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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter critically investigates the relationship between Buddhism and ecology, emphasizing the behaviors and intentions of practitioners rather than interpretations of early Buddhist scriptures. Through examination of the contemporary interpretations and implementations of the concept of interdependence (Pali: paticca-samuppada), animal release rituals, and the activities of Thai forest monks and environmental monks, the author aims to understand both what influences Buddhist environmental activists and the degree to which their actions are effectual. Part of this context is to understand the motivations of practitioners and the degree of environmental awareness underlying Buddhist practices that are often perceived to be ecologically friendly. Acts such as animal release rituals often result in unintentional negative ecological consequences. Yet Buddhists can have positive environmental impacts when Buddhist practices are consciously integrated with ecological principles and consequences rather than simply being labeled as environmentally friendly on an abstract level.

Keywords: animal release rituals, Buddhism and ecology, Buddhist environmentalism, interdependence, paticca-samuppada, Thai forest monks

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