The Greening of Buddhism

Stephanie Kaza

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780195178722
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

The Greening of Buddhism


Buddhist understanding about nature and human-nature relations has been based on a wide range of teachings, texts, and social views. With the rise of the religion and ecology movement, Buddhist scholars, teachers, and practitioners have investigated the various traditions to see what teachings are relevant and helpful for cultivating environmental awareness. The development of green Buddhism is a relatively new phenomenon, reflecting the scale of the environmental crisis around the world. One of the earliest voices for Buddhist environmentalism in North America was Zen student and poet Gary Snyder, who illuminated the connections between Buddhist practice and ecological thinking. There are now doctoral programs in the United States where a student can earn a graduate degree with a focus on Buddhism and ecology. The primary themes or values usually cited as foundational to Buddhist environmental thought originate with the major historical developments in Buddhism—the Theravada traditions of southeast Asia; the Mahayana schools of northern China, Japan, and Korea; and the Vajrayana lineages of Tibet and Mongolia.

Keywords: Buddhism; ecology; environmentalism; environmental awareness; nature; Gary Snyder; environmental thought; Theravada; Mahayana; Vajrayana

Article.  9683 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Buddhism

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