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    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.

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    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

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    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 1

    0 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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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 fre...

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