Thứ sáu - 10/05/2019 19:34
Most Ven. Dr. Thich Duc Thien



This is a great academic solace to see the Volume on Buddhist Approach to Responsible Consumption and Sustainable Development which covers the sub-theme Five for this UNDV 2019.


TheWorldofTodayissufferingfromthecrisisoftheconsumerism. The first paper on “A Buddhist perspective on overconsumption and its negative effects towards society and environment, by Rev. Beragama Piyarathana Thero, deals with it specifically in the reference of consumption beyond requirements which is generally termed as overconsumption. Such human tendency leads to affect the entire force of nature and environment. How the Buddhist principles guide us to live a better life where there is least effect on environment and society is well explained in this paper.

The second paper in this Volume, entitled Attaining a sustainable society through the teachings of the khandhaka of the Theravāda vinaya piaka, written by Li Wai Sum, presents a vivid example of the benefits which one can derive from our ancient Pali literature. While studying the Theravada Vinaya Pitaka, the author explores the specific words of Buddha in the Khandhaka which hint at the possibility of sustainability and development can go together without harming other societal components. Though the Vinaya being a Pitaka for the monastic people, it still is highly useful to the laity as well.
Jyoti Dwivedi,    Kalindi  College,  University  of  Delhi,  India
highlights “Buddhist Perspective on the Maintenance of Healthy Ecology.Based on the anthropocentric and Buddhist perspective, he argues that societal development would be guided along lines that promote the health and well-being of the social order, that is without harming the natural systems. In particular, Buddhist attitudes of non-violence, benevolence and compassion entail an ecological behavior as they are not limited to human beings alone, but also included other living beings. At last, he concludes that Buddhist idea of “Oneworld is of significance, that is home to all known life. We need to observe its virtue ethics, that is values of compassion, equanimity, and humility. The way of Buddhist thinking and practice are important contribution towards building an ecologically wholesome society.

The same tone of serving the Mother Earth through Buddhist way is explained in the paper written by R. M. Rathnasiri on A Holistic Buddhist Approach to Restoration of Responsible Consumption and Sustainable Development: An Analytical Exposition.” Quoting extensively from Buddhist literature, the writer states that the material development is not the real development if we do not give importance to our traditional value of morality, togetherness, mutual peacefulness etc.

The next paper Buddhist approach to responsible production and consumption of wealth for a peaceful and sustainable society”, by Ven. Yatalamatte Kusalananda Thero, echoes the ever growing worriedness of those who are watching the massive destruction around us in many ways. Quoting from the Sutta literature, the paper explores that non-sustainability does not mean to be poor, suffer from poverty. But to the contrary, the poverty eradication is the first step to create an ever-loving society.

The paper on The Framework of Right Consumptionwritten by Prof. Dr. Gábor Kovács traces the history of consumption which accelerated in the middle of the 20th century. Our planet has been subjected to the population explosion and relative intensive usage of chemicals, energy consumption and a new greed. To minimise its impact on the humanity, the Buddhist economics is great source of sustainability which can boost the concept of giving (na), sharing and care for each other.

Next participation in this Volume is of the scholar dealing with the alarming health situation in the world with the level of air pollution reaching to precarious condition, be it Delhi or Bangkok or California. In the paper entitled On consumption as necessity and nemesis: Buddhist considerations for a climate of change, Maya Joshi discusses this global situation where the climate change has led to several other problems such as unsafe food, air and contamination of all types. The paper suggests how Buddhism and its principles can underpin them and thus intervene. The paper considers the above questions in the light of Buddhist philosophy.

Basudha Bose presented the paper entitled “The green Buddhist view to solve the modern day problem.” Though it is true that the concept of Greens was not specifically mentioned in Buddhism, it is equally true that the Buddhist philosophy, ideas, and actions strongly emphasise on the protection of physical surroundings along with mental environment of the people. This has been illustrated in the paper.

The next paper is a case study of the side-effects of over consumption in Sri Lanka which has badly marred the sustainable development “A study on Buddhist cultural values of consumption and their impact on sustainable development in Sri Lanka, by Dhanapala Wijesinghe.Lookingintothisissuewiththeprismofanthropological perspective on religion and consumption, the writer bases his study on a randomly picked up sample of 92 Buddhist families of a small village to understand the patterns of consumption and sustainable development at a micro level. It was found that how Buddhist cultural values happily influence the behaviour of consumption resulting in a balanced sustainability of family-economy and its development. Thus, it has been argued that the sustainability of household economy is decisive in the assurance of sustainability of national development. Therefore, an organized reinforcement is required to transmit the Buddhist cultural values of responsible consumption to secure sustainable development.

Echoing the same emphasis on right consumption of the gifts of the nature and mother earth, the next paper entitled “Buddhist perspective of right consumption’ of natural resources for sustainable development, Rahul K. Kamble deals how this fas
environmental degradation caused by the greed economy must take lessons from the Buddhist principle of Dependent The paper further highlights the application of the Noble Eightfold Path would change the human psyche and will pave towards achieving the goal of sustainable development as desired by the United Nations to achieve by 2030.

In the next paper “Need and want – the Buddhist perspective on moderation of ones consumption for a sustainable development, Ven. Kirama Wimalathissa presents the alarming scenario of global warming, environmental pollution, and the depletion of non- renewable energy resources, it emphasizes that the Sutta literature along with the Vinaya texts can help us in solving this danger and give people new vision for the environment and available resources. While quoting the amazement of E. F. Schumacher (the author of Small is Beautiful’), while reading the Buddhist explanations of the superiority of the economy and the concept of maximising wellbeing while minimising consumption, the author says that the modern economists must include this aspect which may be a great changer.

