Friday, August 29, 2008

Interbeing and Interconnectedness in Buddhist Psychology

Section 1

Core Concept of Compassion/Interconnectedness in Buddhism

Case Study

Aung San Suu Kyi, a Person of Compassion

Aung San Suu Kyi, whom is the possessor of the combined name of compassion. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the third child of the family of late national leader General Aung San and Burma’s only woman ambassador (to India and Nepal). General Aung San is known as the architect of Burma’s independence. As I said the Suu Kyi possesses “Aung San” for father, “Kyi” for mother, and “Suu” for grandmother. Her mother Daw Khin Kyi, who was the senior nurse of Rangoon General Hospital.

Family Life

She is the third child in family. Favorite brother drown tragically at an early age. The older brother settled in San Diego, California and became a United States citizen. She got married to a British Scholar, Dr. Michael Aris in 1972, he stayed in Himalaya Kingdom of Bhutan where he tutored the Royal family and worked as a head of the Translation Department.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has two sons, Alexander born in London in 1973, and Kim born in Oxford in 1977. In 1986, on annual visit to grandmother in Rangoon her sons took part in traditional Buddhist ceremony of initiation into Monkhood. On the 27th of March 1999 - Michael Aris died of prostate cancer in London. He had petitioned the Burmese authority to allow him to visit his wife for the last time, but they had rejected his request, since he had not seen her a Christmas visit in 1995.Over last ten years, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi stays under house arrest in Rangoon (Yangon).

Education and Scholarly Works

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was educated in Rangoon until the age of 15 and continued her studies at Delhi University when she accompanied her Ambassador mother to New Delhi. She completed her BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford University, and was elected Honorary Fellowship in 1990.
Suu Kyi also studied at the Center of Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University, as a visiting scholar, researching father’s times in Japan. She completed her fellowship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies in Simla in 1987.

UN Mission and Diplomatic Works

Suu Kyi went to New York for graduate study, staying with family friend Ma Than E who was the staff member at the United Nations, where U Thant of Burma is Secretary General. Postponing studies she joint UN secretary as Assistant Secretary, Advisory committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.
In 1972 she worked as the Research Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bhutan.

Political Movement

On the 15th of August 1988, Suu Kyi in her first political action, sent open letter to the government, asking for formation of an independent consultative committee to prepare multi-party election in the country. There was a mass uprising through the country. In August 1988 in a huge violent suppression military killed thousands of people.

On the 26th of August 1988, in her first public speech, she addressed several hundred thousand people outside of the Great Shwe Dagon Pagoda, calling for democratic government; husband and two sons were present there. In the same year, on the 18th of September, the Junta established State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). Political gatherings of more than four persons were banned, people arrested and sentenced without trail reaffirmed. It was said; that the parliamentary election will be held but the multiplicity of parties might prevent clear result. In September 1988, National League for Democracy (NLD) was formed, with Suu Kyi as its general secretary. The party was committed to the policy of non-violence and civil disobedience.

The Junta announced that “fair and free” elections would be held on the 17the of May 1990. Since that time junta gunned down hundreds of demonstrators. Aung San Suu Kyi continued campaign despite harassments, arrests and killings by the soldiers, delivered over a hundred public addresses, encouraged people to fight and demand for their rights despite their fears, and extensively toured the whole country, including, Rangoon, Pegu, Magwe, Sagaing, Mandalay, Moulamein, and many other places. On the 5th of May 1989, had place an incident in Irawaddy Delta when Suu Kyi courageously walked toward rifles soldiers are aiming at her.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was prohibited from standing in the election, placed under house arrest, without charge or trial. Her sons were with her, Michael flew to Rangoon, found her on the third day of hunger strike, she asked to be sent to prison to join students arrested at her home and to end the strike when a good treatment of students is promised.
In May 1990, despite detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD won election with 82% of parliamentary seats, but the junta refused to recognize the results. Aung San Suu Kyi remained under house arrest. International communities and UN requested to release her.

