limate Change is a Moral Issue 
A Buddhist Reflection on the Pope's Climate Encyclical, Laudato si'

By Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi

Pope Francis

On June 18, Pope Francis issued an encyclical letter, Laudato si’ (Praised Be), “On Care for our Common Home,” pointing to climate change as the overriding moral issue of our time. The encyclical boldly proclaims that humanity’s capacity to alter the climate charges us with the gravest moral responsibility we have ever had to bear. Climate change affects everyone. The disruptions to the biosphere occurring today bind all peoples everywhere into a single human family, our fates inseparably intertwined. No one can escape the impact, no matter how remotely they may live from the bustling centers of industry and commerce. The responsibility for preserving the planet falls on everyone.

The future of human life on earth hangs in a delicate balance, and the window for effective action is rapidly closing. Tipping points and feedback loops threaten us as ominously as nuclear warheads. What heightens the danger is our proclivity to apathy and denial. For this reason, we must begin tackling the crisis with an act of truth, by acknowledging that climate change is real and stems from human activity. On this, the science is clear, the consensus among climate scientists almost universal. The time for denial, skepticism, and delay is over.  READ MORE ON OUR BLOG>>

Love and Compassion in Meditation and in Action

By Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi

Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi

Love and compassion are qualities essential to our stature as true human beings, and jointly might be considered the capacities that most distinguish us from the animals, except that animals sometimes display more kindness towards one another — and towards people — than we do. In the teachings of the Buddha, love and compassion are regarded as the foundation of ethics and important criteria of right speech and right action. They are also qualities to be developed by meditation. The Buddhist texts call love and compassion brahmavihara, divine abodes, for they manifest our inherent divinity even while we dwell in a human body. For Buddhism love and compassion should be balanced by wisdom, insight into the real nature of things, which alone can permanently eradicate the mental defilements that bind us to samsara, the round of bith and death. MORE – in both English and Chinese >

Like Moths Circling a Flame

Climate Change and the danger to the World's Food Supply

By Venerabe Bhikkhu Bodhi

The threat of climate chaos is the overarching issue of our time. To avoid a disruption to the world’s food supply, we must make far-reaching changes in agriculture and energy production. But we must also make changes in consciousness. The question we face is whether we’ll make the necessary changes in time.

Industrial Agriculture

A short sutta in the Udāna (§59) opens when the Buddha is sitting outdoors on a dark night while oil lamps are burning in front of him. Many moths are circling around the lamps and some fly straight into the flames, where their bodies are burnt to a crisp. The Buddha then utters an “inspired exclamation,” declaring that like the moths, people who are “attached to forms and sounds” head straight for their own destruction.

This short sutta can be read as a parable for our global climate crisis, with the image of people heading for destruction expanded to planetary proportions. Seeking continuous economic growth, we pump ever more carbon emissions into the atmosphere, putting our common future at risk. The danger to the moths circling the Buddha’s lamp was not external but came from their instinctual attraction to the flames. The big question each moth must have faced was whether it would turn back before it was scorched by the flames. The big question we must face is whether we will change direction before we fly into our own flames.

Read more: Like Moths Circling a Flame

The Great Turning

A Conversation between Joanna Macy and John Robbins

John Robbins and Joanna Macy, who have been friends for thirty years, are both crusaders for a life-sustaining world. In this conversation, both intimate and visionary, they explore ways they have continued over the years to move and inspire each other. John Robbins is a leader in the movement to reclaim healthy and abundant food for all. He is the author of the international bestseller Diet for a New America, and with his son, Ocean Robbins, The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World.  Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy is an author and a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. Her most recent title, with Molly Brown, is Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects. In June 2014, Inquiring Mind editors Barbara Gates and Wes Nisker joined Joanna Macy in her home in Berkeley, California, for this uplifting exchange with John Robbins, who participated by phone. These excerpts, from Inquiring Mind, Fall 2014, are used with permission of the publisher and of John Robbins and Joanna Macy.

Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy: Your own book [Diet for a New America] suddenly catapulted you into a position where millions of people all over the world were listening to what you had to say. What do you think it was that touched so many minds and hearts?

John Robbinsy

John Robbins: The main message was that by eating lower on the food chain and eating less industrial meat, factory-farmed meat, we could do a lot of good things at once. Our bodies would be healthier. Our cardiovascular systems would be healthier. Our immune systems would be healthier. Really we would be more vibrant and resilient people. We would also be making a statement of significant compassion for animals, because animals are primarily raised today in confinement and in misery. If we take seriously that we are here to alleviate suffering or prevent suffering, and if we include in our circle of compassion the animals of this world who draw breath from the same source as we do, then by eating less meat or no meat or pulling away from factory-farmed meat, we have the opportunity to spare animals tremendous suffering while making ourselves healthier. We will also be lowering our ecological footprint, causing less air pollution, water pollution, soil erosion and deforestation—a tremendous benefit to the planet. So it is a win-win-win.

Read more: The Great Turning

Address at the United Nations
at the International Celebration of Vesak

by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

May 7, 2012

Venerable Members of the Sangha, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,

We have gathered here today in the Hall of the General Assembly at the United Nations to celebrate Vesak, the day that commemorates the birth, the enlightenment, and the parinirvana of Lord Buddha. Throughout its long history of 2600 years, Buddhism has contributed in incalculable ways to the ennobling of humanity. It has offered moral guidance, a refined system of values, profound philosophies, methods of personal cultivation, and inspiring ideals that express the highest visions of the human potential. From its origins in northern India it spread throughout Asia and became the spiritual heart of the greatest Asian cultures. Over the past two centuries, its universal message has spoken to people in all continents, and it now has won an increasing number of adherents in the West.

