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Fostering Indoor Air Quality, with Shambhala Teachings and Practice

By Vinicius Amano on Unsplash

By “Jackie Writing Jackie”

The Dalai Lama once stated that there are two major reasons leading to the current environmental crisis: ignorance, and a lack of courage to take action to solve problems. The human connection to nature is a vital part of Shambhala Buddhism and indeed of many other faiths, with nature seen as the ideal place in which to achieve the tranquillity and inner silence required for practices such as meditation. What the Dalai Lama did not delve into, however, is the fact that pollution is an issue that affects not only the outside world, but also many modern homes. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that many homes are two to five times more polluted than the air outside. How can Shambhala teachings and practices help Buddhists have cleaner, purer interiors where it’s clean enough to meditate and healthy enough to enjoy better quality of life?

Doing One’s Share to Create a Better World

Shambhala training aims to create an enlightened society. Those who have received this training know the importance not only of working towards personal enlightenment but also of working to create a better world. When doing so, one pays heed to society as a whole but also to those in proximity – including loving family and friends who share our home or who visit frequently to share meals, conversation, and meditation practices. Keeping the air environment pure ensures these important persons interact within a healthy, clean environment – one that does not trigger allergies and respiratory problems, or compromise human or pet health in the long-term.

Tackling Indoor Air Pollution From the Ground-Up

The Dalai Lama spoke of courage when it comes to beating pollution and indeed, making a change to your daily routine and enlisting the help of other home dwellers can be a powerful act of courage, since change can be challenging. Tackling indoor air pollution sometimes involves making small changes (such as vacuuming more or replacing a sofa that contains flame retardants). It can also involve more important changes, such as creating a cleaning schedule for HVAC systems or even replacing old, inefficient heaters and air conditioners. Creating a maintenance strategy is key because dust in equipment like heaters is internal and therefore invisible. By cleaning filters, coils, fins, and other components of an HVAC system, it is possible to prevent dust from building up and triggering health concerns.

What Items in a Home Cause Indoor Air Pollution?

There are many features in modern homes known to produce toxins that harm human health. These include wood-pressed furniture (which can emit harmful toxins in gas form, such as formaldehyde) and soft furnishings (many of which contain toxic flame retardants). Mold and dust, meanwhile, can be a trigger for those with asthma and allergies and in some cases, they can be irritating or harmful for people with preexisting conditions.

This is the case with black mold, for instance. Therefore, sticking to a regular cleaning schedule and using natural yet powerful cleaning methods such as steam vacuuming, can stop these issues from developing. Natural is best when it comes to air purity, because harsh cleaning items like bleach can also affect respiratory health.

The Use of HEPA Filters

People with allergies to dander and dust can benefit from the use of a HEPA filter at home. These machines filter tiny particles from the air – including those which are invisible to the human eye. They remove 99.97% of particles measuring around 0.3 microns. HEPA filters work by pushing sir through a fine mesh that is even capable of trapping smoke. They are relatively inexpensive, though they do require maintenance and the occasional replacement of filters.

Living in a clean environment can be considered a human right. This feeling is strengthened by the Shambhala teachings, which values the health and safety of all sentient things. Human beings and animals living in a home plagued by poor indoor quality can develop a wide range of conditions that can affect their health and wellbeing. Therefore, daily cleaning and the replacement of harmful materials can be seen as a way to foster a purer environment at home – one that is more conducive to connection, meditation, and even good sleep. 


After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie now writes full time on topics ranging from health and wellness right through to news and current affairs. She has, in the past, battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues.

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1 response to “ Fostering Indoor Air Quality, with Shambhala Teachings and Practice ”
  1. Patrick Daily
    Feb 7, 2020
    Reply

    In the article about indoor air quality, I don’t see incense burning addressed. Incense as I understand it is a symbolic stand-in for the definitive experience of basic goodness within oneself. BUT, incense burning can contribute to respiratory issues and probably to allergy issues.


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