BUDDHIST SOLUTION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ? BUDDHIST SOLUTION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ... Buddhism teaches

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532 | P a g e BUDDHIST SOLUTION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES Dr.Ch Venkata Siva Sai Assistant Professor, School of Buddhist Studies and Civilization, Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida (India) I INTRODUCTION The term environment, which means surroundings, is considered as a composite terms for the conditions in which organism live. Every living species of the plants or animals influences its environment and in turn gets influenced by it. So, that all life is precious, not only human life, but also animal and plant life. But the economic man wants too much and he forgets to listen to the voice of nature. He is not trying to understand the harmony within himself and with environment. He accumulates more and more materials, which destroyed the environment and generate numbers of problem, like deforestation, loss of biodiversity, global warming, ozone depletion, pollution etc. The root cause of these problems has been mans misbehavior and unlimited desire with the nature under the false ego that he is the master of nature. It is the man who destroyed the environment for his personal gain. In the modern world, everybody known that we should protect our living environment, reduce the amount of garbage we produce, classify our waste and recycle as much as possible. Nevertheless, we are still consuming substantial amounts of energy resources every day, irrational use of natural and human resources, and producing tremendous amount of waste and pollution. These consequences act is as horrible as generating a tremendous quantity of cancer cells in the body of nature. II OVER EXPLOITATION OF RESOURCES The modern economy is a resource based economy and all the development of a country or a region is based on resources, especially on natural resources. Nature has given us abundant resources in the form of water, air, heat, natural vegetation, soil, wild animals, metals, fossils fuels, etc., and man by his technical skill and knowledge is using all these resources in some way or the other right from the dawn of civilization. In other words, we can say that all nations of the world aspire for high growth rates to ensure better standards of living for citizens. But actually, in the long run, these growth rates based on over-exploitation of resources like, water, land, forest, wild life, minerals and fossil fuels are not sustainable and have adverse consequences. These harmful consequences include depletion of natural resources to unrecoverable levels, air and water pollution, soil erosion, deforestation and adverse climatic changes like global warming. 533 | P a g e III ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION Environmental concern is comparatively a recent phenomenon, which has regained momentum throughout the globe. Today the modern technologies, their exceedingly high rate of rapacious exploitation of natural resources, are responsible for alarming situation of grave environmental crisis and ecological disturbance all above the globe. Like all other living beings, humans have clearly changed their environment, but they have done so generally on a grander scale than have other species. Some of these changes, such as the destruction of the world's tropical rain forest to create grazing land for cattle or the drying up of almost three-quarters of area sea, once the world's fourth-largest freshwater lake, for irrigation purposes, have led to altered climate patterns. This in turn has changed the distribution of species of animals and plants. The problems facing the environment are vast and diverse. Destruction of the world's rain forest, global warming, the depletion of the ozone layer, sea level rise, climatic change and ecological imbalance are just some of the problems that will reach critical proportion in the coming decades. Their rates will be directly affected by the size of the human population. IV MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS A problem is a problem and there is only one thing to do with problems of every level, personal or social, and that is to solve them. Buddhism teaches us to solve all problems at their cause. If we cannot yet solve the cause, then we must contain the problem, while we search for a cure.9 The major environmental problems are deforestation global warming, ozone depletion, loss of biodiversity, pollutions etc. and the main causes of these problems are population explosion, deforestation, rapid industrialization, hyper urbanization and haphazard disposal of wastes. When we evaluated these problems with the current statistical figures, then we found that the situation become very critical. This is due to our ignorance and irrespective behavior to environment and craving. These environmental problems are vast and diverse. Followings are parameter, which need to study to understand environmental problems. 4.1 Deforestation The Buddhist response to deforestation is a clear example of the tension between anthropocentrism and a holistic understanding of the web of life and the importance of the forest. Traditional Buddhist Communities revolved around the forest. But, once the process of industrialization began, forests became fuel-giving sources rather than life-giving sources. The tropical rain forests Lungs of the World a very important global ecosystem is being burnt and cut down, to create land for pasture and cultivation 4.2 Depletion of Water Resources Water is an integral part of environment and it is the most valuable element among of the five elements, which are generally recognized as being present in all phenomena. In human body it consists of roughly 70 percent water and 534 | P a g e our planet is also approximately 70 percent water. And this amount of water never increases or decreases, but the nature and purity of the water changes. The more we pollute it or allow it to become polluted, the less potable or usable it becomes. The development of water resources has increased rapidly in order to meet the demand for diverse uses. But due to uncontrolled development of the water resources has resulted in depletion of surface water and declining groundwater levels. Global consumption of groundwater is doubling every 20 years. One billion of people already suffer from a shortage of ground water. It is estimated that two-thirds of the world population especially in developing country will suffer severe water shortages in 25 years.This shortage of groundwater is entirely man-made In India, overdraft and associated quality problems are increasingly emerging. 