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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 11, 2018

Environmental Philosophy

Sirajul Islam Siraj
Pages 135-141

Buddhism and Ecological Crisis
Challenge and Promise in Global Perspective

Buddhist religious teachings are nature and environment based, holistic and pragmatic in approach. Its environmentalists extend loving-kindness and compassion beyond people and animals to include plants and the earth itself. Hence, in Buddhism, both animate and inanimate objects are similarly important because they are reciprocally interlinked and interdependent. Existentially, buddhists affirm that all sentient beings share the fundamental conditions of birth, old age, suffering, and death. Buddha himself decides to share this existential insight into the cause and cessation of suffering which is regarded by the tradition as an act of universal compassion (karuna) and friendliness (maitree). Buddhist environmentalists assert that the mindful awareness of the universality of suffering produces compassionate empathy for all forms of life, particularly for all sentient species. Buddhist environmental movement suggests Buddhism to be an effective force for maintaining environmental poise, the traditional buddhist emphasis on individual moral and spiritual transformation must be adjusted to address more forcefully the structures of oppression, exploitation, and environmental degradation. It recognizes the value of all things/objects, which seems a very vital and necessary component in recognition of ecological articulation for human development. Buddhist ecological outlook is not only a retreat from the world but a place, where all forms of life, human, animal, and plant, live in a cooperative microcosm of a larger ecosystem and as a community, where humans can develop an ecological ethic. Such an ethic highlights the virtues of restraint, simplicity, loving-kindness, compassion, equanimity, patience, wisdom, nonviolence, and generosity. These virtues represent moral ideals for all members of Buddhism which are equally efficacious for all animate and inanimate species of the world. Many other points relevant to the topic will be discussed in the full paper.

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