Buddhism as a Road to Unity with the Natural World

Presenter: ,Hannah" Gartner

Research Category: Social Sciences, Business, and Law
Student Type: Undergraduate
PI: Mindelyn Buford

Much of modern society has become disconnected from the natural environment. The majority of people on this planet live out their lives in urban environments where being exposed to grand natural landscapes has become a luxury.  I economicsargue that these philosophies serve as an excellent space for getting people engaged in environmental issues. In an integrated literature reviewIt is therefore no surprise that many individuals view humanity and the natural world as inherently separate. Western trends which place humans as the lords and conquerors of nature are where this mindset originated.  Although these ideas existed long before the Enlightenment the scientific way of viewing the world that grew out of this revolution set in motion the cogs that have given way to current segmented way of viewing humans and nature. Contrarily a holistic understanding of life can connect people to the natural environment. The philosophies of Buddhism contain many teachings which embody interconnection and respect for the natural world. The Buddhist ethic also promotes frugality and restraint. Using a multidisciplinary approach work within environmental sociology and psychology and deep ecology are utilized to determine whether Buddhist philosophies can be seen as modes for connection to the natural environment. If true it is likely that those who intrinsically or empirically understand these philosophies are more likely to be or become engaged in sustainable living practices. This knowledge would assist in the development of more successful environmental campaigns.