Climate Change statement endorsed by NZ Buddhist Communities received by Hon James Shaw and COP26 Representatives

New Zealand Buddhist Council message of encouragement to Governmental delegations to the 26th Session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26)

It is time for wise, decisive and effective measures. Humanity’s impact has brought about rapid climate change and we are facing the results – shrinking ice sheets, warming oceans, ocean acidification, glacial retreat, sea level rise, and increasingly extreme weather and fire events. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that “unless there are immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5°C will be beyond reach.”

Wisdom and compassion in response to global climate crisis

Buddhist leaders around the world have said that it is essential for all societies and individuals to develop greater compassion and wiser respect for the environment, for humanity and for the other creatures living in the environment.

We need to be more wakeful and see that the great ecosystem of the planet is our mother and the cord binding us to her cannot be cut. When she becomes sick, so do we. When she is well, we can thrive.

Sustainable and harmonious relationships between humanity and the environment have been weakened by over-consumption and many have lost their sense of connection to each other and to the Earth itself. Without that connection we end up living in ways that destroy the systems which support our lives, and upon which all living beings depend. Through this wisdom of interdependence we can access compassion.

If the policies you choose to pursue in responding to the climate change crisis are rooted in deep principles of wisdom and compassion then humanity and all life will have a chance of thriving again.

Supporting well-being supports societal change

The Buddha made observations relevant to our current predicament. He discovered that personal suffering originates from inner craving and ignorance. The heart and mind, once caught up in afflictions of greed and fear become deluded and inclined to unskillful actions. Deeds performed from these states lead into further cycles of suffering. Chronic suffering is stopped when we see through our habitual narratives and find the causes in ourselves.

Our ecological emergency is caused by these same afflictions playing out on a collective scale. Both within ourselves and in the context of our negotiations with the world, we need to work with root causes. Resolutions of the climate crisis cannot be only technological. The traditions of Buddhism all teach that qualities of mindfulness and inner contentment are integral to reducing reactivity and greed. Acknowledging wisdom paths for their personal and social outcomes, and applying principles from them in secular contexts, will help us all to overcome the global challenges we face.

Excessive consumption of resources with excessive obsolescence and waste are signs of an unhappy society. Truly happy people do not depend on increasingly excessive consumption. To function sustainably with net-zero emissions we will need educational and economic systems which recognise balance ahead of growth.

May you have strong resolve, wise and skilful leadership

We seek from all of you cooperation and determination in securing transformational commitments through COP26 in Glasgow. The challenge is to “go hard and go early” with measures that work, commensurate with the causes of climate change.

    • ➢  We exhort you to commit to the strongest possible Nationally Determined Contributions with firm science-based milestones to achieve net-zero carbon emissions well before 2050.
    • ➢  Deforestation is both a loss of carbon retention and a source of a significant percentage of the world’s carbon emissions. Stronger effort is needed to halt the destruction of forests. Urgent and persistent efforts are needed to save the rainforest belt which is functioning as the lungs of the biosphere, and is also the home of a large percentage of plant and animal diversity.
    • ➢  Fossil fuels must be replaced with renewable energy sources that are benign to the biosphere. We recognise the enormity of the task of fully phasing out fossil fuels. Present systems of extraction, production, consumption, and waste are inducing climate change, as well as causing ocean acidification, rising sea levels, water and air pollution, depletion of soils and the consequent loss of biodiversity.
    • ➢  We also ask for a stronger commitment from wealthy nations to helping developing countries prepare for climate impacts and make transitions to low carbon futures.


To the delegation from Aotearoa New Zealand and to all delegations attending, with the motivation to benefit all, we offer our statement for your consideration.

With hearts and minds on the long-term welfare of all beings, may you fulfil the universal sacred duty to protect the web of life.



This NZ Buddhist Council Statement has been endorsed by Buddhist leaders and communities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, and received by Hon James Shaw, Minister of Climate Change and Associate Minister for the Environment, Nick Baker UN COP26 President Elect’s Global Engagement Director and Ambassador Christopher Trott (UK Ambassador to the Holy See).

Sustaining peace after New Lynn attack

We are dismayed about what took place in New Lynn yesterday.  This was a despicable attack on innocent people. Our thoughts are particularly with the injured and their families, and we send our wishes for healing to all affected.

Countdown New Lynn is the local supermarket for many in our communities, who are left feeling threatened by this. We stand with them and the wider West Auckland community.

