We go on to chant “Being one with Manjushri,” which expresses our identity with profound wisdom; “Being one with Samantabhadra” is being perfectly in accord with equanimity; “Being one with Avalokiteshvara” is acknowledging the boundless compassion in our own hearts. We also include both present and future enlightened masters and identify with them as our own being. To identify with the enlightened nature and qualities of these real and mythical buddhas and bodhisattvas is to acknowledge and bring forth their virtues that we each possess. We need to bring out these virtues. We need to discover them, cultivate and embody them if we are to be of genuine service in this life.
Dogen says, “Giving is non-greed.” Because we so easily recognize the goodness of giving to human beings, we need to pay particular attention to giving to non-human beings and to the Earth. Consider that every single thing in this universe has, in fact, inherent rights. At the moment of your birth and after you’ve taken your first breath, you’re not placed on a chair and asked to justify your entry into this world, proving that you deserve to be here and that you should be treated with respect. Your right to life comes with life itself.
In the same vein, to be giving toward the Earth, to be non-greedy, means to recognize the rights of this earth. It includes both demanding less and taking less. For most people in this country, and certainly those of us in urban settings, one of the main ways we interact with the Earth is through what we purchase, what we take and use of the Earth. This is something we’ve been studying in the Earth Initiative, looking at ways to exert a positive influence, to take less and to take more wisely. One way to be giving is to revive our reverence for simplicit, forfrugality, rather than the waste and excess which we tend to honor these days.