A Buddhist Understanding of Nature

“As people alive today, we must consider future generations: a clean environment is a human right like any other. It is, therefore, part of our responsibility toward others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier than we found it.”

-Dalai Lama

Buddhists believe that all life is interrelated and interdependent. Nature, or our natural environment, is alive and at least partly conscious. It is neither sacred and perfect, or evil. Nature’s deep reality is part of Buddha-nature—our nature when we reach full enlightenment.

From the Buddhist viewpoint, humans are not distinct from or superior to other sentient beings. All sentient beings have the potential to become fully enlightened. Buddhists do not see non-human sentient beings as objects for consumption.

Enlightened beings do not harm sentient life. They have compassion for unenlightened beings, who are attached to our polluted world, filled with suffering, and do not experience peace.

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This post is part of a series on Faith and the Environment