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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies

No Nature, No Culture: Ethnography of Some Chinese Buddhist Contributions to Environmentalism


Dr. Mayfair Yang (University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)

Venue and time

05. Oktober 2023, 14:00 - 15:45 Uhr


Online lecture. Please register here:


This lecture examines some Chinese Buddhist practices in Wenzhou that may contribute to global environmental efforts through the dissolution of the Nature-Culture ontological opposition that launched modernity. Vegetarianism and providing animal shelters are built on a long Buddhist tradition of empathy and compassion for the suffering of sentient beings and tied in with notions of reincarnation into the Six Paths of beings. One to two millennia before Donna Haraway’s call to recognize that “all earthlings are kin in the deepest sense,” Buddhist reincarnation cosmology had already set up a trans-generational ethics of kinship across the
boundaries between humans and animals, and between humans and divinities. "Releasing Life"
(fangsheng) rituals represent another expression of compassion for other beings and species


Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies - Chinese Studies