Zen and the Art of Dumpster Diving

Image Credit Geoff Kroepel

We have discussed dumpster diving before; one person's garbage is another person's useful stuff, and we are so quick to throw things away. According to Andrew Revkin, a Zen Buddhist Temple in Ann Arbor, Michigan has taken it up as a method of raising money for the temple, and for spiritual reasons- a priest at the Ann Arbor temple,explained that Dumpster diving is actually a modern variant of an ancient tradition by which Buddhist "patched-robe monks" and nuns reclaimed clothing, sometimes from corpses, and would repair garments repeatedly to extend their life as much as possible.

"Just taking care of a set of clothing to make it last a long time has a spiritual aspect to it," she said.

Not only that, they raised $12,000 bucks by picking through the detritus of frat houses and sororities. Kyle Norris writes:

The basic drill is that the Buddhists take things from the trash. And then they clean and fix the things for their annual yard sale. The stuff they find is really nice. We're talking North Face jackets and brand new coffee makers.

Before he leaves, Kroepel pulls out a stick of incense from a tiny container in his shirt. And he lights it. Then he softly recites a few lines of dedication, makes a bow, and tucks the incense into the corner of the dumpster, to give thanks:

"It's kind of strange how there's so much waste and even within the waste we get plenty, we get all that we need and it's good. So burning the incense is an offering to reminding you that even in the waste, even in the trash there's good stuff."

::Dot Earth and ::Environmental Report

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