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Buddhadharma : Summer 2014
SUMMER 2 0 1 4 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 23 The third commitment: Do no harm After determining how your activities might affect the systems you inhabit, you must decide how to respond. “Do no harm” is the principle of sila — our duty to live a moral and ethical life. It also includes ahimsa, our vow to interact nonviolently with all living creatures. In practice, this requires continu- ously reducing your negative impact on the climate. You might decide to eat only local, sustainably grown organic food produced and delivered without fossil fuels. Or you could advocate for policies that eliminate fossil fuels and the greenhouse gases they emit into Earth’s atmosphere. The fourth commitment: Take responsibility Many scientists have concluded that humankind’s impact on the environ- ment has become so great that our actions, not natural processes, will now decide the fate of life on Earth. This means that we are now the trustees of the planet. As trustees, not only must we do no harm but we also have a responsibil- ity to “do good” by restoring natural systems and helping others. The prin- ciples of karuna, caring for all life, and mudita, taking joy in the well-being of others, lie at the heart of this commit- ment. Restoring soils and supporting policies that expand the availability of clean, renewable energy such as wind and solar are examples of how you can be a trustee. The fifth commitment: Choose your own destiny Herein lies the key to all of the com- mitments. Social change happens only after many people overcome their illu- sions, seeing reality for what it is and breaking free from convention. The principle of prajn a, or wisdom, explains this commitment—we can choose to exercise the wisdom that leads out of suffering. ALTHOUGH all change starts at the individual level, the reality is that wide- scale change will not be possible with- out changes in policy. Some might see such work as outside the role of the sangha, but I disagree. Actively explor- ing as a Buddhist community how to effect change in the political realm is now one of the most vital ways bodhi sattvas can actualize the teachings in their lives. Climate change is the defining issue of our time. Buddhists have a respon- sibility to seek solutions. It won’t be easy. But if we follow the teachings of the dharma and make the commit- ments needed to significantly cut emis- sions, climate change can be reduced to manageable levels. Suffering can be minimized. Future life on Earth can be preserved. For more information on our programs and events, please visit us at zenstudies.org NEW YORK ZENDO SHOBO-JI Hokuto Daniel Diffin | Dharma teacher An oasis of deep stillness in the heart of Manhattan. n Daily zazen and chanting services n Monthly all-day sittings n Dharma talks, practice interviews n Tai Chi, yoga, arts workshops, and more. 212. 861.3333 | email@example.com DAI BOSATSU ZENDO KONGO-JI Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat Roshi | Abbot On the banks of the highest lake in the Catskills, on1400 acres of pristine forest, Dai Bosatsu Zendo offers an inspiring setting for true Zen practice. n Residential training periods for serious lay and ordained students n Koan work, sesshin, dokusan, teisho n Summer and winter work exchange programs n Introduction to Zen weekends n Yoga, bodywork, writers’ and other retreats. 845. 439.4566 | firstname.lastname@example.org TRADITIONAL RINZAI FORM CONTEMPORARY EXPRESSION the zen studies society