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Buddhadharma : Spring 2019
25 (add your own “favorite” here...), among numerous other ecologi- cal and social problems that could be mentioned. Most if not all of these disorders are connected to a questionable mechanistic world- view that freely exploits the natural world because it attributes no inherent value to nature—or to us, for that matter, since humans too are nothing more than complex machines, according to the predomi- nant materialistic understanding. This larger view implies that we have something more than a technological problem, or an economic problem, or a political problem, or a worldview problem. Modern civilization is self-destructing because it has lost its way. There is another way to characterize that: humanity is experiencing a collec- tive spiritual crisis. The challenge that confronts us is spiritual because it goes to the very heart of how we understand the world, including our place and role in this world. Is the eco-crisis the earth’s way of telling us to “wake up or suffer the consequences”? If so, we cannot expect that what we seek can be provided by a technological solution, or an economic solution, or a political solu- tion, or a new scientific worldview, either by themselves or in concert with the others. Whatever the way forward may be, it will need to incorporate those contributions, to be sure, but something more is called for. This is where Buddhism has something important to offer. Yet the ecological crisis is also a crisis for how we understand and practice Buddhism, which today needs to clarify its essential message if it is to fulfill its liberative potential in our modern, secular, endangered world. JUST AS CLIMATE change is only part of a much larger ecological crisis, so ecodharma is a small part of socially engaged Buddhism, and indifference or resistance to ecodharma is part of a larger opening photo | Kota Garut, Indonesia (September 2015) Dikaseva / Unsplash