Buddha and Eco Buddhist philosophies can help us save the environment
Before telling the story about Buddha, I have to point out that the story about his life is simplified and written with the intention of highlight Buddha relationship and ideas for the environment. We shall travel through the time machine, back in time to investigate their style and the codex of clothing and fashion in post coming later in the series of great environmentalists; anorak, shoes, pants, jeans, boots, facial hair, music, drugs and art. However, first we will travel long back in time, 2500 years to be more precise 563BC ; back to where history of green thinking begins, when the Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha Gautama close to the Nepal border in northern India, in a small village named Kapilavastu. His direction in life was already pointed out: wealth, power, fame and glory of the prince living in a small kingdom.
We all have the equal right to live in the nature, not to kill any living beings
The Buddha would have filled all descriptions about environmental protection. His wisdom and philosophy describe a world in which all creatures have the equal right to live in the nature. Do not kill any living beings, people, animals, forest and mountains. A philosophy followed by great thinkers as Gandhi and Albert Einstein. Buddha and his influence of modern environmentalism are vast.
Prince Siddhartha’s history and life are an understanding and interpretation of the environment and Eco philosophy as I try to follow. Whatever story we follow when talking about Buddha is not essential, as there are many different stories about his way from being the prince until he reached enlightenment under a Bodhi tree at the age of 35. The Buddha been predicted that he would become a great King in either his realm, or a great spiritual master, it was in a dream his mother Maya had. His father was obviously afraid that he will be a great spiritual master and lose the kingdom, so he kept locked away from daily worries in life and instead gave the Buddha’s all kinds of toys to play with, he grew up with the harem, wealth and lived in a false illusion. His mother Maya died when the prince was born, and he was their only son. Therefore, his father cared extra for his only son. Buddha could not properly understand why he felt not happy or optimistic, did he had any worries?
Buddha protected by the King at any price from seeing reality in the Samsara world
However, something was missing and the King understood. The King realized that Buddha must not see or experience situations and events where an understanding that life is a cycle of being born, getting old and finally die. Perhaps he might be able to corrupt the illusory image of a world without sickness, death, or self-destruction. Alternatively, anything that could trigger the sadness, kept away from him. King tried in vain to keep Prince Siddhartha in the Palace so that he should not experience reality of life outside the walls. The King realized that he might lose his son, Siddhartha. Prince Siddhartha was three times to be allowed to walk outside the Castle, but each time he and his father were out had the king commanded that all poor, disease and anything else that could bring his son to understand and see the reality in the world removed, and the streets decked to the party. Nevertheless, the King did not hide everything; the Prince saw the things he did not understand, a man who was old, lived and died, was it not permanent? Illness, suffering, and his curiosity led; he asked and dug those he met on his way. Back in the castle, the restlessness could not end. His fear for illness, getting old and death was only growing.
The Buddha breaks the emptiness he felt
Hungry for filling the emptiness he experienced on the castle could not any pleasure, harem, storytellers, clothes, or luxury stop. Siddhartha even got married to a beautiful girl Yashodara. Nevertheless not even she could fill his hungry hearth. Already still a very young man he realized clarity; he knew deep inside the only solution to break free from this lonely emptiness was to put everything in his old life behind, even possession, his love he had for his father, the King and the comfort. One night he decided the right time had appeared; he left the Castle, took his best horse and his most loyal servant with him, Outside the gates he gave the servant his finest horse and beautiful clothes imagine; Siddhartha left the place without ever looking back. He had now abandoned his father’s eternal love, wealth, power, and the entire world of entertainment replaced with ascetic minimal lifestyle, with no possessions, left with just a bowl to beg for food and a single piece of cloth around the body. This was a common way to practice in the old India and Nepal.
We cannot keep ourselves to an illusion staying in entertainment materialism
Buddha saw right through the illusion a pure entertainment and materialistic world of non existence. His lifestyle gave him a new way of seeing and living and layer off illusions of the Samsara world. The layers dissolved it in front of his eyes, and he felt starvation, sickness and death. The true reality of a world full of suffering; from that point, the materialistic world control on Siddhartha as he understood this had nothing to do with happiness. He realized that a world dominated by pure entertainment was just an optic illusion, and that it took the focus away from the real world and possibility for a clear and stable mind. This noise-illusion confuses the mind and makes it impossible to find the right balance and unlock the key to happiness. The noise is difficult to turn off because silence perceived unpleasant and one get afraid of this unknown emptiness. Nevertheless, the hunger he felt living with hardly any possessions did not bring him closer to happiness as he first thought.
