The overall goal of the Eco-Temple Community Development Project is to develop ecological human communities that are sustainably interconnected with the natural environment through the community center of a religious facility/temple. This temple will manifest ecological standards on the material, relational, and spiritual levels:
Material: design, building materials, energy usage, waste management, economic sustainability, and connection to outer environment through gardens, agriculture, and forestry/water management.
Relational: community solidarity and interconnection through participation in various temple based ecological activities, including education and linkages with CSOs, government & business.
Spiritual: cultivating the inner ecology of community members through spiritual practice and teachings that relate to ecological issues, which forms the basis of realizing the relational and material goals through grounded human interaction.
The Eco Temple Community Design is a holistic development process that involves much more than simply putting solar panels on the roofs of temples. It involves a comprehensive integration of: 1) ecological temple structure and energy system, 2) economic sustainability, 3) integration with surrounding environment, 4) engagement with community and other regional groups (civil society, business, government), and 5) development of spiritual values and teachings on environment, eco-dharma. In this way, we are planning to move forward in supporting the creation and/or continuing development of holistic eco-temple communities based out of Buddhist temples (and applicable to the centers of other religions) in the INEB and ICE network.
As a faith based network, INEB and ICE see one of their key contributions to social change as the reform and revival of our Buddhist and spiritual traditions, especially in this case, the community and the physical presence of a holistic and ecologically minded religious center/temple. Through the religious center/temple, we can contribute greatly to the critical need for education and practice in inner ecology, while connecting that to outer ecological activities such as community mobilization on environmental issues, right livelihood, and, foremost for this project, the establishment of a zero-waste, clean energy temple structure integrated into the local environment. From such a movement, religious communities can have a progressive role, contribution, and linkages with wider movements for ecological design and post-industrial societies, critical to the immediate global environmental crisis.
In this way, we will seek to develop the Eco-Temple Community Development Project more as a meme, or as a method or path, rather than as a fixed project with fixed membership. This means that we will try to further develop the Eco-Temple Community Design Scheme so that it can be used as a planning and action tool for our own and any other eco-temple community initiatives in the world.
The eco-temple project has been implemented in a few countries,