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Looking at handprints and mindprints

"Humanity faces an environmental crisis so critical that our survival on earth is in peril. Yet we have another even more urgent problem: most of us go on living as though nothing out of the ordinary is happening. What is wrong with us? Is there something religions could do to spur us to action?"

So begins an article in Tricycle on a gathering of the Dalai Lama and a dozen theologians, scientists and scholars. It's a thoughtful conversation, leading to new ways of looking at our predicament, introducing, for instance, the concepts of "handprint" and "mindprint" to go along with the familiar "carbon footprint". A handprint suggests what people are doing; a mindprint invites us to look at what our minds are doing.

The problem is not a lack of scientific information. It's that: "we human beings are so embedded in the culture of consumerism that being asked to consume less makes us almost gasp. ... The culture of consumerism is not just a form of life that we can accept or reject. It has now become like the air we breathe... We no longer know who we are in the most fundamental scheme of things, where we fit into the big picture as human beings, or what we should be doing,"

What's needed is a spiritual awakening and Buddhism can help with that. We have experience with looking inward, waking up and letting go of illusions.

It's an article worth reading, and I am grateful to Christel in Germany for calling my attention to it: