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Story Publication logo October 23, 2018

Ecology Monks: The Intersection of Buddhism and the Environment

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Three young monks collect morning alms in the Chonburi Province of Thailand. Image by Kiley Price. Thailand, 2018.
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In 1991, a large oak tree was ordained as a Buddhist monk in the agricultural Nan Province of...

Phrakhu Sangkom Thanapanyo Khunsuri, a Buddhist ecology monk, on his farm in Surin. Image by Kiley Price. Thailand, 2018.
Phrakhu Sangkom Thanapanyo Khunsuri, a Buddhist ecology monk, on his farm in Surin. Image by Kiley Price. Thailand, 2018.

In the face of deforestation, climate change, and extreme flooding in Thailand, Buddhist monks are stepping up as environmental leaders. Although the Buddhist religion typically emphasizes a detachment from society, these monks are acting as environmental advocates through ritual, advising in the political sphere, and agricultural work. By putting the Thai environmental movement on a moral platform, ecology monks are encouraging followers to protect the environment as a religious duty.

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