Environmental Ethics in Buddhism: A Virtues Approach, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Environmental Ethics in Buddhism

A Virtues Approach, 1st Edition

By Pragati Sahni


210 pages

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Environmental Ethics in Buddhism presents a logical and thorough examination of the metaphysical and ethical dimensions of early Buddhist literature. The author determines the meaning of nature in the early Buddhist context from general Buddhist teachings on dhamma, paticcasamuppada, samsara and the cosmogony of the Agganna Sutta. Consequently, the author shows that early Buddhism can be understood as an environmental virtue ethics. To illustrate this dimension, the Jatakas are used as a source. These are a collection of over five hundred folk tales, which also belong to early Buddhist literature. This work gives an innovative approach to the subject, which puts forward a distinctly Buddhist environmental ethics that is in harmony with traditional teachings as well as adaptable and flexible in addressing environmental problems.


"I urge Buddhist students and teachers to take up this environmental ethics discourse as a prime arena for examining the Buddha's teachings. We need to take our place at the table with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, scientists, poets, politicians, and economists. In this regard, we can thank Sahni and other Buddhist environmental thinkers for offering us thoughtful springboards for reflection and action." -- Stephanie Kaza, Buddharma, Spring 2008

"The refreshing quality of this book lies largely in its creating a suitable methodology for the subject itself in the absence of any available theory or approach by which Buddhist environmental ethics can be meaningfully understood. The approach here goes beyond the limits of contemporary Western methodologies by virtue of a many-layered discussion that attends to various implications of passages from the Pali Canon most relevant to Buddhist ethics. The bibliography and notes are impressive, and give full support to the author’s thesis. It is certainly a "must read" for anyone seriously interested in environmental issues as well as the significance of Buddhism in today’s world." -- Deepa Nag Haksar, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Volume 18, 2011

Table of Contents

1. Towards an Environmental Ethics in Buddhism 2. Nature: A "Conservationist" Analysis 3. Nature: A "Cosmological" Approach 4. Environmental Virtue Ethics in Early Buddhism 5. The Environmental Virtues of Early Buddhism 6. Environmental Virtue Ethics in the Jatakas. Conclusion

About the Author

Pragati Sahni is currently Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Delhi University. Her current research interests include Environmental Philosophy, Applied Ethics and Early Buddhist Philosophy. She has published some articles and has been a recipient of the Commonwealth Scholarship.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism

Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism is a comprehensive study of the Buddhist tradition. The series explores this complex and extensive tradition from a variety of perspectives, using a range of different methodologies. The series is diverse in its focus, including historical, philological, cultural, and sociological investigations into the manifold features and expressions of Buddhism worldwide. It also presents works of constructive and reflective analysis, including the role of Buddhist thought and scholarship in a contemporary, critical context and in the light of current social issues. The series is expansive and imaginative in scope, spanning more than two and a half millennia of Buddhist history. It is receptive to all research works that are of significance and interest to the broader field of Buddhist Studies.

Some of the titles in the series are published in association with the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, which conducts and promotes rigorous teaching and research into all forms of the Buddhist tradition.

Editorial Advisory Board:
James A. Benn, McMaster University, Canada

Jinhua Chen, The University of British Columbia, Canada

Rupert Gethin, University of Bristol, UK

Peter Harvey, University of Sunderland, UK

Sallie King, James Madison University, USA

Anne Klein, Rice University, USA

Lori Meeks, University of Southern California, USA;

Ulrich Pagel, School of Oriental and African Studies, UK

John Powers, Australian National University, Australia;

Juliane Schober, Arizona State University, USA

Vesna A. Wallace, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Michael Zimmermann, University of Hamburg, Germany

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Buddhism / General (see also PHILOSOPHY / Buddhist)
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General