“Many of us humans, blinded by greed, pride, and delusion, have been unable to recognize you as our Mother. That is why we have caused so much suffering to one another and have damaged your health and your beauty.”
Intimate Conversation with Mother Earth
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs”
– St. Francis of Assisi
Dear Mother, I bow down before you with utmost respect and the clear awareness that you are present in me and that I am a part of you. You gave birth to me and provided me with everything I needed for my nourishment. You gave me air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and medicinal herbs to heal me when I was sick. Because you gave birth to me once, I know that you will continue to give birth to me again and again in the future. That is why I can never die. Each time I manifest, I am fresh and new; and each time I return, you receive and embrace me with great compassion. You are the great Earth, you are Terra, you are Gaia, you are this beautiful blue planet. You are the Earth Refreshing Bodhisattva–fragrant, cool, kind, and pure. You are infinitely beautiful. You have the great capacity of receiving, taking care of, and transforming everything; including filth of all kinds, poisonous fumes, and even radioactive waste. Time is with you to do this work, and you will do it, even if it takes a million years. You have numerous children; millions of species, amongst which the human species is just one. Many of us humans, blinded by greed, pride, and delusion, have been unable to recognize you as our Mother. That is why we have caused so much suffering to one another and have damaged your health and your beauty. We know that you have enough energy to embrace and transform our mistakes. But our deluded minds continue to push us to exploit you and create conflicts. This causes you a lot of tension.
Mother, you are a great realized being, a great Bodhisattva. You are not only a mother to us all, but you are the mother of countless Buddhas, Saints, and Bodhisattvas. Our root teacher, Shakyamuni Buddha, was a child of yours. The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and the Virgin Mary were also your children. The matriarch Lieu Hanh was your child. The Bodhisattvas Sadaparibhuta, and Kshitigarbha were also your children. Even our parents are your children. Many of us, who have been raised and guided by you through many lifetimes, have become Bodhisattvas with the capacity to educate others, to help them, and to protect you. There are those of us who have been able to investigate and seek to understand distant galaxies, as well as our own Milky Way, and the planets of our Solar System, thus helping you deepen your communication with them. We know that your relationships with the planets, especially with the Sun and the Moon, are already harmonious. You rotate smoothly and inter-connectedly with them to create the rhythmic cycles of day and night, and the four seasons. We are aware that you are one of the most beautiful and precious Bodhisattvas in the Universe. We are also aware of your virtue of great patience. That is why we can wholeheartedly take refuge in you and have total confidence in you.
Your Journey of Eons
You manifested more than 4 and a half billion years ago and life began to manifest on you less that one billion years later. Since then, you have gradually become the beautiful living planet that you are today. Life evolved from deep within the oceans, multiplying and prospering on your body, slowly improving the atmosphere so that countless species could manifest. After one billion years, there was enough free oxygen in the atmosphere to create the ozone layer, which then prevented harmful radiation from reaching your surface, thus allowing life to develop on land.
In the first few hundred million years, you overcame great difficulties to create an atmosphere capable of sustaining life. You had to release great heat and expel great fires and gases from your volcanoes. Steam was released from your crust, becoming water vapor in the atmosphere. Along with water and ice from other small protoplanets and meteorites, the water vapor helped you create the great oceans. Greenhouse gases trapped heat from the Sun and kept the oceans from freezing. Your gravity helped to anchor the life-sustaining atmosphere, and your magnetic field prevented it from being stripped away by solar winds and cosmic rays. But before even forming the atmosphere, you had to endure a collision with a great heavenly body, almost the size of the Red Planet. Part of the impacting planet became you; the rest of it, along with part of your mantle and crust, became the Moon. Dear Mother, the Moon is a part of you, as beautiful as an angel. She’s our aunt. She always follows you, tugging at your sleeve, helping you to slow down, helping you to keep your balance, and creating tidal rhythms on your body.
Touching the Earth
Your immeasurable patience and endurance has made you a great Bodhisattva, a solid place of refuge for us all. Every time we are unstable, every time we lose ourselves in forgetfulness, in sadness, hatred, and despair, we feel the need to go back to you and practice touching the Earth. Touching you we find a refuge; we re-establish our peace, regaining our joy and self-confidence. We know that we are all your children; and even though we make many mistakes, you always forgive us. Every time we return to you, you are ready to open your arms and embrace us. Thanks to you, we realize our nature of no-birth and no-death. You store in yourself vast treasures of energy in various forms. We vow to utilize these treasures skillfully so that they won’t dry up, so that you won’t need million of years to meticulously replenish them.
