a blessing for insects
Lama Zopa Rinpoche blessing an insect - Rinpoche was visiting a temple, but made time to stop and bless the insect on the path. July 2008 via here
if you google search "insect prayer," "insect blessing," or "a blessing for insects" the results are equally disappointing and surprising. you won't find volumes extolling the virtues of the world's macro, or micro, invertebrates. rather, the search returns with articles whose titles of "are insects a blessing or a curse" and "plague of insects" conjure distaste at best and horror at worst. in fact, there are even a few blessings to ward off destructive insects, but very little to celebrate them.
i discovered this while looking for a simple blessing to say "thanks" to the many insects i've encountered lately. they seem to have become my inspiration - dragonflies buzzing past me as i practice yoga outside, butterflies flitting by in the garden's filtered sunlight, caterpillars munching all summer long on our parsley, and the pernicious toe biter who's given me no end of ideas for dance of all things. i've even had a few memorable tactile encounters. on friday, we collected freshwater insects to share with a class; on saturday before the class i noticed one of our containers had a damselfly in it - it had hatched from its pupae! - it was a rambur's forktail. dainty, delicate; sky blue and soft green. as i moved the container, it fell from its careful perch into the water, and i panicked, quickly unscrewing the top to rescue the tiny insect. i dipped my finger in and it gently clung to me, pausing to dry before lifting off into the sky. it was a precious, rare moment - one that i was completely invested in as it happened - focused and intent upon the tiny dragon's life. a true gift, indeed.
so prayers, blessings, just general thanks...all for such tiny creatures...where is it? why doesn't it seem to exist? maybe we don't notice them (except when they "bug" us). or maybe we don't realize how much they help us. perhaps we just don't understand the role they play not only in our lives but those of so many other creatures. whatever the case, i take a moment to say "thanks" and humbly offer up a short blessing:
summertime drone of a lazy cicada
glint of light on iridescent dragonfly wings
butterfly floats on the wind
humming, buzzing, clicking, flashing
jointed appendages, quivering antennae
creeping, crawling, hopping, flying
infiltrated every place on earth
passing by us every moment
to serve, to feed,
to harm, to inspire
gratitude for a million tiny legs
and the vast array of wondrous unique bodies that carry them
each sighting, each encounter, a beautiful moment
<3 - M
Consider being kind to insects the next time you see one. Try to resist the urge to kill and instead focus on the miracle that is such a small creature, surviving in a world of giants. Skip the pesticide if you can, for what poisons the insects also poisons their consumers. consider, perhaps not loving, but at least respecting these tiny marvels. especially those rogues who we often dismiss: spiders (ok so they're not insects, but you know what i mean), who spin such beautiful webs and capture other creatures we may consider nuisances...mosquitoes - did you know that they actually eat flower nectar? it's true! the blood they collect is the building block of their eggs; they are only trying to nurture their young...roaches, beetles, grasshoppers - all good sources of protein for the colorful birds we love and even some humans too!
Kan'ei-ji Temple, Uneo Tokyo Japan - a photo I took in 2010 - the monument to the insects who gave their lives for science. i loved this place so much; a scientist's homage to his study subjects
And here is Goddess Saki-Yama-Hime. She is the Japanese goddess of fortune and abundance, and there she is celebrated with crickets - sold during festival and taken to shrines, then released for kindness and good luck. The crickets fly to the Goddess and tell her all about the humans who took good care of them.