Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
SarathW
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by SarathW » Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:47 am

SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:42 am
If not compatible with Vinaya they shouldn't. If compatible with vinaya why not?
I understand your point.
But if I go to a temple and the monk start preaching me the climate change I will be very disappointed.
Buddha prohibited monks to perform Prathihara ( superhuman activities) due to the same problem.
Pratyahara is not what Buddhism all about. But prominent monks talk about climate change the average man may think that Buddhism is all about climate change.
Nobody can stop climate change. These are Utu Niymamas.
This is what Buddha called Samsara.
There is only one way to end Samsara. That is to attain Nibbana.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

sentinel
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by sentinel » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:52 pm

SarathW wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:47 am
SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:42 am
If not compatible with Vinaya they shouldn't. If compatible with vinaya why not?
I understand your point.
But if I go to a temple and the monk start preaching me the climate change I will be very disappointed.
Buddha prohibited monks to perform Prathihara ( superhuman activities) due to the same problem.
Pratyahara is not what Buddhism all about. But prominent monks talk about climate change the average man may think that Buddhism is all about climate change.
Nobody can stop climate change. These are Utu Niymamas.
This is what Buddha called Samsara.
There is only one way to end Samsara. That is to attain Nibbana.
If the monk only spend couple of minutes on climate topic , that should not be a huge issue .
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” -Buddha

SteRo
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by SteRo » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:58 pm

SarathW wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:47 am
SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:42 am
If not compatible with Vinaya they shouldn't. If compatible with vinaya why not?
I understand your point.
But if I go to a temple and the monk start preaching me the climate change I will be very disappointed.
I don't know how dhamma teachings are organized but I doubt that a monk engaged in public climate debate will speak about worldly topics during dhamma teachings exclusively. Also I think there might be a policy for dhamma teachings for laypeople in each monastery.

SarathW wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:47 am
Buddha prohibited monks to perform Prathihara ( superhuman activities) due to the same problem.
Pratyahara is not what Buddhism all about. But prominent monks talk about climate change the average man may think that Buddhism is all about climate change.
Nobody can stop climate change. These are Utu Niymamas.
This is what Buddha called Samsara.
There is only one way to end Samsara. That is to attain Nibbana.
i don't think that this is comparable but I think you might be exaggerating a bit simply because you want them to not have their own position as to climate change and talk about it.

For me it's really a Vinaya issue exclusively but I don't know Vinaya so I cannot assess.

And a monk giving teachings to laypeople of course should focus on what these laypeople want to learn about dhamma.

binocular
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by binocular » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:19 pm

SarathW wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:47 am
But if I go to a temple and the monk start preaching me the climate change I will be very disappointed.
That's your problem. You should view the disappointment just as a mere thought that arises, and let is cease. Just observe it, just breathe, and let it go.

-- If you're not happy with this advice (which is the kind of advice one often gets in Buddhist circles), then can you explain what exactly do you think is wrong with it?

SarathW wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:43 am
But I can't understand why a prominent Buddhist monk wastes his time and the time of lay people in such a way.
Then the monk of whom to ask such a question is the monk who made the statement that made you wonder to begin with.

If you don't ask him, then the question is, why not.

Dan74
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by Dan74 » Wed Dec 18, 2019 2:24 pm

SarathW wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:47 am
SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:42 am
If not compatible with Vinaya they shouldn't. If compatible with vinaya why not?
I understand your point.
But if I go to a temple and the monk start preaching me the climate change I will be very disappointed.
Buddha prohibited monks to perform Prathihara ( superhuman activities) due to the same problem.
Pratyahara is not what Buddhism all about. But prominent monks talk about climate change the average man may think that Buddhism is all about climate change.
Nobody can stop climate change. These are Utu Niymamas.
Why do you believe so?

What about the hole in the ozone layer a few decades back? Would you have said the same thing? Humans got together, acted and averted a disaster which would have meant millions more dying early from skin cancer.