Respected Mother, wherever there is soil, water, or air, you are there. You give us life and nourish us. If we nurture the awareness that we are always in you and you are always in us then both of us are peaceful, happy, healthy, and strong. But because some of us are not able to see this truth, we lose ourselves. We lose the capacity to recognize that our physical bodies are also your body. Our minds are filled with confusion or drifting in dreams, forgetting the precious gift that was given to us by you. Therefore, we make the vow that from now on we shall take every step in mindfulness. We will be clearly aware that we are placing our feet on the Earth, so as to be in touch with you, and with all the wonders of life manifesting on you. We know that mindful steps like these have the capacity to nourish us, to heal us, and to bring us in contact with you in the present moment. You are the Pure Land where countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the past manifested, realized enlightenment, and taught the Dharma. There is no need for us to seek the Pure Land or the Kingdom of Heaven elsewhere or in the future. You are a wonderful and beautiful Pure Land. You are our true home and we can come back to you with each step. We no longer want to dream of any other Kingdom of Heaven or Land of Great Happiness.
Our teacher, who was also a child of yours, attained the Way at the foot of the Bodhi Tree. He accepted this place as his true home. We want to continue his career, making the vow to remain with you throughout countless lifetimes, offering you our talent, strength, and health so that many more Bodhisattvas can continue to rise up from your soil. Each time we sit in stillness on Mother Earth, we will be aware that you are in us. We make the aspiration to embody your great virtues; the virtues of solidity, perseverance, patience, and forbearance; the virtues of depth, endurance, and stability; the virtues of great courage and non-fear; the virtue of inexhaustible creativity. We vow to practice wholeheartedly to realize these virtues. We know that you have already sown these potentials as seeds, in the soil of our hearts and minds.
The Earth is Not the Environment–the Earth is Us
The manifestation of each of your children is beautiful and each contributes to your beauty. A clear lake, a green pine, a pink cloud, a snow-capped mountain top, a fragrant forest, a white crane, a golden deer… these miraculous manifestations of life are all your children and each one of them enhances and magnifies your beauty. Your children include millions of species, each with its own language. Since you are our Mother, you understand all these languages, including the languages of humans. You are a planet, Mother of all beings, not just of humans, therefore we feel very at ease every time we talk to you and offer you our prayer. We are all your children, and at the same time, we are you, for you are fully present in each one of us.
There are those of us lacking right thinking, who consider this place on which we live to be separate from the Pure Land. They advise us to reject this land and to aspire to be reborn in a faraway Pure Land. They do not know that if their minds are calm and pure, filled with love, if they have the capacity to transform compost into flowers, to use mud to grow lotuses, then they will see that their afflictions are in fact realizations and that this very land is already the Pure Land. They do not know that their way of perceiving has a lot to do with whether or not this is the Pure Land. Each physical manifestation on your body, such as a floating cloud or a falling leaf is sufficient for us to see the no-birth and no-death, no being and no non-being nature of reality. We then can appreciate and enjoy life fully, without being fearful or worrying about being or non-being, having or not having, increasing or decreasing, being the same or being different.
The Sun My Heart
Dear Mother, I know you will always need the Sun in order to continue to give birth to us and to nourish us. The Sun is our Father. You orbit each other endlessly, offering us a full cycle of 365 days in 12 months, making the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. The light emitted from Father provides you with warmth and allows photosynthesis to take place, thereby helping you maintain life for us. You and Father both formed from a vast, spinning nebula of gas and dust. His diameter is more than 100 times greater than yours, but the sweep of your orbit spans a distance more than 200 times greater again. His light takes more than 8 minutes to reach you, though the distance is only 150 million kilometers.
We know that each one of us has a heart inside our body and if it stops, we will die immediately. But looking up, we see that the Sun is also our heart, located not inside this small body but in the body of the Solar System. If the Sun, our Father, disappears then our lives, and yours too, Mother, will come to an end. Therefore, we must contemplate the Sun as our heart, so that we can recognize the presence of our Father in us as well as outside of us, ultimately realizing that inside and outside are only concepts.
