Gross National Happiness, Ecobuddhism and Respect for All Beings

We all want to be happy. Sharing our lives with other animals brings great joy to animal lovers. It seems that the more people are in nature, sharing their lives with animals, the happier they become. Even city dwellers yearn to get out of the city on weekends to experience some connection with nature and animals. There is a new field and website called “Ecological Buddhism” where the principles of respect for all beings meets ecology. There are many excellent articles and video’s on this subject and what we can do.
One article on the global climate emergency impacts on all of us and what we can do. Examples are offered on what different countries, organizations and individuals are doing. The article reminded me of one of the first sights I saw when trekking in Bhutan. It was a sign stating their national motto “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product”. The foundation for Bhutan is that happiness is more important than production. How does this reflect in their country you might ask. One day I had lunch with the minister of the Environment and he said that the top lumber companies in the world came to them wanting their timber forests. They declined them despite great potential financial benefit and significant demands. He explained that they recognized how the well being of the forests and themselves were intimately interconnected. He explained that just over the mountain ranges of the Himalayan mountains lay Nepal where most of their forests had been cut down. They are experiencing tremendous drought, flooding, erosion, destruction of crops etc., because the trees are no longer there to prevent erosion, to attract rain, and hold it in the earth. Bhutan has saved their forests and thereby are not experiencing drought, erosion, crop destruction etc. They have recognized the importance of interconnectedness. They have recognized by preserving their forests, their wild animals can live their in harmony, they can hike in them, they can see them, hear the sounds of nature, experience the complete beauty that nature offers us and thereby help maintain our happiness and our health.
A world renowned Tibetan Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche explains in this video what each one of us can do to help in decreasing the impact of this global climate crisis.
Perhaps it is not too late to avoid the worst results of the global climate emergency we are now experiencing. Perhaps the concepts of ecological buddhism can help us create a more sustainable, compassionate Earth.


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