Prayers for the environment

I’ve been asked to contribute Buddhist prayers for the environment for an interfaith site. I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t know any – except one verse in a traditional Pali Chant:

Sammā-dhāraṁ pavecchanto
Kāle devo pavassatu.
Vuḍḍhi-bhāvāya sattānaṁ
Samiddhaṁ netu medaniṁ.
Mātā-pitā ca atra-jaṁ
Niccaṁ rakkhanti puttakaṁ.
Evaṁ dhammena rājāno
Pajaṁ rakkhantu sabbadā

Which i have loosely translated as:

May the rain fall from the heavens, showering in the right season!
May the earth’s growing bounty bring prosperity for all beings!
As a mother and father always protect their own child,
So may the righteous rulers always protect their subjects!

I have had a quick look on the web for other Buddhist environment prayers, ancient or modern, but i can’t find any. Does anyone know of any – maybe by Thich Nhat Hahn?

6 thoughts on “Prayers for the environment

  1. Hi Bhante

    This was all I could find:

    Be aware of the contact between your feet and the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet. We have caused a lot of damage to the Earth. Now it is time for us to take good care of her. We bring our peace and calm to the surface of the Earth and share the lesson of love. We walk in that spirit.

    Thich Nhat Hanh

    http://blog.gaiam.com/quotes/authors/thich-nhat-hanh?page=7

    Metta
    Bill

  2. A very similar chant, popular in Sri Lanka:

    Devo vasssatu kālena
    Sassasampatti hotu ca
    Phito bhavatu loko ca
    Rājā bhavatu dhammiko

    May there be rains at the right season
    May there be a plentiful harvest
    May the people be happy
    May the rulers govern with righteousness

    It is part of the traditional ‘Mahā jayamaṇgala gāthā’ collection.

  3. Dear Bhante,

    I would have thought the various mettā chants would count here, although they are for the welfare of all beings, rather than the environment as such:

    Sabbe sattā, sabbe pāṇā, sabbe bhūtā,
    May all creatures, all breathing creatures, all beings,

    Sabbe puggalā, sabbe attabhāvapariyāpannā,
    All persons, all individuals,

    Sabbā itthiyo, sabbe purisā,
    May all women, all men,

    Sabbe ariyā, sabbe anariyā,
    All those who are Noble, all those who are ignoble,

    Sabbe devā, sabbe manussā, sabbe vinipātikā,
    All gods, all human beings, all who have fallen (into the lower worlds),

    Averā hontu, abyāpajjhā hontu, anīghā hontu,
    Be free from hatred, free from oppression, free from trouble,

    Sukhī attānaṁ pariharantu, dukkhā muccantu,
    May they take care of themselves and be happy, may they be free from suffering,

    Yathāladdhasampattito mā vigacchantu kammassakā.
    Being ones who own their actions, may they not loose whatever prosperity they have gained.

    Puratthimāya disāya, pacchimāya disāya, uttarāya disāya, dakkhiṇāya disāya,
    In the Eastern direction, in the Western direction, in the Northern direction, in the Southern direction,

    Puratthimāya anudisāya, pacchimāya anudisāya,
    In the South-Eastern direction, in the North-West direction,

    Uttarāya anudisāya, dakkhiṇāya anudisāya,
    In the North-East direction, in the South-West direction,

    Heṭṭhimāya disāya, uparimāya disāya,
    In the lower direction, in the upper direction,

    Sabbe sattā, sabbe pāṇā, sabbe bhūtā,
    May all creatures, all breathing creatures, all beings,

    Sabbe puggalā, sabbe attabhāvapariyāpannā,
    All persons, all individuals,

    Sabbā itthiyo, sabbe purisā,
    May all women, all men,

    Sabbe ariyā, sabbe anariyā,
    All those who are Noble, all those who are not (yet) Noble,

    Sabbe devā, sabbe manussā, sabbe vinipātikā,
    All gods, all human beings, all who have fallen (into the lower worlds),

    Averā hontu, abyāpajjhā hontu, anīghā hontu,
    Be free from hatred, free from oppression, free from trouble,

    Sukhī attānaṁ pariharantu, dukkhā muccantu,
    May they take care of themselves and be happy, may they be free from suffering,

    Yathāladdhasampattito mā vigacchantu kammassakā.
    Being ones who own their actions, may they not loose whatever prosperity they have gained.

    8. Uddhaṁ yāva bhavaggā ca adho yāva avīcito samantā Cakkavāḷesu
    From the highest of existence down, and from the lowest worlds up, everywhere in the Universe,

    Ye sattā paṭhavī carā, abyāpajjhā niverā ca niddukkhā canupaddavā.
    Whatever beings live on the earth, (may they be) free from oppression, free from hatred, free from suffering, and free from danger.

    Uddhaṁ yāva bhavaggā ca adho yāva avīcito samantā Cakkavāḷesu
    From the highest of existence down, and from the lowest worlds up, everywhere in the Universe,

    Ye sattā udake carā, abyāpajjhā niverā ca niddukkhā canupaddavā.
    Whatever beings live in the waters, (may they be) free from oppression, free from hatred, free from suffering, and free from danger.

