So here I am looking through my Bali and Java pics, marveling over the spectacular hues of the verdant rice fields, contemplating the hard labor that I witnessed, taking in the overall importance of that oh-so-precious seed called Oryza Sativa. As a cereal grain, rice is the most important staple food for a majority of the world, especially Asia, and it is second only to corn in worldwide grain production. What strikes me in this moment of observation, is how much we take rice for granted.
How often have we hit the Chinese or Indian Buffet and piled heaps of rice onto our bottomless plates, only to toss most of it into the rubbish bin without second thought? I'm certainly guilty. In forty some odd years, I've probably wasted enough rice to feed a small army, which horrifies me suddenly, considering that not too long ago I was face to face with farmers who toiled their lives away over this treasured life-sustaining commodity. Aged way beyond their years, most of the folks I came across were permanently stooped, whithered and ragged. Suffice it to say, shaking hands with a man or woman who can't stand up and look you in the eye is a life altering experience.
So now I must ask myself, will witnessing such hardship bring on change?
Or am I too set in my careless and wasteful ways?
Words float up from a distant childhood memory...
"Clean your plate. There are children starving in India."
Past scolding didn't do the trick.
I can only hope that bearing actual witness in Indonesia
might give pause for future thought(fulness).
Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes...
"Are you a God?" they asked the Buddha.
"No," he replied.
"Are you an angel, then?"
"Then what are you?"
The Buddha replied, "I am AWAKE."
Appreciate all that you have. Let go of all that you've lost.
Know that you live in a world of abundance, but be present.
Don't take it for granted.
Happy Birthday, Buddha!