Buddhism and Ecology

School of Consciousness and Transformation PARP 6563 3.00

What wisdom can a 2,500-year-old tradition offer in the context of contemporary environmental devastation? In the search for more ecologically sustainable worldviews, some have suggested that Buddhism offers a positive alternative to destructive aspects of the Western worldview. Others claim that the association of Buddhism with ecology is based on strategic geopolitical positioning, or on facile assumptions about Asian traditions. In this course, we will examine Buddhist perspectives on nature, along with Buddhist responses to Asian and global environmental issues. We begin with historical texts that frame the Buddhist perspective on nature. We examine Buddhist foundations for ecological thought, the role of Buddhism in the development of the American environmental movement, and challenges in reconciling Buddhist positions with modern science. Works by Buddhist leaders and scholars, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sulak Sivaraksa, Joanna Macy, and poet Gary Snyder, illuminate the role of modern Buddhism in environmental discourse.

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