    Uddhaṁ yāva bhavaggā ca adho yāva avīcito samantā Cakkavāḷesu
    From the highest of existence down, and from the lowest worlds up, everywhere in the Universe,

    Ye sattā ākāse carā, abyāpajjhā niverā ca niddukkhā canupaddavā.
    Whatever beings live in the sky, (may they be) free from oppression, free from hatred, free from suffering, and free from danger.

    * * *

    1. Attūpamāya sabbesaṁ ~ sattānaṁ sukhakāmataṁ,
    In a similar way to oneself, all ~ beings desire happiness,

    passitvā kamato mettaṁ ~ sabbasattesu bhāvaye.
    having seen that one should gradually develop friendliness towards all beings.

    2. Sukhī bhaveyyaṁ niddukkho, ~ ahaṁ niccaṁ, aham viya
    May I constantly be happy, free from suffering, and like myself

    hitā ca me sukhī hontu, ~ majjhattā cātha verino.
    may my benefactors be happy, ~ neutral persons, and foes also.

    3. Imamhi gāmakkhettamhi, ~ sattā hontu sukhī sadā,
    In this village, and its surrounding fields, ~ may beings always be happy,

    tato parañ-ca rajjesu, ~ cakkavālesu jantuno.
    and those in other countries, ~ and people throughout the universe.

    4. Samantā cakkavālesu ~ sattānantesu pāṇino,
    o Throughout the entire universe ~ may the countless beings, creatures,

    sukhino puggalā bhūtā ~ attabhāvagatā siyuṁ,
    persons, and bhūtas, who have attained individuality, be happy,

    5. tathā itthī pumā ceva ~ ariyā anariyā pi ca,
    and so too (all) women, men, ~ noble ones, and also ignoble ones,

    devā narā apāyaṭṭhā, ~ tathā dasadisāsu cāti.
    gods, humans, and fallen creatures, ~ and likewise (all beings) in the ten directions.

  4. “The Message”

    (Source:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/piyadassi/protection.html)

    *** May peace harmonious bless this land;
    May it be ever free from maladies and war;
    May there be harvest rich, and increased yield of grain;
    May everyone delight in righteousness;
    May no perverted thought find entry to your minds;
    May all your thoughts e’er pious be and lead
    to your success religiously.

    — Tibetan Great Yogi, Milarepa

    Most gratefully and most devotedly
    dedicated to my departed parents
    (‘Matapitaro pubbacariyati vuccare’)

    — Anguttara Nikaya, ii. p. 70

    *** Be loving and be pitiful
    And well controlled in virtue’s ways,
    Strenuous bent upon the goal,
    And onward ever bravely press.

    That danger does in dalliance lie —
    That earnestness is sure and safe —
    This when you see, then cultivate
    The Eight-fold Path so shall ye realize,
    So make your own, the Deathless Way.’
    — Psalms of the Brethren, 979,980

    “Looks like me, sounds like me but not me.”
    (p.s. I am equally, and soulfully, dump-founded and freaked out, as many of you – beyond one’s comprehension).

  5. Dana Murty kindly gave these to me:

    Below are quotes from the Avatamsaka Sutra.

    Source: Reverence for Life Calendar, 2009 – Protect the Earth and Cherish the Nature. Published by The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taipei, Taiwan.

    “The Avatamsaka Sutra says,

    ‘All lands are produced by the karmic power. The karma, delusion and afflictions of the defiled sentient beings are really horrific. Their minds make all lands and oceans become polluted.’

    ‘The ground upholds all things, the river water has many functions, the spring is clean like wisdom, and the forest is like the wonderous wisdom. A boddhisattva practices these deeds wonderfully and increasingly even through numberless eons, he/she never feels tired and satisfied.’

  6. What follows are not so much prayers as skillful use of environmental metaphors to convey points of Dhamma perhaps.

    As a beautiful flower without fragrance is disappointing,
    so are wise words without right action. (Dh 51)

    Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things (Dh 113)

    A single day lived in awareness of the transient nature of life
    Is of greater value than one hundred years lived unaware of birth and death. (Dh 113)

    To avoid bringing harm to living beings
    who, like us, seek contentment,
    is to bring happiness to ourselves. (Dh 113)

    There are those who awaken from heedlessness.
    They bring light into the world, like the moon emerging from clouds. (Dh 172)

    As a bee gathering nectar does not harm or disturb the colour and fragrance of the flower;
    so do the wise move through the world. (Dh 49)

    Gradually, gradually, a moment at a time the wise remove their own impurities as a goldsmith removes the dross. (Dh 239)

    While in the midst of those who are greedy,
    to dwell free from greed is happiness indeed. (Dh 199)

    If the roots are not removed weeds grow again and again;
    suffering returns to us so long as craving remains. (Dh 338)

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