Within our society, there are certain innate concepts that every individual is equipped with. Virtues, morals, or the concept of "right and wrong" are just a few examples of such ideals. To help make humanity a more positive atmosphere, there are a few models one should strive to accomplish in their everyday life. These include but are not limited to: compassion towards all individuals whom are less fortunate, non-violence towards any and all living and non-living things, and a natural want or need to help sustain the environment we live in. The most critical of these ideals would be our responsibility to help reverse the immense damage already being done to our ecosystem in the forms of global warming, ozone layer depletion, deforestation, and a reduction in biodiversity, just to name a few.
[...] This statement, in other words, pushes individuals towards an obligation or responsibility to conserve our environment since it is one within all of us. Harmony and interdependence, as principles of Buddhism, are two attitudes that one could advocate as positive influences on the environment. Applying the standard of harmony among all living and non- living beings would produce encouraging outcomes for society in a few different ways. Harmony brings about a sense of overwhelming understanding to the environment around us. [...]
[...] According to one source, "society can set the rule 'kill not' and threaten punishment as a deterrent, but ‘people,' said the Buddha, 'will not stop killing until they learn to 'hate not'" (Living Buddhism 18-30). In other words, the Buddha focused more on hate and other negative characteristics as a way to teach individuals. Specifically, the Buddha believed that evil is primarily done defensively and out of fear, not offensively. Buddhist virtue ethics rest, then, with an immense importance portrayed towards internal peace in all. [...]
[...] The Dalai Lama, in this sense, wishes to stress that individuals within each and every society have a responsibility to sustain their environment and refrain from its destruction in order to preserve our planet for generations to come. One of the most influential and essential principles of incorporating Buddhism into environmentalism is the notion of non-violence. Within the eightfold path, the fourth imperative of "right" action represents abstinence from taking lives, or "ahimsa," and from stealing. A few conditions arise from this point of view that have transformed "ahimsa" in Buddhism to a more modern tone. [...]
[...] Moving forward to other concepts of Buddhism and our environmental obligation, the principle of compassion is one that is in dire need of attention. In relation to the Buddha, it is said that his choice of sharing insight about the cause of and the path to end suffering after his own enlightenment occurred was an act of true universal compassion. Compassion is one of those virtues that is open to numerous personal interpretations. Pertaining to the environment, though, compassion consists of being empathetic and showing concern to all forms of life whether it be humans, animals, insects, or nature. [...]
[...] Buddhism encourages individuals to "limit their resource consumption to the optimal satisfaction of the four basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, and medicine" (Sponsel 147). The biggest growing issue about our society's environmental crisis seems to be the immense amount of over-consumption that occurs. Individuals have come to naturally consume large amounts of resources that are unnecessary. Rightly so, Buddhism advocates a form of living that contains an abundance of simplicity that could humbly save our environment in more aspects than one. [...]
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