Her arrest and confinement, ended after 6 years in July 1995, and drew national and international attention to the situation of Burma (Myanmar). She refused military offers that would allow her to leave the country because she would not be allowed to return. While under house arrest she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She continues the struggle for democracy, though the Junta increasingly kept restriction of her movements during 1996 as crack down on NLD meetings and other activities. She was banned from traveling outside of Rangoon. Junta again put her under house arrest in September 2000, and again released for second time in 2002. The junta indicated the release was unconditional and that she was free to pursue her political activities as leader of the NLD. But now, unfortunately, she is again house arrest, because junta says she is “not safe”, since in upper Myanmar there was huge conflict between government and NLD’s supporters, NLD claims that about 55 people were killed, 150 were seriously injured, some are missing, including leaders and supporters.

Worldwide Awards

October 12 1990, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi granted “Rafto Human Rights Prize”. In July 1991, European Parliament awarded her with “Sakharov Human Right Prize”. Norwegian Noble Committee announced Aung San Suu Kyi the winner of 1991 “Nobel Peace Prize”, Suu Kyi was under house arrest that time, Alexander and Kim accepted prize for mother in Oslo ceremony.
She also published many research works, journals, and others.

Suu Kyi, a Compassionate Soul

Suu Kyi is a symbol of compassion to Burmese people, a true leader who cares. On the 2nd of 1989, during the huge funeral procession of her mother Daw Khin Kyi, Aung San Suu Kyi vowed that as her father and mother she would serve the people of Burma even unto death. She always worries about junta’s cruelty, destruction and corruptions through the country and its people. She is devoted for the freedom of people in the country. She had to face very difficult situations when her husband died and she couldn’t see him for the last time. She knew that if she had leaved, the junta would not let her in again. She was with Burmese when her husband passed away.

According to the Buddhist teachings, “From not giving to the destitute, poverty grew rife; from the poverty growing rife, stealing increases; from the spread of stealing, violence grows apace; from the growth of violence, the destruction of life becomes common; from the frequency of murder, the life span and the beauty of the beings is wasted away”. The world knows what’s going on in Burma (Myanmar).

She is in house arrest now. She is religious and devoted Buddhist, always undertake meditation, worshiping, chanting, observing precepts, shares loving kindness to all beings, to the country people, to the world peace and prosperities.

Section 2
Interconnectedness as the Foundation of Compassion Practice


Compassion is nothing but the mental state. Every conscious being (Human being) has the mind, it feels, recognizes, and acts. In Buddhist term it’s called Karuṇā, one kind of wholesome mental state (Cetasika), also called divine practice or sublime state of the mind. Of the mind of the individual, not of the Buddhist and Christian or any religious manners, with what the Buddha taught to the world. One of his teachings that one’s desire is burning one self and the world as well. It means that one harming oneself and harming the environment, harming all beings, harming the global, out of desires and selfishness. We can save the world, we can be happy in this world, just only by controlling desires, showing compassion to others, that’s what the Buddha taught, to the world.

The Buddha is for the World
(Emergence of Buddhism and environmental actions)

Four Noble Truths

The four noble truths, which is the nuclear of the Buddhist teaching. The four noble truths are not created by the Buddha but discovered. It was in the nature, in this world. These are, ultimately everything is suffering or non-satisfactoriness (Dukkha), there are some reasons (effect-Side effect) (Dukkha samudaya), get rid of oneself (Dukkha nirodha), and the method or the theory (Dukkha nirodha gāminī paṭipadā). The Buddha was not teaching to the Buddhists but to the world. And it is very mush essential for to save the environment.

The Buddha scientifically demonstrated that root cause is the desire (Taṇhā). The desires manifest as the three poisons of the mind; greed (Lobha), hatred (Dosa), and delusion (Moha).
Unfortunately, the most professions of the world function so as to cultivate the desire to produce and consume. How the companies make customers crazy, and they become super crazy!

Modernized world people spend more hours shopping than any other activities except work, television, Cinema, DVD, and sleep. Television, itself, is a primary medium for the utilization of suffering, an abuse of the first noble truth. (Here I would like to mention that not to misunderstand that Buddhism doesn’t allow watching television, but in Sabbath day or fasting day fundamentally it is considered as not suitable, no entertainment during such practice.)
The news, documentaries, films and soap operas indulge in endless accounts of human and global suffering, numbing the minds of nearly a billion people on earth night after night. Movies end with the achievement of good and evil, a massive form of public deception. 2500 years ago an enlightened human being said; “Let the dead bury the dead”, a response to a life of social numbness instead of spiritual liberation. Today he would say, “Let the dead watch the dead”. Human being is the great creature of the nature, but now nature is the victim one. Human knowledge growing higher and higher, to say unfortunately, mostly are through the back door.

