The 2011 Earth Day festivities were celebrated globally on April 22, 2011. The Earth Day ought not to be honoured and observed by the environmentally concerned public for only a single day on April 22 every year. The Earth Day should be celebrated or observed throughout the year as an on-going process of environmental awareness of the Non-duality of ecology. It should be a daily affair. Non-duality is ultimately sacred and divine if one knows one’s Lord through self-knowledge. The self-awareness of the significance of the Earth Day campaign should be exercised from day-to-day life process or reality. Man and the natural environment are One. The One is non-dual. The Non-duality between Man and the natural environment inherently endures for 24 hours per day for 365 days every year. Therefore, the celebration of Earth Day should be an ongoing environmental awareness campaign to care for the Mother Earth. It is a continuous process in one’s daily life and throughout one’s life in which environmental awareness becomes habitual and joyful. Environmentalism and Dharma are inherently hybrid. They are intrinsically inseparable from the Buddhist Doctrine of Double Truth (Satyadvavada) of interpenetration between phenomenon and Principle (Avatamsaka Sutra). The Buddhist doctrine of Double Truth is compatible with the early Buddhist fundamental doctrine of Three Universal Characteristics (Tilakkahanas) of the three-fold Truth of Impermanence (Anicca) of all phenomena (multiplicity) and Principle (Unity of Non-self- Anatta) in relation to suffering and cessation of suffering.
Wholesome secular life and spiritual life can be integrated through the Oneness wisdom of Non-duality (Advaita) or Emptiness (Sunyata). Love of the environment or Mother Earth is ultimately spiritual or divine. We should green the Dharma and use the Dharma to sanctify the green awareness and green leadership. What is spiritual or divine (dharmic) is a whole-life process of daily non-dual awareness of the present moment of here and now. The key practice is non-dual awareness fulfilling harmony and wholeness. Environmentalism and Dharma are innately integrated as an inseparable hybrid.
Therefore, environmental concerns should not be superficially be driven by mere fear of obvious physical menaces of eco-crises, such as global warming, climate change, storms, floods, wildfires and so on that have been striking direly and epicly at the Mother Earth hitherto. Environmental concerns should be spiritual or divine in order to make right effort to protect and sustain the balance of the eco-systems. Earth Day is not just a day of participation in the environmental clean-up campaign to pick up garbages or refuges in polluted vicinities of waterfalls to help local governments promote eco-tourism. The participation should be more comprehensive in order to make Earth Day’s awareness campaign a more effective environmental awareness program to produce a long-term fruitful result of preserving a sustainable development of the environment.
The Buddhist spiritual leaders or Dharma propagators should green the Dharma and utilize Dharma to monitor green life. Greening the Dharma is to create awareness that ecological symbiosis between Man and the environment is a central spiritual issue of Dharma (Truth; Reality). The Dharma linking man and the natural environment is the Buddhist central theme of Non-dualism. Non-dualism is the Buddhist doctrine of Dharmadhatu-pratityasamutpada (Mahayana Avatamsaka Sutra). Dharmadhatu-pratityasamutpada is the nexus of interbeing of the necessary interconnectedness of all things. The Interbeing is Non-duality. Man and the natural environment are non-dually interconnected. Being non-dually aware in very present moment, spiritual sanctification and environmental care are executed simultaneously. It kills two birds with one arrow. In other words, Man is inherently connected with the environment and the environment is inherently connected to Man. The ‘self’ is empty of inherent existence (nihsvabhava); the ‘other’ is also empty of inherent existence.
The Heart Sutra (Prajnaparamita-Hrdaya Sutra) depicts the interbeing between man and the environment as the Emptiness (Sunyata) of five aggregates. The Emptiness of the five aggregates is the Insubstantiality or Unity (Non-self; Anatta) of the five aggregates (Culadalla Sutta,MN44) . Dharma embodiment is spontaneously environmentally friendly due to the Insight (Vipassana) into inherent ecological symbiosis in all eco-systems.The five aggregates (pancakkhandhas) are comprised of form, feelings, perceptions, volitions and consciousness. The Emptiness or Unity of five aggregates can be comprehended more easily in terms of the Insubstantiality or Unity of the Eighteen Elements (Dhatus).
The Eighteen Elements consist of six sense faculties, six sense fields and six sense consciousness. The six sense consciousness are dependently co-arisen from the unity of six sense faculties and six-sense fields. The six sense faculties are the internal physical phenomena (rupadhammas) of a human personality. The six sense fields are the external physical phenomena of the human personality. The integration between the internal and external physical phenomena dependently co-produces the six mental phenomena (nama rupa) of the human personality. The mental phenomena are the empirical experiences of a human being. The Unity of Eighteen Elements is Non-duality (Bahiya Sutta;Ud.1.10). The Bahiya Sutta states that in reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. The seen is the process becoming of the Unity of the seer and the seen. A self-identity called the seer does not exist. Discerning the process becoming as Non-duality, clinging upon the five aggregates is relinquished. Non-clinging annihilates self-centric ego. If man-environment relationship is discerned non-dually relinquishing selfishness or egoism, the love of the environment becomes effortless and spontaneous.
From this Buddhist psychology, we witness that man and environment are one and not two (Non-dual relationship). In other words, a human personality is always internally and externally connected with the environmental stimuli. Consequently, when the environment is polluted and toxic, a human being also becomes proportionately contaminated and toxic. When the environment is physically or psychologically unhealthy, a human also becomes physically and psychologically unsound owing to the non-dual symbiosis between Man and the environment.
Man is not an independent entity. Man is empty of self-nature (nihsvabhava); the environmental conditions are not independent entities. Man and the environment are dependently co-arisen Non-duality. Not only Buddhism awakens Man to realize his intimate non-dual relationship with the environment through Buddha-concept, other world’s religions also awaken mankind into realizing man’s non-dual relationship with the environment through the sacred Buddha concept. The ultimate Reality of Non-duality concept rules all things in the cosmos. Non-duality is ecology. Discerning the non-dichotomy between man and environment, one develops wisdom of interconnectedness between Man and environment. Rooted in the non-dual wisdom of interbeing, great compassion of brotherhood or sisterhood ensues spontaneously or effortlessly to care for the Mother Earth.
Realizing the universal core value of Non-duality or symbiosis relationship, it is the communal religious or moral duty of every global villager to steward the natural resources of our environment as conscientiously as possible. As Non-duality is a daily human experience, the care for the Mother Earth should be a daily spiritual or moral duty or responsibility. For instance, filial piety requires us to care for own mother for 24 hours per day for 365 days per year and every year. Only the right mindfulness of clear awareness of Non-duality is a more assured commitment to protect and sustain our Mother Earth or its natural resources. Natural resources are assets on our financial balanced sheets.
Therefore, if you are Buddhist or Hindu, green your Dharma. If you are a Christian, green your gospel. If you’re a Muslim, green your ibadat. If you are a Taoist or Confucianist, green your Tao. The communal message of all Tathagatas and Prophets is one and the same . The common Voice is that man is inherently, non-dually related with the mother Earth. I see the Earth Day as a sacred Sabbath Day too, don’t you? It is not just a day of evangelical environmentalism; it is an on-going process of pure awareness of Non-duality between Man and the Mother Earth.