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Religious Studies

Hinduism: beliefs about care of the planet

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The Assisi Declarations on Nature

In 1986, HRH Prince Philip, then President of the WWF International invited five leaders of five of the major religions of the world - Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism - to meet to discuss how their faiths could help save the natural world.

The meeting took place in Assisi in Italy, because it was the birth place of St Francis, the Catholic saint of ecology. From this meeting arose key statements by the five faiths outlining their own distinctive traditions and approach to the care for nature.

In the Assisi Declarations on Nature of 1986 the Hindu statement was:

  • The human role is not separate from nature. All objects in the universe, beings and non-beings, are pervaded by the same spiritual power.
  • The human race, though at the top of the evolutionary pyramid at present, is not seen as something apart from earth and its many forms. People did not spring fully formed to dominate lesser life, but evolved out of these forms and are integrally linked with them.
  • Nature is sacred and the divine is expressed through all its forms. Reverence for life is an essential principle, as is ahimsa (non-violence).
  • Nature cannot be destroyed without humanity destroying itself.
  • The divine is not exterior to creation, but expresses itself through natural phenomena.

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