Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 33, Issue 2, 2023

Environmental Philosophy as World Philosophy

Dilipkumar Mohanta
Pages 221-231

Buddhist Environmental Ethics
Two Methodological Models

There is no greater threat today to the security of life on this earth than environmental degradation covering all aspects of Nature—plants, animals and human. It is imperative to take interest in a future which lies beyond the boundary of our short-sighted outlook and self-interests. Non-western and indigenous cultural approaches to environmental issues are relevant today. Following Buddhist Ethics we can extend love, compassion, and non-violence in practice and limit our greed, and also we can take interest in protecting the right to happiness of future generations. In the light of the ethical teachings contained in the texts of Buddhism, I propose two different methodological models, namely the “Honey-Bee Model” and “Mother-Child Model,” for addressing an ideal relation between humans and Nature. The Buddhist approach to environmental issues is based on the law of Dependent Origination and the theory of Not-Self or Relational Self. I shall also argue that Buddha’s teaching integrates all aspects of the ecosphere—individuals and general species—in terms of mutual interdependence, which in a sense an attempt to institutionalize care and welfare ethics beyond the human domain to also reach the animal and plant worlds. This paper is an attempt to address current ecological problems from the moral perspective of Buddhism.