What about diseases like polio and small pox? Also Utu Niyamas?
Sarath wrote: This is what Buddha called Samsara.
There is only one way to end Samsara. That is to attain Nibbana.
Some monks may think it is within the Buddhist way to minimise suffering and help bring about conditions that lead to liberation. Averting catastrophies may well fall within such purview.
_/|\_

pegembara
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by pegembara » Wed Dec 18, 2019 2:38 pm

Why not? Especially if they are in a position to influence and effect change.

As long as they are doing out of metta, karuna, mudita and upekkha (kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity). I don't expect them to take part in protests and activism if not rooted in the brahma viharas.

https://tricycle.org/magazine/head-heart-together/
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

santa100
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by santa100 » Wed Dec 18, 2019 3:08 pm

SarathW wrote:I think monks who involve with climate change are influenced by Mara.
Monks should guide their followers according to Buddha’s teaching not according to the teaching of the scientists.
Well, that'd be an issue only if talking about climate change is the Only thing that monk talks about, or spend a majority of his time doing. There's nothing wrong if s/he brings it up from time to time to raise awareness. To be a good Dhamma follower also means to be a good responsible earth citizen. Good Dhamma practice automatically involves actions that helps making the environment cleaner and healthier, for good practitioners don't over-consume natural resources, they're frugal in the usage of food, water, electricity, gas, oil, etc. Sure, fossil fuel industries need to do their part, but if every single earth citizen also follows the Buddha's teaching and be more mindful of their consuming habits, that by itself would already make a huge difference toward a happy and healthy world.

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mikenz66
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:47 pm

SarathW wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:43 am
I just briefly listen to the video and just stop after a few minutes.
According to him the greatest humanitarian crisis we currently face is climate change!
In my opinion, this is not the Buddha's teaching.
I respect Ven. Analyo for his other publications such as in relation to Satipathana, by the way.

If Joseph Goldstine spoke about climate change and Buddhism, I have no problem with it.
That is exactly the job of a lay Buddhist.

But I can't understand why a prominent Buddhist monk wastes his time and the time of lay people in such a way.
I suggest you sign up for Bhikkhu Analayo's course. There you'll have a chance to ask questions in the discussion forum. On his previous courses I learned a lot from his answers to my questions. I think it might be more productive to discuss concerns directly, rather than make general complaints on internet forums. Such complaints are unlikely to have any useful effects.

I'm still not clear what exactly your objection is. Would you object to a monastic talking about other difficult aspects of life, such as hunger, wars, violence and so on, and giving advice on how to live one's life in the face of such difficulties? Or is it simply that you disagree with Bhikkhu Analayo on this particular topic?

It would seem unreasonable to expect all monastics to agree with your particular views on all topics, particularly those to do with lay life, politics, etc, any more than expecting all lay people to agree.

:heart:
Mike

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Bundokji
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by Bundokji » Wed Dec 18, 2019 8:13 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:47 pm
I'm still not clear what exactly your objection is. Would you object to a monastic talking about other difficult aspects of life, such as hunger, wars, violence and so on, and giving advice on how to live one's life in the face of such difficulties? Or is it simply that you disagree with Bhikkhu Analayo on this particular topic?
I don't want to answer on behalf of Sarath or anyone, but do not you think that there is a major difference between climate change and the examples you provided in terms of suffering and how we relate to it?

For example, when the Buddha taught about suffering, he taught in a way that we can relate to. If we begin with old age, sickness and death, all of us have relatives who experienced these things hence experiencing them ourselves is something we can relate to. The sutta about skinny Goatami and the mustard seed shows how the Buddha utilized certain kinds of knowledge that we can relate to first hand when he taught us.

Its not that we cannot completely relate to climate change, but there is no universal-unifying context how it will turn out to be (unlike hunger, war or poverty) nor that it cant be avoided more than car accidents, a risk we take when we drive our cars.

Why monks are unlikely to teach about car accidents as a good example of suffering (despite the huge number of people die because of it) apart of it being an example of our general vulnerability? same thing can be said about climate change.

