Statement on Climate Change

M. Editor  |  September 16, 2019

The Institute of Buddhist Studies, through the Offices of the President and Dean, has issued the following statement on our current human-created climate crisis.

Four years ago, the Global Buddhist Climate Change Collective issued a statement to world leaders prior to the UN Convention on Climate Change in Paris. The statement was intended to add a Buddhist voice “to the growing calls for world leaders to cooperate with compassion and wisdom and reach an ambitious and effective climate agreement. …We are at a crucial crossroads where our survival and that of other species is at stake as a result of our actions.” Although the 2015 Paris Climate Accord sought to “bring all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects,” no meaningful change has happened, and President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would cease all participation in the Paris Accord only heightens the crisis.

The human-created climate crisis that we are facing is brought on and worsened by the three poisons of greed, hostility, and ignorance. The purposeful assertion of our values as Buddhists is imperative. We believe that an understanding and purposeful application of the Mahayana insight into the interconnected causality of all things is vital. This insight makes us aware that the current climate crisis has been driven by our use of fossil fuels, unsustainable consumption patterns, and thoughtless destruction of systems that support all life.

Moreover, our practice as Buddhists brings about a recognition of the profound consequences of our behavior on future generations. Our greed, hostility, and ignorance on individual, national, and international levels make us complicit in the destruction of our environment. We acknowledge our responsibility to respond individually and institutionally to an ever-worsening human-made climate emergency that threatens life.

The Institute of Buddhist Studies is grounded upon core values that represent its fundamental approach to learning and education. We at IBS understand, moreover, that values must be instilled with purpose in order for them to be impactful and significant in our lives and this world. Core values of IBS include:

  • Embodying Mahayana Buddhist ideals of universal liberation, equality, peace, and freedom from ego-centric attachments
  • Demonstrating active, responsible and sustainable practices toward the protection of natural and social environments
  • Awakening to the boundless working of Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow within a deepening awareness of one’s own nature and a world in which wisdom unfolds as compassion

As Buddhists we understand that awakened minds can unfold in this world as compassionate action. The climate crisis calls upon us to open our spiritual and worldly eyes and embody that awakening in our actions.

Rev. Dr. David Ryoe Matsumoto

Dr. Scott A. Mitchell

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