Utilization of earnings in consumption and its impact on the social imbalance a critical observation on the Buddhist point of view”, by Viharagala Pagngnaloka Thera is another paper in this Volume which lashes out the socio-economic imbalance and stresses that it can be overcome only through Buddhist theories. While quoting the Buddhist financial concept of ekena bhoge buñjeyya” (Silovada Sutta of Dīgha Nikāya), the paper dwells upon the concept and advice in Buddhist teachings drawing from Rāsiya, Kāmabhogī, Pattakamma and ādiya Suttas on Consumption and Utilization of ones earnings. The emphasis on the importance of the fivefold obligations” (pañcabali) and their values for a contented society and how they are helpful for the well-being of everyone is further discussed in this paper.

The close interdependence between the natural environment and the living creatures which is a core subject in Buddhist teachings is discussed in the next paper by Vikas Singh & Ravindra Kumar, Buddhist Approach Ecological and Sustainable Development.As Buddha himself grew out of the nature Mothers lap (Sāla tree for Birth and the Bodhi tree on the bank of Nirañjanā of Gayā for 
enlightenment, Mrgadāva for Dhammaccakkapavattana), it is but natural that the ecological and sustainable approach would be embedded in Buddhism, The paper also evaluates these concepts of the ecological aspect and Sustainable development with Buddhist theories of Pratyasamutpāda and Pañcasīla.

Another research written by Prof. Dr. Phra Rajapariyatkavi emphasizesBuddhistScripturalStudiesontheNaturalEnvironment, entitled “Buddhist scriptural studies on the natural environment. This paper highlights the values of the natural environment that have been long recognized in Buddhist teachings through both the life of Price Siddhartha and numerous Buddhist scripts.

Continuing our concern on the Theme, the Book further continues this discussion in the next article A Mindful Responsible Consumption and Production Leads to Sustainable Developmentby Po-Wen Yen . While providing the data of global warming since 19th century, it highlights the work of the Tzu Chi Foundation, a grassroot movement, which believes that the responsibility to solve this is not a duty of the State only but also we the individuals. The Tzu Chi model of recycling, psychological support and spiritual healing is in fact the Buddhist model to develop a sustainable livelihood.

Buddhist Environmentalism: An Approach to Sustainable Development, by Sangmu Thendup is our next contribution in this Volume which discusses Buddhist Environmentalism as a form of religious environmentalism, which involves the conscious application of religious ideas to modern concerns about the global environment.Religionbeingaprimarysourceofvaluesinanyculture in general and in Asian culture in particular has direct implications in the decisions human make regarding the environment. Therefore, it deals with environmental perspectives in early Buddhism and relates it to religious environmentalism’ in order to show that it is the correct approach for sustainable development.

The Volume has an interesting article on the care and concern of our future generations. To delimit the materialism, reckless growth of consumerism, carelessness and environmental challenges, the paper entitled “Passing Inheritance of Better World to our Younger 
Generations, by Tin Tin Lay emphasizes the need to take an initiative to tackle it through Buddhist approach.

The paper, Monastery without Boundary: An Emerging Paradigm in Sumatra, Indonesia, by Hudaya Kandahjaya, makes an attempt to describe the paradigm of the universality of the Buddhist concepts, monasticism. This paper offers a survey of relevant doctrinal background from which one could see its alignment with Buddhist teachings.

Buddhist Approach to Responsible Consumption and Sustainable Development, by Prof. Dr. Karam Tej Singh Sarao, extensively quotes from the data of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) which has been mandated to oversee the mobilization, facilitation, and coordination within the UN system of its expertise to deal with the building blocks of sustainable development. This paper is a remarkable attempt to examine the Buddhist perspective on sustainable development in the light of the Rio+20 document as well as Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

Next paper Buddhist Approach to Economic Sustainable Development by Nguyen Ngoc Duy Khanh refers to many problems which have arisen as the consequence of the one-sided economic concentration where the development models mean only economic development, and not the social development. Buddhist realization to responsible consumption, assistance to balance the production and consumption in society and offering of the opportunity to maintain the sustainable economy is the core subject of this paper.

A Comprehensive Buddhist Approach to Restoration of Sustainable Society through Economic Stabilityby Ven. Ridegama Wanarathana is another paper which raises the concern of global challenges of the 21st century which are battle against alleviation of poverty and economic instability. As these conditions are nothing but the outcome of human selfish nature of abhijjhā, byāpāda, and adhi moha, its solution is to be found in the Suttas like Aggañña and Kūtadanta. Though wealth is not denounced and poverty is not welcome in Buddhism, the lessons from Pali texts such as Kūtadanta Sutta are the best approach based to restore a sustainable society.
The paper entitled “Sustainable Development and Responsible 
Consumption: A Buddhist Introspection, by Mukesh kumar Verma, offers means to sustainable development which is a process that requires use of existing resources without compromising it for future generation. The writer states that the Buddhist teaching of pratityasamutpāda or interdependent co-arising as its solution. As Buddhism is against the lustful attachment towards insatiable things, the Buddhist texts explain the ways to earn and share the wealth virtuously and trail the path of spirituality to establish sustainable development, peace, and harmony in the society.

Our next paper on The Buddhist Eco - Friendly construction technology and solutions for the problems of responsible consumption and sustainable development in post - modern constructionby A.G.R.H.S. Senarathne gives guideline for ordinary people to utilize their life comfort through Buddhist teachings. On the basis of the Pali texts, it explains about the eco- friendly nature that should be maintained in the monastic tradition as well as in management and construction field. The concept of responsible consumption is also discussed therein.

Our concern for the humanity is not only confined to the interpretation of Buddhist ph