Buddhism and the Environment

Richard Payne

in Buddhism

ISBN: 9780195393521
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:
Buddhism and the Environment


The relation between Buddhist thought and contemporary environmental and ecological concerns has become one of the most important dimensions for the development of Buddhist thought as applied to contemporary issues. Although for many practitioners the supportive function of Buddhism in relation to their environmental concerns seems unproblematic and obvious, closer readings of texts and more historically and philosophically informed explications of traditional Buddhist thought have led to a large body of discussion and critique. In general, the discourse on Buddhism and environmentalism takes place within a wider discourse of the social relevance of Buddhism most commonly known as “engaged Buddhism.” Engaged Buddhism itself developed out of Buddhist modernism and integrates presumptions from late-19th- and early-20th-century liberal Protestant ideas of a “social gospel.” This is in contrast to the institutional role of Buddhism during most of its history throughout Asia, where it was largely either in active support of state power or in reclusive separation from the state, but in neither case did it take an active role in trying to effect social change.

Article.  6705 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism ; Tibetan Buddhism ; Zen Buddhism

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