Putting action to words
The Buddha who when enlightened advised all who considered following his words, to reflect on them, to adopt them only after testing them, to see if they are of benefit. If that applies to his words, then those same processes must be applied to mine. Definitely even more so, as I am only beginning to travel my path, and am still a new student myself.
I wrote about ecobuddhism and am going to extend that into activism as part of being a Buddhist. Thich Nhat Hanh coined the term engaged Buddhism, and is an active proponent of peace. He was one of many scholars and teachers who wrote chapters for the book “A Buddhist Response to The Climate Emergency”. On the website http://www.ecobuddhism.org/ you can find more information. Also reading about the treatment of workers at suppliers to firms such as Apple, in the last few months, has also caused me to rethink how I accumulate material possessions. I have cut down my purchases considerably in the last few years, in the spirit of reducing my ecological footprint. Today I am going to take another step in trying to make a positive change. I am going to attempt to make purchases, which do not support oppression of humans, or cruelty to animals. What does this mean; it means I will have to depend on my brothers and sisters to pass along suggestions of ethical companies, as well as reports that show companies mistreating living beings. If every Buddhist starts to consider the ethics behind their purchases, we can and will create the energy for positive changes in the world. In 1995 a move was released called The American President, one of the dialogues that stuck with me, can be found: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112346/quotes?qt=qt0341862
We have a person like the Dalai Lama who was the first signatory on the Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change who is showing us the way. I for one have decided to actively follow this and to borrow a phrase from the movie; I have quit drinking the sand. I want to drink pure water, eat healthy food and let all sentient beings live in peace with nature. When I purchase food, I will purchase it in the rawest, least processed form. When possible to purchase organically grown and non-genetically modified organisms. (non-GMO) No company should own the patent to food stocks. Also reducing the natural variety of an organism like tomatoes, from hundreds of varieties to two or three because they meet institutional needs reduces the biodiversity the world need to survive. Using tomatoes, as an example, there are over 600 varieties; yet commercial interests have reduced this to a mere dozen or so. Have you ever noticed the crowd around stalls that sell tomatoes at a farmers market? Yet the tomatoes there do not have the same uniform shape, texture or colors that are available at the supermarket. This is because these have differences in taste, and texture.
So the point of today’s post: to actively work at putting the knowledge that I learn from Buddhist teachings, and the knowledge of how consumerism is harming life on this planet, into practice every day, and with every purchase. I will not give you guidelines to follow, rather leave you to think on the points I have made. Decide for yourself what actions you are willing to take, then work at following those choices. If we all make small changes it will add up to major differences, and corporate leaders will take notice, as it will affect what they notice their profit and loss statement.