At a time when our environment is under assault as never before, the Buddha’s teachings on interdependence remind us that we

From The Eighteen Arhats, an album of eighteen leaves, China, Qing dynasty, reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736-1795), ink and colors on bodhi leaves © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Avery Brundage Collection, B65D4, Used by permission
From The Eighteen Arhats, an album of eighteen leaves, China, Qing dynasty, reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736-1795), ink and colors on bodhi leaves © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The Avery Brundage Collection, B65D4, Used by permission

humans are not separate from the world our activities are decimating. Our babies will drink in our breast milk the toxins we spray on our vegetable fields. The computer we toss on the garbage heap— outmoded after a year of use—will leach deadly chemicals into our groundwater.

But Buddhism also reminds us that the natural world remains mysterious, vast, and sometimes menacing, despite all of our efforts to dominate and explain it. Nature can be our greatest teacher, revealing the dharma in every moment. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “There is no phenomenon in the universe that does not intimately concern us, from a pebble resting at the bottom of the ocean, to the movement of a galaxy millions of light years away.”

In this special section, we explore how our Buddhist practice can support and illuminate our relationship with the living Earth. How can the dharma inform and encourage environmental activism? And how can our connection with the natural world—in all its awe and beauty—inspire and nourish our practice?

 

Thanks for reading!

You’ve finished one of your free articles for the day. Subscribe today to gain access to our award-winning publication plus all of our online offerings, including films, video dharma talks, and e-books.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Log in.