The term recycling is commonly used today to refer to the practice of using resources prudently and fully. This practice had grown out of a concern for pollution, an awareness that the earth’s resources are limited and a growing respect for nature. A Buddhist would be motivated to try to recycle by all these ideas but also by the Buddha’s teachings of thoughtful gratitude and respect for all life. The Buddha envisaged his monks and nuns living entirely on the donations they received from others and so he encouraged them to use what they were given fully and with care. Ananda once said that when robes were too shabby to be worn any longer, he would find numerous other uses for them until they had been fully utilized and worn out (Ja.II,23). The Buddha also taught his disciples to be careful towards both animal and plant life. This would include taking from nature only what we need, using it prudently and giving something back in return.


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