign? “People start pollution. People can stop it.” Only people can stop karma. Therefore people must stop it. Prosper or perish depends on us. Paradise or Pure Land depends on the mind of humankind.

Categories Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close