The Burning House: A Buddhist Response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency


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We are living in an age of climate and ecological emergency. Buddhist teacher and Nonviolent Communication trainer Shantigarbha suggests practical ways to make a difference. With personal stories, examples and guided reflections you will learn to work with doubt, overwhelm, grief and anger; engage with the science of the climate debates; free yourself to align with life; and act with courage, humour and generosity.

Access the free guided meditations that accompany the book.


One thing is certain: no meaningful systemic change in response to the ecological and climate emergency faced by all planetary life will be possible without a shift in human consciousness. This beautifully crafted, accessible book skilfully weaves Buddhist teachings, a generous account of the author’s personal journey and a passionate political and ethical commitment to an empathic path of transformation. Deeply practical, balanced and thoughtful, this book is a trustworthy, insightful companion for the development of the conscious change and enlightened action now so urgently mandated by planetary challenges. – Anna Grear, founder of the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment (GNHRE); Editor in Chief, Journal of Human Rights and the Environment

I enjoy how Shantigarbha brings Buddhism and Nonviolent Communication (NVC) together when sharing very alive examples of waking up to our burning house. – Kirsten Kristensen, co-founder of LIVKOM, Life-Enriching Communication and Institute of NVC in Denmark

How can Buddhism help us understand and respond to the greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced? The Buddha lived in a very different time and place, but his teachings have important ecological implications for us today. The Burning House provides a welcome and very accessible introduction to the relevant teachings and how to embody them in our practice and in our activism. — David Loy, author of Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis

What the world needs now is love in action. Shantigarbha traces a path for us to follow, beginning with attending to our needs. When we use our energy to cultivate our own vitality, we naturally use the abundance we discover in the service of life. Shantigarbha shows how each of us can transform our insight into action, and take affirmative steps to address the suffering wrought from climate change. May all who read Shantigarbha’s words be motivated to take action, for the love of all. – Jim Manske, CNVC Certified Trainer, author of Pathways to Nonviolent Communication

The writer Shantigarbha, as a Buddhist activist, explains the problem through a Buddhist perspective, as a crisis of empathy, connection and community. Through stories from the Buddhist tradition, ‘The Burning House’, and other stories, he calls for a creative way to face the climate and ecological emergency. As a practitioner of Nonviolent Communication, he guides the reader through practical ways to deal with emotional outbursts that the crisis could provoke. The guided reflection after each chapter draws the reader deeper into the empathic presence. Indeed, a timely book. – Christlin Rajendram, S. J., Certified Trainer and Assessor with the International Center for Nonviolent Communication

The ecological crisis is nothing if not a spiritual crisis, a crisis of meaning and direction for our civilization. This book approaches that crisis from a beautifully Buddhist and yet non-denominational perspective. It could help us to awaken. The Burning House is approachably written and abides by the precautionary principle: moving as we are in a fog, it behoves us to slow down. Take a pause, and read this book. – Professor Rupert Read, author of This Civilisation Is Finished, and former student of Thich Nhat Hanh and Joanna Macy

In this book by Shantigarbha, you’ll find concrete and accessible ways to engage with the climate and ecological emergency. Sharing his own journey and accumulated wisdom, Shantigarbha offers a truly Buddhist perspective on the emergency – helping us to recognize, deal with our responses to, and find a way out of the ‘burning house’ that we are in. He evokes what a Buddhist response could look like, from environmental ethics to compassion, from humour to transforming grief into gratitude. The final section of the book then focuses on wisdom-imbued action, with concrete steps on how we might proceed next in our work to put out the fires of this burning house, our precious planet. – Vajrashura, Dharma teacher in the Triratna Buddhist Community

1 review for The Burning House: A Buddhist Response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency

  1. HelenAtWindhorse

    Follow this link for a review published on the blog ‘The Earthbound Report’

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