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Buddhism and Green Living

What does Buddhism have to say about the way we might better interact with and care for the environment?

In this sampling of writings from the pages of the Shambhala Sun, you'll get refreshing and hopeful wisdom from some of the great Buddhist voices who practice Green Living with a Buddhist perspective, including Thich Nhat Hanh, Stephanie Kaza, Rick Bass, and Gary Snyder.

Just click any article's title to start reading.


Talking "Green Dharma" (and more) with
Ethan Nichtern

The founder of NYC's The Interdependence Project speaks about how his community is making a difference, and how you can too.

The World We Have

Only when we combine our concern for the planet with spiritual practice will we have to tools to make the profound personal transformations necessary to address the coming environmental crisis. In this excerpt from his important book, The World We Have, Thich Nhat Hanh offers us the guiding principles for a new ecospirituality of mindful living.

What is the Worth of the Green River Mountains?

“The beauty of the natural world is given to us,” says Gretel Ehrlich, “but we abuse the gift by not looking, by using it for profit, by not recognizing its intrinsic value. The concept of beauty itself, and its necessary place in human society, is no longer recognized.”

First Do No Harm

When the Buddha attained enlightenment, he touched the earth. If he touched it now, he'd surely sense its pain. Environmetalist Stephanie Kaza invites us to consider how Buddhist principles can help us nurse our planet back to health.

The Accidental Vegetarian

Noa Jones goes back and forth on the question of whether or not to eat meat. It’s something she’s still chewing on.

Earth Gathas: Meditations for Mindful Living

Gathas help us to practice mindfulness in our daily lives and to look deeply. Reciting these short verses, says Thich Nhat Hanh, will bring awareness, peace, and joy to the simple activities we may take for granted, like eating a meal, washing our hands, or taking out the garbage. These gathas remind us that Earth provides us with precious gifts every day.

The Turtle

Where do spirituality and environmentalism meet? Rick Bass on the wonder of releasing a painted turtle on the safe side of the road.

The Green Path

In her book, Mindfully Green, Stephanie Kaza argues that environmentalism must be about more than the personal actions we take or the public policies we support. To be truly transformative, it must change the way we see ourselves, our world, and the relationship between the two. In short, it must be a spiritual path.

The Ecology of Aging

Many people look at the aging population as a problem, but Theodore Roszak thinks it could result in a wiser and more caring society.

Writers and the War Against Nature

Buddhism, art, and environmentalism—all honor the beauty and magic of the natural world. In a powerful autobiographical essay, the poet, sage, and Zen practitioner Gary Snyder traces his lifelong commitment to the environment and calls on all creative people to rise in its defense.

The State of the Himalayas

Barry Boyce surveys conditions in the Tibetan cultural area, whose unsurpassed natural beauty and a rich cultural heritage is at risk.

Gratitude: Where Healing the Earth Begins

Awakening can come gradually, almost imperceptibly, or in a sudden, life-altering flash. But however it happens, says John Tarrant, what’s important is that awakening is real and possible. Like life itself, Zen’s enigmatic koans offer us a path to surprising, unpredictable transformation. When will it happen to you and what—donkey, broom, or morning star—will trigger it?

Down to Earth

To start to tackle some of the big problems of this earth, proposes Barry Boyce, maybe we need to walk on it more and run around less.

The Interdependence Movement

Bill McKibben reviews Paul Hawken's Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw it Coming

The Big Wake-Up Call

Michael Valp reviews Thomas Homer-Dixon's The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization

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