Dondukov B. Initiatives of the Central Khurul Aimed at Improving the Environmental Situation in the Republic of Kalmykia
East Siberia State University of Technology and Management
Ulan-Ude, Russian Federation
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ABSTRACT. In recent years desertification has turned into the main ecological problem of the republic of Kalmykia, Russia. With 80 % of its territory desertificated Kalmykia is defined as an ecological disaster zone. The article is the result of an expedition of scholars from the East Siberia State University of Technology and Management, Ulan-Ude, Russia, to the Republic of Kalmykia, Russia, in spring 2021. The field work was dedicated to the collection of materials about ecological projects of the Central Khurul of the republic of Kalmykia, one of the traditional Buddhist regions of Russia, which were connected to the problem of land degradation. We argue that the ecological initiatives of the Buddhist clergy can be divided into sacral, ideological and cooperative. Sacral initiatives include activities aimed at improving of ecological conditions on sacral level, achieved through Buddhist theory and related religious practices. Ideological activities imply cultivation of ecological values in the society by the Buddhist sangha, including both secular ideas of ecological thinking, and purely religious concepts based on Buddhist doctrine. Cooperative activities introduce such environmental initiatives, where the Buddhist sangha as a traditional and highly reputable institution engages other social and state organizations into environmental projects, ensuring their interaction.
KEYWORDS: desertification, socially engaged Buddhism, Central Khurul, ecology of the Republic of Kalmykia
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