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Buddhism and Ecology (Williams)

Course Title

Buddhism and Ecology
International Studies 209

   
Instructor(s)

Duncan Ryuken Williams
Trinity College

   
Discipline

Religion

   
Subject(s)

Religion; Buddhism; Asian Religion; Ecology

   
Pedagogical Level

Undergraduate

   
Date

Fall 2000

   
Presentation

Trinity College

   
Overview

Course Description

A thematic course on Buddhist perspectives on nature and Buddhist responses to environmental issues. The first half of the course focuses on East Asian Buddhist cosmological and doctrinal perspectives on the place of the human in nature and the relationship between the salvific goals of Buddhism and nature. The second half of the course examines Buddhist ethics, economics, and activism in relation to environmental issues in contemporary Southeast Asia, East Asia, and America.

   
Format

There will be two meetings each week (Tues/Thurs 1:15–2:30 pm) which will consist of lectures, discussion of the week’s readings, and films.

   
Prerequisites

None listed

   
Requirements

Requirements
Students are expected to attend regularly and contribute to the class discussion. Additionally, there are three aspects to the course requirements.

Class Participation
30%
Short Papers
30%
Final Paper Proposal
10%
Final Paper
30%
  1. Class Participation
    Students are required to attend class and participate in all discussions.

  2. Short Papers
    Three 5–page writing assignments.

  3. Final Paper Proposal
    Required for all students.

  4. Final Paper
    15–20 pages due at the end of term.
   
Evaluation

See “Course Requirements.”

 

   
Texts

Required Texts
The course readings are contained within the following six required textbooks.

Badiner, Allan, ed. Dharma Gaia: A Harvest of Essays in
Buddhism and Ecology
. Berkeley, Calif.: Parallax Press, 1990.

Callicott, J. Baird, and Roger T. Ames, eds. Nature in Asian
Traditions of Thought: Essays in Environmental Philosophy
.
Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1989.

Inoue, Shinichi. Putting Buddhism to Work: A New Approach to
Management and Business
. Tokyo: Kodansha International,
1997.

Kaza, Stephanie, and Kenneth Kraft, eds. Dharma Rain: Sources
of Buddhist Environmentalism
. Boston: Shambhala, 2000.
Snyder, Gary. The Practice of the Wild. San Francisco: North
Point Press, 1990.

Tucker, Mary Evelyn, and Duncan Williams, eds. Buddhism and
Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds
. Cambridge, Mass.: Center for the Study of World Religions/Harvard University Press, 1997.

   
Schedule  
Sept 5–7

Introduction to the Course

Assigned Reading

  • Kaza and Kraft, Dharma Rain, 11–13.
  • Tucker and Williams, Buddhism and Ecology, xxxv-xlii.
Sept 12–14

Nature in Buddhist Cosmology: Humans, Animals, and Plants

Assigned Reading

  • Kaza and Kraft, Dharma Rain, 23–28.
  • Tucker and Williams, Buddhism and Ecology, 131–64, 327–50.
    Badiner, Dharma Gaia, 8–13, 129–46.
Sept 19–21

Jewel Net of Indra: Chinese Buddhist Visions of Interdependence

Assigned Reading

  • Callicott and Ames, Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought, 67–78, 213–30.
  • Kaza and Kraft, Dharma Rain, 58–61.
Sept 26–28

Buddha Nature: Medieval Japanese Buddhists

Assigned Reading

  • Callicott and Ames, Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought, 183–212.
  • Tucker and Williams, Buddhism and Ecology, 71–130.

Assignments Due

  • Paper 1 Due
Oct 3–5

Buddhist Veneration of Mountains and Water: China and Japan

Assigned Reading

  • Kaza amd Kraft, Dharma Rain, 43–57, 65–78, 125–50.
Oct 10–12

Pause Week

Oct 17–19

Buddhist Ecology in the American Landscape 1

Assigned Reading

  • Badiner, Dharma Gaia, 53–63, 155–64.
  • Kaza and Kraft, Dharma Rain, 329–39, 444–45.
  • Tucker and Williams, Buddhism and Ecology, 219–68.

Assignments Due

  • Paper 2 Due
Oct 24–Oct 26

Buddhist Ecology in the American Landscape 2: Gary Snyder

Assigned Reading

  • Snyder, The Practice of the Wild, (all).
  • Tucker and Williams, Buddhism and Ecology, 187–218.
Oct 31–Nov 2

Environmental Ethics and the Buddhist Precepts

Assigned Reading

  • Badiner, Dharma Gaia, 14–19, 227–35.
  • Kaza and Kraft, Dharma Rain, 198–205, 340–52.
  • Tucker and Williams, Buddhism and Ecology, 177–86, 313–26.
Nov 7–9

Right Livelihood: Buddhist Economics and Ecology

Assigned Reading

  • Badiner, Dharma Gaia, 170–81.
  • Inoue, Putting Buddhism to Work, (all).
  • Kaza and Kraft, Dharma Rain, 178–90, 246–52.

Assignments Due

  • Paper 3 Due
Nov 14–16

Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Environmental Action

Assigned Reading

  • Kaza and Kraft, Dharma Rain, 241–45, 252–60, 278–302, 369–92.
  • Tucker and Williams, Buddhism and Ecology, 21–70, 269–90.

Assignments Due

  • Paper Proposals Due
Nov 21–23

Thanksgiving Vacation

Nov 28–30

Problematizing Buddhist Ecology
Assigned Reading

  • Tucker and Williams, Buddhism and Ecology, 351–402.
Dec 5–7

Open Classes

Dec 15

Final papers Due

 

Copyright © 2000 Duncan Ryuken Williams.
Reprinted with permission.
The author retains all copyrights for all syllabi materials.
Please contact each author individually for reprint rights.