Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:10 pm

SDC wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Everything you are describing is, in fact, immediately experienced.


We can speak of this phenomenologically if you prefer, but all I am trying to get across is that direct engagement with an issue beyond your daily life can either be pursued or not pursued with no effect on progress.
But if you are directly involved in it, it is part of your daily life. Also, as the climate changes, that becomes part of one's daily life.

But you, SDC, cannot say what does or does not affect another's progress. Another's progress all depends upon what that person brings to the situation.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby SDC » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:38 pm

tiltbillings wrote:But if you are directly involved in it, it is part of your daily life.


Agreed, said that several times.

tiltbillings wrote: Also, as the climate changes, that becomes part of one's daily life.


Of course. But to what extent that is a “problem which must be dealt with" is another story. Of course this is when someone will chime in about all the bad things are coming with climate change – I know, it is not that I don’t take those issues seriously, it is just I take my practice exponentially more serious than all the doom and gloom of the end of the world. (For what it’s worth though I do make an effort to take care of the environment, both personally and professionally. I don’t “NOT CARE”.)

tiltbillings wrote:But you, SDC, cannot say what does or does not affect another's progress. Another's progress all depends upon what that person brings to the situation.


I’ve been getting lazy with including my favorite phrase, “This is just how I see it.” :smile:
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:49 pm

SDC wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: Also, as the climate changes, that becomes part of one's daily life.


Of course. But to what extent that is a “problem which must be dealt with" is another story.
As Eldridge Cleaver said: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

And, as I said, I do not think it necessarily needs to be a choice between one's practice and one's involvement, but that is for the individual to determine, and that is something that -- like everything -- changes.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:49 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Mkoll wrote:Here's an example to support SDC's point, as I see it.

Take the radical environmentalists who destroy property, e.g. the ELF. Clearly, these people have a much higher devotion to worldly engagement and other broad issues (like climate change) than any of us here. But their personal ethics are lacking because they are willing to destroy the property of others against their will.
And no one here, except you, is talking about radical, property destroying environmentalists. I would assume that we are talking about practicing Buddhists, hopefully, with some degree of maturity of practice.

I was using that example to make a more general point: devotion to "broad issues", however noble they may be, does not mean that one has a high standard of personal ethics. And this can be destructive. Whereas if one has a high standard of personal ethics, then devotion to "broad issues" is much less likely to be destructive.

"Don't put the cart before the horse" as they say.
Peace,
James
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby SDC » Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:55 pm

tiltbillings wrote:As Eldridge Cleaver said: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.


“I” is most definitely the problem.

tiltbillings wrote:And, as I said, I do not think it necessarily needs to be a choice between one's practice and one's involvement, but that is for the individual to determine, and that is something that -- like everything -- changes.


Absolutely. To each their own. Just giving my take.
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:10 pm

SDC wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:As Eldridge Cleaver said: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.


“I” is most definitely the problem.


    All tremble at punishment.
    Life is dear to all.
    Put yourself in the place of others;
    kill none nor have another killed.
    -- Dhp 130

    What should be done by one skillful in good
    So as to gain the State of Peace is this:
    Let him be able, and upright and straight,
    Easy to speak to, gentle, and not proud,
    Contented too, supported easily,
    With few tasks, and living very lightly;
    His faculties serene, prudent, and modest,
    Unswayed by the emotions of the clans;
    And let him never do the slightest thing
    That other wise men might hold blamable.
    (And let him think:) "In safety and in bliss
    May creatures all be of a blissful heart.
    Whatever breathing beings there may be.
    No matter whether they are frail or firm,
    With none excepted, be they long or big
    Or middle-sized, or be they short or small
    Or thick, as well as those seen or unseen,
    Or whether they are dwelling far or near,
    Existing or yet seeking to exist.
    May creatures all be of a blissful heart.
    Let no one work another one's undoing
    Or even slight him at all anywhere:
    And never let them wish each other ill
    Through provocation or resentful thought."
    And just as might a mother with her life
    Protect the son that was her only child,
    So let him then for every living thing
    Maintain unbounded consciousness in being;
    And let him too with love for all the world
    Maintain unbounded consciousness in being
    Above, below, and all round in between,
    Untroubled, with no enemy or foe.
    And while he stands or walks or while he sits
    Or while he lies down, free from drowsiness,
    Let him resolve upon this mindfulness:
    This is Divine Abiding here, they say.
    But when he has no trafficking with views,
    Is virtuous, and has perfected seeing,
    And purges greed for sensual desires,
    He surely comes no more to any womb.
    Sn vv. 143-152

    "As I am, so are others;
    as others are, so am I."
    Having thus identified self and others,
    harm no one nor have them harmed.
    Sn 705
These words, it seems to me, need to mean more than just nice warm fuzzy feelings, or just a step towards one's own samadhi.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby Anagarika » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:36 pm

Ben wrote:I actually remember that I wrote to Bhikkhu Bodhi a few years ago regarding criticism of his work at Buddhist Global Relief. I reproduce most of that letter here as it is pertinent to this discussion.
Kind regards,
Ben

Ben wrote:Dear Ben,

Thank you for your email and for taking the trouble to write to me. I went to Dhamma Wheel and read the comments in this discussion. I don't think this is an issue one can argue about..........
Whether others agree with me or criticize me for the work I have been engaged in has become irrelevant to me. The sense of conscience, the feeling of empathy and solidarity with those less fortunate than myself, pricks at my heart and calls me to continue along the course I have taken.

With metta,
Bhikkhu Bodhi

- Show quoted text -
--
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
Chuang Yen Monastery
2020 Route 301
Carmel NY 10512
U.S.A.