There are the problems of the dysfunctional family, practicing psychotherapists have acknowledged that. Instead of placing blame ahead the individual for his or her behavior they have wisely attempted to make the individual concerned to take responsibility while pointing out the contributions that others make to reinforcing personal problems. World leaders are failing (failed) lead their people. They have led people to believe they are entitled to all forms of self-gratification and prosperity. Very few feel satisfied with their situation. Aggravation, cynicism, complaining and feeling victimized. Following this, smoking, alcohol, gambling, compulsive shopping, working long hours, and anxiety become defined as diseases, an addictions or due to hereditary factors.

Buddhist teachings have been applied for the four noble truths to the condition of the individual rather than examining the Buddha’s insights from the standpoint of political, social and environmental realities. This preoccupation with the individual, despite the countless insight of the Buddha into the emptiness of the “self” existence, has undermined the social, political and environmental concerns of his teachings. A Buddhist teaching of Non-self is not only spiritual approach, but also for here and now in the world circumstances. The teachings of non-self challenge the basis of contemporary politics, rooted in the belief in the marketplace, and that people exist independently and in competition with each other for control and access to goods and the environment.
The present global environment situation can not be solved by conferences and sign the agreements. Need insight, self-awareness, self-controlled, compassion. We should practice the Buddhist teaching of four noble truths in following way-

1. The earth with its numerous inhabitants is suffering. Submission to the mega-machine contributes to it.
2. The earth’s suffering arises according to the way we love our lives. Selfish living which perceives the world as an opportunity to fulfill the personal desires contributes to suffering for all being and the planet.
3. The earth’s suffering will end when selfishness, fear, aggression end. All our institutions- political, economic, social and religious require a revolutionary change.
4. By concentrating our hearts and minds on all facts of daily life, we derive collective insights and wisdom to overcome suffering wherever it arises and wherever form.
Dharma Gaya

Buddhism has been called “the religion before religion”, which means that anyone, of any faith, can practice. According to Matthiessen, that phrase evokes the natural religion of our early childhood, when “heaven and a splendorous earth were one”. Only too soon is the child’s clarity of vision obscured by a host of encrustations intrinsic to cultural conditioning- firm views, judgmentalism, and denial.
The word Dharma in Sanskrit (in Pāli Dhamma). Literally it doesn’t mean religion but the teaching (of the Buddha). Dhr means “firmament”, that which is established firmly, that which is confirmed, that which is real.
Dharma Gaya, many ecologists recognize that our environmental problems are rooted in a spiritual crisis. We have seen to be awash in a great sea of duality between our own aliveness and the life of the planet, between mind (Mana) and body (Kāya), between the masculine and the feminine. Dr. Lovelock who has predicted that the understanding of Gaya could conceivably become a scientifically verifiable religion. Such a faith might resemble a merging of Buddhism, deep ecology, and feminism and could be called “Dharma Gaya”.[1]
Buddhism offers a clearly defined system of ethics, a guide to ecology living, right here, right now. Meditation is its primary tool for raising ecological consciousness. In meditation, awareness of our environment deepens and our identity expands to include the multitude of circumstances and conditions that come together to form our existence.

Dharma Rain

This is a parasol, Buddhist practitioners who work for the nature and protect the environment, gather together. Buddhism is no more the ancient religion in the religious point of view. Ultimately this is a world religion, world become much familiar with Buddhism, we are drawn to meditation for personal benefits, listen to teachers, read books, and meet other practitioners.
The precepts or the code of conduct such as, not killing, not stealing, no sexual misconducts, not give or take drugs, no discussing the faults of others, not praising yourself by abusing others, not being deluded, not indulging in anger, and not defaming the triple gem, Buddha-Dhamma-Sangha.
Buddhists try to make sense of them is more than just “don’t do this” terms. For instance, when we do something we know this is wrong, like lying, we create a tangled brush or rationale and justification which clutters our clear mind and prevent us form resting in tranquility. As Eileen Philips suggests, “the precepts form a framework or container for a relationship and action, and a foundation for harmony in friendships, family relationship, and in the Sangha (Unity). Unity of the body and mind and the nature.
Precepts, self-restrain, wisdom and compassion can be applied for the world environment crisis, and this the only one way. Approaching the precepts with an attitude of perfectionism oversimplifies the issue and may lead to self-righteousness. Gary Snyder says any decision of the first precept should be done “Sitting on the floor”. Perhaps this is the way we should approach all the precepts. With humanity, and respective mind.

