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Buddhist Teachings on the Precipice


Estimated reading time: 1 minute

In this video teaching, David Loy draws on his recent book EcoDharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis to offer a Buddhist perspective on responding to the climate emergency that can help us face issues of social and political divide and upheaval as well. All of these daunting challenges call for bodhisattvas, or ecosattvas, who have a “two-sided practice”—committed to inner transformation and thus able to maintain equanimity in the face of uncertainty, while also ready to engage in compassionate social action.

This recording is from a seminar hosted by the Network of Buddhist Organizations (UK).


“Probably the most important teaching of Buddhism in relationship to our present situation—it’s what I would call the ecosattva path.”

“‘Sentient beings are numberless. I vow to save them all.’ Wow. We are vowing to fulfill an unfulfillable vow, is that weird or what? Since it can’t be fulfilled, what it’s calling for is a reorientation in our lives.”

“I hope whatever you do, you do it with community.”

“Hope and despair are dualities. I don’t think it’s hope and despair that motivate bodhisattvas. I think it’s something deeper.”

“We don’t know if what we do is important, but it seems very important for us to do it.”

“Our ecological efforts are our gift to the earth.”

Picture of David Loy

David Loy

David Robert Loy is vice-president of the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center. He is a professor, writer, and teacher in the Sanbo tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. A student of Yamada Koun and Robert Aitken, he was authorized to teach in 1988 and leads retreats and workshops nationally and internationally. He is author of EcoDharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis and A New Buddhist Path: Enlightenment, Evolution, and Ethics in the Modern World, and he is co-editor of A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency. His website is
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