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The Sound of One Foot Walking

by Kate Trainor on October 5, 2007

Monk The Sound of One Foot Walking

Thich Nhat Hanh:

Everyone wants to have their own private car; but with the damage to the atmosphere caused by fuel emissions, our lakes and forests are drying up and the deserts are growing. Every one of us can do something to protect and care for our planet. It is time for us to wake up together in order to do something to change the situation. We have to live in such a way that a future will be possible for our children and grandchildren and our own life has to be the message."

 
As an author of more than 100 books, 40 of them in English, Thich Nhat Hanh has frequently been credited as the most influential Buddhist teacher in the West. Nhat Hanh’s teachings have long sought to transform the speed and violence prevalent in western societies. His message is now being targeted squarely at excessive energy consumption.
 
The Zen master was instrumental in converting the Deer Park Monastery to 100% solar power. The purpose, “…to contribute to the regeneration of this beautiful land, bringing freshness, peace and happiness to all who come here. Deer Park’s conversion to solar energy is one way that we lighten our steps on the Earth and truly arrive as responsible and loving children of the Earth.”
 
The logical next step for Nhat Hanh was to take aim at automobile use. His foundation, Plum Village, has helped to found Car Free Days. Their mission is to expand on the annual World Car Free Day and encourage people to pledge to decrease their automobile usage throughout the year. The site also offers tips to make going car-free easier.
Over 50,000 days car-free days have already been pledged. Click here to add your name to the list.
 
Nhat Hanh was born in Vietnam in 1926 and became a monk by age 16. While based in Saigon, he founded the School of Youth for Social Services. This grass roots activist organization rebuilt communities destroyed by decades of war, established schools and medical centers, and organized cooperative farms.
 
Once exiled from Vietnam, Nhat Hanh took his mission of peace to the West. His meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. largely convinced King to oppose the war. The following year, King nominated Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize.
 
Picture Courtesy of Plum Village Practice Center, France

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 brian March 31, 2008 at 11:35 pm

I’m skeptical about any news that comes out of China. The notion of a “free-press” is largely absurd these days, but it seems to be even worse in China.

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2 April 1, 2008 at 2:47 am

Good point, Brian. Considering the source (if it’s coming straight from China), the claim of a higher fuel efficiency could well be bogus, altogether. There’s no such thing as a “free press” there, and, as you mention, there are merely traces of it in most other countries–including so-called “progressive” Western nations. At least most of us can pick and choose our sources online; the Chinese don’t have that luxury, often times, and are grossly misinformed by their government. Recent news only drives the point home (no pun intended, of course): http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7276891.stm

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3 Bill Olsen April 1, 2008 at 6:52 am

Hang on. You’re caught up in this POV that China is “politically in the dark ages” — that is a bogeyman first and foremost before we can consider its green credentials.

But China hasn’t invaded Iraq in a determined quest for oil security nor has China more people incarcerated per capita than any other nation on earth. Nor is it pumping out carbon per capita higher than any other place on the planet.

You could have written correctly:”I can’t condone the US government’s current (or, for that matter, past) violations of human rights, so it was somewhat shocking to read in the Toronto Star that a country so politically in the dark ages would have fuel-efficiency standards that are much worse than China’s.”

Freedom for Tibet? Sure. But if you are going to judge political systems en route to a discourse on emissions controls a little more humility is warranted.

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