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Dark Green Religion

Essay by   •  January 29, 2013  •  Essay  •  2,853 Words (12 Pages)  •  1,372 Views

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"All Species are Equal" is one of the important ideas that Buddhism keeps as their central theme. On the other hand, Christianity believes that "Human Center View" is the most important one. In addition, Christian people usually make human as the commander of the nature. Therefore, Christianity's belief is contradicted with the Buddhism's. Comparing these two religions, what are the pros and cons? Why these two religions held such beliefs according to their unique historical backgrounds? What are the significant events that trigger or cause these particular beliefs to be created or existed within these two religions? Finally, if I was an atheist, which religion is more likely illustrate my personal beliefs and why?

For this religion research paper, I focus on the different beliefs on two religions. In comparing two religions' main beliefs and stand points of Buddhism and Christianity, we learned and noticed that each one of them has its important meaning for us to believe. One stands for "All species are equal to one another," while the other one stands for taking human as the center view of the religion." We will discuss several different matters and consider many factors of each pros and cons and how they each related to the nature and the environmental issues and how each religion's main belief is being developed and created in the first place.

During the ancient time in China, the ecological philosophy has a unique theme of "All species are equal," especially appearing in Buddhism. In Buddhism, its beliefs focus on an angle that all species can reach the certain level like Buddha; therefore it proves and admits the equality of all species. Recent ecology and genetics prove that all human beings and lives are all from based on the unit of cell, in addition, almost all cell have the same genetic mechanism.

Living as a human being shares all resources with all other species and holding the same characteristics. Speaking in principle, human being and all living lives are equal; no one is more superior to the other or has a better social status. In the ancient Chinese ecological philosophy, not only includes the all the animals and plants, but also includes the entire universe. According to Buddhist teaching, everything including inanimate thins, has a Buddha nature, and all living creatures are equal. Everything in front of Buddha is equal to one another.

All Chinese Buddhism has the belief of "All species are equal." There are many different branches or Sects of Buddhism, such as Tiantai, Huayan, Jingtu, Chan Sects appeared between 581 and 755 A.D., and they had considerable influence in both China and Japan. With the appearance of Sanjie Jiao, Huayuan Zong School, North and South Zen and Esoteric School came to the end of localization of Buddhism in China. All these Sects all believe and admit that everything has Buddha-Nature.

Moreover, Buddha live with all lives, and Chan Sect not only believes that creatures with sense of emotions have Buddha-Nature, but also believes that creatures without the sense of emotions such as those plants and trees, as known as the lower status living creatures, have Buddha-Nature. Everything that the nature gives us, a tree, a flower, a certain kind of plants, is full of joy of life and deserves to be cherished by human beings.

When Buddhist admits and believes that whether the living creatures with or without the sense of emotions, they all have their own value themselves, therefore, they have already surpassed the idea of "the human center view" which will be discussed later on when we talk about Christianity. Rolston perceives that those people who have learned and absorbed the value of life theory from Chan Sect are able to teach others about the environmental ethics. He said, "Chan Sect is admired by others because of the fact that he really respects the life of others. It doesn't appear to be in between the truths and values or to have a boundary in between human beings and nature.

From the Western Stand point, Nature doesn't have its value, but when it has support from the science and techniques, it then started to gain value gradually as it became a tool. Nature is nothing but a resource that is still under development. Moreover, Chan Sect is not human center view, it doesn't take advantage of nature, on the other hand, Buddhism promise to punish and control human beings wishes and desires which caused human and their resources and the world around them to interact with each other. We know that Chan Sect knows how to keep all creatures with wide range of coordination and keep them living peacefully, but not to let each creature to lose its special meaning as living in such a universe.

The theory of Omitted - Buddha nature make values for everything within the universe, and we can also sat it's a universal ecological ethics. This kind of ethics ask to use the same attitude to treat all creature in the universe, since all creature have it own value and pride just like we as human beings want to be treated fairly and respectfully. To elaborate, the entire universe, and everything within the universe has its pride, therefore, its existence means something which means though there are something that are not living creatures but they all have their price and meaning to be existed within this universe, they are water, rocks, creeks, oceans, lakes, air, ground...etc. All these elements that made up of the nature environment have pride, If human violate and be disrespectful to their pride, it is pretty much saying that we violate our own pride at the same time. Human beings have to reform a correct attitude to treat these whether living or un-living creatures. The theory of omitted - Buddha-Nature helped us to better understand the relationship and the value of all these creatures and how they rely on one another within this ecological environment.

As we mention above Christianity's main theme is about the "human center view". From a theoretical stand point, human center view puts as the center of the universe. From ethical stand point, human center view considers human beings is the only creature with intrinsic value, and other creature or non-creatures are all considered as instrumental values for human beings. Therefore, human's benefits override those non-human creatures' or environment's benefits.

Although human center view has a quite amount of supporters in environmental ethics, to those ecological activists who want to change the tradition environmental thinking, it is required to be challenged, a value to be substitute. Those criticisms to human center view have become important lessons of environmental

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