September 17, 2010

Buddhism and Ecology

Tricycle contributing editor Martine Batchelor, and Kerry Brown, via The Times of India,

Dharma, for Buddhists, is the sacred law, morality and the teachings of the Buddha. It is also all things in nature. Cats, dogs, penguins, trees, humans, mosquitoes, sunlight, leaf dew are all dharmas. So at its very essence, Buddhism  can be described as an ecological religion or a religious ecology.

The principles of love, compassion and respect for all life, are familiar to the Western mind but in recent centuries, we have restricted them to humans only. Even the law of karma (cause and effect) has some place in our thinking although without the universal and inescapable power it is given in Buddhist thought. The law of karma ultimately places mind as the first cause. It is the maker and the shaper of our personal and global destiny.

Our birth and existence is dependent on causes outside ourselves, inextricably linking us with the world and denying us any autonomous existence. Indeed when we think deeply enough, the borders between our self and the world wash away like water in water. We and all of nature are inseparable, entwined, one. Compassion for others should be as natural and instinctive as compassion for us and our own bodies.

This is perhaps the most striking and difficult idea of Buddhism and the one most misunderstood – that there is no independent individual self. Yet the individual self is one of the western world's most cherished beliefs and greatest source of suffering. It is what separates us from the world and causes us to cling to it with the stranglehold of the drowning. To be enlightened is to awaken from this delusion.

To transform the world, we must begin by transforming ourselves ... by discovering our true Buddha (enlightened) nature. continued

-Martine Batchelor and Kerry Brown

Read the complete article here.

To watch Martine Batchelor's talk, "Meditation on the Breath", from the Tricycle Online Retreat she lead this last June, click here.

Image courtesy of The Times of India

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Cycling, Recycling and The Real Reason to Care « Not An Acti's picture

[...] Buddhism and Ecology The real reason to care about the environment is that it is us and we are it. I’m not a Buddhist, and I’m a far cry from any kind of enlightenment, but I like this logic. [...]