3.3
February 7, 2011

Cleaning Up Our World Begins with Cleaning Up Our Homes.

“Being Tidy and Meticulous is the Buddhist Message.”

~Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

I often argue with elephant journal’s editor Waylon Lewis about environmentalism.  He believes that the ground of being eco is keeping the heat down, using water sparingly, and never purchasing plastic.  While I agree that all of those things are wonderfully mindful, I also believe that environmentalism must begin with respecting our personal spaces.

If we keep the thermostat on 55 degrees and never use plastic, but our house is messy–the sink is filled with dirty dishes, the drawers are filled with clutter, dirty laundry piles high in the closet or basement–then it seems to me that we are missing some fundamental point.

I found the following quote from Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in which he addresses the matter:

Being tidy and meticulous is the Buddhist message—meticulous in cleaning your oryoki bowls, meticulous in how you walk, meticulous in how you treat your clothing and your household articles. We can’t get away with being sloppy; we have to introduce the principle of tidiness more and more into our lives. When economic chaos or family chaos takes place, apart from obvious issues of economic mismanagement, marital problems, or emotional problems, we find that domestic details have not been taken care of. There are cockroaches running all over; there is never enough toilet tissue; the toilet bowls are overflowing; and the dishes are not washed. All those problems come from a careless attitude. It is predictable. But when we clean up after ourselves, according to exactly the same principles we follow in oryoki, we have nothing to blame. When we begin to live our lives in that way, cleaning up after ourselves, what is left is further vision and further openness, which leads to cleaning up the rest of the world.

I love the last line in particular:

When we begin to live our lives in that way, cleaning up after ourselves, what is left is further vision and further openness, which leads to cleaning up the rest of the world.

Any thoughts?  How do you think taking care of our homes and belongings fits into environmentalism?

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