A Task for Mindfulness: Facing Climate Change
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This article presents a Buddhist perspective on the challenge posed by climate change, with particular emphasis on the role of mindfulness. Based on translated excerpts from parallel versions of early Buddhist texts extant in Pāli, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan, three possible reactions to climate change are correlated to three root defilements recognized in early Buddhist psychology: greed, anger, and delusion. Their recognition requires mindful monitoring, which is in turn based on the compassionate intention for the absence of any harm. The noble eightfold path sets the context for the collaboration of such compassionate intention with the cultivation of mindfulness. According to a simile of two acrobats, such cultivation of mindfulness provides the foundation by establishing the balance within oneself that then enables helping others.
KeywordsAcrobat simile Climate change Compassion Contemplation of the mind Ecological destruction Eightfold path Empathy Mindfulness Right intention Root defilements Satipaṭṭhāna
Chinese Buddhist Electronic Text Association
Ekottarika-āgama (T 125)
Madhyama-āgama (T 26)
Saṃyukta-āgama (T 99)
Visuddhimagga; 〈 〉, emendation
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies performed by the author with human participants or animals.
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