Eco-psychology and Buddhism

Ecology and psychology, having grown up on different sides of the mountain, met one day in the thick brush at the ridge line separating their home territories. Their first contact was awkward and hesitant. They began to circle, they danced, and finally they joined. Their offspring are twins. One is vigorous, skilful, joyous, and sustainable, environmental action. The other is wonder, intimacy; healing, expansion and grace of finding ourselves at home in the world. Ecopsychology, some aspects of environmental psychology, the intersection of nature, and the human psyche, and spirit. Ecopsychology and environmental psychology are two of the disciplines, which deal directly with human nature relationships, including aspects of ecology, human geography, environment action and sustainability, architecture and design, and ecophilosophy.
Buddhism gives us a clear vision of human nature and the interrelationship with the nature. The Buddhist teachings of self and non-self (Anatta), the noble truths, the dependent originations (cause and effect), the observation, self-restrain, the way of living. All of them show us that we are responsible for the recent environment crisis or we have many responsibly for the planet, nature, environment. Theodore Roszak says “If Ecopsychology has anything to add to the Socratic-Freudian project of self-knowledge, it is to remind us of what our ancestors took to be common knowledge; there is more to about the self, or rather more self to know, than our personal history reveals”[2]. Perhaps, Buddhist way of meditation guide us to know the self, respecting the own-self, respecting others, and the environment.
Denialism, which is the conception of lack of self-knowledge, self-awareness, and not realizing the noble truths. According to Joanna Macy, this is what “we need to recognize that denial itself is the greatest danger we face[3].

For a Future to be Possible

Respected Thich Nhat Hanh says, for a future is to be possible, he emphasizes mostly in morality of the human being, to cultivate the compassion (Karuṇā), loving kindness (Mettā), sympathy (Mūditā), and equanimity (Upekkhā)[4]. The one-ness of the body and mind, which is the nuclear of all of them, to be cultivated; it is interrelationship of the human (mind-body) and the nature.


This the time, the world has to acknowledge that out of desire every human act is suffering, cause to suffering, but human can get rid of the suffering, and there the middle way which leads to the end of all crisis and suffering, they are, right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration

Section 3
Buddhist Environmental Ethics and Activism

Environmental Ethics

With the emergence of an ethical concern for the environment in the Western tradition, the new facts that called for some discussion was about the limits of the Moral community; what class or group of beings we ought to consider as having moral worth and towards which we have obligations to act. There were debates of an ethical nature about the moral status of the mentally retarded, the senile, infants, the comatose, and so on, but till recent ties, ethics was exclusively concerned with humans.
There were two kinds of environmental questions, which emerged with ethical overtones. Firstly, there were questions concerned with specific issues-increase of population, use of biocides, deforestation and destruction of wilderness, cruelty to animals, and so on. Secondly, the questions of general nature which were in the background of the layer of issues mentioned above. This group of questions was concerned with human general moral perspectives of the non-human world, animal, plants, ecosystem, and nature.
As the environmental ethics perspectives broadened and deepened, three areas of concern emerged[5]-
1. Ethics become global by including fellow human beings, not merely in the society or the region where one lives
2. There was a projection into the future by including future generations
3. Ethics also went beyond humans to include non-human lives, animals, plants and ecosystem

Environmental Ethic in Buddhism

Environment ethics in Buddhist context today needs to have reference to ongoing activist orientations that may have a real impact on the lives of Buddhist, as well as the contribute to regional and global concerns.
In Buddhism, there is a basic concern with evils related to the destruction of life (Pāṇātipāta). As the very first precept in Buddhist ethics, this concept is rooted in a whole orientation to oneself, others and the natural world. In a minimalistic sense, the precept refers to the destruction of life, that is, human and animal life, but in a deeper sense the Buddha is referring to a whole perspective that negatively rejects violence and positively recommends the cultivation of love (Mettā), and compassion (Karuṇā). This perspective has an implicit reference to nature, plants, and trees. Scholars say- “Buddhism has a gentle human-nature orientation. If nature becomes the object of man’s greed, envy and victim of his aggressive instinct, a non-violent and gentle attitude towards nature is not possible. Buddhism represents a clear vision of eliminating the human greed, which only cause of destruction.
The Buddha strongly recommends that in any case of conflict or like wise, loving kindness should be cultivated, to all beings, to friend or enemies, to the world as well. As the Buddha suggested to the monks that –