4.3 Global Warming The whole of globe is increasing its temperature at an alarming rate. Like the glass panes in a greenhouse, certain gases in the earths atmosphere permit the suns radiation to heat the earth but retard the escape back out by the earth. This process referred to as the greenhouse effect. These gases, primarily carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapour, insulate the earths surface, helping to maintain warm temperature. If the concentration of these gases were higher, more heat would be trapped within the atmosphere and worldwide temperatures would rise. Global temperature increased 10C within the past century and temperature will continue to rise by between 10 and 3.00C over the next century. Due to global warming we can observe there are tremendous effects around the world. 4.4 Depletion of the Ozone Layer Ozone considered as a protective shield and earths umbrella because it prevents ultraviolet solar radiation from reaching the earths surface. Thus the presence of ozone layer in the stratosphere is of vital significance for all biota including plants, animals and man in the biosphere. The issue of ozone depletion has assumed a global dimension because the problem of ozone depletion and its adverse consequences have threatened the existence of all form of life in the biosphere. The depletion of ozone could destroy the growth cycle of plants, change the global energy and radiation balance, adversely affect hydrological cycle, rises in sea level, melting and retreating of continental glaciers and ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, decrease immunity to human bodies, causes skin cancer, eye defects and suppression of mental development of human beings. This will lead our planet to desert. 4.5 Pollution Pollution from human activities is the major environmental problem across the world. The various types of pollution, i.e. air pollution, noise pollution, land pollution are increasingly emerging. Among these pollution the air pollution became a major problem. Because air regulate the precipitation. The main sources of air pollution are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulpher dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and deforestation. The main pollutants carbon 535 | P a g e monoxide mainly comes from incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, increasing number of motor vehicles, forest fire etc. One study estimates that the transport sectors emit almost half the carbon monoxide emission produced by other sources. Power and richness could be shown by having a number of vehicles. Some have more than what they should have. This is nothing but craving for more goods. Land pollution associated with loss of soil fertility, decline of productivity, etc. Due to inadequate system of solid waste disposal, lack of open space and over use of chemicals in farm, land pollution has become another critical environmental problem. Today, noise is recognized as a serious personal and environmental pollution troubling everyone to some extent. It causes deafness, stress, irritation and lower efficiency. Silence was an important quality of Buddha and once he ordered a group of monks to leave monastery for noisy behaviour.18 Pollution to this extent was unheard of during the time of Buddha. But there is sufficient evidence in the scriptures to provide insight into the Buddhist attitude towards pollution. Cleanliness, both in the person and in the environment, was highly commanded. Several rules prohibit monks from polluting green grass and water with saliva, urine and faeces.19 4.6 Loss of Biodiversity The loss of biological diversity is one of the main environmental problems, because it threatens our food supplies, species balance and interfaces greenhouse gas absorption. The large numbers of species are being lost every year and it is difficult to establish current rates of estimation with any certainty. Some scientist believes as many as 25 percent of the worlds total complement of species could be lost over the next few decades. The main causes of loss of biodiversity are over exploitation of a particular species, commercial use of coral reef, intensification of agriculture, deforestation and pollution. V ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT OR REMEDIES Peace and survival of life on earth as we know it are threatened by human activities which lack a commitment to humanitarian values. Destruction of nature and depletion of natural resources results from ignorance, greed and lack of respect for the earths living things. This lack of respect extends even to earths human descendents, the future generations who will inherit a vastly degraded planet if world peace does not become a reality, and destruction of the natural environment continues at the present rate. Many of the earths habitats, plants, insects and even microorganisms that we know of as rare or endangered, may not be known at all by future generations. We have the capacity and responsibility. We must act before it is too late. We have numerous Buddhas teachings about the nature of suffering and the path towards the end of suffering. 536 | P a g e VI BUDDHIST PERSPECTIVE ON ENVIRONMENT 6.1 Nature as Teacher Buddha taught that respect for life and the natural world is essential. By living simply one can be in harmony with other creatures and learn to appreciate the interconnectedness of all that lives. 