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Exemplars of bodhisattva Samantabhadra (continued)

Rachel Carson

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.

As the mother of the modern environmental movement, Rachel Carson is a prime example of Samantabhadra as environmental bodhisattva. Carson was an eminent marine biologist who poetically described the life of the ocean in The Sea Around Us and other best-selling books. She understood the ocean scientifically as an interconnected system and was able to evoke the mysteries and wonder of that world. She saw both science and her literary gifts as aimed at illuminating truth.

The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery - not over nature but of ourselves.

In accord with Samantabhadra's sense of action in protection of the world, Carson wrote about our responsibility to actively preserve the ocean from nuclear and other wastes. In her 1962 book Silent Spring, Carson was one of the first to warn the public of the dangers of toxic pollution from DDT and other pesticides. Carson and her book were vilified by the chemical industry, but she sparked an outcry that led to the banning of certain pollutants and the beginning of some regulation of dangerous chemicals.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson and his courage in integrating baseball show how Samantabhadra's work can be carried out in a many guises. The integration of baseball transformed American society and made possible the later civil rights movement. Robinson had Samantabhadra's qualities of fortitude, dignity, and a willingness to act, all of which were necessary for the situation.

When he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, Robinson promised the general manager, Branch Rickey, that he would not react to the inevitable hatred, threats, and racist virulence, even from his own teammates. Despite his own temper and competitive drive, Robinson remained silent and unshaken by the vicious abuse he received, fortified by his vow to integrate baseball. Robinson's dynamic, exciting play and his hitting, base running, and defensive skills led to his being named Rookie of the Year.

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives..

In 1949 Rickey finally gave Robinson permission to respond openly to the hatred and name-calling, and thereafter Robinson was a strong voice against discrimination in many arenas. The Dodgers, which included a number of other African American stars, were a dominant team during Robinson's ten-year career. Baseball prospered as a result and became a beacon of relative equality in the 1950s and early 1960s, when segregation was still legal and enforced in the South, where baseball teams held spring training. The African American players who followed Jackie Robinson into major league baseball for the following decade or two also had to partake of the courage of Samantabhadra.