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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top Ten Green Buddhists by Steve Kanji Ruhl

Among the many activities of the worldwide movement in Socially Engaged Buddhism today, perhaps the most significant are those related to Buddhist environmentalism, or Green Buddhism. Ranging from efforts of the Dalai Lama to have the entire Tibetan plateau declared a "natural park" and wildlife refuge called the Zone of Ahimsa, to strategies by monks in Thailand to prevent over-logging, to Thich Nhat Hanh's ecological awareness campaigns within his Order of Interbeing, to the decades-long commitment of American Buddhists such as Gary Snyder and John Daido Loori and Joanna Macy to honor and protect wilderness and sustainable human cultures and all living beings, the Green Buddhist movement is dynamic, vitally important, and inspiring to Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. (And it also includes the activities of the "Green Appalachia" program sponsored by the Zen Peacemakers Order in partnership with Ahimsa Village in central Pennsylvania.) Unlike the Christian environmental movement, Green Buddhism does not espouse the ideal of responsible human stewardship of God's Creation, a view that affords humans a priveleged position within nature. Rather, Green Buddhism invokes the fundamental Buddhist principle of interconnectedness, in order to express the truth of the profound interdependence of everything within the cosmos, humans linked to animals and plants and oceans and mountains and stars in a harmonious network of interbeing.

Here's my top 10 list of Green Buddhists, in alphabetical order:

1. The Dalai Lama
2. Wendy Johnson
3. Stephanie Kaza
4. John Daido Loori
5. Joanna Macy
6. Peter Muryo Matthiessen
7. Thich Nhat Hanh
8. Prayudh Payutto
9. Sulak Sivaraksa
10. Gary Snyder

Honorable Mentions:
Robert Aitken, Rita Gross, the Karmapa (Ogyen Trinley Dorje)

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