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30 August 2022

Celebrating Satish Kumar’s Lifelong Peace Message

Satish Kumar leads a weekly meditation for farmers, growers, and soil lovers in partnership with ORFC, Schumacher College, the Landworkers’ Alliance and the Conscious Food Systems Alliance

In recognition of Satish receiving the 2022 Goi International Peace Award, here we share his message on soil and spirituality.

The Soil is our Teacher

Prince Sidhartha, one night after midnight, escaped from his palace, leaving his young wife and baby son Rahul asleep. One day, after many years of wandering, he decided to sit by the banks of a river, under a tree, and meditate on life. There he was enlightened and became a buddha. During that long night in meditation he realised that humans, animals, forests, insects, mountains and rivers are all interconnected and interrelated, and that the soil is the source of all life. 

After this realisation, the Buddha walked from village to village and town to town in north India, teaching the message of the unity of life and the diversity of forms. His name and fame spread far and wide. His mother, his former wife and his teenage son Rahul came to visit the Buddha to hear his message of unconditional compassion, total love and absolute generosity. 

Rahul was pleased to meet his father. After listening to him he asked the Buddha,

“Father, people call you the World Teacher. Please tell me who is your teacher? Who taught you these great ideals which now you are teaching to people all over the country?” 

The Buddha smiled, lifted his right palm and, touching the soil with his hand, he said,  

“The soil is my teacher!”

“What does the soil teach you, father?” asked Rahul. 

“The soil teaches me unconditional love! It gives nourishment and provides food to all life without discrimination and without judgment. Whether one is a saint or a sinner, a priest or a prisoner, rich or poor, human or animal, all living beings receive the gift of food from the soil. I try to be like the soil, and to be caring and kind to all living beings without judgment and without discrimination,”  the Buddha replied. 

“That is wonderful, father,” said Rahul. After a few moments of reflection he asked,  

“What else did you learn from the soil, father?” 

“I learned forgiveness and generosity from the soil. We dig it, plough it, tread on it, build on it, and yet the soil always forgives. When we plant one seed in the soil, it returns a hundred fold or even a thousand fold! Isn’t it amazing! I wish to be as forgiving and generous as the soil,” answered the Buddha. 

“Thank you, father. Now I will also learn from the soil and be loving, forgiving and generous, without discrimination and judgment. In return I will look after the soil, take care of her and revere her with all my heart,” said Rahul. 

“You have understood well, Rahul. The soil is the source of all life,” said the Buddha. “Take care of the soil and the soil will take care of you and everything else.”

Satish Kumar is the founder of Schumacher College, Editor Emeritus of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine and author of Pilgrimage for Peace.  To join Satish at our weekly meditations, register here.

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