Dhammapada and the forest: Buddhism and the Environment

Dhammapada and the forest: Buddhism and the Environment April 13, 2010

There is a lot of chatter in the interweb lately about Buddhism and the Environment, with plenty of opposing views (what else is new) and a myriad of texts cited to reinforce them. While the “Buddhist attitude” toward the environment is far from unequivocal, I’ve always appreciated the following verse from the Arahat (“worthy one,” or one awakened under the teachings of the Buddha) chapter of the Dhammapada:

Forests are delightful,
where (ordinary) folks do not delight;
the passionless will rejoice,
 who do not seek sensual pleasures.

Ramaṇīyāni araññāni, 
yattha na ramatī jano;
Vītarāgā ramissanti, 
na te kāmagavesino.
verse 99, my translation
Excellent book-length translations can be found by Radhakrishnan and by Gil Frondal.

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