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Announcement: Is Buddhism a path to a more sustainable world? International expert speaks at Sydney

September 16, 2010

Southern-Courier (Australia)
September 14, 2010

What guidance does Buddhism give as we strive for
a more ecologically sustainable existence?

Contemporary Buddhist thinkers link Buddhism’s
emphasis on mutual dependence of all phenomena,
to a more ecologically aware and sustainable way
of life. But are there deeper roots within Buddhism to the conservation cause?

The University of Sydney’s 2010 Visiting
Professor of Buddhist Studies, Graeme Samuel,
will explore the subject in a lecture to be held
at the University on Monday 20 September.

In his lecture titled Buddhism and a Sustainable
World: Some Reflections the renowned Professor
from Cardiff University in the United Kingdom
will argue that historically, Buddhist literature
paid little attention to environmental concerns.

However Professor Samuel will suggest the actual
practice of traditional Buddhist societies,
particularly in Tibet and the Himalayas, often
did engage quite deeply, if at a less explicit
level, with environmental and ecological issues.

“The works of Buddhist-inspired writers such as
Joanna Macy and Gary Snyder have helped create
and shape the new ecological consciousness,” he
says. “But these thinkers are essentially engaged
in creating a new and contemporary Buddhism.
Historically Buddhist literature had relatively
little explicit concern with environmental
awareness, protection or sustainability.”

“What we can look to is the actual practice of
Buddhism in Tibet and the Himalayas, where in
practice there was deep engagement with the
environment and ecological issues. These
societies have useful lessons for us today in the
search for a sustainable world.”

Professor Samuel has researched and published
extensively on religion in Tibetan societies;
technologies of consciousness; the relationship
between consciousness, body and materiality; as
well as the history of meditation, yoga and tantra in India and Tibet.

He also has interests in religion and modernity,
including Buddhism in contemporary societies;
gender, sexuality and masculinity in Asian
cultures; and Shamanism and ‘nature religions’.

Recent books include “The Origins of Yoga and
Tantra: Indic Religions to the Thirteenth
Century”, and “Tantric Revisionings: New
Understandings of Tibetan Buddhism and Indian Religion”.

Professor Samuel’s lecture is part of the Sydney
Ideas lecture series. It is one of a series of
lectures he will deliver at the University as the
second holder of the University Buddhist
Education Foundation Visiting Professorship in
Buddhist Studies, administered by the Department
of Indian Sub-continental Studies in the
University’s School of Language and Cultures.

Event details:

What: Buddhism and a Sustainable World: Some
Reflections – Professor Graeme Samuel at Sydney
Ideas, the University of Sydney’s international public lecture series

Date: Monday 20 September 2010
Time: 6:30pm lecture start
Venue: Seymour Theatre Centre, University of Sydney
Cost: $20 adult / $15 concession

FREE for University of Sydney staff, students,
alumni (Uni ID or alumni card required)

Bookings: T: 02 9351 7940 or online at" .
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