Le Duc - Buddhist Environmental Humanism: A Humanistic Spirituality to Promote Ecological Flourishing
Religious environmentalisms are often inaccurately described as ‘anthropocentric,’ a label that can lead to a devaluation of the potential contribution that religiously inspired environmentalisms can have towards addressing the ecological crisis. This paper argues for reframing religious environmentalism, particularly Buddhist environmentalism, as an environmental humanism. The paper argues that seeing Buddhist environmentalism from the lens of humanism will help to eliminate the negative connotations attached to anthropocentrism, especially strong anthropocentrism, which is detrimental to environmental wellbeing and flourishing. On the other hand, environmental humanism argues that when human beings undergo the selfcultivation process to transform their lives, they are in fact achieving the best version of themselves—becoming truly and authentically human—a reality that in fact contributes to promoting both human and environmental wellbeing and flourishing. Thus, acting on behalf of the environment is part and parcel of the self-cultivation process encouraged by Buddhism. In the paper, the author presents fundamental Buddhist teachings that are essential to integral human development and are relevant to environmental humanism. The paper also discusses the various Buddhist virtues that define authentic personhood as well as promote environmental protection. Finally, the paper argues that Buddhist environmental humanism is not simply an environmental ethic but an environmental spirituality.
Keywords: Buddhist environmentalism, environmental humanism, ecological crisis, environmental wellbeing, environmental spirituality