Whatever breathing beings there may be,
No matter whether they are frail or firm,
With none expected, be they long or big
Or middle sized, or be they short or small
Or thick, as well as seen or unseen,
Or whether they are dwelling far or near, existing or yet seeking to exist, may beings all be of a blissful heart!

In Bhikkhu Pātimokkha, the book of monk’s disciplines, very joyously shows that how the Buddha was concerned about the environment and the nature, as well as the evils that come harming the nature. The monks are expected to be cautious of even unintentional harm. These beings may be seen or unseen, and also those that may be seeking to exist. This stretching of beings that matter beyond the obviously sentient creatures to the minutest as a point that should be noted. The second concern is the difficult issue of at what point the kammic circle terminates in the realm of living beings. The third point is that trees and plants do not come within the kammic cycle, but the Buddhist non-violent attitudes are to be extended to them. All these three points are important-
1. The beings that come within the kammic cycle (where humans may be born as animals and resulted);
2. The extension of the concept of life to include those that may not be intentionally or unintentionally harmed, that is to the minutest (breathers)
3. The extension of the non-violent and gentle human orientation to nature itself. As mentioned in the discourses, the Buddha is said to have refrained “from causing injury to seeds and plants”, and requested to monks to do act accordingly.
There is also the theory of dependant origination or the cause and effect should be concerned which shows that there is a strong nexus of interdependence in the human-nature-social matrix.

In the case of the monks, it is quite explicit that even unintentional harm to the smallest creatures be avoided. For laymen, occupations like agriculture are left open to them. Regarding the plants, trees, and the natural environment, which is emphasized, is a gentle human-nature orientation. In the code of discipline for monks, mentions that there is a view among people that “plants have life”, but this view is not discussed by the Buddha. In the codes of discipline for monks, there are rules forbidding them to pollute lakes and rivers, as well as keeping saliva, urine and faeces away from the green grass. The monks were expected to develop a caring, non-violent attitude towards the environment.
It is seen that Buddhism doesn’t exactly try to bridge the gap between the minutest creatures and plants in the way that world environmentalists develop the environmental ethics. Nowadays, Buddhists in the true spirit of Buddhism extend their compassion from animals to plants, though as vegetarians they do cultivate and use vegetable as an item of food. As environmentalists Buddhist would condemn the destruction of nature. But the Buddhist doesn’t develop any metaphysical thesis to link animal and plants. The Buddha doesn’t develop abstract theories and principles independent of living contexts and their pragmatic relevance.

The unwholesome roots of hatred, greed, and delusion, also need to be emphasized, along with the act of killing, where the roots provide the base for all forms of violence. Independently, oneself is responsible for any good or bad action, in ultimate sense. The Buddha believes in self-realization.
About the vegetarianism, the Buddhist perspective is opened. As it is mentioned earlier those vegetarians also consume the greens, when they cook there also many unseen beings are killed.

This is to be mentioned that there was a liberal view of the concerning this issue. Ven. Devadatta, who is the disciple of the Buddha, most of the time he argued with the Buddha in certain occasion. Once he approach to the Buddha and asked to promulgate new rule for the monks that the monks must not eat meat (or animal flesh), monk must not live in village temple made by the lay people and so on. But the Buddha rejected, and he explained that one should not be forced to choose one’s own food. It’s depending on how much he or she is devoted in this issue. It means that the Buddha keeps option to all, as his teaching of the middle way. It is also eliminates being an extremer, what the Buddha said, it is painful, un-worthy, not-profitable. It should come out from deep heart through cultivating patient, loving kindness, and compassion and so on.

