Engaged Buddhists &
Other Spiritual Paths
The entire cosmos is a cooperative.
The sun, the moon, and the stars live together as a cooperative.
The same is true for humans and animals, trees, and the Earth.
When we realize that the world is a mutual, interdependent, cooperative enterprise — then we can build a noble environment.
If our lives are not based on this truth, then we shall perish.
Buddhism flourishes in many areas of the world, producing a wide variety of teachings and practices. Common elements flow through the many traditions, texts, teachings, practices, chants, and rituals:
1) A sense of interdependence, unity, and universal common responsibility
2) An emphasis on compassion for all sentient beings
3) A moral desire not to cause harm
4) A belief that meditation can lead us to freedom from suffering by freeing ourselves from concepts that hold us in pain
5) Spiritual practices of compassion and mindfulness are important
The 14th Dalai Lama teaches:
"Similarly, our planet is our house, and we must keep it in order and take care of it if we are genuinely concerned about happiness for ourselves, our children, our friends, and other sentient beings who share this great house with us."
He also reminded followers: “It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act. There are two aspects to action. One is to overcome the distortions and afflictions of your own mind, that is, in terms of calming and eventually dispelling anger. This is action out of compassion. The other is more social, more public. When something needs to be done in the world to rectify the wrongs, if one is really concerned with benefiting others, one needs to be engaged, involved.” For more on his thoughts, click here.
These and many other core values lead to caring for the ocean life, systems, and people.
Revered Buddhist Thich Naht Hanh teaches: "The term ‘engaged Buddhism’ was created to restore the true meaning of Buddhism. Engaged Buddhism is simply Buddhism applied in our daily lives. If it’s not engaged, it can’t be called Buddhism. Buddhist practice takes place not only in monasteries, meditation halls and Buddhist institutes, but in whatever situation we find ourselves. Engaged Buddhism means the activities of daily life combined with the practice of mindfulness."
In his book, Love Letters to the Earth, Naht Hanh emphasizes our dependence and interdependence, and how we are part of Mother Earth. Click here for an excerpt.
Here are some supportive organizations:
For a more indepth list, go to the Alliance of Religion and Conservation (ARC) listing.
Each year, many Buddhist monks and others pray and flip these horseshoe crab, helping the crabs to the water after they lay their eggs to show their compassion for them and to help save horseshoe crabs on the Delaware shore. Others can join them through the Delaware's "Just Flip 'Em" campaign.
When we recognize the virtues, the talent, the beauty of Mother Earth, something is born in us, some kind of connection—love is born. We want to be connected. That is the meaning of love, to be at one.… You would do anything for the benefit of the Earth, and the Earth will do anything for your well-being.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
"Wherever we are, we can bow down to receive its energy of stability and fearlessness. With this practice, we cultivate a relationship with the Earth and, in doing so, we restore our balance, our wholeness, and our peace.”
Thich Nhat Hanh