Thursday, 9 September 2010

(Jewish) New Year, New Start

Happy New Year to you, if you are Jewish.  If you are not Jewish, then you might like to know that today is the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.

I found that out when listening to Good Morning Sunday at the weekend.  One of the guests was Rabbi Pete Tobias, who explained that originally the new year was the time when the Jewish community apologised to God, as he put it, so he wouldn't be angry with them, because they wanted him to bless their harvest and the new crops they were sowing and planting for the year ahead.

Traditionally the word the Bible uses rather than apologise, is repent, which I've been told means to change direction.

It seems to me that now would be a good time for all of us, whether Jew, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Atheist or whatever to repent of all the things we're doing to upset the balance of our beautiful, life-sustaining planet and change direction to a new way of doing things that means we tread much more lightly on the Earth and do what we can to avoid harming others.

Something I read this morning could help us to change the way we think about the food we eat:
'We have to look deeply to see how we grow our food, so we can eat in ways that preserve our collective well-being, minimize our suffering and the suffering of other species, and allow the earth to continue to be a source of life for all of us.  If, while we eat, we destroy living beings or the environment, we are eating the flesh of our own sons and daughters*.  We need to look deeply together and discuss how to eat, what to eat and what to resist."
* This is a reference to an allegorical story the Buddha is said to have told, known as 'Discourse on the Son's Flesh'. The meaning is that we are thoughtlessly consuming our children's future, or at least the resources they will need to live well, and maybe to live at all.

From 'The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching' by Thich Nhat Hanh.

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