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NATURE RECIPROCATES HUMAN LOVE AND PRAYER

(A Tribute to World Environment Day -2017)

“Ime ete maha Bodhi
Loka nathena pujita
Ahampi te namassami
Bodhi Raja namatthu te”

 God has manifested His beauty and bounty through myriads of forms and shapes. One of His most sublime and adored manifestation is Nature. It has been a proven truth that Nature responds to human
emotions, needs and urges. So we see wherever Nature is adored, protected and promoted, peace and happiness prevail, and crime rate remains low. People enjoy better health in the abundance of nature for the ecological balance. Nature is also a great stimulation for man’s creativity. So, many great writers and spiritual seekers chose to live in the lap of Nature for their uplift. My love for students, devotion for learning, passion for writing and hankering for spiritual pursuits have been fed and fuelled by the pristine Nature of the tiny Himalayan kingdom, Bhutan, where I lived and served as a teacher for about three decades. Nature has a profound impact on the character and quality of human beings. For the very reason, Rabindranath Tagore advocated teaching-learning to be performed in the affinity of Nature and he chose Santiniketan for his Visva Bharati University where Mother Nature stands with her great splendor and grandeur. Tagore had observed, “ Education divorced from Nature has brought untold harm to young children.” Nature also induces urge and force in human beings to love each other and to live in a harmony with all living beings. Bhutan is a vibrant example of the above philosophy which has emerged as one of the happiest countries in the world, not for her material might but for her abundance of pristine Nature which the Royal Government values and protects as their greatest resource. American Naturalist John Burroughs wrote: If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature; and the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature.

Here I present an incredible wonder of Nature which testifies the response of nature to man. Being a Nature lover and worshipper, a blazing thirst had arisen in me to develop of a spiritual forest at Chukha, Bhutan. My dream was blessed by the almighty. Accordingly, with the help of my students, Class X-C, and the generousity of the then Dasho Magtse of the Chukha Hydro Power Plant, we were able to plant about a hundred saplings  above the Chukha archery range and the market on June 2, 2011. Ignited by the high thoughts, the students planted the saplings with utmost devotion and adoration in the circular piece of land. By their wonderful imagination they designed a seat at the centre of the forest for their Class teacher’s meditation which is surrounded by the trees. In their visualization each tree represented a student and the seat of meditation at the centre their Class teacher, and thus created a divine ambience.  I said to the children: “When you will be away from this school next year upon completion of your Class X, I will see each one of your sweet and smiling face through the faces of these trees and hear your voices from the rustle of their leaves. Every tree to me will remain as your personification. I will continue to nurture you and enjoy your love through nurturing and loving these trees. And the thriving of these trees will be the symbolic of your success, health and happiness.

By the will of the Providence in March 2013 I left Bhutan permanently and returned to my motherland India. Nostalgic to the forest and natural beauty and serenity of the place and the school (Wangchu Middle Secondary School) in October 2014 I made a visit to Chukha along with my family. While visiting the seat of my meditation, the greatest gift of my students, I was wonder-struck by discovering a healthy Pipphal Tree at the meditation spot. I could not believe my eyes till I was ascertained of its existence which I firmly believe is a Nature’s response to my students’ prayer and visualization.

Now let’s see what a ‘ pipphal’ tree is which Mother nature herself revealed to me so lovingly and benevolently. I reproduce the following text from page Nos. 54 & 55 of the book entitled Daily Buddhist Devotion authored by venerable K Sri Dhammananda, for the well being of all for which the book is aimed:

The Bodhi Tree, under which the Buddha gained enlightenment, is an object of veneration to Buddhists. It is commonly known as ‘pipphal’ tree and its botanical name is ‘Ficus religiosa. Even before the Buddha’s enlightenment, this tree was long regarded as a holy tree in India.

After His Enlightenment, the Buddha showed His gratitude to this tree by gazing at it fondly and fixedly from a distance for one whole week upon getting up from His seat of Enlightenment. On another occasion, the Buddha advised His followers to plant a Bodhi tree to represent Him during His absence.

Ever since, the Buddhist world has been venerating this sacred tree which represents the Enlightenment of the master. A firm belief prevails among Buddhists that certain Devas (Gods) protect and influence the vicinity wherever a Bodhi tree is situated and venerated. Those who fail to grasp the symbolism of such veneration criticize the Buddhist community for being tree worshippers.

BODHI VANDANA:  This great tree of Enlightenment, the Lord of the World reverenced, I too shall salute you. May there be homage to you, O great Bodhi!

On this auspicious day, June 5, 2017 I prostrate before the Bodhi Tree in our holy forest at Chukha, Bhutan, and offer my veneration with prayer for well being of all the sentient beings. I fervently request my Principal Sir, WMSS, to take this opportunity to pay a visit of homage to the holy tree along with our friends and our little Buddhas (students). As a well wisher, I also request our Chukha Hydro Power Plant brothers and sisters to take this privilege to offer your veneration to the Bodhi Tree on this auspicious occasion. This tree has grown there for everyone’s fortune and protection. I pray and wish that our brothers and sisters across the globe plant Bodhi Tree for our universal brotherhood, peace, protection and prosperity. May we become grateful children to our Mother Nature for her benevolence to us.

 By: Santosh Chowdhury

Ex-teacher, Bhutan

Comments

  1. Cheers! I too love nature, and I try to leave legacy here at Rukubji pry school by planting more sibling- which ultimately, one day, I would see these siblings grown up and say 'wow' to myself.

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