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Love It or Leave It

Buddhist Perspectives on the Natural World


Estimated reading time: 1 minute
Is liberation to be found in perfect transcendence of the world, or in radical embeddedness within it? Buddhist scholar Karin Meyers explores a range of Dharma perspectives on our relationship with Earth.
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“According to tradition, the Buddha was born under a tree, awakened under a tree, taught under a tree, and died under a tree. In early Buddhist art, the Buddha is even represented as a tree. Furthermore, the stock phrases describing the path of meditation begin with the instruction to take oneself to the foot of a tree…”

“Surely, the profound stillness and quietude of meditation under a tree would have evoked in the Buddha and his companions a sense of the aliveness and intelligence of the more-than-human-world, just as it does for many modern persons.”

“The Buddhist doctrine of love … suggests that we are all worthy of love, just not more love than the more-than-human-beings with whom we share this wondrous Earth.”


A transcript with slides of this talk is available here: Love it or Leave it: Buddhist Perspectives on the Natural World.

Picture of Karin Meyers

Karin Meyers

Karin Meyers has taught Buddhist Studies at several colleges and universities in the US and abroad, and will be joining Mangalam Research Institute in Berkeley as acting Academic Director in the summer of 2020. Her scholarly work focuses on bringing Buddhist and comparative religious perspectives to bear on basic questions about the constitution of our world, knowledge, and ethics. She also speaks to Buddhist sanghas, college students, and activists about how the accelerating ecological crisis calls for a deepening and evolution of socially engaged forms of Buddhist practice.
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