Buddha

Buddha-nature goes by different names in different traditions, but in general you can say that it is concerned with what allows sentient beings to become Buddhas. The term, Buddha nature, is a translation of the Sanskrit coinage, ‘Buddha-dhātu’.

It appeared in the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra where it refers to “a sacred nature that is the basis for beings becoming buddhas.” This short sutra says that all living beings are in essence identical to the Buddha. This is also present in the idea that enlightenment (nirvana) is not something which has to be achieved, it is something which is already there. “In a way, it means that everyone is really a Buddha now.” (Fowler, Buddhism: Beliefs & Practices)

But, we also think of the nature of the natural world around us when we hear the term. Although the term Buddha-nature does not refer to the natural world, some people take the Buddha as a guide in their approach to nature. The Buddha had few clothes. He ate only food which was given to him. He lived in simple shelters. Therefore, he had little negative impact on nature. He was an environmental minimalist.

Nature cannot be conquered or controlled. Nature is always teaching us. So, following the Buddha, we need to let nature be and we need to adjust to it.

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