A Buddhist lives in the world without a god’s role in creation. Instead, we assert that the universe is created by the collective karmic force of all living beings bound to live and survive in the natural world of our beautiful blue planet.

Lord Buddha explained: “The Great Earth is our Mother with boundless compassion and capacities to support limitless living beings from the most fragile to the strong, from the tiniest to the large, and whoever has the need to breathe in order to be alive. The role of the natural world is to provide enough space for each living being as a home, nourishment as food and drink, and other needs for life to be healthy and productive.”

Understanding the natural world and its living beings reveals the importance of maintaining the environment’s natural cleanliness. All living beings, even the smallest insect, aspire to be happy just as we human beings aspire to be happy. Caring for the natural world is critical to the health and happiness of us all.

The natural world is our home. It is also like our mother, and we are her child. Our health, happiness and means to survive are deeply reliant on our natural world, just as an innocent child relies on the kindness of the mother.

Human beings have the gift of intelligence, and the moral duty, to take care of the natural world. Destroying it for our immediate profit is nothing other than the act of ignorantly committing suicide.

“Careful living and looking after our home well is a source of happiness. Careless living and contaminating our home is a source of death. Therefore, always think to take good care of the natural world which is our home,” Lord Buddha said.

The undisturbed natural cycle of the Earth’s four seasons is extremely important. This natural cycle creates a perfect balance among the elements and the health of the climate.

Spring prepares the Earth by stimulating germinating forces. Summer makes the Earth highly active and creates conditions for the germinating forces to take effect and grow properly for bearing their fruits.

Fall prepares the Earth to slow and return to a resting state to rejuvenate and restore its energy and fertility.

Winter allows the Earth to maintain its energy and fertility and be prepared for spring.

When this cycle is disturbed by our human agitation and pollution, due to our greed and ignorance, the whole climate changes. When the climate changes, the natural features and timing of the world change. This will cause illnesses, mental and psychological disorders and serious elemental destructions on Earth.

Finally, the sky will end up crying and the great planet will end up falling apart. We will be left homeless with no healthy source of life. Do we really want this?

Geshe Dakpa Topgyal

Spiritual director, Charleston Tibetan Society Dharma Center