A buddhist approach to peace and ecology

1) … Because he associates Mindfulness and Environment

By being fully aware of our acts, we can understand that our actions undoubtedly have consequences on environment. Thich Nhat Hanh demands we consider our meat consumption. The simple decision to become a vegetarian can make a difference in protecting the health of the Planet. Intensive farming is the biggest source of pollution of drinking water, from rivers and groundwater. A piece of meat represents: hectares of forests cut down to grow cereals to feed farmed animals, a lot of water to produce these cereals and of course the suffering of a living being, who is not considered as having a conscience and will end its short life in extreme pain. Here’s another example in relation with the environment’s destruction: buying a pair of jeans. It has to be considered in relation with the quantity of water and chemical products needed to produce it, and the pollution created to import this garment. Thich Nhat Hanh suggests we use full awareness at each moment of our life. Awareness of our breath, awareness of our posture, awareness of the suffering our acts can create for ourselves and for other living beings.

2) … Because he gives us the keys to a global ethic

« There is an infinite amount of living species on our planet Earth, and the manifestation and continuation of each specie depends on all the others ». 

The global pandemic we are currently living is a convincing demonstration of it. Thich Nhat Hanh takes the example of an orange : the slices of the orange are part of the orange, just like its seeds and its peel. « It’s what we call the universal aspect of the orange. Everything in the orange is the orange, but at the same time, the peel is still the peel, the seeds are still the seeds, the slices are still the slices. The slices don’t have to transform for harmony to exist. » We exist as individuals, but it’s only possible because, together, we are part of a whole. These are universal principles (The five practices for Mindfulness): protection of life (reduce violence), true happiness (social justice), true love, loving words and deep listening (communication), transformation and healing (conscious consumption).

3) … Because he is not moralizing

On the contrary, he gives us courage to take one step at a time.

« Choose one thing and accomplish it thoroughly and carefully, and you will have accomplished all things »

said Thich Nhat Hanh, when he answered a youth who felt overwhelmed by the immensity of the society’s problems.

4) … Because you will find solutions that can be applied immediately to be more at peace with yourself

Thich Nhat Hanh resumes the teaching of Buddha who proposes to help us seaking very deeply the reasons for our hatred, our fear and our violence, to transform them and free us. Of course, nothing comes by magic. As the French poet Nicolas Boileau wrote it :

« Hasten slowly, and without losing heart, put your work twenty times upon the anvil, Polish it and repolish it constantly, add sometimes and erase often. »

It’s the work of an entire life, so it’s a daily practice.

5) … Because he helps us making the right decisions to preserve Nature

According to Buddhism, the only source of energy we need is compassion. If we associate compassion with the belief that we are part of a whole, it will lead us to the right action.

« When we destroy animals, atmosphere, trees, we destroy ourselves. We must develop an unconditional love for all beings, so that animals, atmosphere, plants and minerals can keep on being what they are ».



… because at the end of the book you can fill out« My ecological commitment », giving many examples you could choose to reduce your ecological impact on the planet.

Take care & be safe,

Pauline Rouillé