Serious Form of Pollution is Mind Pollution

Buddhism has an ethics of care for humans, animals and nature, and advocates a life of harmony. Recently the fact we face environmental problems un-precedented in the history of our planet is a premise shared by many today. Through people in different parts of the world see the environmental problems in different ways; we share a common belief in the possibility of a sustainable world, and also the need to develop an ethic of sustainability. This is to say that any kind of ethics, it is mind concerned, respect the heart, the mind, the society, friends, relatives, living beings, the nature or the world. That’s why the Buddhist scholars and environmentalists say that the most serious form of pollution is mind pollution. There is a verse found in Pāli texts that “Sabbo loko pakampito” means the (All) world is shaking. It is like the present world environmental crisis, it’s shaking. Here, ultimately the Buddha indicates that the all world means the minds of the human being, which are always shaking by greed, hatred, delusion, anger, doubts, cruelty, and so on. The first concern is to stable the mind, not to shaken by the all this negative emotions, and not let the mind polluted. Somehow it is not easy for an un-trained disciple, as the Buddha uses to say. To be trained need to follow the common ethics as mentioned in Buddhist ethics, and strongly recommends to train the mind through meditation.
As we know that the central Buddhist teachings are the doctrines of suffering (Dukkha), impermanence (Anicca), and non-self (Anattā). A Buddhist perspective on the environmental crisis is a framework which may he used profitably to develop other views. If we used the medical metaphor embedded in the four noble truths, we find there is a disease (Dukkha), there is cause for it, there is an ideal health, and there is a detailed methodology for attaining this state of health. So, Dukkha is the context of the environmental crisis is a state of disharmony and disconnection in the human-nature-society matrix[6]. The Buddha has demonstrated clearly that cause is the craving(s); mostly it comes out from delusion (Avijjhā). And they path has been shown that is to follow the middle way, with non-violence activism, with love and compassion.

Environmental Activist Movement Counseling for Despair, Anger, Grief and Loss

Khanti Paramaṃ Tapo Titikkhā, it means that forbearance is the best practice, as it is found in Buddhist texts[7]. And forbearance is the most essential for any categories of counseling. Practicing forbearance is not the easy things for him or her unless he or she is well trained with morality, concentration, and wisdom.

In Buddhist texts we found how the Buddha was kind, patient, and non-violent, to his contemporary situations, like the Mara, Yakka, Nālāgiri elephant, high profile Bhramins, and even the Kings and warriors. Like wise, in this present world crisis of environment, and son on, the Buddhist environmentalists and organizations taking consequences being non-violent activists, like Joanna Macy, Gary Synder, John Seed, and many other remarkable personalities. Dr Patricia Sherwood in her environmental activist movements meets many persons in the environment and peace movements who have been influenced by Buddhist philosophy and from these she identifies seven central themes of experience of how Buddhism has supported their environmental activism. These associate quite closely with the seven tenets of Buddhist activism outlines in the preceding chapter, they are as following-
1. Provides a spiritual energetic articulation of interconnectedness or inter being
2. Establishes a spiritual philosophy that eliminates dualism, the us/them split and the associated blame, judgment and hated.
3. Provides skills to articulate the connection between the ecological self and the outer ecology’ between inner peace and outer peace-making
4. Elucidates a pathway to deal with ones despair through the cultivation of compassion
5. Develops a non-violent ethos of activism based on patience and insight and compassion
6. Articulates a sustainable activism that values the process of activism often described as mindfulness in action, rather than just narrow attachment to outcomes.
7. Accepts not knowing, and has the humility of uncertainty.

She also comments that the activism should be committed with non-violence, compassion, non-dualism, not knowing, and interconnectedness.
The Buddha always advised his disciples or the follower to live life a Brahma, the king god, who always kind and compassion to all living beings. It is called Brahma Vihāra, means living in divine state or the sublime state, peaceful to one self, to other, to all beings, as well as the nature and environment. It is like being kind to all beings (Metta), showing compassion to (Karuṇā), and showing sympathy to them who are in suffering (Mūditā), and equanimity or tolerance to any others view, caste, culture, and so on (Upekkhā). Without such practice no one could reach the ultimate goal of spiritual life, as the Buddha said. Like wise, no movement would not be succeed without practicing such states.
As the Buddhist environmentalist admits-
“I may well have become an eco-fascist. I can see the potential to be one because that was the style of my family system and the style I was used to. Buddhism taught me the` skillfulness of compassion over hatred, and that essentially we are all one…Thich Nhat Hanh’s poen, Please call me my true names…. Really captures this compassionate connectedness for me.”[8]

