David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Dissertation, Durham University (2010)
I examine the consistency between contemporary environmentalist ideals and Buddhist philosophy, focusing, first, on the problem of value in nature. I argue that the teachings found in the Pāli canon cannot easily be reconciled with a belief in the intrinsic value of life, whether human or otherwise. This is because all existence is regarded as inherently unsatisfactory, and all beings are seen as impermanent and insubstantial, while the ultimate spiritual goal is often viewed, in early Buddhism, as involving a deep renunciation of the world. Therefore, the discussion focuses mostly on the Mahāyāna vehicle, which, I suggest has better resources for environmentalism because enlightenment and the ordinary world are not conceived as antithetical. Still, many contemporary green ideas do not sit well with classical Mahāyāna doctrines. Mahāyāna philosophers coincide in equating ultimate reality with ‘emptiness,’ and propose knowledge of this reality as a final soteriological purpose. Emptiness is generally said to be ineffable, and to involve the negation of all views. An important question is how to reconcile environmentalism with the relinquishing of views. I consider several prevalent themes in environmentalism, including the philosophy of ‘Oneness,’ and other systems that are often compared with Buddhism, like process thought. Many of these turn out to have more in common with an extreme view that Buddhism seeks to avoid, namely, eternalism. I attempt to outline an environmental position that, like the doctrine of emptiness, traverses a Middle Path between eternalism and nihilism. I conclude by proposing that emptiness could be regarded as the source of value in nature, if it is seen in its more positive aspect, as ‘pliancy.’ This would imply that what Buddhist environmentalists should seek to protect is not any being in its current form, nor any static natural system, but the possibility of adaptation and further evolution.
|Keywords||Environment Buddhism Madhyamaka Nagarjuna Yogacara Environmental Ethics|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Malcolm Voyce (2015). From Ethics to Aesthetics: A Reconsideration of Buddhist Monastic Rules in the Light of Michel Foucault's Work on Ethics. Contemporary Buddhism 16 (2):299-329.
Similar books and articles
Padmasiri De Silva (1998). Environmental Philosophy and Ethics in Buddhism. St. Martin's Press.
Jan Westerhoff (2009). Nāgārjuna's Madhyamaka: A Philosophical Introduction. Oxford University Press.
Jay L. Garfield (2002). Empty Words: Buddhist Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Interpretation. Oxford University Press.
Jan Christoph Westerhoff, Nāgārjuna. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Abraham Vélez de Cea (2005). Emptiness in the Pāli. Philosophy East and West 55 (4).
Richard Hayes (forthcoming). Madhyamaka. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
David Seyfort Ruegg (1981). The Literature of the Madhyamaka School of Philosophy in India. Harrassowitz.
John Schroeder (2000). Nāgārjuna and the Doctrine of "Skillful Means". Philosophy East and West 50 (4):559-583.
Traleg Kyabgon (2001). The Essence of Buddhism: An Introduction to its Philosophy and Practice. Shambhala.
Stephanie Kaza & Kenneth Kraft (eds.) (2000). Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism. Shambhala Publications.
Alfonso Verdú (1974). Dialectical Aspects in Buddhist Thought: Studies in Sino-Japanese Mahāyāna Idealism. Sole Distributors in Usa & Canada, Paragon Book Gallery.
Tan Mingran (2008). Emptiness, Being and Non-Being: Sengzhao's Reinterpretation of the Laozi and Zhuangzi in a Buddhist Context. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7 (2):195-209.
Added to index2010-12-20
Total downloads16 ( #220,607 of 1,792,980 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #463,828 of 1,792,980 )
How can I increase my downloads?