Human beings are a part of the environment. But human is constantly spoiling the balance of environment. Due to this behavior of human beings, the possibility of destruction of life on Earth is being expressed in the future. Considering this serious situation, today all the countries of the world are taking appropriate steps for ‘environmental protection’. We can find a solution to this difficult problem in the thoughts of Buddha.

Buddha’s teachings are for the welfare and happiness of humans. The welfare of the whole world is included in the teachings of Buddha. Buddhism is very close to the environment. Buddhist literature proves to be very helpful in environmental protection.

Meaning Of Environment:

According to Wikipedia-

“Environment is a place where different things are such as a swampy or hot environment. It can be living (biotic) or non-living (abiotic) things.”

The Relationship Between Buddha And Nature :

By studying Pali literature, we get to know that Buddha and nature have a close relationship. The birth of Siddhartha, the attainment of enlightenment, the first sermon, and the Mahaparinibbana have all taken place in the proximity of nature.

Buddha’s Loving-Kindness For All Beings:

  Buddha has great Loving-kindness for all the beings. In Mettasutta Sutta, Buddha expresses Loving-kindness to all beings-

      Ye keci pāabhutatthi,

             Tasā vā thāvarā vanavasesā;

       Dighā vā yeva mahantā,

             Majjhimā rassakā anukathulā.

Diṭṭhā vā yeva adiṭṭhā,

            Ye va dūre vasanti avidūre;

Bhūtāva sambhavesi va,

          Sabbasattā bhavantu sukhittā.

(The living beings whatever there are, either feeble or strong, either long or great, middle-sized, short, small or large, either(they are) seen or unseen, and which live far or near, either born or in the process of taking birth, may all beings be happy within themselves.)

Buddha’s Nonviolent Thoughts And Environmental Protection:           

The first Sīla of Pañcasila shows compassion for all beings of Buddha.

            Pānātipātā veramanī-sikkhāpadam samādiyami .

(I undertake the training rule of abstain from killing living creatures.)

The Buddha has presented a reformist view, refuting the inhuman practices prevalent in the social system of that time. At that time, Buddha also opposed the sacrifices made by the creatures in the Yagnas in Kutadanta Sutta. The animal violence has also been condemned in Vasala Sutta.


Ekajam vā dvijam vāpi,

Yodha pānam vihimsati;

Yassa pāne daya natthi,

Taṃ jañña vasalo iti.

(whosoever in this world kills living beings, once born or twice born, in whom there is no compassion for living beings- Know Him as An Outcast.)

Buddha And Natural Healing Method:

The medical method that Buddha has analyzed in Bhesajjakhandhaka takes closer to nature. Through the Bhesajjakhandhaka we know that turmeric, ginger, orris root, white orris root, garlic, khus-khus, nut grass, etc were used as medicine. Nimb leaves, cucumber leaves, basil leaves, cotton-tree leaves, etc were also used as medicines. In Bhesajjakhandhaka Buddha has given the guidance of natural medicines on diseases.

Thoughts About Jīvika’s Natural Forest Medicines:

  Jivaka describes in Jīvakavatthu of Vinayapitaka-“ na kinci abhesajjam addasa’nti|”( I did not see anything that was not medicine) .  Every plant of nature is full of medicinal values. But we do not know its value due to ignorance and destroy it. Through the study of Pali literature, we come to know the importance of natural wealth. We should protect this precious natural wealth.

Buddha’s Thoughts For Environmental Protection:

The Buddha was against the destroying of trees. Brahmajāl Sutta mentions-‘Bijagāmabhūtagāmasamārambha pativirato samano’ (Samana Gotama abstains from damaging seed and plant Life.)

Destroying, damaging trees, was considered an offence of expiation (Pacittiya) for Bhikkhus. In Kutadanta Sutta, the Buddha opposed the breaking of trees for the Yajna.

These thoughts of Buddha are very much needed today. Human beings are constantly harming this natural forest wealth for their selfishness.

Ashoka’s Environmental Protection Works:

Emperor Ashoka has done many environmental-protection works, following the moral values of Buddha. Emperor Ashoka had compassion for all beings including humans. Ashoka’s second inscription describes that he has made arrangements the medical treatment for humans as well as   animals. For humans and animals dug wells and planted trees everywhere on the roads. Emperor Ashoka prohibits killing animals in the first inscription and praises abstaining from killing animals in the third inscription.

Environmental Protection Works Of Sri Lankan Kings:

Buddhism has entered in Sri Lanka through Ther Mahinda. Buddhism had a positive effect on the kings of Sri Lanka. Kings of Sri Lanka have also done a lot of environmental protection works. In the list of Sri Lankan Kings, king Vasabha gave most priority to agricultural work. King formed eleven tanks-

  1. The Mayanti tank
  2. The Rajjuppala tank
  3. The vaba tank
  4. The kolamba tank
  5. The Mahanikkhavatti tank
  6. The Maharametti tank
  7. The kehal tank
  8. The Kali tank
  9. The Jambuti tank
  10. The Mangana tank
  11. The Abhivaddhamanaka tank

He also constructed twelve irrigation canals. So that agricultural production should remain constant and there was no famine. According to Dipavamsa, King Vasabh ordered lotus-pond to be dug at the different places in the town, the capital. The most eminent king conducted water by means of an underground aqueduct (to those ponds). It appears that there was a planned system of water in ancient Sri Lanka. In the context of the present, these underground water systems can also be used.

King Amandagamani ordered ‘khanāpesi udapānam Gāmenditalakam pi ca’(a well and also Gamendi pond to be dug). King Bhatutissa dug the Mahāgāmani lake and the Randhkandaka pond. The kings of Sri Lanka also show kindness to all living beings. King Amandagamani   spread prohibition of killing animals everywhere. The moral values ​​of Buddhism have had a great influence on the kings of Sri Lanka.

Buddhism has always worked for the preservation of the environment, worked in every era. Buddhism has been propagated in the countries of the world with the message of ‘Environmental Protection’.

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