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 manipulation. He said, to live simply, to cherish tranquility, to appreciate the natural cycle of life. Nature is an ecosystem in which trees affect climate, the soil, the man, and the animals, just as the climate affects the trees, the soil, the man, the animals, and so on. Nature is not independent and unchanging. Change is the very essence of nature. Once we treat nature as our friend, to cherish it, then we can see the need to change from the attitude of dominating nature to an attitude of working with nature. We are an intrinsic part of all existence rather than seeing ourselves as in control of it. 6.2 Nature as a Spiritual Force 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 environment. Environmentalists have constantly reminded us of the importance of living in tune with nature to respect all life, to live simply and use nature as a spiritual force. By being mindful about the daily routine one pays attention to the flow of life to see nature as a positive, joyful, spiritual force. 6.3 Nature as a way of life The Buddha commanded frugality as a virtue in its own right. Skillful living avoids waste and we should try to recycle as much as we can. 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, and no government can fulfill all our desires for security. We are instructed to be mindful receptive, open, sensitive and not fixed to any one thing, but able to fix on things according to what is needed in that time and at that place. By developing the right actions of not killing, stealing, or committing misconduct in sexual desires perhaps we can begin to live with nature, without breaking it or injuring the rhythm of life. In our livelihoods, by seeking work that does not harm other beings and refraining from trading in weapons, breathing things, meat, alcohol, and poisons, we can fell more at one with nature. In addition, a few general measures and actions can also be implemented as part of a plan to maintain and preserve the environment, VII BUDDHIST SOLUTION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: 1. Environmental problem investigation. 2. Understanding of the cause of the problem and thus the key of the solution. 3. A true understanding of the problem solving path to be developed and followed. 4. Training and development of an environmental ethics/morals. 537 | P a g e 5. Accept the realities of nature and implement its rules as basis and goal for environmental management. 6. Try to unite human development and environmental management through a holistic approach by considering all factors of management as inter-related. 7. Try to free human life from any forms of defilement, such as ignorance, desire, and attachment and take measures in promoting the environment by practicing Buddhas teachings in both, discipline and doctrine. 8. Develop wisdom and understanding for the truth ruling the relationship between man and environment. 9. Cultivate an environmental conscience and mind. 10. Cultivate ethics/morals concerning the environment. 11. Self-sustaining and self-regulating mechanism to counter the ecological imbalances can answer any question about human being or can solve any problem of mankind. 12. Non-harming to any form of life which means the cultivation of compassion and sympathy for all living being. 13. Practice of loving kindness towards all creatures, timid and bold, long and short, big and small, minute and great, visible and invisible, near and far, born and awaiting birth. 14. The construction of parks and pleasure groves for public use is considered a great deed that gains much spiritual merit. 15. Cleanliness, both in the person and in the environment, was highly commended 16. Morals of humanity or moral decline affects the environment very badly because there is a close relationship between human morality and the natural environment. Fundamentally there is no separation between our internal life and our immediate circumstances. Therefore, the causes we make through our thought, word, and action manifest in our external surroundings once we acknowledge that we shape our environment, both constructively and destructively, we become more confident to tackle issue. All outer and inner phenomena, the mind and its surrounding environment, are understood to be inseparable and interdependent. All things are interrelated, we are interconnected and do not have autonomous existence. Buddha said, This is because that is; this is not because that is not; this is born because that is born; this dies because that dies. The health of whole is inseparably linked with the health of parts, and the health of the parts is inseparably linked with the whole. Everything in life arises through causes and conditions. VIII CONCLUSION So, for cleaning up our environment it is not enough to sweep the garbage, we must get at the sources of pollution. As we known that everything comes from mind. Firstly we should clean our own mind. Cleaning up our mental pollution begins with recognizing that our greed, desire, and anger, are poisoning us, and then moving to ban their coarse manifestations from our everyday actions. But that by itself is not enough. We have to trace the pollution and other environmental problem back to where it arises in our minds and find out why it is generated in the first place. At its source we find me and mine basic selfishness and disregard for others that pollutes and distorts our every 538 | P a g e thought and action. Hence, we should give up our selfishness, greed, desire and hatred and cultivate contentment, compassion and endurance for healthy and sustainable environment. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Atchelor and Brown, Buddhism and Ecology, 1994, p. 2. Harris, Ian "Causation and Telos: The Problem of Buddhist Environmental Ethics", Journal of Buddhist Ethics . 3. Sivaraksa Sulak, Socially Engaged Buddhism, B.R.P.C., Delhi, 2005, 4. Sivarksa Sulak and Chakravarti, Buddhim and Environmentalism. 4. Peter G. Just, Buddhism and our Environment, 2006. 5. H.H. Dalai Lama, Death, Peace and Environment, 1993. 6. Batchelor and Brown, Buddhism and Ecology, 1994, . 7. Parinirva: Complete extinction of Khandha-life; i.e. all possibility of such life and its rebirth, final release from rebirth, transmigration, death, Pli-English Dictionary, Davids T.W. Rhys and Stede William, Delhi, 2001, 8. Batchelor and Brown, Buddhism and Ecology, 1994, 9. Batchelor and Brown, Buddhism and Ecology, 1994,. 10.Batchelor and Brown, Buddhism and Ecology, 1994, 11. Mahvagga, . 12.Khuddakaptho, Dasasikkhpadni. 13.Anguttara Nikya,

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