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The "Nature" of Buddhism: A Survey of Relevant Literature and Themes

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This paper is a review of the scholarly conversation relating Buddhism to environmental issues, primarily in the United States. Topics of particular concern include important scholarly benchmarks in the field, and the nature of Buddhist ethics. Also considered are the relationships between Buddhism and other schools of thought that have been important in thinking about nature and the environment. In particular I focus on Deep Ecology and related philosophies, Buddhism and Christianity in Process thought, and the relationship between Buddhism and the natural sciences. I outline current practices performed worldwide by people who self-identify as Buddhists that clearly demonstrate environmental consciousness, sometimes actively participating in environmental movements in efforts to resist globalization and, often, Westernization. In the end, this survey perspective illustrates that there is no monolithic Buddhist tradition, but rather a substantial number of adapted (and adapting) Buddhisms.

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