Week 7, Prompt 1: Buddhism

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     I certainly think that the advent of industrialization and technological innovation has lessened the influence of eastern religions that emphasize affinity with nature. Because economic growth in capitalist societies has led to environmental degradation and exploitation for the purpose of consumption, nature’s value has been inherently lessened. Buddhism’s emphasis on the development of empathy with the natural environment is threatened when a society like modern-day Japan places value on industrialism rather than religious and personal growth. Thus, it seems as though the tenets of Buddhism may be becoming less practical in today’s technological society.

     I don’t necessarily think an economic growth mindset is the primary reason why individuals engage in activities that do not go hand-in-hand with environmental health. Rather, I think the mindset that greater consumption=greater happiness is the issue. If people change their worldview into a more simplistic one a’ la Thoreau and focus namely on subsistence needs, there is a much greater chance for appreciating the environment and considering oneself to be a member of a larger biotic community.

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One response »

  1. I also believe that a change in mindset is necessary for people to understand that happiness does not come from more stuff. When people can achieve total happiness with what is around them then a world without as much garbage can be produced. Humans lives revolve around consuming and advertising so this may be deeply programmed and hard to counteract. Growing up I never took Buddhism and other eastern religions seriously. I thought that they were just fairy tales because I was never told their beliefs or values. I think this is the way for many people in the western countries because eastern religions have historically not had a large following on this side. I think with more education on their ideals that people may broaden their horizons.

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