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13 December 2006

Preparation and Publication of a Buddhism and Ecology Booklet 1,000 copies Dharma Centre of the Republic of Kalmykia, Russian Federation

Project Summary:

Preparation and publication of a booklet that underlines the teachings and link between Buddhism and Ecology for students of Buddhist studies, Buddhist colleges and practising monks.

A brief summary of the booklet Buddhism and Ecology'

Undisciplined mind: Over twenty-five centuries ago the Buddhat realized that all suffering of this life - Sansara arises from an undisciplined mind. To get rid of suffering, the individual needs to cultivate discipline and clarity of mind. First of all it can be carried out by means of recognising the inaccuracy of initial perceptions and then by means of replacing it with correct and clear understanding.

Modern civilization, through the example of planetary ecological crisis has realized that by not changing injurious non-biocentrycal actions which are the results of a greedy mind, the individuals of the 21 st century create their own to self-destruction.

Training of the mind: The Buddha recommended a way of bridling this state of mind.

Firstly, observance of the rules of Ten Virtues concerning action, physical body, speech and reason. These Rules are observed when an individual abstains from: killing, theft, debauchery, lies, slander, rough and offensive language, idle chatter, greedy thoughts, thoughts about causing harm to other essences and erroneous views based on denying the law karma - cause and effect interrelated to all elements of life.

Buddha has clearly shown that all our actions, be they good or fatal, cause occurrence and corresponding consequences. He has not simply advised us to observe such rules without a corresponding substantiation. There is a connection between the reasons and their results, and freedom of choice of our actions. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas cannot transfer accrued spiritual achievements or merits to other essences. There is no roundabout way to avoid results of previous evil deeds, or to find fruits in negative actions. Doctrines about karma and moral discipline are found in the First Sermon of the Buddha and the Small Chariot - Hinayana. ( the Doctrine of karma could become one of corner stones of the ecological philosophy).

Secondly, it is loving kindness and compassion when an idividual does not harm another and aspires to operate , this is the basis of the Doctrine of the Buddha. Only by accepting all living things as our own mothers and realizing their previous lives, is a person capable of true transformation of consciousness from egocentrycal (including antropocentrycal) to universal altruism. The conducting motivation of such a person is a magnanimous desire to achieve irreversible freedom from sansaric circulation and to turn to the Way of Complete Awakening. Doctrines about loving kindness and compassion - Bodhichitta are found in the Second sermon of the Buddha and the Big chariot - Mahayanas. ( the Doctrine about Compassion to all living things is relevant to ecological ethics).

Thirdly , the Doctrine of the Buddha lays out ways that are comprehensible at any level of spiritual development. For those who are more advanced along the path, there is a special way. The body and reason deformed by forces of ignorance and karma, saved up during set kalpas (epoch of a universe), should be disciplined and cleared of all . To achieve this completely cleared Body of the Buddha, the person should begin meditation on the physical constitution seen as the Body of the Buddha in the form of corresponding Idams - Deities. The extensive and deep process of meditation can cause this transformation. This extremely complex system of energy and similar tantric meditation is very powerful and applied only by devoted and skilled students under a qualified Lama.

Creating a clear and exhaustive picture of a deity in the , develops a steady analytical and concentrated meditation. In due course the image of elite Idam in all his details becomes completely clear. This achievement is accompanied with the complete comprehension of the "hollow" nature of the object of contemplation: so that it is always dependent on other phenomena outside it to give it form (doctrine of emptiness). If there is a simultaneous understanding of the identifiable image of a deity and his "hollow" nature, the skill of distinguished understanding has been developed. Everything that he sees appears in the form of this deity; everything, that he hears sounds as a mantra of this deity. In this way the stream of consciousness is consistently cleared. Illusion, errors and instinctive bents will be , seen with clarity. The student will eventually reach the highest level - the Nature of Buddha. Then the body (microcosm) becomes identical with the Absolute Body of the Buddha - Dharmakaya (macrocosmos) This Doctrine is contained in the Third sermon of the Buddha and the Diamond chariot - Vadjrayana. ( the Doctrine about identity could become a way to reveal new ways of ecological regulation).

Prospects of spiritual - ecological development: Buddhism in Kalmykia over the centuries developed using all Three Chariots. But to a greater degree, as in Tibet and Mongolia , especially developed Vajrayana. The method of transformation of Mind by means of tantric technics has been very popular. Special place are associated with this practice and because of its associations the environment has special significance and attributes. Fresh water springs may appear because of these links or certain animal are found and protected there. Recent research has revealed that Buddhist Huruls (monasteries) and Stupas, as a rule, were put in places of geomagnetic intensity that transforms destructive energy in an environment and creates a harmonious balance.

In 1994 under the initiative of the Dharma Centre of Kalmykia, a spiritual /ecological expedition took place called the PreciousNnecklace of Kalmykia' with the aim of visiting sites that have significant spiritual associations, including the sties of earlier Buddhist monasteries and Stupas, sacred springs etc. The expedition raised awareness of their spiritual and natural significance through lectures at schools and colleges, and also through teachings at monasteries.

Similar actions and awareness-raising continue to be necessary. As well as the wide propagation of Buddhist teachings about ahimsa (nonviolence) these teachings are necessary for protection of the mind and the protection of the mind's reflection - the environment.

The booklet contains ideas about the creation of a programme Buddha - econet in Kalmykia'. We have begun with a manual and associated teaching materials, then it would be constructive to develop a Buddha eco-park in Elista and a similarly protected area in Iki-Burulskogo focused around the working Hurul and the Dharma Centre. This theme could be developed around natural and built sites that have traditional significance for the people of Kalmykia. Within the Buddhist spiritual - ecological school we can create this transformation through study and education and then through practical activity.

ARC Grant received $1,250
Contact: Lopon Gonbo Dorje Elistaev Batyr Kondratovich
Dharma Centre of the Republic of Kalmykia
6 Gubarevich Street, Elista
358000 Republic of Kalymkia


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