Dear Mother, every time I look, I see Father in you and in me. My Father is not only in the sky but also on earth and is present in you and in me. Each morning he appears in the eastern sky as a luminous red-orange disk, radiating light in every direction, magnificent beyond words. My Father is the Sun–Sol, Surya, Sunna. He is a great Buddha, a great Bodhisattva. He is the Great Sun Tathagata, Limitless Light, Limitless Lifespan. He is Amitabha. My Father’s physical form is much greater than that of my Mother. Though he is kind-hearted and capable of forgiveness, he has great strength and courage and can be very fierce. The temperature of his crown is more than 5500 degrees Celsius and thus his physical form is plasma. He does not have a hard and stable outer layer like the graceful, fresh green coat that you wear. He is one of the few largest stars in our galaxy. Eighty five percent of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way are smaller and dimmer than Father. But his great physical mass, 330,000 times that of Mother, is slowly diminishing. Each second he offers a small portion of his mass to the Universe in the form of light energy. Life is possible on you, dear Mother, thanks to your ability to receive and transform that light energy. Though limitless in lifespan, Father is also impermanent and over the next 10 billion years, most of his mass will be transformed into energy. After that, he will no longer be able to maintain his current form, but he will continue to manifest in other forms, through the energy emitted over billions of years. The light Father emits is his continuation and not even one photon of this light will be lost. This is why Father is truly limitless in lifespan.
Our Solar Family
Our Solar System is made up of a Buddha, surrounded by an assembly of planets, moving together within the Milky Way. Mercury orbits closest to Father. Next is Venus and then Mother Earth–most beautiful of all. After Mother is Mars. Between Mars and Jupiter is the asteroid belt; some tens of thousands of asteroids–from Ceres, almost 1000 kilometers across, down to little more than particles of dust. Jupiter is about 900 million kilometers from the Sun, our Father, and has its own entourage of 64 satellite planets, or moons. One of these moons, named Europa, has a thick layer of ice, under which there may be liquid water–perhaps even harboring life. Smaller and further from out than Jupiter is Saturn–still almost 100 times larger than Mother Earth, and attended by more than 60 moons. Uranus and Neptune are the last two full-sized planets in our Solar System. The assembly of our Sun, the Buddha, is numerous. We feel that it is a true family, a warm sangha, joyfully and mindfully dancing together in the Milky Way.
Father’s embracing arms are very wide. We know that if Father embraces Mother and all of us in his arms then we will become ash, vapor, and liquid. You, Mother, know how to care for us. You protect all life by using oxygen from photosynthesis to create the ozone layer in the upper level of the atmosphere; thus limiting the amount of UV radiation reaching your surface. The birds are happiest in the vast sky and the deer enjoy running free in the woods, thanks to your capacity to contain and protect. Over the eons you have skillfully harvested and accumulated sunlight in order to nourish us, your children, whilst at the same time making yourself more and more beautiful. We know that your future, our future, depends on the future of the Sun, our Father. His light energy emission may increase by as much as 400% in the next few billion years and if your are not able to adapt and change your orbit, all of the great oceans on you will quickly dry up and life will no longer be possible.
Many of us, seeing Father traveling each day from East to West, could think that his true home, his Pure Land, is in the direction of the West. But like you, we understand that that is just an idea. Father is present everywhere. If we were to stand on this side of the globe to look, he would seem to be in the West; but standing on the other side of the globe at the same moment, he would appear to be in the East. The Buddha does not differentiate between North and South, Inside and Outside. Our Father dwells above us, but at the same time, he is in us and in you. Having seen Father and Mother, and the whole Solar System in us, we no longer need to search for anything else.
The Emergence of Awareness
Do you remember when you and Father first formed from the dust of exploded stars and interstellar gas? You did not yet wear the silken cloak of freshness that you do today. At that time Mother, your robe was made of molten rock, but it quickly cooled and formed a hard shell. Light from Father was only 70% of what it is today, but greenhouse gases in your atmosphere helped to trap the heat and keep the great oceans from freezing. Around 4 billion years ago, complex molecules, perhaps brought to you from outer space, began to come together in self-replicating structures. Eventually these became more like living cells and you were able to help life emerge. Light particles from distant stars, millions of light years away, came to visit and stay with you. Small cells came together to form larger cells. Unicellular organisms slowly evolved into multi-cellular organisms. Life spread from water to land and today you have a wonderful green robe. But as impermanence is the nature of all phenomena, life over vast areas of the Earth has been destroyed more than five times, including the extinction of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago.