Ben, I need to say today thank you for publishing this letter from Bhikkhu Bodhi. I have read and re-read it several times, and even today, after maybe the fifth reading, it still inspires. I may print it out and keep it handy, as it really speaks to the direction that a engaged Theravada can take. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but if anyone were to take up this mantle, I'm glad it was Bhikkhu Bodhi.
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:19 pm

You are welcome, Anagarika.
Likewise, I am inspired by Bhikkhu Bodhi's example.
With metta,
Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:47 pm

Greetings,

tiltbillings wrote:As Eldridge Cleaver said: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

That may be Cleaverism, but it's not Dhamma. Nor is it Theravada Meditation > Ethical Conduct. Rather, this is...

AN 10.140 wrote:And what, monks, is blameless dhamma?

Right view, right thinking, right speech, right action, right living, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration, right knowledge, right release.

This is called "blameless dhamma."'

AN 4.62 wrote:"And what is the bliss of blamelessness? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones is endowed with blameless bodily kamma, blameless verbal kamma, blameless mental kamma. When he thinks, 'I am endowed with blameless bodily kamma, blameless verbal kamma, blameless mental kamma,' he experiences bliss, he experiences joy. This is called the bliss of blamelessness.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby alan » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:15 pm

People several generations from now may disagree about the blamelessness of doing nothing in the face of an avoidable catastrophe. They might even wonder why Right action was not applied.
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:23 pm

Greetings,

alan wrote:They might even wonder why Right action was not applied.

MN 117 wrote:"And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong action as wrong action, and right action as right action. This is one's right view. And what is wrong action? Killing, taking what is not given, illicit sex. This is wrong action...
"One tries to abandon wrong action & to enter into right action: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong action & to enter & remain in right action: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right action."

Right Action is cool. 8-)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:30 pm

Greetings,

Addressing global warming, Buddha style...

SN 35.28: Adittapariyaya Sutta: The Fire Sermon
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Gaya, at Gaya Head, with 1,000 monks. There he addressed the monks:

"Monks, the All is aflame. What All is aflame? The eye is aflame. Forms are aflame. Consciousness at the eye is aflame. Contact at the eye is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I tell you, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs.

"The ear is aflame. Sounds are aflame...

"The nose is aflame. Aromas are aflame...

"The tongue is aflame. Flavors are aflame...

"The body is aflame. Tactile sensations are aflame...

"The intellect is aflame. Ideas are aflame. Consciousness at the intellect is aflame. Contact at the intellect is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I say, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs.

"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with the eye, disenchanted with forms, disenchanted with consciousness at the eye, disenchanted with contact at the eye. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye, experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: With that, too, he grows disenchanted.

"He grows disenchanted with the ear...

"He grows disenchanted with the nose...

"He grows disenchanted with the tongue...

"He grows disenchanted with the body...

"He grows disenchanted with the intellect, disenchanted with ideas, disenchanted with consciousness at the intellect, disenchanted with contact at the intellect. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect, experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: He grows disenchanted with that too. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, the hearts of the 1,000 monks, through no clinging (not being sustained), were fully released from fermentation/effluents.

The Buddha is cool. 8-)

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby waterchan » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:41 pm

:twothumbsup: :goodpost: :twothumbsup:

Excellent posts Retro. Thanks for injecting the Dhamma into a thread taken over by trendy humanism.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby alan » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:43 pm

Humanism is so damn trendy. Next thing you know, we'll start working to improve the lives of others. Enough of that, I say!
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:46 pm

Greetings,

alan wrote:Next thing you know, we'll start working to improve the lives of others. Enough of that, I say!

Dhp 354 wrote:A gift of Dhamma conquers all gifts

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby alan » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:56 pm

Can't disagree with that, my good friend. Guess the question is how best to share the gift, and what that implies in a world overcome by greed and bereft of thought leaders. For some, the gift of Dhamma may best be shared in the form of heightening social awareness to issues that concern our collective fate.
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby LXNDR » Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:26 am

alan wrote:People several generations from now may disagree about the blamelessness of doing nothing in the face of an avoidable catastrophe. They might even wonder why Right action was not applied.


Magga-vibhanga Sutta (SN 45.8) wrote:"And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity. This is called right action."


Maha-cattarisaka Sutta (MN 117) wrote: "And what is right action? Right action, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right action with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions; there is right action that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right action with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? Abstaining from killing, from taking what is not given, & from illicit sex. This is the right action with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.

"And what is the right action that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of the three forms of bodily misconduct in one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right action that is noble, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.


Saccavibhanga Sutta (MN 141) wrote:"And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, from stealing, & from sexual misconduct: This is called right action.


as well as Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN 22)

and it's not possible to trace Right action remotely since it doesn't leave marks on the world being purely a matter of a personal experience and frame of mind
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:19 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Dhp 354 wrote:A gift of Dhamma conquers all gifts

Metta,
Retro. :)

Hi, Retro,
That may be true but I don't think it means we shouldn't give other gifts, especially as most of us aren't qualified to give the gift of Dhamma - and to be honest, it's a gift which would be promptly returned if we did try to give it to most of the people around us.
:thinking:
Might as well do our best to relieve suffering - enormous future suffering in this case - through more worldly action.

:namaste:
Kim
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby waterchan » Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:34 pm

Kim OHara wrote:. . . especially as most of us aren't qualified to give the gift of Dhamma - and to be honest, it's a gift which would be promptly returned if we did try to give it to most of the people around us.

Lecturing is not the only way. One can also give the gift of Dhamma by embodying its principles, one of which is renunciation of conditioned phenomena.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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Re: Climate change is a profound moral concern for Buddhists

Postby alan » Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:45 pm

Maybe you meant renunciation of sensual pleasures?
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