Do Buddhist countries love their biodiversity more?
"The ecological footprints of Buddhist countries are distinctly modest, several folds less than those of developed countries."
Buddhist countries (greatest to least): Cambodia (99% of population), Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Laos, Mongolia, Japan (36% of population) Taiwan, Sinapore, South Korea, Malaysia, China (18%), Vietnam (16%).
"The teaching of Lord Buddha on leading life along the middle path or the 'noble eightfold path' is a teaching on making choices in life for sufficiency and moderate living, choices which will produce sustainable use of our natural resources which are depleting at an alarming rate. We can no longer senselessly overexploit our resources without sustaining them for the future generations. The environmental problems at global or local level are caused by the over-exploitation of resources and excessive emission of noxious gases and effluents. They are the outcome of people making choices which are based on desire and greed for maximization of return of benefits and excessiveness in one way or another. However, the understanding of Buddhist teaching can help to redirect these trends towards sustainable development for the benefit of the humanity as a whole..."
"Therefore the forest happens to be right from the period when Buddha was born, during the time he attained his enlightenment. He was close to nature."
Presented by the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning, India.
Buddhism Saves Species:
Impact of Buddhism on Biodiversity Conservation
in Arunachal Pradesh, India
Buddhism has played an unique role in Arunachal Pradesh, the largest state of North East India, which is well reflected in the conserving (protecting of) Biodiversity of Arunachal Pradesh. Buddhism is a living force in Arunachal Pradesh and is playing a very important role in the flourishing of Arunachali culture. Around thirteen percent people of the Arunachal Pradesh follow Buddhism in both forms, Mahayana and Theravada. Some have come under Buddhist influence. The state is very rich in sacred groves culture, a traditional way of biodiversity conservation. The dense forests and big trees are looked upon as ancestral souls, and hornbill hunting is banned during the breeding season. The tiger is sacred as it is the ‘brother of Tani’, the first humans on earth’. Due to the influence of Buddhism, people of Arunachal Pradesh have stopped animal sacrifices and consumption of alcohol, opium and meat has been reduced. The sacredness, religious culture, belief and taboos play a significant role in promoting conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity of this region. Lord Buddha's teachings are more relevant today than they were about 2500 years back dictating the direction of development of rampant environmental degradation and loss of biological diversity. In this paper an attempt is made to study the impact of Buddhism on Biodiversity Conservation in Arunachal Pradesh, India.
Buddhist Views on Nature and the Environment (2003)
Buddhist views of Nature and the Environment Dharma, Four Noble Truths, Noble Eighfold Path.
Abstract. The Three Refuges chant that usually begins Buddhist ceremonies reflects the three ultimate components of Buddhism. One becomes a Buddhist by accepting and pursuing the three. The route to enlightenment commences with accepting the Dhamma [dharma] (teachings), starting with the Four Noble Truths, and then following the Noble Eightfold Path (explained below).1
Beyond this core, Buddhism is an enormous and complex subject, with many variations on its basic themes manifested in at least 18 schools and their various sects Ecology is the natural science of environmental interactions. Environmentalism refers to initiatives to promote the survival and health of relatively natural environments.
Ecology and environmentalism developed in the West, mainly since WWII, and it was inevitable that some who are Buddhologists and/or Buddhists would inquire into the relationship between Buddhism and nature. Most view this as discovering (or re-discovering) green thinking in Buddhism, but a few consider this as a perverse imposition of green thinking on Buddhism in response to contemporary environmental concerns.
What are the relationships between Buddhism and nature? This is our central question here. Our answer is distinguished by pursuing it mainly within the framework of the Triple Refuge – Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha (monastic community). Specific examples are drawn from Theravada in Thailand with which we are most familiar (see Rajavaramuni, 1984). Also we emphasize two themes: Buddhism has a long history of mutualistic relationships with trees and forests (Sponsel and Natadecha, 1988: 309), and it has endured so long in such diverse contexts because of the continuing relevance of its core principles.2
For Buddhist Leader Religion and the Environment Are One
Ogyen Trinley Dorje, spiritual head of a 900-year-old lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, says his deep concern for environmental issues comes naturally. As a boy on the Tibetan plateau, he lived close to the land, so, as he notes, “My views on the need for environmental stewardship did not come from artificial or theoretical knowledge but from early experience.”
“The environmental emergency that we face is not just a scientific issue, nor is it just a political issue,” he said. “It is also a moral issue.”
While on his current U.S. tour, the 29-year-old Karmapa sat down with Yale Environment 360 editor Roger Cohn and discussed how environmental awareness fits with the Buddhist concept of interdependence, why the impacts of climate change in the Himalaya are so significant, and what role religion can play in helping meet the world’s environmental challenges.