Just a few million years ago, the precursors of our human species began to appear in the form of apes such as orrorin tugenensis, who had the ability to stand, leaving their hands free. They learned to use tools and communicate with each other, giving their brains opportunities to grow and develop, gradually evolving into humans. Agricultural activities and the emergence of society enabled humans to acquire a type of ability that no other species on Earth has. Humans can be evil, mean, and violent, but they have the ability, with spiritual practice, to become Buddhas, Saints, and Bodhisattvas–compassionate and helpful towards not only their own species but other species too–awakened beings with the capacity to protect you and preserve your beauty.
Dear Mother, our human species, thanks to the precious gift of awareness, has been able to learn to recognize its own presence and has found its true place in you and in the Universe. We know that we are tiny and insignificant, yet our minds are capable of encompassing three thousand worlds. We now know that our beautiful planet Earth is not the center of the Universe but we can still see that it is one of the Universe’s most wondrous manifestations. We have developed science and technology, discovered reality’s true nature of no-birth and no-death, neither being nor non-being, neither increasing nor decreasing, neither the same nor different. We realize that the one contains the all, the greatest is in the smallest, and each particle of dust contains the whole Cosmos. We are learning to love you and our Father more and to love one another in the light of such insight. We know that this non-dualistic way of seeing things and the teaching of inter-being help us to transcend all discrimination, all fear, jealousy, hatred, and despair. We aspire to transmit this insight to future generations.
We are no longer naive in thinking that humans are the masters of the Universe. Many of us have gone beyond dualistic views of right and wrong and are no longer puzzled about what we used to call the Will of Heaven and Earth. We have transcended the concept of a creator in human form–we are no longer able to believe that God is an old man with a white beard, sitting in the sky, controlling everything on Earth, or that there is a Goddess on a cloud, finding and helping us every time we are in danger. God, for us, is the Ultimate Reality, the true nature of no-birth, no-death, no-coming, no-going, of all phenomenal manifestations. But some of us, when going through suffering, believe absolutely that whatever brings suffering is evil and whatever brings happiness is good; not knowing that suffering and happiness are just perceptions. All our perceptions are based on our sense organs, which are inherently limited. If our sense organs were differently formed, then our perceptions would be correspondingly different. Thus we see that happiness or suffering, the Pure Land or the mundane world depend very much on our way of perceiving.
The Non-Dual Nature of Reality
We know that absolute reality cannot be encompassed by the dualistic views of birth and death, being and non-being. A Buddha can be a person but may also manifest as a star in a constellation, or a planet, like you, beloved Mother. In fact, many Buddhas and great Bodhisattvas have manifested since beginningless time in forms other than human. Like our father the Sun, your true nature is no-birth and no-death. Like you, our nature must be the same. We thank you for your presence as a Bodhisattva, not in the form of a human but in the form of a planet. We personify you, calling you Mother–as we do our human mothers–but we know you are the Mother of all species.
Dear Mother, there are people who call Father’s name throughout the whole day, not knowing that their Father is present in their very bodies as well as well as in the light above their heads. They are not aware that their true nature is the nature of Amitabha, of limitless light, and limitless lifespan. They do not know that they are the children of our Father, children of the Sun. Many have referred to The World-Honored One, Shakyamuni, our teacher, as ‘kinsman of the Sun.’ Day and night, we encounter our Father as a miraculous reality and not just as a name. If our Father is limitless in light and limitless in lifespan then so are we. Each cell in our bodies can emit that light and continue it into the future.
The Kingdom of Heaven is on Earth
Dear Mother, there are those of us who walk on Earth but still wish to seek for a Promised Land elsewhere, not knowing that you are the wondrous Pure Land, present in this moment. They are not able to see that the Kingdom of Heaven exists in their own hearts. They are not able to see that if their minds are calm and peaceful then the very ground they are walking on becomes the Pure Land. We are able to play and enjoy this Pure Land day and night thanks to that insight, thanks to the practice of dwelling peacefully with mindfulness in the here and the now. We have the Kingdom here and are no longer searching for it elsewhere. You have the capacity to carry us hundreds of millions of years into the future, after which you may manifest as another planet and we as other wonderful forms on you.
