Thứ năm - 09/05/2019 19:21
Most Ven. Dr. Thich Duc Thien Most Ven. Dr. Thich Nhat Tu Prof. Amarjiva Lochan



This is a great academic solace to see the Volume on Buddhist Approach to Responsible Consumption and Sustainable Development which covers Sub-Theme Five of UNDV 2019 Academic Conference.


The World of Today is suffering from the crisis of consumerism. The first paper on a Buddhist Perspective on Overconsumption and Its Negative Effects towards Society and Environment deals with it specifically in the reference of consumption beyond requirements which is generally termed as overconsumption. Such human tendency leads to negative impact on the entire force of nature and the environment. How the Buddhist principles guide us to live a better life where there is least effect on the 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 is 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 the Buddha
in the Khandhaka which hint at the possibility of sustainability
and development going together without harming other societal
components. Though the Vinaya being a Pitaka for monastics, it
still is highly useful for the laity as well.

The paper, Buddhist Ethics in the Establishments of Green Tourism is a unique academic contribution. Here, the writer states that the Buddhas life and principles make us learn a lot as how green methods must be applied in our day-to-day life. The damage being caused by the genre called DEVELOPMENT needs to be controlled and for


this, the words of Master exhibits his proximity to protect nature, humanity and the world order.

The same tone of serving the Mother Earth through Buddhist way is explained in the paper 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 material development is not the real development if we do not give importance to our traditional values of morality, togetherness, mutual peacefulness etc.

Buddhist Approach to Responsible Production and Consumption of Wealth for a Peaceful and Sustainable Society 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 and to suffer from poverty. But on the contrary, poverty eradication is the first step to create an ever-loving society.

The paper on The Framework of Right Consumption 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 new greed. To minimise its impact on humanity, Buddhist economics is a great source of sustainability which can boost the concept of giving (na), sharing and caring 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. The paper entitled On Consumption as Necessity and Nemesis: Buddhist Considerations for a Climate Of Change discusses this global situation where 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.

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  put  strong  emphasis  on  the

protection of physical surroundings along with mental environment of the people. This has been illustrated in the next paper, The Green Buddhist View Solve the Modern Day Problem.

The next paper is a case study of the side-effects of over consumption in Sri Lanka which has badly marred sustainable development, A Study on Buddhist Cultural Values of Consumption and Their Impact on Sustainable Development in Sri Lanka. Looking into this issue with the prism of anthropological 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 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 nature and Mother Earth, the next paper entitled, Buddhist Perspective of Right Consumption of Natural Resources for Sustainable Development, deals with how this fast environmental degradation caused by the greed economy must take lessons from the Buddhist principle of Dependent Origination. The paper further highlights how the application of the Noble Eightfold Path would change the human psyche and will pave ways towards achieving the goal of sustainable development as desired by the United Nations to achieve by 2030.

The next paper, Need and Want - The Buddhist Perspective on Moderation of Ones Consumption for a Sustainable Development, while presenting 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 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 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(Sigālovada 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, 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

Continuing our concern on consumption and the environment, the book further continues this discussion in the next article, A Mindful Responsible Consumption and Production and Production Leads to  Sustainable  Development. 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 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. Religion being a primary source of values in any culture in general and in Asian cultures 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 materialism, reckless growth of consumerism, carelessness and environmental challenges, the paper entitled Passing Inheritance of Better World to our Younger Generations emphasizes the need to take an initiative to tackle it through Buddhist approach.

The paper, Monastery without Boundary: An Emerging Paradigm in Sumatra, Indonesiamakes 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 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 refers to the many problems which have arisen as the consequence of the one-sided economic concentration where the development models mean only economic  development, and not social development. Buddhist realization of 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 Stability is another paper which raises the concern of global challenges of the 21st century which are battle against 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 to restore a sustainable society.

The paper entitled Sustainable Development and Responsible Consumption: A Buddhist Introspection offers means to sustainable development which is a process that requires use of existing resources without compromising it for future generations. 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, Buddhist texts show us the ways to earn and share 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 Construction 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 philosophical values for a better world order. As we, as individuals, have significant role to play, our next entry in the volume entitled Sustainable Religious Tourism: Is the Buddhist Approach Able to Make It Happen? warns us that

there should be a balance between tourism, money income, and protection of cultural heritage. Giving examples from various religious sites of attraction, the paper included research at the Borobudur Buddhist complex in Java, Indonesia. The application of the new 3Ss (serenity, spirituality, and sustainability) tourism concept can change the mindset of tourists who have explored tourism resources. It will help in constructing a new tourism concept with the Buddhist approach.

