a while ago, I saw a dhamma talk by Sujato where he mentioned (I’m quoting from memory and hope I do not misquote) that the Buddha spoke of the Earth becoming a desert one day due to human greed.
I wonder if anybody can tell me which sutta that may have referred to, and if it is a singular incidence, or a recurring phase in Buddhist cosmology. I thought it might be an interesting angle to bring up when talking to people about climate change.
It is not the seven suns sutta. There is a specific sutta that mentions how due to greed, hate, and delusion increasing the world would get hotter and burn. It was set in a mythological context though, it wasn’t a prediction of modern anthropogenic climate change.
I tried looking for the sutta earlier but couldn’t think of the right key words and gave up.
Perhaps the Buddha’s interpretation of the first of King Pasenadi’s sixteen prophetic dreams in the Mahāsupina Jātaka.
“How was it, sir, that I had the following one of my dreams? Methought, four black bulls, like collyrium in hue, came from the four cardinal directions to the royal courtyard with avowed intent to fight; and people flocked together to see the bull-fight, till a great crowd had gathered. But the bulls only made a show of fighting, roared and bellowed, and finally went off without fighting at all. This was my first dream. What will come of it?”
The Blessed One:
“Sire, that dream shall have no issue in your days or in mine. But hereafter, when kings shall be niggardly and unrighteous, and when folk shall be unrighteous, in days when the world is perverted, when good is waning and evil waxing apace,—in those days of the world’s backsliding there shall fall no rain from the heavens, the feet of the storm shall be lamed, the crops shall wither, and famine shall be on the land. Then shall the clouds gather as if for rain from the four quarters of the heavens; there shall be haste first to carry indoors the rice and crops that the women have spread in the sun to dry, for fear the harvest should get wet; and then with spade and basket in hand the men shall go forth to bank up the dykes. As though in sign of coming rain, the thunder shall bellow, the lightning shall flash from the clouds,—but even as the bulls in your dream, that fought not, so the clouds shall flee away without raining. This is what shall come of this dream. But no harm shall come therefrom to you; for it was with regard to the future that you dreamed this dream. What the brahmins told you, was said only to get themselves a livelihood.” And when the Master had thus. told the fulfilment of this dream, he said, “Tell me your second dream, sire.”
Please don’t. Global warming is real and devastating. The people who have died, who have had their homes destroyed and their loved ones taken from them, they have no time for conspiracy theories.
The world is under an unprecedented threat. Consumerism, greed, and ignorance are driving us inexorably towards catastrophe.
When you hear the conspiracy theories, ask yourself, “I, an amateur with no training in the field, have heard about and understood this theory. Surely the actual experts, trained and educated climate scientists who spend their lives studying exactly this problem, will know more about it than I do?”
Then take a few minutes to look for the refutation of the denialist view. It’s not hard. All the information is there for you to read, prepared by sincere and intelligent people. All you need is a little time and willingness to learn.
This is an excellent website that refutes all the various kinds of denialist theories:
When I saw the videos you posted, i took it as a chance to share my method of discovering the truth behind exceptional claims. When someone comes out and says that they know better than all the experts in the field, and all the published science in the field, surely they require a deep and strong body of evidence and argument to back them up. In reality, a few minutes is all it takes to show they have no such thing.
Refuting your first video
research time: 3 minutes (I had to click the video to see what it was about)
methodology: google “climategate emails 2009”
finding (summary from Wikipedia): “Eight committees investigated the allegations and published reports, finding no evidence of fraud or scientific misconduct. The scientific consensus that global warming is occurring as a result of human activity remained unchanged throughout the investigations.”
Refuting your second video
research time: 1 minute
methodology: google “john coleman snopes”
finding (summary from Snopes): “FALSE: Weather Channel co-founder John Coleman provided evidence that convincingly refutes the concept of anthropogenic global warming.”
Scientists have known about this for many decades. The only reason there is any doubt about this today is because of the determined efforts of the oil companies, who knew about the problem and systematically lied to protect their profits. Don’t do their dirty work for them.
Due to my respect for you as a monastic and the Buddha’s teachings, I will not try to refute your claims. I have deep respect for you Bhante. The only thing I will say is that Snopes is probably the most biased website on the internet. It is run by a couple with no formal researching education and they do not correct themselves when proven wrong. They have a definite left leaning view and are employed by Facebook as fact checkers which is scary to say the least.
This is the kind of stuff they waste their time on. It’s all about ad revenue for Snopes.
I will delete my comments if it is controversial and stirring as I definitely don’t wish to cause any unwholesome mindstates to arise due to my own personal view.
Seriously, I just showed you the importance of checking your facts.
research time; 30 seconds
method: google “facebook snopes”
result: FALSE. Snopes were employed as factcheckers, for a period, by Facebook, due to their experience and reputation. But they they quit when they realized that FB was not serious about combating fake news. Like, you know, climate change denalism.
Speaking of which, this new study shows that at 1,200 ppm CO2 (~100 years from now if we keep burning according to RCP8.5) all the clouds disappear, and they claim that this has happened before in Earth’s history:
Reminds me of this sutta:
There comes a time when, after a very long period has passed, the rain doesn’t fall. For many years, many hundreds, many thousands, many hundreds of thousands of years no rain falls. When this happens, the plants and seeds, the herbs, grass, and big trees wither away and dry up, and are no more. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable, so unreliable. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.
It seems that occasionally the Earth does in fact lose all its clouds. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Who knew? (The Buddha, apparently?)
Thank you so much for your concise repudiation of climate change deniers persistent ignorance of the facts regarding the greatest threat to our existence, aside from the concurrent and equally devastating problem of over population, which is apparently also controversial.
To my way of thinking the earth is like a big rooming house burning from the ground up with the residents on the upper floors trying to deny that the house is burning down. I don’t really need studies to prove that climate change is real. I have seen it happening here in the Southwest USA, where lack of rain noticeable over the last twenty years has cause the trees to die, the dust and pollen to increase, and every summer feels a little hotter.
Over the last 20 years Sri Lanka (Colombo) has got much warmer. Our seasons (monsoon, etc) has become haphazard, and dengue mosquitoes have come in swarms possibly because something has made it more easier for them to live. Of course nothing much else has changed, except perhaps air pollution from vehicles.