"Environment" from 365 Tao by Deng Ming Dao
--Drawing by Stephan Wiltshires
How can you live
With the constant noise of traffic?
The stench of garbage?
The sight of buildings instead of mountains?
The movement of streets instead of rivers?
The feel of pavement instead of earth?
There are some metropolitan areas famous for their power, their
sophistication, their history, their place in civilization. These places
cannot be centers of spirituality too. You only need to look at them
with open eyes and heart. How can anything holy root there?
The noise of traffic is constant. At any time of the day or night,
that distracting roar, that underlying trembling disrupts the subtle.
The air is not clean but is filled with dust and soot. Especially when
the weather is hot, the smell of rotting garbage wafts up from the
foundations like the odor of leprosy. The earth is unable to breathe,
smothered beneath concrete, asphalt, steel, and junk.
Some people who live in these places become interested in
spirituality. They want to know if it is possible to reach high levels
in deeply urban environments. The answer is no. It is not possible to
become fully realized in an urban environment. For to gain realization
means the achievement of special psychophysical states. That requires
quiet cultivation and an acquaintance with the subtle. When the roar of the city is all there is, how can the song of the divine be heard?
365 Tao By Deng Ming Dao