The awareness of protecting life and living environment has been generated in recent time. However, in Buddhism, it is one of the main basic laws which were set out by the Buddha some 25 centuries ago for his students to follow.
…The Buddha manifested a complete compassion and is respectfully seen as the compassionate protector of all beings. He taught that for those who wish to follow his Path should practice loving-kindness, not to harm the life of all beings - not only to protect mankind, but also to protect animals and vegetation. With his perfect wisdom, Buddha saw all beings in the universe were equal in nature, and in this phenomenal world, lives of all human and animals were inter-related, mutually developing, and inseparable.
However, men have seen themselves as the smartest species of all beings. They have misused and abused their power and selfishly destroyed these species of animals, those forests and mountains, natural resources, and finally reaping the results of destroyed living environment of their own. All those damages and destructions to the ecology up to an alarming level are originated from the unwholesome and greedy mind of mankind. While the animals are seen as low-level beings, however fearsome as tigers and wolves may be, they never destroy the nature as badly as done by human. Only human who cause the most devastating destruction in the Earth.
The external environment is seriously polluted because the internal environment in the mind is seriously damaged. The bottomless greed has pushed mankind to satisfy excessive and unnecessary demands, and take them into endless competitions, leading to self-destruction and environmental damage. Contrasting to the unwholesome and greedy mind is the spirit of simple living and contentment by those who practice the Buddha's teaching.
Living in contentment does not mean the elimination of desire of knowledge and truth, but to live in harmony with all beings and with nature … to live in harmony with nature, without harming the environment. …Excessive greed to possess everything for themselves, or for their own group, has make men becoming blind. They are prepared to fight, make war, causing deaths, disease, starvation, destruction of life of all species, gradually worsening the living environment. By all means, they try to maximize their profits, without being concerned of the negative impact of unplanned exploitation leading to depletion of natural resources, discharge toxics into the air, water, earth, leading to environmental pollution, destroying the ecological balance.
I think it is still not too late for all religions, all strata of the society and all nations to come together, jointly participate in the protection of the environment for all living species, based on the harmonious model which Buddhism always advocates.
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