Buying a hiking shirt the other day made by Sherpa Adventure Gear, I was in absolute awe of their slogan:

Ecolibrium . . . sustainable karma

The gear is made in the mountains of Nepal, built by the people of Kathmandu using the fewest, simplest, most organic threads available. The label further states that: Every action we take has an effect on someone. Treat the earth with respect and lessen the burden on it, and we will all enjoy its bounty forever.

It then goes on to tell the following little story, which is a beautiful reminder of the importance of sustainability and therefore recycling:

It is said in the time of the enlightened one, many kings and queens became his devotees and wanted to make offerings to the brotherhood. Queen Swayamvati offered Ananda, a disciple of Buddha, five hundred garments, which Ananda received in humble gratitude. But the king suspected Ananda’s motives and questioned him as to what he would do with so many garments.

Ananda replied: O King, many of the brethren are in rags, I am going to distribute the garments among the brothers.

The King was not satisfied with this plain answer and demanded: but what are you going to do with the old garments? We will make bed-covers out of them, said Ananda.

What will you do with the old bed-covers Ananda? We will make pillow cases.

What will you do with the old pillow cases? We will make floor covers out of them.

What will you do with the old floor covers? We will use them for foot towels.

What will you do with the old foot towels? We will use them for floor-mops.

But what will you do with the old floor-mops? Your Highness, we will tear them into pieces, mix them with mud and use the mud to plaster the house walls.

In the simple truth of Ananda’s actions we find the wisdom behind what it means to use our possessions over and over again – or recycle, as they say these days.

When we find ourselves in a state of equilibrium, we are in a place of balance. That space we all so yearn for in the busy-ness of life. How we strive for this, and what we do through the daily choices we make create our diverse and unique journeys through life, and ultimately our karma. To me, ecolibrium, refer to our ability to live in balance with Mother Earth. How often do we take the time to think of how the many different choices we make daily, impact on this delicate relationship of balance?


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