Principles and Poetry, Places and Stories: The Resources of Buddhist Ecology

Daedalus Journal Special Issue Religion and Ecology:
Can the Climate Change?

Written by Donald K. Swearer

The world's religious and spiritual traditions are a rich source of ethical values and principles for reflecting on environmental issues. Both religious adherents and scholars who are concerned about the environmental crisis are mining religious traditions in search of new ethical resources. Religious scriptures, doctrines, and practices have been invoked to promote a holistic, nonanthropocentric, egalitarian, eco-friendly worldview respectful of nature and compassionate to all forms of life. While these kinds of resources are crucial, I propose to include in my discussion of Buddhist ecology not only particular texts, philosophical ideas, and practices that Buddhists marshal in defense of an environmental ethic, but also hermeneutical and tactical strategies that Buddhists employ as well. In adopting this approach my concern is practical: I want to ensure that the religious dimensions of global environmental issues really do have an impact on decision-making, and that these essays have real implications for public policy.

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Buddhism and Ecology

Daedalus
Special Issue
Religion and Ecology: Can the Climate Change?
Vol. 130, No. 4
Fall 2001

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