9.Man and Environment

By Ben Chun, Malawi

The world we live in, due to our greed and ignorance, is becoming a place that brings restlessness and fear to many living beings. Man, due to his greed, is creating things that will destroy even his own life. Our early grandparents lived in the moment, but today’s people try to live in the next coming hundred years before they even know what will happen in the coming second. Man, due to his greed, can be inconsistent; destroying his own home while thinking he is creating a good place for his future child.

It is easier to destroy something than to replace it, and the future child we think will live in a paradise will only find himself in a hell. The trees we destroy today will take away the good fresh air of the future child we plan to have tomorrow. The tree we feel is beautiful today will only be history for the grandchild who will soon have to live on this very land we are destroying. We think we love our future relatives, but the question is how they will survive in this world that will be lacking what they will need to survive.

The world is becoming hotter and hotter, giving other living beings a lesser chance of survival. The machines we create produce heat, yet we complain about the ever increasing heat of the world. Everyone wants a fast way of doing things; at the same time, we are looking for a better living environment, forgetting what the effects are of our own actions. The oceans will become bigger as the ice melts, leaving the ever-increasing population less space to hang itself. Pores like a fishing net, leaving man to expect the danger of diseases, now, riddle the ozone layer, which for many years gave man the protection of a better, healthier living environment.

Animals want to live, but it seems man is tired of living. The same food he knows will help in his next coming day, he poisons while thinking he is improving the quality of the food. Due to his greed and ignorance, man has destroyed the ecosystem. He consumes a certain plant or kills a certain animal for his benefit or to beautify his surroundings, forgetting that the same plant or animal is needed for the survival of others, which in turn, will affect his life. Due to his actions, the balance of living beings has been upset as some species become overpopulated due to the lack of others that feed on them. This leads to the extermination of some species, as they do not have the meals necessary to survive.

One cannot survive without using natural things, but it all depends on one’s mind as one uses them. The once lovely, beautiful home of many beings is now becoming a cemetery, as they cannot survive. Yesterday it was a forest but tomorrow it will be a place for building weapons. Our fathers had shade long ago, but those who felt they were wise turned it into a means for killing others. Due to our greed to become famous or rich, we have turned the once pure flowing rivers into dirty dumping places for the waste that gives us money. We tend to look for money more than we think about keeping our future safe. The Dalai Lama, in one of his essays on environmental approaches, wrote, “Concern with one’s personal health leads inevitably to a concern with environmental health. How healthy is the food you eat, the water you drink, or the air you breathe? The answer, in large measure, depends on how healthy the environment is.” If one only thinks of the good of others, how will he cause suffering to other beings? By taking the life of plants without reason, only to satisfy one’s desire, will only bring harm to the self, as our life is in constant connection with the world. It might be a simple plant to us, but within that simple plant numerous beings find happiness.

We tend to forget our connection with the world but we are like a family, and the death of one of us should bring tears to the rest of us for the remaining part of our life. We fail to see things how they are but try to express them to suit our needs. If we could take ourselves to be part of the world, how could we end the life of others? If we could see the interdependence of things, it would be easy for us to see the beauty within everything we contact. The death of a brother creates an unbalanced family, just as the killing of a rabbit or cutting down of a mango tree will cause an unbalanced world.

Author's comment:

On this article Ben Chun from Malawi expressed about man and his interconnection with environment. Without considerate thinking, a man can destroys the system of the nature despite the fact that nature is important for future generations. But proving their idiotic ideas, we get many bad results from the nature and more other bad results. The nature has its own system. If we try to change, we get bad results more than good. We have to understand our inter connection with nature and other beings. We cannot live alone without using other things. Always we have to understand this.

The Buddha always loves and protects the nature. He always likes to live in the jungle and protect it. He loved all beings. Also all beings loved him and protected and helped him. While he was doing meditation in the jungle many animals treated him kindly by availing food for him. They never did any bad things to him, because they understood the Buddha was never harmful for them. “Ramaniyani arannani – yattha na ramati jano Vitaraga ramissanti - na te kamagavesino Those fascinating forests that do not capture the mind of the worldly masses and in which they do not take delight are attractive to the passionless ones. The Arahats take delight in the forests, because they are not pursuers of sensual pleasures.

If we love and protect the nature, we get help from it to develop our good things. If we go against it comes against us. This is the law of the nature. These things are more and more happening today. In the future we will be able see more than today. It is because of our ignorance. All over the world now we are facing unknown diseases, earthquakes and many other problems. We can say the same thing when we look at Africa. Many people destroyed natural heritages, animals, trees etc. because of that they have many dry-zone areas. Then there is no rain and no water. Then we get many diseases.