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Durham University

The Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor DE Cooper

Cooper, David E. & James, Simon P. (2005). Buddhism, Virtue and Environment. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Author(s) from Durham


Buddhism, one increasingly hears, is an 'eco-friendly' religion. It is
often said that this is because it promotes an 'ecological' view of
things, one stressing the essential unity of human beings and the
natural world. This book presents a different view. While agreeing that
Buddhism is, in many important respects, in tune with environmental
concerns, Cooper and James argue that what makes it 'green' is its view
of human life. The true connection between the religion and
environmental thought is to be found in Buddhist accounts of the virtues, those traits, such as compassion, equanimity and humility, that characterise the life of a spiritually enlightened individual. Central chapters of this book examine these virtues and their implications for
environmental attitudes and practice.
Buddhism, Virtue and Environment will be of interest not only to students and teachers of Buddhism and environmental ethics, but to those more generally engaged with moral philosophy. Written in a clear and accessible style, this book presents an original conception of Buddhist environmental thought. The authors also contribute to the wider debate on the place of ethics in Buddhist teachings and practices, and to
debates within 'virtue ethics' on the relations between human well-being
and environmental concern.


The two co-authors contributed equally to the research for and the writing
of this book