Respected Mother, you have children who are proud of themselves as brilliant mathematicians, skilled artisans, gifted architects, but few are able to see that you are the greatest mathematician, the most accomplished artisan, and the most talented architect. We only need to look at a branch of cherry blossoms, the shell of a snail, or the wing of a bat to see this truth. We have talented artists, but how can our paintings be compared to the works of art that you reveal to us in the four seasons? How can we paint such compelling dawns or create such radiant dusks? Our musicians are geniuses but how can our songs measure up to your wondrous orchestra of earth and sky, or the magnificent sound of the rising tide? We have brave soldiers–knights and heroes who have endured extreme heat and cold, and traversed mountains and rivers–but how many of us have your patience and capacity to embrace? We have great love stories, but who among us has your immense love that includes all beings without discrimination?
Interbeing – Our True Nature
Dear Mother, every time I step on the Earth, I am now able to transcend the notions of mind and matter. Your sublime reality also transcends the notions of mind and matter. Matter and mind are just ideas, two faces of the same reality. That pine tree is not just matter as it possesses a sense of knowing. A dust particle is not just matter since each of its atoms has intelligence and is a living reality. Our nature is your nature, which is the nature of the Cosmos. This is the nature of interbeing; no being or non-being, no-birth and no-death, no increasing or decreasing, no matter and no mind, no inside or outside, no coming or going. Earth is thought to be one of the four basic elements but Mother Earth is also composed of the other three non-earth elements–water, air, and fire. The four elements carry in themselves time, space, and consciousness. Each step reveals to us the inter-being of all elements. Buddha Nature is not only present in humans but in all things.
Dear Mother, you are a great Bodhisattva, giving birth to countless Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Your heart embraces the whole Cosmos and your wisdom radiates in the ten directions. We cannot compare our capacity to understand and to love with yours. Some of us resent you for giving birth to them, causing them to endure suffering, because they are not yet able to understand and appreciate you. With the practice of looking deeply, we see that we can overcome all of our suffering and resentment. Getting in touch deeply with the Historical Dimension, we can see the Ultimate Dimension and thus come to better understand what is happening in the Historical Dimension.
In the Ultimate Dimension, there is no birth, no death, no suffering, no happiness, no coming, no going, no good and no evil. We must learn to look at the world of signs and appearances from the perspective of the Ultimate Dimension. In the Historical Dimension, if there is no death, there will be no birth. If there is no suffering, there will be no happiness. Without evil, good cannot be; without the mud, lotuses will not grow. Mud and lotus are not enemies. Lotus and mud depend on each other to manifest. The same is true for suffering and happiness, good and evil. But since our understanding of good and evil is still very dualistic, some of us still resent, blame, and reproach the Earth and the Sky. We use our small minds to judge the great mind of the Earth and the Sky.
The floods, tornados, earthquakes, and tsunamis are not manifestations of your anger or punishments but are things that must occur on occasion in the Historical Dimension, out of necessity, so that balance can be reestablished; the same is true of a shooting star. For balance in nature to be achieved, at times, some species have to endure loss. But when the need to survive is replaced with greed and pride, there is violence, which always brings about unnecessary devastation. We have seen that when one species develops too rapidly, exceeding its natural limit, causing great loss and damage, threatening the lives of other species, then naturally causes and conditions will arise to bring about the destruction and annihilation of that species. Equilibrium can then be restored among the remaining species. These causes and conditions often surface from within the very species causing the destruction. We have learned the lesson that when we perpetrate violence towards our own and other species, we are violent towards ourselves; and when we know how to protect all beings, we are protecting ourselves.
Continuing the Mind of Love
Dear Mother, each of us has Buddha Nature because we are all your offspring; whether we are humans, animals, plants, or minerals. We humans are often proud of our mind consciousness, but this is only one of the many functions of mind, such as Store Consciousness and Vimala (pure, non-defiled) Consciousness. Our mind consciousness gives us the ability to recognize our own presence and the presence of the Cosmos in this moment; but it is limited by our habitual tendency to differentiate between being and non-being, birth and death, inside and outside, individual and collective. Some of us have practiced, contemplated, purified ourselves, and attained the Wisdom of Non-Discrimination. We are able to be in touch with Nirvana, with the nature of no-birth and no-death in ourselves. You must be very proud of those of us who are able to continue you on the path of evolution; those who have the capacity to guide and to lead others towards the insight of non-duality, transforming all differentiation, discrimination, fear, hatred and despair.
