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Buddhism and Ecology

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If there was ever a culture that truly cared for the Earth, it was that of Buddhism. Buddhism itself is often known for commitment to World ecology. This is explored in the essay, Relational Holism, by David Landis Barnhill, in the book, Deep Ecology and World Religions.

The subject of holism is brought to us many times and often acknowledgement of critical views is used to help convey the information. Beginning with a strong statement by Barnhill, "Critics of deep ecology have often attacked its holistic views of self and cosmology. For some, holism is both distorted and dangerous because it fails to affirm the individuality of beings and recognize the centrality of relations among individuals." (page 79)Most people, especially of the western hemisphere, would like to think of themselves as individuals and unique. This is interesting in that, many eastern civilizations want the opposite. It is even a saying among Japanese, "the nail that sticks out is pounded in,"

The next illustration of holism is brought to us on page 85, "In the conventional view, waves are independent, self-existing things. From the perspective of emptiness, however, the waves are recognized as lacking independent existence: they are not water in a distinct and temporary form, yet the waves are not separate from the ocean, they are the ocean."

Besides emphasizing holism, Barnhill discusses identification, with self and nature. "One way of seeing that the holism prized by deep ecologists can be combined with the relationality emphasized by ecofeministsis to consider the notion of identification. This term is often used to describe deep ecology's fundamental intuition of connectedness with nature, but it is an idea that is often criticized by ecofeminists for signaling the denial of difference and relationality." (page 93) Barnhill has illustrated to us, the importance of holism and identification in his essay. This is an approach to how ecology is experienced by Buddhist people.



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