Every religion has a different kind of bond with nature and the surroundings. It can be because in an earlier period people understand how much important role played by these things in our life. So the creators of religion give an important place to the natural world in their religious and cultural traditions. In the history of every religion, the symbolic and lived expressions of these interconnections in diverse religious texts, ethics, and practices were defined in details. Afterward, the continuous development in the human-earth relations occurs, and it took the name of religious ecologies. In these several years, there is a huge amount of knowledge and development take place, and science reaches to next level, now we have abundant knowledge about the climate change issues, but still not sufficient will to engage in long- term change for the flourishing of the Earth community. Thus, there is a growing realization that religion, spirituality, ethics, and values can make important contributions, in collaboration with science and policy, to address complex ecological issues.
Buddhism is a religion that claims personal spiritual development as its prime Motive. Buddhists don’t believe in God. Instead they put their efforts towards development of deeper insights through the process of meditation. ‘Buddhists believe that the reality of the interconnectedness of human beings, society and Nature will reveal itself more and more to us as we gradually recover.’
Buddhism idealizes and emphasizes interconnected, thereby creating a mind-set that creates an economical and business like relationship between humans and nature. That all actions are based on the premise of interconnection makes the Buddhist mind-set effective in cultivating modesty, compassion, and balance among followers, which can reduces the harm done to the environment.
The interrelated Buddhist ideology regarding nature and the human also helps in several ways.
First one benefit of the interrelated Buddhist mind-set is the inevitable humility. This ideology are connecting humans with natural systems, and also decreases the breach between humanity and nature and fills the rift, in this condition the respect for each other increases and after that there is no place for differences. Buddhism maintains that the reason for all suffering comes from attachment. So rather than seeing the differences between two kind of species, humanity will understand its existence within others; this results in modesty that ends self-esteem mind-set.
Second gain of Buddhist practice to the surroundings is the compassion that drives all thinking. When humans realize that they are all connected, the harm done to other will never benefit the inventor. Therefore, peaceful wishes for everyone and everything will ultimately benefit everyone. When people realized that the life is connected—if one individual benefits, all benefit—then the prevailing mind-set encourages peaceful actions all the time. If every action depends on everything else, then only beneficial events will make life situations better. Acceptance of compassion takes training and practice, which is also encouraged by Buddhist moral conduct in the form of mediation. This habitual striving for harmony and affection among all beings creates a more perfect relationship between humanity and nature.
Another one, the Buddhist mind-set relies on taking the middle road or striving for balance. Siddhartha Gautama, the inventor of Buddhism, spent his life searching for the outlet of human suffering, eventually concluding that a balance must be established between self-destruction and self-indulgence. While modern, industrial humans emphasize the economic and social aspects of life and lastly environmental aspects, this view is one-sided. When human preferences are levelled with surroundings preferences, giving importance to natural systems as well as human systems then people can balance and harmony both things.
Therefore, we can conclude that the ideology and practices of Buddhism can help into the improvement of our damaged environment and can establish a new relationship between humanity and nature. Without changing or adopting a new religion, just recognizing and accepting this mind-set can help to heal the environmental injuries of the past.
The relationship between Buddhist ideals and the natural world can also be seen with a different perspective and explored within three contexts: [2: http://environment-ecology.com/religion-and-ecology/280-buddhism-as-an-ecological-religion-or-a-religious-ecology.html]
- Nature as teacher
- Nature as a spiritual force
- Nature as a way of life.
Nature as Teacher: ‘Like the Buddha, we too should look around us and be observant, because everything in the world is ready to teach us. We will come to understand that everything in the world is a teacher. We can learn from Nature enough to be enlightened because everything follows the way of Truth. This simplicity of life involves developing openness to our environment and relating to the world with awareness and responsive perception. It enables us to enjoy without possessing, and mutually benefit each other without manipulation. He also saw impermanence ‘Take trees for example … first, they come into being, then they grow and mature, constantly changing, until they finally die as every tree must. In the same way, people and animals are born, grow and change during their lifetimes until they eventually die. The multitudinous changes which occur during this transition from birth to death show the Way of Dharma. Buddha taught us to live simply, to cherish tranquility, to appreciate the natural cycle of life. In this universe of energies, everything affects everything else. Nature is an ecosystem in which trees affect climate, the soil, and the animals, just as the climate affects the trees, the soil, the animals and so on. The ocean, the sky, the air are all interrelated, and interdependent—water is life and air is life. Instead of seeing nature as our great teacher we waste and do not replenish and forget that Buddha learned his “wisdom from nature.”
Nature as a spiritual force: For Shanti Veda in eighth-century India, dwelling in nature was preferable to living in a monastery or town: ‘When shall I come to dwell in forests amongst the deer, the birds, and the trees, That say nothing unpleasant And are delightful to associate with.” The Buddha taught that the balance of nature is achieved by the functions of the forest. Survival of the forest is vital to the survival of natural harmony, balance, morality, and the environment. Buddhist teachers and masters have constantly reminded us of the importance of living in tune with nature, to respect all life, to make time for meditation practice, to live simply and use nature as a spiritual force.
Nature as a Way of Life: The Buddha commended frugality as a virtue in its own right. Skilful living avoids waste, and we should try to recycle as much as we can. Buddhism advocates a simple, gentle, nonaggressive attitude toward nature—reverence for all forms of nature must be cultivated. Buddha used examples from nature to teach. In his stories, the plant and animal worlds are treated as part of our inheritance, even as part of ourselves. Craving and greed only bring unhappiness—simplicity, moderation, and the middle way bring liberation and hence equanimity and happiness. Our demands for material possessions can never be satisfied—we will always need to acquire more, there is not enough in the universe to truly satisfy us and give us complete satisfaction and contentment. Buddhism, however, takes us away from the ethos of the individual and its bondage to materialism and consumerism. When we try to conquer greed and desire, we can start to have inner peace and be at peace with those around us.