An excellent historical lesson of Earth Day.
In The Buddhist Attitude Towards Nature, Lily de Silva points out that:
“Prior to the rise of Buddhism people regarded natural phenomena such as mountains, forests, groves, and trees with a sense of awe and reverence. They considered them as the abode of powerful non-human beings who could assist human beings at times of need. Though Buddhism gave man a far superior Triple Refuge (tisarana) in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, these places continued to enjoy public patronage at a popular level, as the acceptance of terrestrial non-human beings such as devatas and yakkhas did not violate the belief system of Buddhism. Therefore among the Buddhists there is a reverential attitude towards specially long-standing gigantic trees. They are vanaspati in Pali, meaning ‘lords of the forests.’ As huge trees such as the ironwood, the sala, and the fig are also recognized as the Bodhi trees of former Buddhas, the…
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