The Dalai Lama compares our planet to our house – we need to take care of it if we genuinely want happiness for ourselves, our children, our friends and any other creature we share this great house with. If we think of the planet as our house we automatically feel concern for our environment and understand that the future of humanity, and of the planet, are very much intertwined. Our children will inherit a vastly degraded planet if the destruction of the natural environment continues at the present rate.
Buddhists know that human activities based on ignorance, greed, and lack of respect for the earth’s living things will ultimately threaten the survival of life on earth, as we know it. This is one reason why they don’t indiscriminately consume -¬ they admire simple living and individual responsibility. Samdhong Rinproche defines it this way – “Every person has by nature certain responsibilities or duties to be performed, because each one of us constitutes an inseparable part of the universe."
In modern civilisation, we tend to talk about our rights and forget about our responsibilities, overlooking the fact that one cannot exist without the other. Recognising that our actions have an influence that goes much further than our immediate circle makes us more responsible towards other living creatures, the environment and ourselves. This is universal responsibility.
For now, we still have a rich and bountiful planet to sustain us. It will continue to do so, as it always has, but only if we take proper care of it. Fortunately, today we have access to more information and global communication makes it possible to share our knowledge.