Spiritual considerations and social change cannot be separated. Forces in our social environment, such as consumerism, with its emphasis on craving and dissatisfaction, can hinder our spiritual development. People seeking to live spiritually must be concerned with their social and physical environment.
Contemporary Buddhist teachers, scholars and practitioners have been looking to the earlier teachings and philosophies of Buddhist thought for inspiration and direction in addressing the global ecological crisis with wisdom and compassion. Interpretations and approaches vary widely, both from culture to culture and generation to generation.
In this lesson we hear a few of the leading voices of contemporary Buddhism engaged in environmental practice.
In our former lives, we were rocks, clouds and trees. . . .This is not just Buddhist; it is scientific. We humans are a young species. We were plants, we were trees, and now we have become humans. We have to remember our past existences and be humble.
Thich Nhat Hanh