Owning many or too few things are neither solution to happiness understood Siddhartha
Siddhartha followed for several years with ascetics’ tribes and beggars because he thought the opposite direction to be the answer he could not
the truth in front of him. The stories tell that The Buddha ate half a grain of rice a day as one of the importance. Nevertheless, after year of ascetic acceptance Buddha was finally being so weak that he was about to die. Everyone thought he was dying. He realized that a life entirely in authorial resignation from, hunger and without any other things than food scales were way out of suffering and sadness. The happiness and awakens, he searched for did him nothing but weaker, unfocused and lost concentration. With this, Buddha understood that a total denial of existence, things, food, could not make him happy. He also understood that to live in poverty and deprivation were devastating for a man. He was confused, discouraged and had no idea on how he could get rid of suffering experienced, or what he saw of others. Everywhere the suffering, hunger, war, poorness disease, and death seem to find the place. How would he be able unlock the door to happiness?
Buddha was now a wanderer; he wandered around for many years and lived a normal and ordinary, but was unable to settle down anywhere. He had not achieved the happiness he sought after. However, he was no longer in the hopeless situation as a rich or poor. During the Buddha’s time in Nepal and northern India was meditation an important part of everyday life.
The Middle Way
In this state, he began meditating upon life again with strength from being without hunger, settling near a river in the state Bihar as it is known today in India; he felt grounded and remained work to carry humans and animals back and forth across the River, he was a good boatman. He lived in simplicity and was in harmony with nature and the countryside. He found a tree close by almost possessed by it; the name of this tree was Ashvattha in Sanskrit. However by most people known as a Bodhi (enlighten) tree and describes his spiritual condition. Everything is connected. All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else. Buddha One day he sat down at the river and stare into the water, he saw the water flowing, forming circles, waves, sank and disappeared. Everything was in eternal speed, and all the waves seemed to be different, they came around, hurtled and disappeared with the flow. He quickly realized that everything seems to be connected and that nothing existed on its own. When he touched the water again caused the forever floating river is never stable, no substance, however, linked in endless variations.
Everything is connected
He visualized a stream of endless lives attached to the wave of emotions and energy. With his hand still in the river, he felt that it floated around and slipped to easily pass the water if he did not fight back; almost like nonexistent and without substance. The Illusion realized before his eyes, rather to fight against and force the hand being stiff he let it loose it caused the waters flow freely around instead. Lightweight and comfortable to move the water forced around, they were easy to move. Nevertheless, without any resistance from the arm in the water made it unstable.
He should take the understanding of his experience with him in meditation under the tree he loved where finally reached enlightenment after many days in the deepest meditation. Transformed to a Buddha (the enlightened) and reached Nirvana. The understanding and visions of thousand life he had lived before was clear and he remembered them all. The precious wisdom developed in his hearth. Living deep in harmony, as a natural part of nature was correct and that it was deep with a harmony between people and the environment around them; He accepted and understood the suffering caused. He knew that they were different, but all to be cured. The medicine however, only through meditation and practice could the understanding be realized. It was not just the thinking but to realize thinking. He was 35 years of age when he finally reached Nirvana.
The four noble truths offer us diagnostics for a cure of the environment
That although the world has fallen apart, and the Earth suffers a solution. We have the tools, solutions, but each one of us needs to practice what we understand.
Then can we reverse the damage. We have caused Earth. We can stop and reverse the development if we are willing to perform certain steps. If the rest of the world would spend and use as much energy to live as people in the Western part of the world and especially USA, we could not survive even today. To diagnose how Earth is, are greatest importance’s in Ecology. We had to respect all life and killing humans, animals or the natural environment around us was incorrect. Trees, alpine meadows, marshes, and mountains, the air around us was not for us alone. Nature is not here for us, we are here for nature. He also understood that to take out too much wealth or kill life was wrong, even trees, fields, water, air or mountains.
