Image of the Chuang Yen Monastery via Emily Boeglin
Today the weather was absolutely beautiful and I have off work so I called my friend to make plans. We decided to spend the day exploring a Buddhist monastery which is only about 30 minutes from us, because we’ve seen pictures friends have posted on Instagram proving it to be breathtaking so we figured we needed to see it for ourselves.
Being nature enthusiasts, to put it slightly, this is the very type of activity we search for; walking around, enjoying nature, hiking, basically anything outdoors.
Not knowing much about this place except for its address, we plugged it into the GPS and got on the road. Sure enough, this place exceeded any expectations we had. Immediately after pulling onto the premises, I feel like we were in another country. A country that was so serene, so beautiful and so peaceful that I didn’t feel the need to speak above a whisper.
The monastery, called Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, NY, is deep in the beautiful woods, and has delicately manicured gardens, intricate stone pathways, and dark wooden pagodas that will make your jaw drop. Statues of famous Buddhists line walkways that lead to great pagodas and monasteries, the uniquely shaped architecture reminding you of that out of traditional Japanese scriptures and storybooks.
I was in awe that something so beautiful and richly historic and culture was so close to where I live, and that this was my first time there!
I couldn’t stop thinking about how gorgeous every part of it was, that the nature here was only touched when necessary, and everything else preserved and maintained beautifully. The only impression us humans have made were the little seats and scattered statues and monasteries. No roads, pollution, noise, waste, nothing.
My zen mindset quickly changed, when I rounded the corner of a glimmering lake full of large coy fish on the property. At the top of the lake, there was a wonderful little observation deck, if you may, with a grandiose statue of yet another beautiful historic Buddhist.
Lookout over the lake Image via Emily Boeglin
To my dismay, right to the side of this observation deck, laying up against a tree right next to the lake, was a disgusting and heartbreakingmess of waste, carelessly thrown with no respect or regard to what beautiful place they were in.
Trash at the Chuang Yen Monastery Image via Emily Boeglin
People do not know how to dispose of their plastic and waste. This is not acceptable anymore, seriously!! In this age of information and technology, there is no excuse except laziness for the constant littering I see that kills any beautiful natural scenery. Here is what you do instead of littering. Take note, I beg you, for the love of Earth.
Littering has been an unfortunate part of society for as long as we can remember. Although local and government laws have been made an efforts implemented to prevent it, the only thing that can truly prevent littering is US. Littering is persistent and spreads like a disease, the more common it is, the more likely other people will contract the behavior. We are better than that, aren’t we?!
According to Oprah.com, “If every person picked up just one piece of litter today, there would be over 300 million fewer pieces of litter. If every person picked up 10 pieces of litter, there would be 3 billion fewer pieces damaging our environment. If you and your friends spend just one hour today picking up litter in your own neighborhood, you will not only pick up thousands of pieces of trash, you will also make a tremendous impact on your community.”
It’s as easy as that! The next time you come across some litter, find it in yourself to make the first move. Pick it up, dispose of it properly, (hopefully it can be recycled, but definitely do not burn it…see my last article “But can’t you just burn it” to learn why…) and just do your part! No one else is going to do it, so make the right choice for future litterers to learn from, and keep your environment clean. Chances are, the better it looks, the less likely people will be to be willing to mess it up.
As for the beautiful Buddhist monastery, there is a crew that comes by every so often to clean up such trash. That is the crew’s job. But as for everywhere else, WE ARE THE CREW. So let’s get moving and making a difference! Spread the word.