July 25, 2009

Official Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change [Ecobuddhism.com, UN Climate Treaty]

In anticipation of the U.N. Climate Treaty Conference in Copenhagen this December 2009, a group of Buddhists have produced a formal statement of intent to mitigate further global climate change. The declaration is well informed scientifically and coupled with the abiding principles of Buddhism. Here, in this declaration, are heard the rumblings a potentially great movement. The current war of industrialized society against everything natural in favor of materialism and sensory obsessions is contrary to everything Buddhist.

Yet too many of us Buddhists play into our acculturation and feed the cycle of despair through our own hunger to acquire trivial comforts or we merely give lip service to the dharma while we disregard the responsibility of unceasing attention that the genuine dharma demands. This declaration is an opportunity for us to begin practicing with the world, a chance to embody our principles, and implement them for the wellbeing of all life. We live in an age when Bodhisattvas can be born in moments, for when the world is full of misery there are limitless opportunities for compassion and the development of merit. Let us turn that compassion towards protecting all life on this planet, let us develop a mind less self centered, and let our merit come from relinquishing our own comforts for the sake of this world, our one and only home.

The following is an excerpt from the declaration entitled, The Time to Act is Now: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change. It was written by Dr David Tetsuun Loy, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, and includes scientific input by Dr John Stanley. The declaration has been signed by H.H the Dalai Lama and is posted on the website Ecobuddhism. I encourage everyone, Buddhist and non-buddhist alike to sign this declaration.

We have reached a critical juncture in our biological and social evolution. There has never been a more important time in history to bring the resources of Buddhism to bear on behalf of all living beings. The four noble truths provide a framework for diagnosing our current situation and formulating appropriate guidelines—because the threats and disasters we face ultimately stem from the human mind, and therefore require profound changes within our minds. If personal suffering stems from craving and ignorance—from the three poisons of greed, ill will, and delusion—the same applies to the suffering that afflicts us on a collective scale. Our ecological emergency is a larger version of the perennial human predicament. Both as individuals and as a species, we suffer from a sense of self that feels disconnected not only from other people but from the Earth itself. As Thich Nhat Hanh has said, “We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.” We need to wake up and realize that the Earth is our mother as well as our home—and in this case the umbilical cord binding us to her cannot be severed. When the Earth becomes sick, we become sick, because we are part of her. more…

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