This attack is on our way of life in Aotearoa New Zealand. Violent extremism conflicts with our core values.

We remain grateful for the genuine teaching concerning peace that came from Muslim communities in the aftermath of the Christchurch Mosque attacks, and how they followed through on that. Since those attacks New Zealand society has seen attempts at great social inclusion.  Strong expressions of openness and aroha have been shared and it is in those that the enduring antidote to violence and hostility is to be found.

We hope that the great faiths practiced in this country will all help work to mitigate any damage to the fabric of trust from this terrorist deed.

May our shared values and humanity keep us together.

Statement on End of Life Choice Act

The NZ Buddhist Council is not in favour of euthanasia. The first principle of Buddhism is not to harm sentient life and the extreme form of harm is causing death. Buddhists try to motivate all their actions with compassion. Seeing suffering urges a Buddhist to respond in the most skillful way that one can. When someone requests euthanasia they are crying out for help because their pain and other symptoms that are not well controlled. This is a call for urgent, more skillful help, not an intervention to bring on death. We think the focus should be on training and improving palliative care for all medical staff and related assistants and better access to these professionals everywhere in NZ. Good palliative care offers quality physical, mental, and spiritual support. This is what our government should provide. Not a quick unnecessary fix.

We have read this bill and have found that it is not well-drafted and could be dangerous for vulnerable people. We agree with Hospice NZ

This referendum is not about whether NZers agree with euthanasia. It is about this bill specifically, and with reference to causing no harm, it is the opinion of NZBC that it would not keep all NZers safe.

Mindfulness facilitators for Schools

We would like to invite those with experience in mindfulness meditation to write to us, if you are interested in joining NZBC Mindfulness Facilitators Group. When writing to us please send us your CV / resume of your meditation experience and other details about yourself, so that we may invite you for an interview and subsequently, if selected, you may join a Facilitators training program. Please contact Rukman Wagachchi.

Dhamma/Dharma Sunday Schools for Children

Many Buddhist temples have Sunday Schools for the children to learn about the Buddha’s teaching, and also run language classes. A successful Sunday School teachers’ and parents’ workshop was held last year at Fairburn School hall at Otahuhu. Now we are requesting / inviting other temples to look into their Sunday School needs, curriculum and teacher training. Please contact Rukman Wagachchi if you wish to be involved in this discussion, or want to request information and advice about running a Sunday School program.

First Aid Course for Sangha

We are running a First Aid Course for monks and nuns on Saturday the 9th of June 2018 at Srilankaramaya in Otahuhu, Auckland. The NZ Buddhist Council is contributing to the course costs, but we also request sponsorship from laypeople. To register, please send your name and contact details to Rukman Wagachchi.

If you wish to donate to help cover the course costs, please deposit or transfer the money to our account and please be sure to let Rukman know the amount and purpose of your donation. Our bank account information is provided here.

Mindfulness Summer Camp for school children

Rukman Wagachchi reports on a two-day Mindfulness Camp (Sati Pasala) that was held on Jan 31st to Feb 2nd this year, for 35 school children at Bella Rakha Retreat Centre in Oratia, Auckland:

The young people participating ranged from eight to seventeen years of age. We organised them into four groups, with five facilitators. Apart from mindful sitting and mindful walking meditation, children enjoyed all the mindful games and drawing. Some of their group drawings sent to Global Mindful Summit 2018 to as exhibits.

Artwork by student saying "Be there. Now. Live."

They were shown short videos about mindful eating, mindful teeth-brushing, mindful showering. The four groups each made their own salad for the lunch and shared with other participants.

Children enjoyed the forest walk and being in the nature listening to the sounds of the flowing stream, singing birds. They loved the experience of being silent observing nature.

We also had several mindfulness Sunday schools in two temples. This was a half-day programme including mindful sitting, walking and several mindful games.

We are planning a three-day Mindfulness Summer camp in Jan 2019. Contact Rukman if you want to know more.

Invitation to Give Feedback on Religious Diversity Statement

Race Relations Commissioner, Dame Susan Devoy, of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission invites you to participate in the consultation process to review the New Zealand National Statement on Religious Diversity.

Continue reading “Invitation to Give Feedback on Religious Diversity Statement”

New website

This new website enables the Buddhist Council to update content more quickly, and to provide the Buddhist Council’s aims in different languages. The WordPress site has been developed thanks to many hours of work by Executive Committee assistants Pimmy Takdhada and Robert Hunt, with valuable advice from Tim Wylie in Auckland.