(From the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Australia)
Tzu Chi Foundation is an international charity organization. Fundamental to our Buddhist faith belief is the cherishing of life and forbiddance of killing. Consequently, we actively promote environmental protection as a practical way to complement these attributes. Throughout our chapters in 50 countries worldwide, we regularly encourage a meat abstinence lifestyle. This is not only because of the killing avoided, but also for the vegetarian diet’s environmental friendliness and better sustainability outcomes.
Sustainability is not all about supply efficiency. It can also be improved with a better control of consumption demand.
To introduce their benefits and to overcome preconceptions, local initiatives include:
- Education sessions and meat-free cooking demonstrations at local high schools.
- Public awareness campaigns of food waste reduction, unhealthy impact of over-eating, and promotion of “80 per cent full”.
- Provision of free vegetarian meals to schools, universities, and local government offices in conjunction with sign-up appeals.
- Holding of thanks-giving functions with vegetarian dishes.
- Regular tree planting activities to preserve and improve soil quality for better vegetation.
(The following from arcworld.org)
What does Buddhism teach about ecology?
All Beings Are Connected
Buddhism teaches that the idea of separateness is an illusion. The health of the whole is inseparably linked to the health of the parts, and the health of the parts is inseparably linked to the health of the whole. This means that caring for the environment begins with caring for oneself: ‘When our hearts are good, the sky will be good to us,’ says Venerable Maha Ghosananda of Cambodia, a founding patron of ARC.
Respect for Life
Buddhist practice makes one feel one’s existence is no more important than anyone else’s. If one treats nature as a friend and teacher, one can be in harmony with other creatures and appreciate the interconnectedness of all that lives.
Simplicity and Moderation
Buddha taught people to live simply and appreciate the natural cycle of life. Craving and greed only bring unhappiness, since demands for material possessions can never be satisfied and people will always demand more, so threatening the environment. This is why the real solution to the environmental crisis begins with the individual.
Buddhists in Japan tell a story. The Buddha once received a donation of 500 new robes for his followers. So he considered what to do with the old ones. They would be used for bed-sheets, he decided. And the old sheets would become towels. And the old towels would be used as cleaning rags. Everything should be used and reused.
According to Buddhism, the way you earn your livelihood – not killing, not stealing, not taking more than you need – all these are part of the Buddhist way of life. A livelihood that avoids harming others, such as trading in weapons, meat, alcohol or poisons – is in harmony with nature.