Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Environmental Program

Keywords

agriculture, america, religion, buddhism, food, ethic

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to illuminate the ways that Buddhism and ecology intersect, specifically as it pertains to food beliefs and attitudes. I examined contemporary American Buddhists, their perceptions of the natural world, and the ways in which their dietary prescriptions may reflect those perceptions. Examining the historical and contemporarily relevant perspectives on food is vital in understanding Buddhism and Ecology, a field becoming more explored in the search for measures to solve the environmental crisis. This thesis functions to explore the ways that American Buddhist practitioners view the environment and as a result, their food practices and attitudes. Specifically, I examine the various motivations that guide the eating choices of American Buddhists through research on their environmental ethic (both historically and currently) and their behavior surrounding food procurement, cooking, and eating. I found that while this is an interesting and worthy pursuit, it is impossible to generalize the eating motivations and behaviors within the diverse community of American Buddhists. I speculate that the most interesting potential Buddhism and ecology may have, rather than its theoretical connections, is the capacity it may have to spur ecological action and sensitivity among its adherents into the future.

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