Genuine caring for creation is an ecology based on compassion and is a natural,spontaneous result of understanding that everybody and everything is connected andinterdependent, that Thou art That, in Hindu terms. To hurt, harm, exploit, neglect or cause suffering to any living being, or to our natural resources, environment, or theplanet is simply to hurt, harm, exploit, neglect, and cause suffering to ourselves.This recognition has led to the development of what contemporary Buddhist scholarscall engaged Buddhism. They recognize that to ultimately end our individual andcollective suffering, we must consciously confront the suffering that exists on all levels:physical, mental, social, as well as ecological. I would like to quote from a couple of books: (1)
The Path of Compassion: Writings on Socially Engaged Buddhism
, edited byFred Eppsteiner, Parralax Press, 1985, and (2)
For a Future to Be Possible
, by ThichNhat Hanh, Parallax Press, 1993.Zen master Philip Kapleau says, "A major task for Buddhism … is to ally itself withreligious and other concerned organizations to forestall the potential catastrophes facingthe human race: nuclear holocaust, irreversible pollution of the world's environment, andthe continuing large-scale destruction of non-renewable resources. We also need tolend our physical and moral support to those who are fighting hunger, poverty, andoppression everywhere in the world” (1, pg. xii)." He said this in the early 1980's.Nobel Peace Prize nominee, poet, and Vietnamese Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh isunexcelled in adapting Buddhist teachings to modern society. He advocates practicingcompassion and reverence for all life by learning ways to protect the lives of, not justpeople, but of animals, plants, and minerals. He urges us all to resolve not to harm, letothers harm, or support any act of harming in the world, in the way we think, in the waywe speak, and in the way we act. (2, pg. 13).And he advocates practicing lovingkindness and generosity by becoming "aware of thesuffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression" and learning"ways to work for the well-being of all people, animals, plants, and minerals" (2, pg. 20).The Dalai Lama says "because the individual and society are interdependent, one'sbehavior as an individual is inseparable from one's behavior as a participant in society"(1, pg. xiv).Author Kenneth Kraft suggests that a Buddhist "awareness of interdependence fosters asense of universal responsibility" (1, pg. xiv). Engaged Buddhism, according to ZenBuddhist and Poet Gary Snyder, can lead to specific acts of "civil disobedience,outspoken criticism, protest, pacifism, voluntary poverty, and even gentle violence if itcomes to a matter of retraining some impetuous crazy" (1, pg. xvii).Engaged Buddhism is a practical manifestation of caring for creation. It is a Buddhistecology of compassion. Once we realize the interconnected nature of all people, allbeings, and all things, that everything is a manifestation of God, we will recognize our involvement in the conditions we deplore and become empowered to do somethingabout them. Until then, until we realize that everything is God, we will continue to hurtGod.