A cause for suspicion about climate change that it became overly trendy and often politically motivated.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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mikenz66
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Dec 18, 2019 8:48 pm

I would have thought climate change, and natural disasters in general, were quite universal experiences. Of course one would not turn to the Buddha, or monastics (or forums such as this} for discussion of technical issues. However, the Dhamna may well be useful for dealing with one's reaction to such issues.

Mike

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Bundokji
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by Bundokji » Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:29 pm

The manifestations of climate change is different from one country to another. In some countries it can mean drought, in another country it could mean floods ...etc, while poverty seem to have the same meaning regardless of the country. Same thing can be said about sickness, old age and death.

So, if i listen to a monk talking about climate change, how should i translate it? as a more frequent and severe droughts, which is the most likely scenario in relation to my country?

Now, as i am typing this, i am thinking of drought. Does not feel very threatening though.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

SarathW
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 19, 2019 1:37 am

Buddha taught Dhamma in many different levels.
However, I do not think he will teach his listeners how to avoid climate change though.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .wlsh.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

chownah
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by chownah » Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:41 am

Monks are people.....generally they are not arahants.....they have different levels of understandings.....they have different intentions......these differences in understanding and intention result in different behaviors. Lay people have different levels of understandings and different intentions.....so....different people expect different behaviors in monks.

Generally lay people like monks whose behaviors satisfy their expectations.....I think it is not reasonable to think that one individual should expect all monks to behave in ways that satisfies their expectations.
chownah

SarathW
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:57 am

Monks are people.....generally they are not arahants
Agree.
That is why we should keep Buddha as our teacher but not individual monks.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Calmoid
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Re: Should Buddhist monks involve with the climate change debate?

Post by Calmoid » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:08 am

SarathW wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:47 am
SteRo wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:42 am
If not compatible with Vinaya they shouldn't. If compatible with vinaya why not?
I understand your point.
But if I go to a temple and the monk start preaching me the climate change I will be very disappointed.
.. prominent monks talk about climate change the average man may think that Buddhism is all about climate change.
Nobody can stop climate change. These are Utu Niymamas.
This is what Buddha called Samsara.
There is only one way to end Samsara. That is to attain Nibbana.
We caused climate change why can't we stop or revert it again?

Maybe you missed something Sarath.

May you consider:
Is having an earth where you can be born and practice a factor of the 8fold noble path? - NO
Is having conducive environment a factor of the 8fold noble path? -NO
Is good health a factor of the 8fold noble path? -NO
Has good health, the earth and a conducive environment anything to do with sila samadhi panna or the vinaya? - NO!


Nevertheless,
Did the Buddha need an earth to be born in and practice? - YES Did the Buddha seek out and became enlightened in an conducive environment? - YES
Did the Buddha require good health to achieve Nibbana? - YES

Did the humans destroy and exploit their environment as much as we do at the time of the Buddha?? - NO !!

Did the Buddha talk about the necessity and support of being born, having a conducive environment, having good health to reach enlightenment? - YES

No planet, no conducive environment, no good health, how can you become enlightened? How can you even post here anything without that?

So out of compassion for future generations (don't you also care future generations? Do you care only yourself?) some people choose to do what they can do to stop the trend of destroying the very basic foundation to be able to practice for enlightenment - the planet and so life itself!
So how is this not connected with reaching enlightenment?

You do not need to be very smart to see the bad impact of humans on the planet, you also do not need to believe in climate change to see the changes in Sri Lanka! Even uneducated farmers will tell you that, at least that's what they told me! Everybody can witness the change of climate unless of course you choose to be ignorant or you are incredibly ignorant.

There can't be enough people talking about this problem right now, otherwise the politicians do nothing to pressure the big cooperations to stop exploiting and destroying the planet. I think it is praiseworthy and brave (because they have to endure people like you criticising them) that also a few teaching monks who have an audience have the compassion to sacrifice some of their time and energy to use their voice to animate the people to be more considerate of their very life foundation, the planet, the basic foundation for enlightenment!

Example of too many many many
https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... port-finds

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