We take green living seriously.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Story on Recycling: The Generous Queen & The Selfish King

What would you do if you suddenly had a bag full of gold? What would you do with it? Would you keep it, spend it or share it? Here is a story of how a disciple of the Buddha called Ananda taught a King a lesson on the importance of mindful sharing - not only with one's personal wealth, but also of the wealth of the Earth's resources. This is also the classic Buddhist story of "recycling" our blessings in life, of treasuring whatever we have.

Once upon a time in ancient India, there lived a selfish King and his generous Queen. One day, they received news of the Buddha having arrived at one of their kingdom's villages. As the Queen very much wished to seek the advice of the Buddha, she invited Him and His followers to visit the palace.

After spending an entire day listening to the Buddha's wonderful teachings, the Queen felt that she should offer the Buddha's following a worthy gift as a token of her great appreciation. Accepting the offer, the Buddha asked Ananda to receive the Queen's gift, which was a big bag of gold. As joyous and giving as she was, she had much confidence that the wise disciples of the Buddha would put it to good use. However, when the King heard about his wife's gift, he became very suspicious of how it would be handled. Thinking that Ananda must have tricked the Queen into giving him so much gold, he called for Ananda to question him.

The King asked, "What are you going to do with so much money?"
Ananda replied, "I will go to the market and buy all the cloth that we can carry."
"But what'll you do with all the cloth?"
"We'll sew five hundred suits of clothes."
"But what'll you do with the new clothes?"
"We'll give them to the many villagers dressed in rags."
"But what'll you do with their old clothes?"
"We'll make them into new quilts."
"But what'll you do with the old quilts?"
"We'll make them into new pillows."
"But what'll you do with the old pillows?"
"We'll make them into new rugs."
"But what'll you do with the old rugs?"
"We'll make them into new doormats."
"But what'll you do with the old doormats?"
"We'll make them into new brooms."
"But what'll you do with the old brooms?"
"Well, Your Highness, we will take them apart and use them for plastering the walls of our houses - to strengthen them. Praise to the Queen! All these blessings for so many are made possible only with the generosity of Her Highness. In this way, Your Highness, everything that comes to each of us, no matter how great or small it is, should be used thoughtfully and thoroughly with great care and purpose. Nothing is really ours to own forever, since everything we have in the Universe are like temporary gifts lent for our use. Therefore, whenever possible, these gifts should be shared. May all be mindful of this in the passage of life. And may all treasure and share their blessings with each other."

Hearing these thought-provoking words, the King bowed in repentance and reverence, thereby resolving to be a more giving and caring King. - Shen Shi'an (retold)

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Al Gore & PETA

Recently, a friend introduced me to an entry in PETA's blog, on PETA's open letter to Al Gore, which appeals to him to speak up on and live up to vegetarianism as another inconvenient truth. The letter stated how animals raised for food industries generate more greenhouse gases than all cars and trucks combined and that (according to a recent University of Chicago study), switching to a vegan diet is more effective in countering global warming than switching from a standard American car to a Prius.

I'm kind of glad that PETA sent the letter, as with PETA's style, they will follow-up to this issue to the very end. I'm also touched by Al Gore's passion for raising concerns for global warming. I feel the urge to really go out there and help fight global warming, but rather true to the title of Gore's documentary (An Inconvenient Truth), the issue about animal raised for food industry might be a little inconvenient for Al Gore and many meat-eating environmentalists?

I truly feel that even if we are able to change every single car in this entire planet to an eco-friendly ones, we might still not able to reduce carbon dioxide emission to the standards we want and need. Simply because the amount of methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide produced by the humongous meat and diary industries are just too alarmingly high. Veganism should be considered as one of the major solutions to free the world of suffocating gases.

If you have another moment, please go to Meat and the Environment or further information. Below is an extract -

"Farmed animals produce about 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population of the United States, and since factory farms don't have sewage treatment systems as our cities and towns do, this concentrated slop ends up polluting our water, destroying our topsoil, and contaminating our air. And meat-eaters are responsible for the production of 100 percent of this waste—about 86,000 pounds per second! Give up animal products, and you'll be responsible for none of it."

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Environmental Education Talk – Tues, 20 Mar

With Global Warming increasing public awareness of the need to protect the environment, Environmental Education has become an even more important veg issue. One of the organisations in the forefront of Environmental Education is Roots & Shoots: http://www.rootsandshoots.org

Roots & Shoots was founded by Jane Goodall’s (who is veg), Jane Goodall Institute. Our friends at Nature Society (Singapore) - http://nss.org.sg – are hosting a talk titled “Sowing Seeds for Global Peace” by Kelly Kok, Executive Director of the Jane Goodall, Institute, Taiwan.

The talk is Tue, 20 Mar, 6.30-8.30pm, at the NSS office at 50 Geylang Road, The Sunflower, #02-05, at the junction of Geylang Rd and Lorong 28. For details, 6741-2036.

Extracted from VSS eNewsletter, 18 March 2007

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