aeminar on Buddhism and Modern Science

Buddhist solutions to the current environmental crisis

Assignment II

Student’s name: Ven. Truong Cong ThuongStudent’s reg: MA/18/8/1

Course’s title: Seminar on Buddhism and Modern Science

Lecturer’s name: Ms. Kaushalya KarunasagaraSemester: 3rd

Table of contents:


The root cause of the ecological crisis

The Buddhist approach to the garbage pollution crisis: (Earth element problem)

Buddhist approach to water pollution crisis: (Water element)

Buddhism’s approach to the air pollution crisis – (Air element problem)

Buddhism’s approach to the global warming crisis – (Fire factor issue)

State Responsibility and Proper Leadership




The term “environment” includes the working of biotic and non-biotic or abiotic organisms in the world.

Today’s media is full of news lamenting the level of the environmental crisis we currently face. Although these issues have been built for a long time – in fact, their seeds are part of the Industrial Revolution and subsequent models of economic growth, urbanization and “development.” dominating the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries – a culture of curiosity refuses to prevent us from seeing the depth and extent of the great challenge and unprecedented association and history that humanity and the rest of birth The book is currently complicated and inevitable.

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Although we have known about the development of environmental issues for a while, a kind of paralysis seems to have constrained our leaders and decision-makers, in part, because recognizing these issues and starting to quickly adjust economies, especially wealthy countries, will have a significant impact on industry, consumption and transportation patterns, and jobs.

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But while short-term economic interests are a significant factor, the root of the problem is the nature of our civilization – that we have allowed the emergence of a profound form of human society and cut off from its intimate integration into the Rest of Nature. In fact, for many people, the view is simply a place of entertainment and a source of raw materials, not our roots and the context in which we enter the most profound relationship with ourselves. Our and with the countless other entities that make up the total number of biospheres we are just a fraction of and very dependent on. However, unfortunately, despite the minority status in the universe, we are a very invasive species with the unique power to transform and even destroy the very biosphere on which we ultimately depend: food, air, water, and psychological and aesthetic satisfaction.According to Buddhism, all conditions are changed in accordance with the cause and condition. Nothing arises, exists, and stops without cause and condition. This logical process is called the conditional principle (idappaccayat?), As the Buddha explained:

“When this is, that is

This arising, that arises

When this is not, that is not

This ceasing, that ceases”Environmental crisis issues, such as waste pollution (soil element problem), water pollution (water element problem), air pollution (air element problem) and global warming The issue of the fire we face in the world today is created from causes and conditions. It must be accepted that humans create most of these environmental problems. The various disasters that affect all life and the natural environment are increasingly dangerous. The world, as we have seen, is in a dangerous situation as if it will be destroyed in a short time. The root cause of these problems is human misconduct.However, all problems can be solved or mitigated, because people can only develop right thinking and apply the right courses in development.

1/ The root cause of the ecological crisis

A fundamental question that Buddhism seeks to answer concerns the root cause of this ecological crisis. Although modern environmentalists have analyzed and identified the facts regarding the various social, political, technological, and economic factors that govern ecpcrisis, the underlying cause, according to Buddhism, is ‘craving.’ The reason is due to human ignorance. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, emphasizing the fact that it is expected to ignorance, greed, and disrespect for the earth, the living creatures for which the destruction of nature and natural resources occurs.

To explain in a real-world example, in this respect, a person living in a defined circle with some of his or her own existing views may not care much about the serious environmental issues that he or she has. Also, be responsible. In a way, he or she is indifferent and in a different way, ignorant of the environmental ethics that he or she should follow in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Because of this, Buddhism will order public awareness to activate ethics and ecological theory to absorb them into each individual. For this mass awakening, students of natural sciences and environmental studies make a lot of contribution.

2/ The Buddhist approach to the garbage pollution crisis: (Earth element problem)

The problem of waste pollution, such as the residue of food, vegetables, paper, plastic, aluminum; The spread of chemical products, coal and technology is a crisis in developed and developing countries or even in underdeveloped countries.

From a Buddhist point of view, garbage pollution is a matter of the earth. It is a fact that every day, millions of tons of rubbish around the world are buried and shot and filled the sea as some countries have done to expand the land. It is a fact that pollution of landfill or elemental pollution can cause and increase the corruption of the water element, air element, and fire element in nature. The Buddhist approach to the garbage pollution crisis can be taken in these ways:

_ How to prevent garbage pollution

The production process to serve human needs should apply easily digestible natural materials. Indigestible materials should be limited and controlled to reduce the naturally undigested earth element.The Buddha’s attitude to prevent this problem is mentioned in Vinaya that he forbade monks to throw scum into rivers, canals, and the ground. This clearly shows that the Buddha is very interested in the natural environment. According to Buddha, a small piece of residue can harm the natural environment._ How to overcome garbage pollutionGarbage pollution occurs wherever it needs to be remedied by appropriate measures, for example, food and vegetable residues should be made as organic fertilizer; Papers, aluminum, and plastic should be reused and recycled; Parts of chemicals, coal and technology products should be properly buried in the preparation area. In this regard, we can see the Buddha allowed the monks, as mentioned in Vinaya, to take pieces of cloth from the pile of dust to reuse, for example, making robes, mixing them with soil to spread on them. Cells or make napkin feet.

