Author Topic: Calling All Eco-Sattvas: Buddhism and Climate Change  (Read 745 times)

Offline Dharmakara

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Calling All Eco-Sattvas: Buddhism and Climate Change
« on: August 18, 2015, 07:18:34 pm »
Impermanence, anicca in Pali, is the underlying reality upon which the Buddha based his teachings of liberation. Things change. Accepting change and being willing to let go of what has passed is often seen as a great challenge. But there is an inspirational aspect of change that the Buddha also taught: Human beings can wake up from their ignorance to see things in a new way.

This capacity to open to new perspectives can happen culturally as well as individually. Entrenched conventional ignorance can undergo a paradigm shift and transform into a new, clearer way of understanding. Cultural shifts based on greater wisdom and compassion may seem to move at a glacial pace. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." But sometimes -- with decades of hard-fought efforts behind it -- a huge shift in thinking can happen seemingly overnight.

In recent times we've witnessed massive shifts in consciousness such as the recent landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that, with one swift blow to prejudice, established same-sex marriage as the law of the land. And as so often is true, suffering can wake us up out of complacency to suddenly see things in a new way. The Charleston tragedy of nine good-hearted Christians killed by a confused, angry young man swiftly awoke even the staunchest Southern conservatives to the fact that the Confederate flag is a symbol of hatred that has no place flying in front of the state courthouse, regardless of whatever tradition some ascribe to it.

Not only is change possible, it is inevitable. And it can happen like a thunderbolt, altering the way the whole society thinks once it is forced to wake up to what's true. This possibility may apply to the great issue facing all of humanity at this time: climate disruption. It's understandable that so many knowledgeable climate experts are filled with discouragement and despair. Never before have we so clearly seen humankind's greed and denial steering civilization toward a course of self-destruction. At the same time, never before has there been so much self-awareness and concern for the planet.

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