‘I take heart in the wisdom of engaged Buddhist teachers who know that ordinary hope, which is based on fear and desire for what we want in the future, only causes suffering. Instead, they recommend “wise hope,” as Roshi Joan Halifax calls it, or what Joanna Macy calls “active hope.” These are not based on fear or desire but on the bodhisattva path of relieving suffering and healing nature. “Wise hope,” Halifax tells us, “is not seeing things unrealistically but rather seeing things as they are, including the truth of suffering—both its existence and our capacity to transform it.” Macy’s “active hope” is about finding and making our own unique contribution in the collective transition she calls the Great Turning.
This kind of wise and active hope motivates us to get up off our meditation cushion and address suffering right now, to ask ourselves, “What is the right thing to do, regardless of the outcome?” during this time of chaos and crises. Climate science helps us answer this question. We know that nature is changing and the future of our climate is dynamic, even with the certainty of global warming. Yes, life for all beings on earth is being harmed, but human destruction of ecological systems is not linear and certainly not “all or nothing.”
Our activities can make a difference, locally as well as globally, even if we do not know how much and how quickly. Realism does not have to lead to hopelessness, but rather to acknowledging impermanence and acting with loving compassion without desiring specific outcomes.’ (from Lion’s Roar)