Wounded Waters


My favorite blogger on Buddhism, Tenpa from Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar posted a story and a prayer about the devastation that is happening in the Gulf of Mexico.  The post is entitled Wounded Waters: Prayer for the Gulf of Mexico.

Tenpa talks about how, in 1964, he and a friend would camp at Longboat Key.  They performed acts of Buddhist vandalism:

The fishermen at Longboat Key used to plant their reels in the sand, and leave their lines cast out into the surf. The waterbirds would come skimming across the water at dusk, and get entangled in the lines. Do and me used to sneak along the beach and cut the lines, so the fish would not be tempted, and the birds would not drown


Tenpa reflects on the passage of time, the formerly pristine Longboat Key having long fell prey to developers, both he and his friend have changed as well:

I heard that Do (ed note: Tenpa’s friend from Thailand) became a general, and I of course became a deliberate failure. Nevertheless, it would be fair to say that Do and me have probably always carried a little bit of the Gulf along with us, like grains of sand in the bottom of a pocket.

I am posting the prayer in its entirety, and I hope my karma is good enough to get away with it, as I think it is worth sharing.

   Because we have divided all that we seem to experience

   into polar opposites founded on mistaken notions of “them” and “us”

   We trade ever-present satisfaction

   For temporary dreams

   believing in the illusion of happiness and gain.

   When, from the lust for independence

   in this world of interdependence,

   we selfishly cut open the earth’s veins

   I pray we remember the planet’s wounded waters

   and how, from ignorance, we injured all beings in and around them

   The shores that map our aspiration for water and earth

   do not delimit primordial perfection

   which is spacious and profound:

   by resting in one place

   radiant blessings reach beyond the idea of boundaries

   It is not for the inhabited waters alone we pray

   but for the wild places we do not always remember to see

   this great ocean of misery that seems to come and go

   when we close our eyes, when we open our eyes

   Instantly evaporated when we open our hearts

   May mistaken notions be tamed,

   May always possible perfection be realized

   May peace born within us heal the damage we have done

   May life be comfortably sustained for all sentient beings who suffer

   By the merit of our clear awakening

   By the power of truth,

   May there spontaneously come an end to the disharmony of the elements

   in the Gulf of Mexico.

Thank you, Tenpa, for this prayer.  May it come to pass.



  1. gaia

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