HDS 3016

Green Buddhism: Faith, Ecology, and Activism

Willa B. Miller


This course examines the growing movement within the Buddhist community to address the issue of environmental degradation and climate change through the avenues of Buddhist ethics, theological discourse, and community activism. The class will read passages from ancient textual sources, beginning with the Pali Buddhist Canon and continuing into Buddhism's diaspora, that frame nature as sacred, and that value the earth as a vehicle of religious reflection and practice. We will also look at modern discourses from Buddhist-inspired authors and teachers that call for activism, and those that consider a shift from an anthro-centric religion to nature-centric religion. The class will address topics such as the relationship between consumer culture, religion and the state of the environment in the 21st Century. Readings include a variety of theoretical considerations of religion and the environment such as Gary Snyder's Practice of the Wild, Evelyn Tucker's anthology Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds, and John Stanley and David Loy's anthology A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency. In addition to readings, class participants will develop an "outdoor practice", designed to relate to ecological or natural world as inspiration for study and/or ministry, and will keep a weekly reflection journal. The course will host several visiting speakers, experts in this field, over the course of the semester. Note: Course has additional hour to be arranged.

Enrollment Limited: Limited to 35 students. Instructor's permission required.
Open to BTI Students: Yes

Course website


0.50 credits
Spring 2015
Tues 2pm-4pm
Divinity Hall Room 211

Relationship to Program Requirements

Program Requirement Area / Category / Art / Designation
MTS Area(s) of Focus
  • Buddhist Studies
  • Religion, Ethics, and Politics
MDiv Distribution Category/ies
  • Scriptural Interpretation
MDiv Art(s) of Ministry
  • Public Leadership, Community Organizing, and Planning
  • Religious Education and Spiritual Development
Language Course Designation(s) None