3/Buddhist approach to water pollution crisis: (Water element)

Water pollution is the pollution of water bodies, such as rivers, canals, lakes, oceans, and major groundwater. They are caused by human activities for humans, animals, and nature. It has been proposed that it is the worldwide leading cause of illness and death. Water pollution is mainly caused by households, industrial practices, and agriculture. Households pollute water by discharging sewage, urine, feces, food, and waste into water sources. Agricultural practices often pollute water by discharging sewage, chemicals, animal manure into rivers, canals, and lakes. The unrestricted and uncontrolled development of people in an era of globalization has a serious impact on water resources. In contrast, polluted water or water-polluting factors, affecting human life, aquatic organisms, and the natural environment include earth element, air element, and fire element.

_How to prevent water pollution Industry:

Households and agronomists must take great care of the water element in nature in a way that does not release polluted water or material residues into water. In this way, polluted water must be treated well before being discharged naturally. The Buddha’s attitude to prevent this problem was mentioned in Vinaya that he forbade monks to urinate, drool, or spit into rivers and canals. According to Buddha’s attitude, urine, feces, or spit can pollute the natural environment. Besides, agronomists should avoid the use of chemicals in production, because the chemicals are not only harmful to the user but also the natural environment, i.e., soil and elemental. This is the reason why the Buddha taught his followers to abstain from the trade of toxins because it is very harmful to humans, animals, and nature.

4/ Buddhism’s approach to the air pollution crisis – (Air element problem)Air pollution is another critical issue mainly caused by human activities. This problem can be divided into two groups, indoor and outdoor air pollution. The first cause of outdoor air pollution is the release of particles into the air from burning fuel for energy. In other words, emissions from burning fuels in cars and industries are the primary source of pollution in the air. Even burning wood and charcoal in a fireplace and barbeque can release soot into the air. The second cause of outdoor air pollution is the release of toxic gases, such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and chemical vapors. The results of outdoor air pollution are dust, acid rain, global warming, and ozone depletion. There are many sources of indoor air pollution, such as smoking, cooking, and heating, etc., which pollute buildings inside and can cause serious health problems for people. Air pollution created by outdoor and indoor activities can cause severe human health problems in many ways with both short-term and long-term impacts.

_ How to prevent air pollution According to the Buddhist attitude, prevention is the best way to solve the problem. One way to avoid outdoor air pollution is to enact laws to control the emissions of the automobile and industrial particles, to control the burning of wood and coal, and to control emissions of toxic gases in an appropriate manner… To prevent and regulate indoor air pollution, laws to control smoking are an essential key. However, this can be done in some locations, and then emissions should be limited. Personal whenever possible.

5/ Buddhism’s approach to the global warming crisis – (Fire factor issue)Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the earth, the atmosphere near the ground and the ocean. Global warming is a problem of the fire element due to the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that is mainly caused by human activities. Tree felling is another cause of global warming. Global temperatures are increasing since the industrial revolution in the mid-twentieth century. Increasing global temperatures will increase the level of greenhouse effects, and may cause more significant changes, including near-melting glaciers and rising sea levels worldwide. Changes in precipitation patterns and volumes can lead to flooding and drought. There may also be changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Other impacts may include changes in agricultural productivity, reduced summer runoff, species extinction, and increased disease coverage. The expected and expected effects of global warming will impact both human life and the natural environment faster and more intense if we cannot control the rise in world temperatures.

_Ways to prevent global warming.

Reducing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is a useful way to prevent and control the rise of global temperatures. From a Buddhist point of view, this is a way to minimize the causes of global warming. In this way, the sources of greenhouse gas emissions of the industrial production plan as well as the means of transportation and transportation should be limited and controlled through which companies around the world, in combination with the main their government, making extensive agreements on global warming. Besides, environmental groups, communities, and regional organizations must seriously encourage individual actions against global warming. Ways that can be done by everyone is to minimize the fire element emits as much air as possible, and mitigate the tree. The Buddha also emphasized the idea of saving trees to save nature. The Buddha taught his followers to avoid harming seeds and plant life. In Vinaya, there are monastic rules against damaging trees and plants. It is a crime (p?cittiya) when a monk cuts a tree or asks another to do so. In another paragraph on tree felling, the Buddha criticized a monk who cut a large tree for use as a temple, saying: For the foolish man, everyone knows the principle of living in a tree. These monastic rules show some ideas for saving trees to save lives and the world.

