Buddhists in Action: Building Climate Resilience for a Sustainable Future

National Headquarters  |  November 7, 2023

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Excellences, Distinguished guests, members of the Muslim Council of Elders, and fellow interfaith leaders, today I stand before you to shed light on the admirable efforts of the Buddhist Tzu Chi in the critical realm of climate change and climate resilience. In the spirit of our shared commitment to the environment, let us explore how Tzu Chi’s actions align with Buddhist values and contribute to a more sustainable world.

Protecting the Dharma of the Earth

In Buddhism, we are taught to protect not only the teachings of the Buddha but also the world we inhabit. Tzu Chi’s dedication to environmental protection is a manifestation of this principle. They understand that by safeguarding the Earth, we are preserving a sacred Dharma, for the well-being of all beings.

"One Home One Future": A Multifaith Endeavor

Buddhist Tzu Chi’s “One Home One Future” initiative is a shining example of interfaith collaboration for the environment. It brings together people from diverse faiths to work towards a common goal: caring for our shared home.
This initiative embodies the Buddhist belief in interconnectedness, where
all living beings and the Earth are intricately linked.

Climate Resilience as an Act of Compassion

At the heart of Tzu Chi’s mission is compassion. Their humanitarian spirit extends to environmental protection and climate resilience. By promoting climate-resilient practices and educating communities, Tzu Chi helps vulnerable populations withstand the impacts of climate change, aligning with Buddhist teachings on alleviating suffering.

Three Pillars of Tzu Chi's Environmental Focus

Tzu Chi’s environmental efforts, rooted in the principles of compassion, non-harm, and mindful living, center around three pillars: humanitarian action, environmental conservation, and the promotion of vegetarianism.
These pillars echo Buddhism’s values of kindness, sustainability, and respect for all life forms.

Global Environmental Engagement

Founded in 1966 by Bhikkhunī Shih Cheng Yen, Tzu Chi has grown into a global force for good. Their consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC) underscores their international reach. Tzu Chi’s environmental activities extend across continents, reflecting their commitment to preserving the Earth’s fragile ecosystem.

A Model for Climate Resilience

In a world grappling with climate change, Tzu Chi’s holistic approach serves as a model for all. They address the environmental challenges we face, while staying true to their core values and Buddhist principles. Tzu Chi embodies the Bodhisattva path, offering a roadmap to building climate resilience, nurturing hope, and fostering a sustainable global community.

In conclusion, the Buddhist Tzu Chi stands as a beacon of compassion, demonstrating how Buddhist values can guide meaningful action in the face of climate change. Their unwavering commitment to protecting our environment is a testament to the power of compassion in addressing the most pressing challenges of our time. As we gather today in the spirit of interfaith unity, let us celebrate Tzu Chi’s remarkable contributions to climate resilience and recommit ourselves to the shared goal of safeguarding our precious planet.

Thank you.

Debra Boudreaux
Co-Chair of the United Nations Interfaith Agency Task Force Multi-Faith
Advisory Council
Board of the Trustee, The Parliament of the World’s Religions
Board Members of Women Council of United Nations Environment
Protections Interfaith Task Forces
Board Members of the San Gabriel Valley Homeless Consortium
Interfaith Members of CDC EPIC
CEO, Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
Commissioner, Buddhist Tzu Chi Merit Society

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