Education is also key to the success to train young minds to go for sustainable consumption. This is explained well in the next article, Buddhist Approach to Education and Sustainable Consumption. The education based on the three Buddhist principles of learning: Sila, Samadhi and Panna would lead to a good moral conduct in any person which would help in cultivating responsive sustainable living practices.

The paper on Buddhist Approach to Happiness as a Proper Measure of Social Development delineates the idea of economic progress not only as a tool to be understood by GDP growth but also by societal growth on all indexes. The paper further identifies the Buddhist perspective on happiness in relation to the sustainable development and its applicability in formulating indicators for judging real happiness.

Responsible Use of Religious Properties and Sustainable Development: A Buddhist Perspective from Sri Lanka is our next paper based upon a sociological case study of Sri Lanka. The Buddhist religious properties contribute to the sustainable development, and as the sources and resources both are drying out, there is a struggle within. With references to 25 Buddhist complexes in the Western part of Sri Lanka, which has been transformed as a place of mutual benefits for both Mahasangha and the laity. The land and its use therein has led to the establishment of educational institutions, welfare, social service, health, medical, community development, sports etc. for various purposes of society that help them to survive. The principle of responsible consumption for sustainable development is the role model suggested by this paper.

Our next contributor deals with Buddhist Economics: The Road Not Taken for Right Living of Sustainability as Buddhist discourses
 point out the satisfaction of the self in all aspects of life. The controlling of the insatiable mind is a great destroyer. Hence, the Buddhist approach to responsible consumption must be identified. In the wake of irresponsible consumption, the research was undertaken on the basis of a structured questionnaire on 400 youth representing all the segments in the Sri Lankan society irrespective of their religious affiliation. It was identified that a productive way could be suggested to maintain a harmony among production, consumption, and preservation of different capitals that introduces a social and ecological friendly consumption pattern.

Our next paper is on Quagmires of Postmodern Civic Society and Buddhist Anticipations and Prescriptions which discusses the postmodern phenomenon in civic society which is too human- centric. It has been the main cause responsible for degenerating moral values and ethical system. On the basis of extensive references made in the Buddhist literature, preventive measures must be taken up. The Buddhist doctrines and practices may serve as a spring board for framing policies and action plans with a focus on inter and intra generational equity and earth-centric development.

No less important is to go through the next article entitled Buddhist Approach to Human Society Development: Economic Ethics for a Ruler. How a sovereign can learn from the Buddhist ideas on statecraft and human welfare is discussed in this paper. The Dharmic jurisprudence makes a ruler not only perform righteousness but also caring towards its subject. This wealth of good governance is found in plenty in the Cakkavatthi Sihanadasutta, Kutadantasutta and Aggannasutta.

Our next author is talking about a very highly unknown aspect of the Buddhist history, Prema Mart: Learning from Kakkarapatta (A Market Town of Koliyans) for Building the Sustainable Economy. Referring to a market town of Koliyans (Kakkarapatta) which was visited by Buddha perhaps lead to His understanding of the welfare of the people through Buddhism based economic principles. In the Vyagghapajja Sutta, the Buddha gave useful teachings for economic welfare as well as for spiritual welfare. With a deeper delving into it, the author mentored a Buddhist community running a Buddhist Shop called Prema Mart (Loving Kindness Mart). Running in 
cooperative format, this Mart and its all members adopted the teaching of the economic values as stated in the Vyagghapajja Sutta.

Our next entry is of Re-orienting Leaders in Business for Sustainable Globalisation: A Consideration of Perspectives from Buddhist Applied Ethics. In a very deep way, the author attempts beautifully to see the balance required in this modern world of fast globalisation and cope with it. The expansion of businesses that undermines our social values and pollutes our environment has contributed to adverse trends in climate change. The core of the selfish theory of purpose of business is to do business(Friedmann) needs to be challenged and discredited if we want a better world to live. The paper also argues for an increase in corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a means to reconfigure business ethics. Therefore, Buddha –vacana needs to be applied to business magnates to create a sustainable globalisation.

Most Ven. Dr. Thich Duc Thien Most Ven. Dr. Thich Nhat Tu Prof. Amarjiva Lochan


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