Section 4
Transforming System: Healing Communities

For last few days I was undertaking a compassionate practice, as it is required for the journal, for the compassion to the animals and the nature, are deep rooted in my heart, as I’ve been monk for a considerable duration. Let me express my opinion of compassion to animals and the nature. Though I born in a traditional Buddhist family, may be some time I was chanting or undertaking the precepts knowingly or unknowingly since I was 2-3 years old. Since I started to grown up that time also I didn’t understand what does really it mean “I abstain from killing (Pāṇātipāta veramaṇi sikkhā padaṃ samādiyāmi). Even though I didn’t know it but I always was compassionate to the animals, or any living beings. We have had some pet animal at our home. I was always taking care of them. And I saw my mother some time used to cry when some pet were sold or died occasionally. Since my lay life fishing and greening or gardening were hobbies. I was wonderful feeling for me to see the plants grow up from the seeds, growing day by day, start to give flowers and fruits, and finally, subject to end over. It also teaches the law of impermanence. Even though fishing was one of my hobbies but I always was sad when the fishes were caught, some time I used to set them free, too.

After entering the monkhood, I came to know about all the precepts and other theories, to be kind and compassionate. I came to know the consequence of killing and harming others, practical and theory, both. Since I started to understand, one point was completely attached with my mind is that, “the same live I have, others animals also have the same, the way I feel pain, animals do, too, the way I fear of alive, and always try to secure myself, others beings do, too.

This is the way I practice meditation and developed the loving kindness to the animals. We are the being in the same planet, and as it is said human is the best creature of the nature, with their knowledge and dignity. I think, here the knowledge is how to live with peace and harmony and dignity is to be compassionate to each other.
Unfortunately, it is true that human beings are powerful with their knowledge, but its now using to destroy the planet, for cruelty, and for disharmony of the beings.

The planet let us to live with on it. Now, the planet became the victim, we are separating the nature and planet from us. This is the proper time to reunion, the council of all beings.

Human knowledge should be used now to recognized that in this planet only human beings living only, in this world everything not for us, as it said, “to deep ecology, our relationship to the earth is that of a leaf to a tree, we have no independent existence- the pain of the Earth is our own pain and the fate of the earth our fate, too.[9] Our much-vaunted human intelligence is but a tiny fragment of the intelligence of the Earth and there is constant exchange of water, soil, and breath between the earth and ourselves.

Self-awareness, and self-insight can help us, and they are with us. Meditation helps us to develop the self-awareness, and so on. The Buddha always suggested to his followers “ O Monks, go to the forest, or under the tree, or any quiet place, sit crossed lagged, erect your body and, be mindful in the nature of breathing.

Joanna Macy Points out, “Deep ecology remains a concept without the power to transform our awareness, unless we allow ourselves to feel, which means feeling the pain within us over what is happening to our world.

Many things happening to the world. Now it is in danger. As Buddhist philosophy says that the mind always burning, always polluting by craving, greed, hatred, delusion and so on. The way we let our burn our mind, and the same way we burn the world.

To live a peaceful life a safety and peaceful nature is essential. As we see the appearance of the Buddha in this world, he was the price but he was born in Lumbini garden instead of Royal palace. He was struggling for enlightenment in the forest, and finally he attained under the Bodhi tree. He sued to live in forest retreat mostly, and finally he attained Mahāparinibbāna under the Sāla tree of Kusinārā forest.
Not only human beings but also the animals also have right to live in peace and harmony in this world, because they also the owner of this planet. But being a super creature of the nature they become arrogant, cruel, and so on. People love to destroy them, harm them, use them, and consume them. As it clearly shown in The Council of All beings by Pat Fleminng and Joanna Macy’s Article,

“I’m Bottle-nosed Dolphin. I love to roll and leap and play. Yes, humans, to play with you, too, when I can trust you, for we feel great affinity with you. But in the gill-nets you use us tangle and drown. Taking cruel advantage of our friendliness, you use us for military experiments; fix monitors and transmitters on our backs. You wall us into your sea parks for show. You deny us the chance to swim free and with our kind. I speak for all captive beings; find your own freedom in honoring ours.”[10]

I m a human being, I have developed my compassion and loving kindness through Buddhist meditation. Now I feel their feelings, and I would like to show responsibly to them-

‘I’m a human,
With love and compassion,
I speak for all beings,
In this planet,
I will save all of you,
As the way I save myself.’


