Blog Response to Buddhism in Japan


I believe that both technological advancement and the constant push for economic growth have caused a disconnect between the impact that religious influences have on our societies and how we interact with our ecosystems. Jainism, a religion practiced in several rapidly expanding areas of the world (India, Canada, the US, and the UK), is a strong example of how traditional religious values can be overshadowed by a country’s technological and economic development.  Centered upon equality, compassion for others, and the idea that each living being possesses a soul, Jainism rejects the degradation of our ecological systems in favor of non violence, vegetarianism, and self control. However, it is clear that while this religion is still widely practiced, it has not made a significant impact ecologically. Despite the fact that the ethics of Jainism prohibit the killing of other beings, it has not been able to influence the development of modern society on a national scale and has actually been declining in popularity over recent years. By requiring its followers to adhere to strict moral codes such as the rejection of material possessions, it denounces the modern way of life which is largely centered around consumerism, environmental exploitation, and the accumulation of capital wealth.                          I am in agreement with the idea that placing a lesser focus on economic wellbeing would allow us to develop a greater attachment to our own environment and permit us to develop a deeper appreciation of the resources that it has to offer. As Arne Naess argues, we must value the quality of life by preserving the diversity of our ecosystems and appreciating the inherent worth of all life forms. I believe that in order to maintain a rich, thriving environment we must view our natural resources as being more than just tools for human consumption, but also as precious commodities that must be preserved and prized for their own inherent worth.


One response »

  1. I think you made a good example of why religion is not a main factor in environmental issues. Take for example, our government declares a separation of church and state. If religion was influential then we wouldn’t be terrorizing other countries and denying our own citizens healthcare. Religion is subjective. Ethics should be objective. Ethics must be created and implemented to guide our leaders. Even though we’re in this class because ethics can never really be agreed upon even though they’re really simple, I’m glad this class exists because without it ethics wouldn’t be discussed, new ideas wouldn’t form, perspectives wouldn’t be seen, and a new believer wouldn’t be made. The discussion of ethics is as a close as we’re going to get to a list of universal ethics. Well, pardon my rant, but it was all significant to say.
    Even though I myself place an intrinsic value on the environment, I believe it can thrive with only instrumental value. The real problem is that people are blind to the science of everything. If they want the Earth to remain healthy for the use of their future generations then they need to understand that the destruction and pollution taking place must be greatly reduced.

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