Buddhists and the bicycle: use of the Great Green Machine could join the Pancha Sila

Buddhist urban design and bicycle planning“It must be asserted that the Pancha Sila (Five Precepts) do not necessarily make a person a Buddhist, but to be a real Buddhist, one has to observe the five precepts”. Furthermore, to be a good Buddhist one should ride a bicycle instead of driving a car. Is there such a thing as a Buddhist approach to urban design? I wish there were: urban design based on bare scientific rationalism has produced, and is producing, ugly and unsustainable cities throughout Asia. The above photograph of the Great Green Machine was taken beside the canal in Kenzo Tange’s preposterously bombastic baroque design for the Buddha’s birthplace: Lumbini.

4 thoughts on “Buddhists and the bicycle: use of the Great Green Machine could join the Pancha Sila

  1. Christine

    Maybe…[ http://wrdeer.blogspot.com/2009/12/7-key-japanese-zen-design-principles.html ] Perhaps a stay at the Institute for Cultural Ecology would enable one to come away a little more enlightened on the subject? [ http://www.cultural-ecology.com/ice_nep_budda.php ]

    Somehow the idea that monks in China will stop burning incense in order to reduce air pollution makes me a little sad.[ http://www.undp.org/sealthedeal/docs/Buddhist-Shanghai-summary-final-SW-20-10-09.pdf ]

  2. Tom Turner Post author

    The smoke from burning incense is picturesque and it rises up to the realm of the gods. I agree that flowers do not have these qualities. But I like the idea of faith communities caring for the environment and catholic priests would take to the bicycle then Bramante’s courtyard in the Vatican could once more be a garden – instead of a car park.

  3. Tom Turner Post author

    The Vatican gardens are a key site in the history of garden design. My guesses are (1) much was lost in a nineteenth century makeover (2) there is much to be uncovered by garden archaeologists at some future date.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *