The Intersection of Sentient Beings and Species, Traditional and Modern, in the Practices and Doctrine of Dharma Drum Mountain
At Dharma Drum Mountain (DDM), a Taiwanese Buddhist organization, the interplay of scientific and traditional Buddhist cosmologies produces hybrid modes of environing. This study uses ethnographic field research conducted at DDM’s World Center for Education in 2014 to examine multi-species relationships that surround practices such as tree preservation and animal release. Buddhist cosmologies may be on the margins of a global discourse on the human place in world ecosystems, but DDM, its clerics, and its scientists integrate modern ecology with traditional Buddhist notions to generate a hybrid ethics of being specially attuned to the forest of the monastery. The result is an ethics of compassionate conservation practices that balance the interests of humans, trees, fungi, spirits, dharma protectors, and the whole ecosystem.
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