Buddhism is a religion of love, understanding and compassion and is committed towards the ideal of non-violence. As such it also attaches great importance towards wildlife and the protection of the environment on which every being in this world depends for survival. The underlying reason why beings other than humans need to be taken into account is that, like human beings, they too are sensitive to happiness and suffering. We should therefore, be wary of justifying the right of any species to survive solely on the basis of its usefulness to human beings.
We are told that history is a record of human society in the past. From existing sources there is evidence to suggest that for all their limitations, people in the past were aware of the need for harmony between human beings and nature. They loved the environment. They revered it as the source of life and well-being in the world.
We regard our survival as an undeniable right; as co-inhabitants of this planet, other species too have this right for survival. And, since human beings as well as non-human sentient beings depend upon the environment as the ultimate source of life and well-being, let us share the conviction that the conservation of the environment, the restoration of the imbalance caused by our negligence in the past, be implemented with courage and determination.
These teachings lead us to the following words by His Holiness the Dali Lama:
“As we all know, disregard for the Natural Inheritance of human beings has brought about the danger that now threatens the peace of the world as well as the chance to live (sic) of endangered species. “Such destruction of the environment and the life depending upon it is a result of ignorance, greed and disregard for the richness of all living things. This disregard is gaining great influence. If peace does not become a reality in the world, and if the destruction of the environment continues as it does today, there is no doubt that future generations will inherit a dead world.
It is clear that this generation is at an important crossroad. On the one hand the International community is able now to communicate each other’s views, on the other hand the common fact is that confrontation far outweighs constructive dialogue for peace.
We are the generation with the awareness of a great danger. We are the ones with the responsibility and the ability to take steps of concrete action, before it is too late.”
By the Venerable Lungrig Nomgayal
Abbot, Gyuto Tantric University