10 Spiritual Principles for Climate Repentance

Resources from the Wisdom of Religions

Principle 7:

Based on this understanding of the human person and his/her role in creation, the processes of growth, transformation, return and repentance are fundamental to human existence.


Buddhist rendition: Engage in processes fundamental to human existence: growth, transformation, return and repentance, in an ongoing effort to purify and raise ourselves in awareness of a higher vision.


Source 1:

One of the most popular repentance rituals in Mahāyāna countries it the Great Compassion Repentance Ritual.  It is based on the Great Compassion Sutra of the thousand Armed Guanyin and enumerates 10 kinds of misconduct, such as Killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, slandering, insulting, greed, hatred and ignorance. Repentance will open up the tenfold mind of boundless compassion and lead to the realization that our nature is pure from the beginning.


Source 2:

A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change:

The four noble truths provide a framework for diagnosing our current situation and formulating appropriate guidelines —because the threats and disasters we face ultimately stem from the human mind, and therefore require profound changes within our minds. If personal suffering stems from craving and ignorance—from the three poisons of greed, ill will, and delusion—the same applies to the suffering that afflicts us on a collective scale… …We need to wake up and realize that the Earth is our mother as well as our home… When the Earth becomes sick, we become sick, because we are part of her. Our present economic and technological relationships with the rest of the biosphere are unsustainable. To survive the rough transitions ahead, our lifestyle and expectations must change. This involves new habits as well as new values. The Buddhist teaching that the overall health of the individual and society depends upon inner well-being, and not merely upon economic indicators, helps us determine the personal and social changes we must make…



Source 1: Matthew 18:21-22

Then  Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the Church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times but, I tell you, seventy – seven times.”


Source 2: [The Parable of the Prodigal Son in] Luke 15 :11-32.

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”



Source 1: Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer, Chapter 43

  1. Ishmael says: had repentance not been created, the world could not subsist. But since repentance was created, God’s right hand is outstretched to receive those who return to him daily.


Source 2: Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, The Lights of Penitence  6,1

Penitence emerges from the depth of being, from such great depths in which the individual stands not as a separate entity, but rather as a continuation of the vastness of universal existence. The desire for penitence is related to the universal will, to its highest source. From the moment the mighty stream for the universal will for life turns toward the good, many forces within the whole of existence are stirred to disclose the good and to bestow good to all. “Great is penitence for it  brings healing to the world, and an individual who repents is forgiven and the whole world is forgiven with him” (Yoma 86a). In the great channel in which the life-sustaining force flows, there is revealed the unitary source of all existence, and in the hovering life-serving spirit of penitence all things are renewed to a higher level of the good, the radiant and the pure.

Penitence is inspired by the yearning of all existence to be better, purer, more vigorous and on a higher plane than it is. Within this yearning is a hidden life-force, for overcoming every factor that limits and weakens existence.




Source 1: Hadith al-Qudsi (the personal address of Allah):

“O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me, and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.”


Source 2: Hadith of the Prophet re two pieces of flesh that can damn us.


Religions of India

Source 1: Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 6, Verse 30

यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति |
तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति || 30||

yo māṁ paśhyati sarvatra sarvaṁ cha mayi paśhyati
tasyāhaṁ na praṇaśhyāmi sa cha me na praṇaśhyati

For those who see Me everywhere and see all things in Me, I am never lost, nor are they ever lost to Me.


Source 2: Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 6, Verse 32

आत्मौपम्येन सर्वत्र समं पश्यति योऽर्जुन |
सुखं वा यदि वा दु:खं स योगी परमो मत: || 32||

ātmaupamyena sarvatra samaṁ paśhyati yo ’rjuna
sukhaṁ vā yadi vā duḥkhaṁ sa yogī paramo mataḥ

I regard them to be perfect yogis who see the true equality of all living beings and respond to the joys and sorrows of others as if they were their own


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