I recently received a letter with one of your Plot to Save the Planet badges from Chuck Prebish, and thought it would be good to make contact with you. I am a scholar of Japanese Buddhism, with particular focus on modernity, ethics, and politics. I also happen to be Canadian, though I presently teach at Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Though I’ve been both a Buddhist scholar and a Buddhist for many years, it was only in the past several years that I have begun to take up green issues in earnest. In some ways, it strikes me as odd that, despite nearly two decades of research in and practice of Buddhism, I had never really made the connection with the environment. Now, I cannot see any issues that is more fundamental to the world, and, by extension, to Buddhism. In fact, I now see environmental issues (in particular food waste and our reliance on plastic) as being absolutely central to ‘dharmic’ understanding and practice.
At any rate, beyond any financial contribution I might make to your worthy cause, I’m interested in being more actively engaged in the promotion of ‘green Dharma’ – though I’m not quite sure what this might entail.
PS I will be soon heading to Kyoto for a year’s sabbatical. I intend to take a photo of my badge somewhere in the mountains surrounding Kyoto, and will certainly send it your way for posting.
James Mark Shields
Assistant Professor of Comparative Humanities & Asian Thought
Senior Fellow, Languages & Cultures College
Graduate School Advising Coordinator
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