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A Task for Mindfulness: Facing Climate Change

Abstract

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.

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Abbreviations

AN:

Aṅguttara-nikāya

CBETA:

Chinese Buddhist Electronic Text Association

DĀ:

Dīrgha-āgama

DN:

Dīgha-nikāya

EĀ:

Ekottarika-āgama (T 125)

MĀ:

Madhyama-āgama (T 26)

MN:

Majjhima-nikāya

SĀ:

Saṃyukta-āgama (T 99)

SN:

Saṃyutta-nikāya

T:

Taishō edition

Up:

Abhidharmakośopāyikā-ṭīkā

Vism:

Visuddhimagga; 〈 〉, emendation

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Anālayo, B. A Task for Mindfulness: Facing Climate Change. Mindfulness 10, 1926–1935 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01187-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01187-7

Keywords

  • Acrobat simile
  • Climate change
  • Compassion
  • Contemplation of the mind
  • Ecological destruction
  • Eightfold path
  • Empathy
  • Mindfulness
  • Right intention
  • Root defilements
  • Satipaṭṭhāna