Read more: Address at the United Nations
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Our Projects

BGR projects are designed to provide direct food aid to people afflicted by hunger and malnutrition, to promote ecologically sustainable agriculture, to support the education of girls and women, and to give women an opportunity to start right livelihood projects to support their families.


Bangladesh

FOOD SUPPORT FOR SCHOOL OF ORPHANS
Provide food supplies for 54 orphans for 12 months at The Orphan's Home in the rural Cittagong Hills region. »



 Bangladesh

EDUCATING ETHNIC MINORITY GIRLS
Provide Food Support for 106 ethnic Buddhist minority Girls at Yashodara Girl's School in Chttagong Hill Tracts. »  


Bangladesh

PERMANENT DORMITORY FOR BOY STUDENTS
Provide a permanent dormitory for 120 boys in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, a poor area affected by conflict. » 

Burma (via Thailand)

EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN OF BACKPACK MEDICS
Support education for children of backpack health workers serving displaced Burmese villagers, students and refugees. »  

Cambodia

FOOD SCHOLARSHIPS FOR GIRLS TO STAY IN SCHOOL 
Support life-transforming Girls Access To Education (GATE) program ensuring girls stay in school. »

Cambodia

CATALYZING THE POTENTIAL OF GIRLS AT THE MARGIN
Provide scholarships and related assistance for young women in nursing and other schools. » 

Cambodia

RICE INTENSIFICATION AND TRAINING IN AGRO-ECOLOGY
Engage farmers in rice intensification program, cash crop cultivation, and other related programs. » 

Cameroon

JOB TRAINING FOR SINGLE MOTHERS
Provide practical vocational training for marginalized women and for single and teenage mothers. » 

Cameroon

A FOOD PROGRAM FOR POOR CHILDREN
Provide meals at school for over 95 poor and needy children in Ebase village. » 

Cote d'Ivoire

IMPROVED NUTRITION AMONG CHILDREN AND PREGNANT WOMEN
Decrease incidence of malnutrition in children especially in the first 1,000 days of life. » 

Haiti

SCHOOL FEEDING PROGRAM IN JACMEL
Provide at least one meal per day, six days a week for students, c. 360 meals per week. » 

Haiti

IMPROVED CROP PRODUCTION AND DIVERSIFICATION
Improve rice production & backyard vegetable gardening in recently flooded Artibonite Valley. »

Haiti

MEALS FOR HUNGRY KIDS IN PORT-AU-PRINCE
Provide between 500 and 750 life-sustaining meals to children every weekday in the Ti Plas Kazo Community. » 

Haiti

A SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN IN PORT-AU-PRINCE
Support for teacher's salaries, supplies, water, & computers for school providing quality education. » 

Haiti

SUPPORTING THE NUTRITION OF POOR CHILDREN
Help to give impoverished children two healthy meals daily, and support training workshops. » 

India

GIRL'S HOME AND WOMEN'S SOCIAL SERVICE CENTER
Sponsor education for 30 teenage girls in danger of not finishing school due to poverty. » 

India

PROSPERITY THROUGH RESILIENT AGRICULTURE
Improve resilience and income for smallholder farmers, especially women, in Uttar Pradesh. » 

India

NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT FOR GARDEN OF PEACE SCHOOL
Provide uniforms, books, transportation and food for students at Garden of Peace school. » 

Jamaica & Haiti

NUTRITIOUS MORNING MEALS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
Provide nutritious morning meals for children prepared by local small businesses. » 

Kenya

IMPROVING MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH AND NUTRITION
Support proven programs that reach mothers, infants and children in need of food. » 

Kenya & Malawi

SUSTAINABLE MINI FARMING 
Training, especially for women, in biointensive farming to increase food production. » 

Nicaragua

EDUCATIONAL SPONSORSHIP OF GIRLS
Provide tuition, books, uniform with insignia and shoes, and some medical screening and treatment. » 

Sri Lanka

COMPUTER SKILLS FOR LOW INCOME GIRLS
Provide access to computer technology skills development for 60 girls from low-income families. » 

Sudan

HELPING FARMERS IN DARFUR
Address critical food insecurity with training and supplies for improved farming techniques. » 

U.S. Detroit, MI

URBAN FARMING IN DETROIT
Provide aid to 1500 urban gardens, including 400 new ones in 2017. Help sponsor 22 events . »

Vietnam

ENHANCED HOMESTEAD FOOD PRODUCTION
Train mulit-generational families to increase year-round food production improving nutrition. »

Vietnam

SYSTEM OF RICE INTENSIFICATION IN DAI TU DISTRICT
Introduce SRI to farmers to lower work burden and increase food production . »

Vietnam

MEALS FOR HOSPITAL PATIENTS IN TAM BINH HOSPITAL
Help to provide 500 vegetarian meals daily to hospital patients, total 182,000 meals per year. »

Vietnam

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR POOR CHILDREN in TAM BINH & CAM DUONG DISTRICTS
Help with fees, uniforms, books, and healthcare for over 400 K-12 students. »