(Main Source)

Study Guide BPS 1106, Sophia College
Unit Reader, BPS 1106, Sophia College
The Buddha in the Street, Dr Patricia Sherwood

Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown, Coming Back to Life (New Society Publishers 1998)John Seed, Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming, Arne Naess, Thinking Like a Mountain (New Society Publishers 1988).
(Web Searches)

Aung San Suu Kyi - Biography.htm"The Council of All Beings" at

Joanna Macy.htm
JoannaMacy_net - Welcome to All Beings.htm
Gary Snyder Online Poems.htm
Joanna Macy - Guardians of the Future.htm
John Seed Biography.htm
Council of All Beings.htm
Good News, Bad News___Which is it.htm
Joanna Macy - World As Lover; World As Self.htm


Four Noble Truths, Titmuss C. (1995) The Green Buddha. Devon: Insight Books.
For a Future to be Possible, Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ, London
Practicing with Passion, Kaza, S. & Kraft, K. Dharma Rain Source of Buddhist Environmentalists, Sambala
Dharma Gaya, Kotler, A. Engaged Buddhist Reader
The Council of all beings, Drengson, A. & Inoue, Y, The Deep Ecology Movement: An Introductory Anthology
The Council of all beings, Forest conservation Portal
To save all beings: Buddhist Environmental Ethics, Queen, C
Buddhist Environmental ethics, De Silva, Environmental Philosophy and Ethics in Buddhism, London
Buddhist Perspectives on the Environmental Crisis, De Silva
The 16 or 18 Arahats. Arahats.htm
A Buddhist Model of Society Sivaraksa, S. Seeds of Peace. California


Loka Sutta (Ud III.10) -- (Surveying) the World
I have heard that on one occasion, when the Blessed One was newly Awakened -- staying at Uruvela by the banks of the Nerañjara River in the shade of the Bodhi tree, the tree of Awakening -- he sat in the shade of the Bodhi tree for seven days in one session, sensitive to the bliss of release. At the end of seven days, after emerging from that concentration, he surveyed the world with the eye of an Awakened One. As he did so, he saw living beings burning with the many fevers and aflame with the many fires born of passion, aversion, and delusion. Then, on realizing the significance of that, he on that occasion exclaimed:
This world is burning.Afflicted by contact,it calls disease a "self."By whatever it construes [things],that is always otherwise.Becoming otherwise,the world is held by becoming afflicted by becomingand yet delights in that very becoming.Where there's delight, there is fear.What one fears is stressful.This holy life is livedfor the abandoning of becoming.
Whatever priests or contemplatives say that liberation from becoming is by means of becoming, all of them are not released from becoming, I say.
And whatever priests or contemplatives say that escape from becoming is by means of non-becoming, all of them have not escaped from becoming, I say.
This stress comes into playin dependence on all acquisitions.With the ending of all clinging/sustenance,there's no stress coming into play.Look at this world:Beings, afflicted with thick ignorance,are unreleasedfrom delight in what has come to be.All levels of becoming, anywhere, in any way,are inconstant, stressful, subject to change.Seeing this -- as it's actually present -- with right discernment,one abandons craving for becoming,without delighting in non-becoming.From the total ending of cravingcomes fading & cessation without remainder: Unbinding.For the monk unbound,from lack of clinging/sustenance,there's no further becoming.He has vanquished Mara, won the battle.Having gone beyond all levels of being, he's such.
1. Dharma Gaya, Engaged Buddhist Reader, Unit Reader BPS1106
[2] Theodore Roszak, the Professor and Director of Ecopsychology Institute at California State University.
[3] Joanna Macy, Eco-philosopher, Buddhist Scholar, (An Interview with Joanna Macy, by W. R. Prescott, An internet collection)
[4] For a Future to be possible, Thich Nhat Hanh, BPS 1106, Unit Reader
[5]To save all beings, Unit Reader BPS1106,
[6] Buddhist Environmental Ethics, De Silva, Unit Reader BPS 1106
[7] Dhammapada.
[8] Vivienne
[10] The Council of All beings, BPS 1106, Unit Reader.

No comments: