The White House U.S. Buddhist Leaders Conference convened last month with an emphasis placed on the pan-Buddhist movement and climate change. Using 2009’s publication on Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency, Buddhist leaders discussed ways in which their shared concern for fellow humans influences their approach to climate action.
Highlighting key components, the congregation of leaders outlined three ethical initiatives for fostering moral engagement in climate action:
- Exposing dualistic thinking
- Developing Buddhist climate ethics
- Building capacity for resilience as particularly valuable Buddhist contributions
In creating a communications structure that appeals to the broader/shared moral imperative, Buddhist facilities and leaders are more equipped to take action on climate change.
For ways to start your own climate communications project, visit Blessed Tomorrow, where you may access materials to assist in building your own path to positive change.
By Danny Hall for Patheos
Last month, I joined some 130 Buddhist leaders, teachers and scholars representing over 60 major Buddhist schools and ethnicities in Washington D.C. for the first White House U.S. Buddhist Leaders Conference. Of particular interest to conference participants was the subject of climate change. The issue triggered questions for me about what a pan-Buddhist approach to climate change might look like and how the varying degrees of inner-orientation found within the diversity of Buddhist schools might mesh with the public policy world of Washington D.C. Although formalizing a unified political agenda on climate change was not planned and did not emerge, the conference did provide participants with a valuable opportunity to explore the issue through a multifaceted Buddhist lens, share best practices, and begin to explore these questions with each other and White House administration staff.
This White House gathering was the latest in a history of activities by Buddhist groups on the issue of climate change. In 2009, the watershed volume, A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency was published. Editors John Stanley, David R. Loy, and Gyurme Dorje brought together over 20 voices from a broad range of Buddhist traditions and geographies to produce a primer for a pan-Buddhist policy response to the climate crisis based on contemplative, integral activism. Stanley and Loy, together with Theravadin teacher Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi would go on to create the Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change that was signed by Buddhist leaders worldwide and presented most recently at the White House conference. Buddhist temples around the world have initiated alternative energy projects and have participated in interfaith projects such as the 2012 Interreligious Dialogue on Climate Change. Online Buddhist climate resources have also been developed through sites such as Ecobuddhism.organd OneEarthSangha.org.