You have given birth to many great Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. We make the deep vow to follow those who have gone before us on this path. We make the vow to confidently embody your wondrous and sublime consciousness, so as to be worthy of calling ourselves your children. We understand that all things are impermanent and without a separate self-nature; you, our Father the Sun, and all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are of the same nature. We know that in the Ultimate Dimension, your lifespan, Father’s, and that of all beings, including leaves and budding flowers, are limitless–transcending birth and death, being and non-being. Yet in the Historical Dimension, we still want to protect you, our Mother Earth, so that you can continue for a long time in this beautiful and precious form; not just 500 million years, but even beyond. We want to protect you so that you can be here with us, within this cozy Solar System, for a very long time.
Returning to Intimacy with Mother Earth
Respected Mother, some of us ask what will happen to them once their physical form disintegrates. We know clearly that we will return to you. It is only natural. If we know how to contemplate, to look deeply, we will recognize the true no-coming and no-going nature of all things. We will no longer have any questions about coming and going. Knowing that we have manifested from you in the past and will continue to manifest from you again and again in the future, each time fresh and new, we have no more worries, no more fears.
Dear respected Mother, I see the whole Cosmos in you, and you in me. Although you are the mother of all species, as humans, we are capable of conversing intimately with you, capable of seeing you and understanding you. We know that you want us to live in such a way that in each moment of our daily lives we can produce the energies of Mindfulness, Peace, Solidity, and Love. We vow to obey your Wish and respond to your love. We have the conviction that if we keep producing these wholesome energies, we will be able to help reduce suffering on Earth, especially the suffering caused by war, hunger, and illness. We will learn to appreciate and enjoy our own presence and the presence of the Cosmos. With these wholesome energies we can help reduce the number of natural disasters like floods, storms, earthquakes and tsunamis.
Dear Mother, there were times when your children suffered greatly as a result of natural disasters. We know that when we suffer, you also suffer in us. At these times, we turned to you, dear Mother, and asked you whether or not we could count on you, on your stability and compassion. You did not answer us right away. And then, looking at us with great compassion, you said: “Yes, of course, you can count on your Mother. I will always be there for you. But dear children, you must ask yourselves whether your Mother can count on you.” Dear Mother, we have passed many nights without sleeping because of this Koan given to us. Today, our faces covered in tears, we come to kneel before you, compassionate and holy Mother, to tell you that, “Yes, Mother, you can count on us.”
Touching the Ultimate
Because you are endowed with Buddha Nature, all of your children carry within themselves the capacity to wake up and live happily in the spirit of responsibility. Your children have been able to build powerful telescopes capable of capturing many kinds of light that are inaccessible to the human eye, such as infrared light, ultraviolet light, X-rays and gamma-rays. We have put these telescopes on space observatories, above the opaque veil of the atmosphere, several thousands of kilometers above the Earth’s surface. We have been able to observe the Cosmos in all its splendor. We have seen distant galaxies and stars, whose images have taken hundreds of millions of years to reach us. In this way we have come to appreciate your beauty, dear Mother, and the wonder that is us. Our consciousness is of the same nature as the consciousness of the Cosmos and your consciousness. The radiant and elegant Cosmos that we see in our telescopes is this very consciousness itself, and not something outside of it. We know that any of your children who practice looking deeply with mindfulness and concentration will also be able to develop this Wisdom of Wonderful Observation.
Dear Mother, we know that the Ultimate Dimension of reality is our true nature of no-birth, no-death, no-coming, no-going; if we are able to get in touch with it, we can experience peace and the blessings of non-fear and non-anxiety. We know that the Ultimate Dimension of reality does not exist separately from the Historical Dimension. If we are able to touch deeply the Historical Dimension–through a leaf, a flower, a pebble, a beam of light, a mountain, a river, a bird, or our own body–we touch at the same time the Ultimate Dimension. The Ultimate Dimension cannot be described as personal or impersonal, material or spiritual, object or subject of cognition–we say only that it is always shining, and shining on itself. Touching the Ultimate Dimension, we feel happy and comfortable, like the birds enjoying the blue sky, or the deer enjoying the green fields. We know that we do not have to look for the Ultimate outside of ourselves–it is available within us, in this very moment. Practicing mindfulness, touching the nature of interdependence, interbeing, and emptiness, we can get in touch with the Ultimate right in the very here and now.