In the eight-fold noble path, the Buddha included sama ajiva – right living, right livelihood – for intelligent living. When we live our life the right way, then issues related to the environment like pollution and climate change, as well as terrorism, will get diminished. Only, we must understand what is meant by right livelihood and intelligent living. You are meant to consume for living, not for hoarding. So, when you work to live, then, you have concern for other living beings also, because you work and live on the basis of right understanding.
If you don’t live life to store something, you will use fewer natural resources, because you will be less greedy. You will use only that which is required to live comfortably.
Today, people may build a 100- storey building, but it is sure to crumble one day. The sustainable way of living is to have right understanding, compassion and wisdom.
The Buddha talks about reality. Terms such as dualism, monotheism and pluralism are coined by people. For the Buddha, there are two ultimate realities: body and mind. There is another concept that is called Nibbana, transcendental reality. Nama, name, and rupa, form, are existential realities in the experiential world.
Schools of Buddhism were developed by different masters, later. These schools include philosophising and logic-building. For the Buddha, consciousness is one of the three realities. The two ultimate existential realities have five aggregates: The mind has four aspects; one of them is samjnan, cognition. When we see something, we cognise it, then there is recognition. Once we recognise something, we react; when we hear something good, we react pleasantly. When something is negative, we react negatively. Then we have the feeling part that is vedana. The fourth aspect of mind is vijnana, consciousness. It is not that only the mind exists, it needs a base to exist. That base is rupa, physical body. When a person dies, at that moment, vijnana goes away. It is the subtle part of the mind embodying other components that leaves and takes a physical base. The flow of consciousness goes on and it doesn’t stop until conditions are created to stop it.
As there is light, there is darkness. We cannot say that only the light exists or only darkness exists. Atman exists from a different perspective. When we observe, we find that things are permanent. You are sitting here for five or ten minutes, you are the same person, you appear permanent, but at a deeper level, there are hundreds of molecular-level changes taking place. These molecular-level changes are impermanence. Atman-anatman are two perceptions of reality. When we talk about something continuously existing, unchanging, then that is atman. But when there is something that undergoes a change, it becomes anatman.
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