Buddhism and Nature, and the Relationship with Human Suffering

By David Dale Holmes

Buddhistdoor Global

May 18, 2020

The Pali scholar Lily de Silva once wrote: Man in his search for pleasure and affluence has exploited nature without moral restraint to the point that nature has been rendered almost incapable of sustaining healthy life.*

Professor de Silva, who knew the Tipitaka inside out and backwards, has pointed out that while the Buddha limited his teaching to the eradication of human suffering, it is still possible to find enough references to nature within the Pali Canon to suggest a Buddhist attitude toward the environment. In this essay, we shall paraphrase some of the main points in précis form:

Invaluable gifts of nature, such as air and water, have been polluted with disastrous consequences, and humans are seeking ways and means of overcoming pollution because even our own health is now threatened.

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