Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds

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Given the challenges of the environmental crisis, Buddhism's teaching of the interrelatedness of all life forms may be critical to the recovery of human reciprocity with nature. In this new work, twenty religionists and environmentalists examine Buddhism's understanding of the intricate web of life. In noting the cultural diversity of Buddhism, they highlight aspects of the tradition which may help formulate an effective environmental ethics, citing examples from both Asia and the United States of socially engaged Buddhist projects to protect the environment. The authors explore theoretical and methodological issues and analyze the prospects and problems of using Buddhism as an environmental resource in both theory and practice. This groundbreaking volume inaugurates a larger series examining the religions of the world and their ecological implications which will shape a new field of study involving religious issues, contemporary environmental ethics, and public policy concerns.
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Editorial Reviews

University of Colorado - Rodney L. Taylor Professor Of Religious Studies And Associate Dean of The Graduate School
A volume of this kind is an important step in engaging scholarship to address critical issues of our time. The potential of religious traditions offering resources for rethinking our relation to the earth is one of the most exciting themes to emerge from scholarship in many years. This volume will be a first important step to the full understanding of the contribution humankind's perceptions of the sacred can make to the way we care for our earth.
Boston University School of Theology, and Director, Institute for Dialogue among Religions - John Berthrong
What a significant advance these articles represent for the study of religion and ecology. The potential contribution to the new field of J religious ecology is immense. These papers will help to create a coherent field for the study of Buddhism and ecology. What is even more important, though this is not the precise task of scholarship, these papers will help define the modern Buddhist response to ecological ethics.
Twenty essays, five previously published, examine Buddhism's understanding of the intricate web of life choosing from the wide cultural diversity of adherents those aspects that might be helpful in formulating an effective environmental ethics. Identifies socially engaged projects to protect the environment in Asia and the US, and explores some of the theoretical and methodological issues relating to such a project. The series is an outgrowth of a series of conferences at Harvard University, 1996-98. Paper edition (unseen), $19.95. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
...[I]f only one text could be used in a classroom, this is perhaps the most complete text for the scholar and student because of its sophisticated essays on methodological issues, statements from adherents, and various descriptions of practical, real world problems.....It may not be a definitive exploration, but it is an important and particularly long step in a journey that promises to continue in the coming centuries.
Journal of Buddhist Ethics
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780945454144
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: Religions of the World and Ecology Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 518
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Evelyn Tucker is Senior Lecturer, Yale Divinity School.

Duncan Ryuken Williams is Associate Professor of Japanese Buddhism, University of California, Berkeley.

Christopher Key Chapple is Navin and Pratima Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology, Loyola Marymount University.

Malcolm David Eckel is Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University.

Donald K. Swearer is Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School, and Professor Emeritus of Religion, Swarthmore College.

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Table of Contents

  • Preface Lawrence E. Sullivan
  • Series Foreword Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim
  • Introduction Duncan Ryuken Williams

Overview: Framing the Issues
  • Buddhism and Ecology: Collective Cultural Perceptions Lewis Lancaster

Theravada Buddhism and Ecology: The Case of Thailand
  • The Hermeneutics of Buddhist Ecology in Contemporary Thailand: Buddhadasa and Dhammapitaka Donald K. Swearer
  • A Theoretical Analysis of the Potential Contribution of the Monastic Community in Promoting a Green Society in Thailand Leslie E. Sponsel and Poranee Natadecha-Sponsel

Mahayana Buddhism and Ecology: The Case of Japan
  • The Jeweled Net of Nature Paul O. Ingram
  • The Japanese Concept of Nature in Relation to the Environmental Ethics and Conservation Aesthetics of Aldo Leopold Steve Odin
  • Voices of Mountains, Trees, and Rivers: Kukai Dogen, and a Deeper Ecology Graham Parkes

Buddhism and Animals: India and Japan
  • Animals and Environment in the Buddhist Birth Stories Christopher Key Chapple
  • Animal Liberation, Death, and the State: Rites to Release Animals in Medieval Japan Duncan Ryuken Williams

Zen Buddhism: Problems and Prospects
  • Mountains and Rivers and the Great Earth: Zen and Ecology Ruben L. F. Habito
  • The Precepts and the Environment John Daido Loori

American Buddhism: Creating Ecological Communities
  • Great Earth Sangha: Gary Snyder's View of Nature as Community David Landis Barnhill
  • American Buddhist Response to the Land: Ecological Practice at Two West Coast Retreat Centers Stephanie Kaza
  • The Greening of Zen Mountain Center: A Case Study Jeff Yamauchi

Applications of Buddhist Ecological Worldviews
  • Nuclear Ecology and Engaged Buddhism Kenneth Kraft
  • Buddhist Resources for Issues of Population, Consumption, and the Environment Rita M. Gross
  • Buddhism, Global Ethics, and the Earth Charter Steven C. Rockefeller

Theoretical and Methodological Issues in Buddhism and Ecology
  • Is There a Buddhist Philosophy of Nature? Malcolm David Eckel
  • Green Buddhism and the Hierarchy of Compassion Alan Sponberg
  • Buddhism and the Discourse of Environmental Concern: Some Methodological Problems Considered Ian Harris

  • Bibliography on Buddhism and Ecology Duncan Ryuken Williams
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index

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