humanity is one and this small planet is our only home.
-- His Holiness
the Dalai Lama.
The Natural World is Our Home.
Both science and the teachings of the Buddha tell us of the fundamental unity of all things. This understanding is crucial if we are to take positive and decisive action on pressing global concerns and the environment. According to Buddhist teachings, there is a very close interdependence between the natural environment all forms of life. The natural world is our home; it is where we live. Therefore, it is in our interest to look after it.
Nothing is Isolated.
This is similar to when an ecologist tells us that deforestation in the Amazon rainforest can in some way affect the weather in the Himalayas. Cutting trees in Tengboche might worsen floods in agricultural lands below. 75% of Nepal’s energy needs are still met by wood, which releases carbon from trees. Deforestation accounts for 20% of the human caused carbon emissions that spur climate change. Nothing is totally isolated and independent. This is what the ancient wisdom of Buddhism and modern scientific research on the environment tells us. We all know it; will we ever act on this knowledge?
A lack of an independent, lasting, solid, inherent existence is what is called “emptiness” in Buddhism. Interdependence is the fact that the way that things arise is always connected to some cause. Because everything is interdependent, we each have a responsibility for every other thing. However, in order to succeed in the protection and conservation of the natural environment, Buddhism teaches that it is important to bring about an internal balance within human beings themselves.
The East has been more
concerned with understanding the mind, the West with understanding matter.
Scientific development and material development are needed in order to
survive and become prosperous, but we need mental peace too.
Today fields of
scientific research such as particle physics, neurobiology, and psychology
have reached such sophisticated levels that many researchers are starting
to ask the most profound questions that are of prime interest to
religions. Thus there is a real potential for a more unified view. In
particular, it seems that a new concept of mind and matter is emerging.
Now that the two have met, perhaps these spiritual and material views of
life may become more harmonized.
publishes the sheet music of the winds,
--John Muir, Environmentalist, 1875.