Reflections on Ohigan and the Seventh Generation

The Buddhist Church of Oakland observed Spring Ohigan last Sunday (March 15, 2015), but today (March 20) is the actual Spring Equinox! I looked at it as an opportunity to announce our intention to explicitly become an “EcoSangha” – the Buddhist Churches of America recently adopted a resolution to encourage all of our temples to adopt EcoSangha principles, and adopt policies that promote an awareness of the profound implications of our behavior on future generations and to promote ecologically friendly behavior in the spirit of “mottai-nai” (this is from the final part of the resolution).

On Facebook one of my friends recently posted an article explaining the name “Seventh Generation” – it is a brand of cleaning products that can be found at Whole Foods, Target, etc. What I didn’t know is that it is a concept found in the “Constitution of the Iroquois Nations” – the idea is that, whenever we make an important decision, we need to consider the impact that it will have not only on ourselves, but also seven generations into the future. I am beginning to see that this fits into a Buddhist outlook as well – for instance, in the Golden Chain when it encourages us to act “knowing that on what I do now depends not only my own happiness or unhappiness, but also that of others.” Even if we cannot act in a perfect, selfless manner, we need to understand that our actions have consequences. The Golden Chain helps us recognize the effect we have on others, but the Seventh Generation idea reminds us that this is not only in the present but far into the future as well.

In this picture I am holding a bottle of Seventh Generation glass cleaner, and my Ministers’ Assistant Rev. Michael Shojun Endo is holding an EcoSangha reusable bag that I received at our recent BCA National Council Meeting in San Diego where the resolution was approved.

ohigan 3-15-15sm

One thought on “Reflections on Ohigan and the Seventh Generation

  1. Seventh Generation products, particularly those marked “free of perfumes and dyes,” are fantastic! Kudos to the “greening” of your temple, Rev. Bridge!


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