10 Spiritual Principles for Climate Repentance

Resources from the Wisdom of Religions

Principle 8:

There are reactions when we harm the earth and others. Actions have consequences and no action can be ignored. The weight of our actions and their short and long-term consequences lead us to find ways of mitigating harmful actions and to work for the good.


Buddhist rendition: Live in a balanced and harmonious relationship between the human person within and nature and objective reality without; recognizing that transformation for the good occurs from within we are called to limit our capacity to bring violence and harm to others, to all life by our thoughts, speech and action.


Source 1: Thirteenth Century Japanese Zen Master Dōgen, The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye, “The Matter at Hand” (Shōbōgenzō, “Genjō-kōan” ):

“To learn the Buddha Way is to learn the Self. To learn the Self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to reflect and illuminate the tens of thousands of myriad beings.”


Source 2: The Great Compassion Repentance ritual. [The practitioners generally gather in the main hall of a temple, where they chant a repentance text such as the following]:

I feel shame, great fear, and remorse. I confess my faults, and I repent and reform. I put an end to my incessant thoughts and resolve upon Awakening. I will no longer do harmful things, and with body, speech, and mind, I will be diligent in doing only good. I will correct my mistakes and will always rejoice in the good works, whether great or small, of sages and ordinary people…Since time without beginning, I have many harmful acts, without realizing that all things are fundamentally empty and still. But now I know that all things are empty and still, and for the sake of awakening and for the sake of living beings, I will no longer do anything harmful. But instead, I will do every possible good deed.



Source 1: John 13:34.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’


Source 2: The Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me bring your love,
Where there is injury your pardon Lord,
And where there’s doubt true faith in you.


Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness, only light,
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.


O Master grant that I may never seek,
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love with all my soul.


Make me a channel of your peace,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving of ourselves that we receive.
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.


O Master grant that I may never seek,
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
And to love as to love with all my soul.


Make me a channel of your peace,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving of ourselves that we receive.
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

Make me a channel of your peace.



Source 1: Deuteronomy 11, 13-18

And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto My commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give the rain of your land in its season, the former rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will give grass in thy fields for thy cattle, and thou shalt eat and be satisfied. Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, so that there shall be no rain, and the ground shall not yield her fruit; and ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you. Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul.


Source 2: Maimonides, Mishna Commentary Avot 2,7

You were killed because you killed another person, and whoever killed you will himself be killed. And the point of this saying is to teach us that evil deeds will return upon the head of the perpetrator…as the sages say – according to the measure a person metes out, so it shall be meted out to him. And this can be seen in all times and places, that whoever does evil, and invents new forms of injustice and imperfection, he will himself be harmed by the evil that he has invented, because he has taught an activity that will be done to him as well as to others. Similarly, whoever teaches something of virtue, and whoever initiates a good deed from among good deeds, he himself will benefit from the action, because he will be teaching something that will apply to himself and others….




Source 1: Quran Sura 91 v 7-10:

“And by the soul and He Who perfected it. And inspired it with (its conscience) of what is wrong and of what is right. Successful is the person who purifies it, and the loser is the one who stunts it.”


Source 2: Quran Sura 87 vv 14-15:

“Successful is the one who purifies himself, and remembers the Name of his Lord and then prays.”


Religions of India

Source 1: Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5-6

Verse 4.4.5:

स वा अयमात्मा ब्रह्म विज्ञानमयो मनोमयः प्राणमयश्चक्शुर्मयः श्रोत्रमयः पृथिवीमय आपोमयो वायुमय आकाशमयस्तेजोमयोऽतेजोमयः काममयोऽकाममयः क्रोधमयोऽक्रोधमयो धर्ममयोऽधर्ममयः सर्वमयस्तद्यदेतदिदंमयोऽदोमय इति; यथाकारी यथाचारी तथा भवति—साधुकारी साधुर्भवति, पापकारी पापो भवति; पुण्यः पुण्येन कर्मणा भवति, पापः पापेन । अथो खल्वाहुः काममय एवायं पुरुष इति; स यथाकामो भवति तत्क्रतुर्भवति, यत्क्रतुर्भवति तत्कर्म कुरुते, यत्कर्म कुरुते तदभिसंपद्यते ॥ ५ ॥

