Freecycling Buddhist Communities

Will Tuladhar-Douglas

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Freecycling as a modern practice combines the virtues of simplicity, poverty and recycling. We might expect to see these enthusiastically endorsed or even anticipated by Buddhist communities and practitioners. Certainly there are precedents in the monastic laws—such as the requirement that monastic robes be made from discarded cloth—and there are some striking examples of Buddhist freecycling, such as the Buddhist temple in Khun Han, Thailand, built from 1.5 million discarded beer bottles.

For many monastics and their patrons, though, an impressive building, large cars, and opulent provisions are a sign of respect and merit. In Nepal, this leads to the jarring sight of dozens of new monasteries, built in clearcut jungle or on levelled hilltops, with erosion gullies and vast piles of rubbish behind them and expensive four-wheel-drive vehicles ferrying important lamas coming in the front.

The tension here does not reduce to modern/Western vs. traditonal/Asian. Begging was an important part of Buddhist training, and of the public appearance of Buddhist communities, in the earliest communities; but now it is a restricted and reformist practice found in ascetic schools. The interconnected nature of global Buddhism means that intra-Buddhist critiques apply equally to wasteful practices in Europe or the Himalayas; and reform movements that adopt freecycling may surface in Berkeley or Thailand. How, then, do specific Buddhist communities interpret Buddhist law, economic and environmental ethics, and the construction of a Buddhist community that maintains both mindfulness and reputation?
Original languageEnglish
Pages1-141
Number of pages141
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
EventAmerican Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 2009 - Philadelphia, United States
Duration: 2 Dec 20096 Dec 2009

Conference

ConferenceAmerican Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 2009
CountryUnited States
CityPhiladelphia
Period2/12/096/12/09

Fingerprint

Buddhist
Thailand
Wheel
Environmental Ethics
Ascetic
Reformist
Asia
Buddhism
Mindfulness
Car
Patron
Nepal
Jungle
Merit
Monastery
Erosion
Economics
Himalayas
Rubbish
Temple

Cite this

Tuladhar-Douglas, W. (2009). Freecycling Buddhist Communities. 1-141. Paper presented at American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 2009, Philadelphia, United States.

Freecycling Buddhist Communities. / Tuladhar-Douglas, Will.

2009. 1-141 Paper presented at American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 2009, Philadelphia, United States.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Tuladhar-Douglas, W 2009, 'Freecycling Buddhist Communities' Paper presented at American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 2009, Philadelphia, United States, 2/12/09 - 6/12/09, pp. 1-141.
Tuladhar-Douglas W. Freecycling Buddhist Communities. 2009. Paper presented at American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 2009, Philadelphia, United States.
Tuladhar-Douglas, Will. / Freecycling Buddhist Communities. Paper presented at American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting 2009, Philadelphia, United States.141 p.
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