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Humanistic Buddhism and environmental ethics

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Kimball, Richard L.








The current environmental crisis we are all facing brings to our attention the critical need for some kind of individual and collective change of outlook and behavior for human survival as well as the survival of other species. This process includes creating a positive, sustainable lifestyle for the future which requires a healthy mental and behavioral transformation.

In the first section of this paper, some of today's critical environmentally related issues found throughout the world are addressed. The Origin and Nature of the Current Crisis is detailed and some Positive Benefits that are Happening in Today's World are presented.

Next, the reader is introduced to an ethical basis for the necessary transformation to occur which is found in Original Buddhism. Later Developments of Environmental Ethics related to the spreading of Buddhism to other areas of Asia are included in this section as well as a piece on Humanistic Buddhist Environmental Ethics as Expressed by Venerable Master Hsing Yun of the Fo Guang Buddhist Order.

Finally, the Role that Humanistic Buddhism Can Play in Dealing with the Environmental Crisis is offered as a positive alternative to the current, predominant ethical basis which has contributed the crisis. In summary, the critical nature of the current environmental crisis, created by humans because of their ignorance and attachments, is the focus of this paper. Some useful contributions that Buddhist philosophy and practice can make to its solution are offered. A serious personal and cultural transformation based on Mind, Body and Spiritual integration is the key element for future sustainable life on this planet earth.