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.
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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.
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.”
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.
Noa Jones goes back and forth on the question of whether or not to eat meat. It’s something she’s still chewing on.
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.
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.
Barry Boyce surveys conditions in the
Tibetan cultural area, whose unsurpassed natural beauty and a rich
cultural heritage is at risk.
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?
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.
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
Michael Valp reviews Thomas Homer-Dixon's The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization
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