This teaching was originally offered during the inauguration ceremony of The Hope Cathedral in Fredrikstad, Norway.
I am a forest monk living a very simple meditative life in the forest in Norway. This life very much deepens my relationship to nature. In Buddhism we develop our awareness through meditation and allow nature to teach us. Many Norwegians have said to me that their time in nature is almost a spiritual experience. I don’t know what they mean with ‘almost’ – through deep contact with nature we develop spiritual qualities in the mind. Ultimately, if it goes deep enough, this can lead us to spiritual enlightenment, where our mind enters into a very stable, natural state. For this reason Buddhism is full of practices to help us connect more with nature and develop these spiritual qualities to the full. In nature, as maybe we all know, the mind can become very calm, peaceful, humble and grateful for all that nature gives us. We can naturally develop love and respect and feel inspired to help nature. We become wise too, seeing our real place and role in the world.
To me this is a spiritual way forward for mankind that also, naturally and without pressure, leads us to behave responsibly with respect to the environment.
I offer this for your reflection