Contrary to popular imaginings, the Dharma has not historically been an inherently environmental religion. Rather, early Buddhism was a prosperity theology that succeeded mainly on account of its willingness to exploit both people and natural resources on the commodity frontier. As such, by investigating the links between Buddhism and agricultural expansion this talk will explore how Buddhists radically transformed Asia’s environment.
Johan Elverskog is Dedman Family Distinguished Professor, Chair of Religious Studies, and, by courtesy, Professor of History at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of eight books. This talk will be drawn from his latest book, "The Buddha’s Footprint: An Environmental History of Asia", forthcoming from the University of Pennsylvania Press. It focuses on the environmental history of Asia, toppling the myth that Buddhism is “green” by examining its practices across Asia as it become a dominant institutional and religious force.
A reception will immediately preceed the event at 4:30 pm. The talk will begin at 5:00 pm.