av ā ayamātmā brahma vijñānamayo manomayaḥ prāṇamayaścakśurmayaḥ śrotramayaḥ pṛthivīmaya āpomayo vāyumaya ākāśamayastejomayo’tejomayaḥ kāmamayo’kāmamayaḥ krodhamayo’krodhamayo dharmamayo’dharmamayaḥ sarvamayastadyadetadidaṃmayo’domaya iti; yathākārī yathācārī tathā bhavati—sādhukārī sādhurbhavati, pāpakārī pāpo bhavati; puṇyaḥ puṇyena karmaṇā bhavati, pāpaḥ pāpena | atho khalvāhuḥ kāmamaya evāyaṃ puruṣa iti; sa yathākāmo bhavati tatkraturbhavati, yatkraturbhavati tatkarma kurute, yatkarma kurute tadabhisaṃpadyate || 5 ||

That self is indeed Brahman, as well as identified with the intellect, the Manas and the vital force, with the eyes and ears, with earth, water, air and the ether, with fire, and what is other than fire, with desire and the absence of desire, with anger and the absence of anger, with righteousness and unrighteousness, with everything—identified, as is well known, with this (what is perceived) and with that (what is inferred). As it does and acts, so it becomes; by doing good it becomes good, and by doing evil it becomes evil—it becomes virtious through good acts and vicious through evil acts. Others, however, say, ‘The self is identified with desire alone. What it desires, it resolves; what it resolves, it works out; and what it works out, it attains.’

Verse 4.4.6:

तदेष श्लोको भवति ।
तदेव सक्तः सह कर्मणैति
लिङ्गं मनो यत्र निषक्तमस्य ।
प्राप्यान्तं कर्मणस्तस्य यत्किञ्चेह करोत्ययम् ।
तस्माल्लोकात्पुनरैत्यस्मै लोकाय कर्मणे ॥
इति नु कामयमानः; अथाकामयमानः—योऽकामो
निष्काम आप्तकाम आत्मकामो न तस्य प्राणा उत्क्रामन्ति,
ब्रह्मैव सन्ब्रह्माप्येति ॥ ६ ॥

tadeṣa śloko bhavati |
tadeva saktaḥ saha karmaṇaiti
liṅgaṃ mano yatra niṣaktamasya |
prāpyāntaṃ karmaṇastasya yatkiñceha karotyayam |
tasmāllokātpunaraityasmai lokāya karmaṇe ||
iti nu kāmayamānaḥ; athākāmayamānaḥ—yo’kāmo
niṣkāma āptakāma ātmakāmo na tasya prāṇā utkrāmanti,
brahmaiva sanbrahmāpyeti || 6 ||

Regarding this there is the following verse: ‘Being attached, he, together with the work, attains that result to which his subtle body or mind is attached. Exhausting the results of whatever work he did in this life, he returns from that world to this for (fresh) work.’ Thus does the man who desires (transmigrate). But the man who does not desire (never transmigrates). Of him who is without desires, who is free from desires, the objects of whose desire have been attained, and to whom all objects of desire are but the Self—the organs do not depart. Being but Brahman, he is merged in Brahman.


Source 2: Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 16, Verse 21

त्रिविधं नरकस्येदं द्वारं नाशनमात्मन: |
काम: क्रोधस्तथा लोभस्तस्मादेतत्त्रयं त्यजेत् || 21||

tri-vidhaṁ narakasyedaṁ dvāraṁ nāśhanam ātmanaḥ
kāmaḥ krodhas tathā lobhas tasmād etat trayaṁ tyajet

There are three gates leading to the hell of self-destruction for the soul—lust, anger, and greed. Therefore, one should abandon all three.


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