Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Buddhist Environmentalism’

Eco-Buddhism: A Sustainable Enlightenment

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 23, 2011

By John Stanley and David Loy

It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing. –Elizabeth Kolbert, Field Notes from a Catastrophe

Looking again and again at that which cannot be looked at,
Unseeable reality is seen just as it is.
–Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, Mahamudra Aspiration Prayer

The first of these statements describes the apparent death wish of industrial civilization, while the second describes the deep meditative experience of a 13th century Buddhist master. We in theEcobuddhism project understand the present as an historical period of existential and spiritual crisis, when such apparent opposites have something crucial to say to each other.

The Rise and Fall of Western Enlightenment

The “enlightenment” recognized by mainstream Western culture was a cultural shift in the 17th century — from religious belief to trust in mechanistic science and secular humanism. Since then we have understood nature and ourselves to be machine-like. The industrial growth society is a product of that Cartesian worldview. Over the last 60 years, the fetish of limitless economic growth has driven us faster and further than ever before. This is a society that cannot stop to ask sincerely where it is going.

At the end of the hottest decade on record, we are surrounded by unprecedented droughts, floods, crop losses and technological accidents. The mainstream media, still peddling “classical” economics, ignores either climate science or clean energy as legitimate subjects of interest. It fails to join up the dots for people on the most important issue of our time: the survival of life on Earth.Scientific findings and warnings are relentlessly subverted by fossil fuel corporations, who spend many millions of dollars to manufacture doubt about global warming, distort the democratic process and safeguard the very energy infrastructure that caused the crisis. It is beginning to look as if western enlightenment has run its course — that it will fail to prevent the collapse of civilization. Read the rest of this entry »

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