_ How to overcome global warming

It is a fact that no technology or field can be fully responsible for overcoming the effects of global warming. There are many critical practices and techniques in different areas, such as power supply, transportation, industry, agriculture, and some fresh tree planting and roof projects that can be implemented to reduce global warming. Although the ways are different, it should be understood that all of the ways in which the switch is responsible for the emission reductions the fire element into the air. In contrast, emission diagrams of pure air element to nature are essential, because this natural process can reduce the global temperature.

6/ State Responsibility and Proper Leadership

According to G. K. Wijesekera; “the Digha Nikiya, thus, could justifiably be called a mine of information about religious, social, economic and political conditions of India prior to and during the time of the Buddha.

According to Buddhism, to adequately protect the environment, good leadership is significant. Maha sudassana sutta and Cakkavatti shhanada sutta in Digha Nikaya talk about a global king who ruled over the country with men, animals and their natural environment enjoying a peaceful and harmonious life. According to Cakkavatti Shanda sutta, corruption and degradation in society occur when there is no useful link between social, economic, and ethical factors. This sutta is about a king who rules his country according to the law. Maha sudassana sutta also points out when the ruler becomes dishonest, cruel, and various social problems that occur in the country. A king or leader becomes dishonest when he is controlled by many unwholesome spirits such as greed, power, and so on. In today’s society, this is an apparent phenomenon in the field of leadership. Every nation today wants to be stronger than the other. Therefore, they are putting a large part of the total defense system assets in the production of a variety of weapons. They are also putting a lot of energy into material development, thinking that everyone in the country will have a happy and prosperous life. But the actual situation is different. People always live in fear.

As various powerful weapons are continually being produced in developed countries, in developing and underdeveloped countries, people are suffering much from hunger, disease, and many other defects in life. Living. Moreover, when testing those nuclear weapons to prepare for potential threats of wars, not only money is wasted, but the environment is also polluted by nuclear test products massive damage to the environment.

With material progress developing rapidly, spirituality slows down. People temporarily become happy with their real lives, but they lose their moral values. As a result, bloodshed, many strange diseases, killing, terrorist activities, accidents, various natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and other catastrophes became spectacular and catastrophi… Foreseeing the potential danger of material development, the Buddha in the Pali Canon says that the emphasis on materialism is harmful to the well-being of the people, the following, and the following.

07. Conclusion

It can be maintained that the world will be destroyed by the unusual elements of soil, water, air, and fire. Humans have faced natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and wildfires at an increasingly dangerous level. These natural disasters are the destructive appearance of the four elements mentioned above. Unfortunately, since the twentieth century, humans have released the aspects of destruction in nature at a high level as if they were not part of it. Destroying the environment to satisfy human desires will lead to the inevitable goal of elimination. The purpose of development should be to achieve maximum welfare with the least harmful nature. As the venerable Thich Nhat Hanh says: From We classify other animals and creatures as nature, acting as if we are not part of it ourselves. Then we ask the question: How should we deal with nature? The scene we should deal with nature the way we should deal with ourselves Man and nature are inseparable. 8 The manufacturing process should be guided by positive thinking about sustainability. Alternative energy, such as wind wheels (air element), solar energy (fire element), water energy (water element), should be widely used to save resources and environment, especially reducing global warming.

Although Buddhism is primarily concerned with liberating sentient beings from the world of suffering, it does not overlook the ordinary life of humans. That is why we see in some lectures in Tipitaka that Buddha suggested a way of life whereby a happy, healthy, and prosperous life is possible. In fact, in the early Buddhist moral teaching, the Buddha explained that one should reflect, like a mirror, before doing, while performing and after acting, whether it is harmful to oneself, to others or both. One should not take such action detrimental to anyone. On the contrary, one should take such action in favor of everyone. Not only by speaking against actions, such as the animal sacrifice of Brahmins, but Buddha also contributed his thoughts on an environmentally friendly life. Through a discourse on the underlying philosophical doctrine of Buddhism like conditional production cooperation, he revealed the intimate relationship between man and nature.


1.    Dighanikaya (The long Discourses of the Buddha), trans. By Maurie Walshe. Boston; Wisdom Publication, 1987.

2.    Silva, Lily De. The Buddhist Attitude Towards Nature, in Buddhist Perspectives on the Ecocrisis, edited by Klas Sandell, The Wheel Publication, BPS, Kandy, 1987.

3.    c.

4.    Ecological Teaching in Early Buddhism by P.D. Premasiri.

5.    Harris, Ian. Buddhism and Ecology, in ‘Contemporary Buddhist ethics’, edited by Damien Keown. Curzon Press, 2000.

6.    Schmithausen, Lambert. The Problem of the Sentience of Plants in Earliest Buddhism.Tokyo: International Institute for Buddhist Studies, 1991.

7.    Schmithausen, Lambert. Buddhism and nature. Tokyo: International Institute for Buddhist Studies, 1991.

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aeminar on Buddhism and Modern Science. (2019, Dec 16). Retrieved from

aeminar on Buddhism and Modern Science

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