Buddhism and Environnment
Since the time of Buddha Shakyamuni, the Buddhist world always promoted a careful attitude towards the environment. Taking care of fellow human beings, but also animals, even insects, to avoid any unnecessary suffering, was a common way of life since the beginning. Even cutting trees or mining the earth was often considered as futile or harmful activities.
The Green Bodhgaya Project unfold as a symbol of actual ecological action for all Buddhist population.
Buddhadharma is not only a way of ultimate liberation. It is also a way to create harmony between ordinary human people and any beings pervading the environment. Even if, during Buddha Shakyamuni’s time, ecology as it is nowadays didn’t exist, today is the time to set forth Buddhist principles to support nature welfare, aiming to avoid the worst degradation of human, animal and vegetal species occurring since the early time of world history.
Today, Buddhadharma is very quickly giving to ecology a deep and spiritual meaning, beyond materialistic or political matters. It gives a foundation to mind attitude, connected to environmental, political and basic human issues. It can bring to the world a reason to engage into good activities: why to protect life, why is it sacred, why is it worthy of effort and
sacrifice to protect it. Therefore, Kagyu Monlam Chenmo ceremonies in Bodhgaya are not merely a set of rituals for a particular school of Tibetan Buddhism. It holds a much wider meaning, as a precious situation to address wows and wishes to the whole humanity and any kind of life on this planet, a symbol of international dedication to the welfare of our world.
In the early days, Lord Buddha was represented as an empty seat or a bodhi tree. The tree is a ancient symbol of life, pertaining to all spiritual traditions of humanity. In the Buddhist world, Planting a tree is a way to express life, wishes for life and any condition sustaining life and harmony. It is also a symbol of fulfilling all wishes, like the wish-fulfilling jewel which grants everything one needs. Planting a tree is therefore a mean to enhance the natural life of our world, and also to support the fulfilment of good wishes for the welfare of all sentient beings.
In Bodhgaya, the first Mahabodhi temple was built by Ashoka, the great Buddhist Emperor. Today it is part of the mondial patrimony of humanity, since the recognition of UNESCO in 2002. In the near future, Green Bodhgaya can develop as a way to bring value to the whole site, for the benefit of local inhabitants and all visiting people.
Furthermore, Green Bodhgaya can participate to bring a sense of spiritual universality, promoting interfaith meeting around the symbolical action of planting trees for the welfare of all beings. In the future, Bodhgaya could become a meeting place for all spiritual tradition, a place to further spiritual common exchange, understanding and practice for the benefit of all. This would help to clarify the local and global misunderstandings and shortcomings between religions and antagonistic views, and bring harmony and peace between all inhabitants.