Everything is the Same as Everything

“We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls. We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything.” -Gautama Buddha
Watching the TED talk posted on this website a while ago, Mike’s admirable cyclical stance towards waste made me consider how relevant some of the Buddha’s teachings are today. Take the above concept as an example. If we truly believed this, which is not hard, seeing as in sub-atomic terms we are, then we would as humans no longer face many of the problems psychologically that lead us to damage ourselves and the world around us.
If you considered the plants as the same as us, then we would accord them the same respect we would give one another, wouldn’t we? Well, that doesn’t say much, considering that we treat each other with disrespect daily, and in ways we cannot imagine. Herein lies the importance of my next proposition.
If we treated each ourselves the same way that we treat ourselves, then the problem of disrespect and greed would be solved, wouldn’t it? We would heap gifts on each other, help each other out, and allow each other people’s faults wouldn’t we? Except we don’t treat ourselves with respect do we? We abuse our bodies, allow our sense of pride and self-justification to damage our bodies and force our minds to undertake unnecessary strain. 
But why do we do this? What possible reason could we have for being so cruel to ourselves?
Buddhist scholars expressed this reason wonderfully in the idea of Samsara. The unending cycle, of rebirth, struggle and suffering that plagues us. Evolutionary science has expressed this. The need to, in other words, master our surroundings.
We have, as humans, the ability to examine our own actions, a process which has led to our capability to analyse our actions for ways in which we can determine the best possible output from our surroundings, rather than simply fighting to survive. However, with this ability, and the knowledge that we are of everything, as everything is of us, then we should not seek to overpower it.
Rather, we should use our analytical ability to find out the way that we can limit our impact on everything else in the true ethos of “sustainability”. To say we are the same as everything does not make everything else irrelevant, in the same way that we make ourselves irrelevant in relation to our surroundings; everything else is as important as the way we treat ourselves, and so should be treated accordingly.

October 17, 2011 / Jack Pickering

2 thoughts on “Everything is the Same as Everything

  1. Pingback: Opinion: Everything is the Same as Everything | The Open Wall

  2. Pingback: Opinion: Everything is the Same as Everything | The Open Wall

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