To achieve great wisdom we must actively cultivate our mind
Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little. Buddha Only through the balance and respect for our nature could be renewed and flowing in an endless variety of cultivating and harvest the wilderness. To change a way of living is not easy, nevertheless, necessary. There is not enough only to make new and better ways to produce goods (sustainable design) we must also reduce consumption. We have to let go of our large ego to develop compassion and make it possible understanding world around us. We must actively cultivate our mind to share with others what we have and to have compassion for all living creatures. The Buddha understood this as Karma. By reducing the ego, we think less me, mine, and ours. The ego is a known illusion; Buddha understood with the water flowing freely, and rapidly, there was an emptiness of things that only was an illusion before our eyes, easily could be taken apart into smaller pieces and dissolve as we saw it. What is there to own? The compassion in Buddhism is what I refer to in Ecology named Eco compassion, read the post. About Eco Buddhism
Regardless of what we do, our karma has no hold on us. Bodhidharma
When we reduced our Ego and let transformation of the mind can happen, this is essence of how to change our lifestyle change. Everything is connected, and nothing happens; one person is the difference; a positive action can result in even more positivism and the other way if the actions performed are negative. How we treat the environment are we not only doing to others, but ourselves as well; if we handle nature, animals, trees, lakes and mountains, in the right way, we will make a positive impact on others even living far away. Typically, men of ordinary intellect cannot make that diagnosis, and the real cause is an entirely different without this context; alternatively, causes. Karma means action or doing.
Do we have the right to destroy the Earth for the next generations?
The last and invisible cause of the visible effect are not necessarily limited to current life; they be traced back to a proximate or remote past. Therefore, what we are doing now is an important part of the future generations inheriting Earth; is it right to destroy the environment so that our own children experience hunger, natural disasters, and the common global resources? We are responsible for our own actions for a better future; according to Buddhism, this because of the inequality is not only to heredity, environment, nature, but also to Karma. In other words, it is the result of our individual past actions and our own present doings. We are our own source to happiness or unhappiness. We create our personal heaven or hell.
A recap of Buddhism understanding in Ecology and protection of our environment
- Respect for all life and not to kill any living
- Nature is our teacher
- Nature as a spiritual force in life
- Nature as a way of life or a lifestyle
- Buddhism is the middle way of Buddhist economics. Simplicity and non-violence is the keywords
- Economist’s point of view, the marvel of the Buddhist way of life is the mind of cherishing the pattern of natural resources, diversity and protection of the ecological environment.
- A standpoint that humanity of all time and space be protected in their existence; that all creature have the right to feel the dignity of life and have equal right to exist in the environment as we have
- Understand that everything is connected.
- Develop Eco compassion trough an understanding that other people and living beings might suffer or cause negative environmental impact because of the actions we chose to perform
- Karma, personal responsibility to perform positive actions as for example bicycle to work instead of driving. This can create large positive effects on other people, now or in the future
- Wikipedia about Siddhartha Gautama Buddha or Gautama Buddha was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings of Buddhism founded around 2500 BC
- Faiths and Ecology
- Karma – Is a word from the classical Indian language Sanskrit, also Karman, and Pali, Kamma, means action – doing whatever one does, says, or thinks is a karma and makes influence interconnected not only here and now but from the past and into the future, Karmic tracks.
- Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered is the collection of essays by British economist e. f. Schumacher. The phrase Small Is Beautiful came from a phrase by his teacher.
- Buddha is not a name but a tittle, simple means the enlightened one or awaken one.
- The book, Buddha prince and beggar by Torkel Brekke
- The Book, Path to Buddhahood by Ringu Tulku
- A story about Buddha Souledout.org
- What Would Buddha Do? A Buddhist Approach to Environmental Protection
- Manifest of green, Kenneth @ buddha jeans
- Great Buddha quotes brainyquote
- Eco Buddhism
- The book Processing compassion and Mind path to Buddhahood Ringu Tulku cutting through spiritual materialism Chögyam Trunga
- The book The good Heart of the Dalai Lama.
- Dictionary of Buddhism
- Dalai Lama the message about the environment
- Environmental Ethics in Buddhism
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I recommend the following books. Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered. Arne Naas,Ecology of Wisdom and how much is enough?