Of all the great faiths and philosophies, the Buddhist seems to understand most clearly not only our need to live more simply and altruistically within the natural world but also the healing power of nature.
The Vietnamese monk Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh writes:
"Buddhists believe that the reality of the interconnectedness of human beings, society and Nature will reveal itself more…as we gradually cease to be possessed by anxiety, fear, and the dispersion of the mind. Among the three - human beings, society, and Nature - it is us who begin to effect change. But in order to effect change we must recover ourselves, one must be whole. Since this requires the kind of environment favorable to one’s healing, one must seek the kind of lifestyle that is free from the destruction of one’s humanness. Efforts to change the environment and to change oneself are both necessary. But we know how difficult it is to change the environment if individuals themselves are not in a state of equilibrium."
(This is from the Buddhist faith statement prepared for the Alliance of Religions and Conservation by Kevin Fossey, Buddhist educator and representative of Engaged Buddhism in Europe; Somdech Preah Maha Ghosananda, Patriarch of Cambodian Buddhism; His Excellency Sri Kushok Bakula, 20th Reincarnation of the Buddha’s Disciple Bakula, head of Ladakhi Buddhism, and initial rebuilder of Mongolian Buddhism; and Venerable Nhem Kim Teng, Patriarch of Vietnamese Buddhism: From Faith in Conservation: 2003, pp.77, 78. Also online at ARC site.)
My book Why Religions Work explores religious tolerance issues. It could not be more relevant at the moment with the world in its present state.
This blog has concentrated recently on the wonderful pilgrimages I have been on - to the Holy Land and to Turkey and more recently to Holy Georgia , Greece "In the Steps of St Paul" , Ethiopia and most recently my experiences in Iran.
"If I was allowed another life I would go to all the places of God's Earth. What better way to worship God than to look on all his works?" from The Chains of Heaven: an Ethiopian Romance Philip Marsden