Selected by David Loy for Ecodharma 2020 course


Quote by Wendell Berry

“We don’t have the right to ask whether we are going to succeed or not; the only question we have the right to ask is what’s the right thing to do? What does this Earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it?”


Poem by Wendell Berry: The Real Work 

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.


May I be a bridge
Daily Prayer, by Shantideva, Buddhist sage 700 A.D., India
(Prayer performed each morning by His Holiness the Dalai Lama)

May I be a guard for those who need protection
A guide for those on the path
A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood
May I be
a lamp in the darkness
A resting place for the weary
A healing medicine for all who are sick
A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings
May I bring sustenance and awakening
Enduring like the earth and sky
Until all beings are freed from sorrow
And all are awakened


Attributed to Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life


‘No Man is an Island’
(From Devotions upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne)

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.


The Helping Hand of Grace

When you act on behalf
Of something greater than yourself, you begin
To feel it acting through you
With a power that is greater than your own.

This is grace.

Today, as we take risks
For the sake of something greater
Than our separate, individual lives,
We are feeling graced
By other beings and by Earth itself.

Those with whom and on whose behalf we act
Give us strength
And eloquence
And staying power
We didn’t know we had.

We just need to practice knowing that
And remembering that we are sustained
By each other
In the web of life.
Our true power comes as a gift, like grace,
because in truth it is sustained by others.

If we practice drawing on the wisdom
And beauty
And strengths
Of our fellow human beings
And our fellow species
We can go into any situation
And trust
That the courage and intelligence required
Will be supplied.

[from Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy
(Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, 2012), pages 114-115]

The Ecosattva Vows

I vow to myself and to each of you:

To commit myself daily to the healing of our world
And the welfare of all beings.

To live on earth more lightly and less violently
in the food, products, and energy I consume.

To draw strength and guidance from the living Earth,
the ancestors, the future generations,
and my brothers and sisters of all species.

To support others in our work for the world
and to ask for help when I need it.

To pursue a daily practice
that clarifies my mind, strengthens my heart,
and supports me in observing these vows.

— from Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy (Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, 2012), pages 202-203.