Environment and Nature in Buddhism

  • Leslie E. Sponsel
  • Poranee Natadecha‐Sponsel
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8564

Buddhism is an enormous, diverse, and complex subject. There are many variations on Buddhism's basic themes manifested in the three major traditions (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana or Tantric) and also in variants of these in the form of at least 18 schools and their numerous sects. Much of the diversity in the expression of Buddhism results from the diversity of its numerous geographical, ecological, demographic, historical, cultural, linguistic, religious, national, and political contexts. Although estimates vary, there are at least 354 million Buddhists living in 86 countries of the world. Another complication is that many Buddhists adhere to more than one religion, or follow a mixture of elements from different religions, such as Animism and Hinduism in Thailand, Confucianism and Daoism in China, or Shintoism in Japan. An additional variable is that, as in any religion, in Buddhism too there are differences between ideals and practice, text and context, clergy and laity,...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie E. Sponsel
  • Poranee Natadecha‐Sponsel

There are no affiliations available