Affective Entanglements: Human-Nonhuman Relations in Buddhist Ecologies of Feeling




fear, forest, Pali, Jataka, care


This article reflects on key concepts in early South Asian Buddhism and their potential for creative dialogue with current concepts of research at the philosophical forefront of ecological thinking. It explores the role of feelings---that is, both bodily affects and culturally formed emotions---as crucial in negotiating the relations between humans and nonhumans and their environments. To this end, the concept of affective entanglement is proposed as a way of describing and analysing the condition of constitutive ecological linkage articulated through feelings and based in the fundamental interdependence of all phenomena in the world. Through careful analysis of a series of important early Buddhist Pali texts dealing with forested environments, this article explores how the early Buddhist teaching can challenge and enrich how we think of persons and bodies in relation to other beings and environments. Through a discussion of the powerful emotion of fear and the importance of vulnerability, the article develops thoughts on how Buddhist emotional practices as practices of care can inspire new approaches in today's times of escalating ecological crisis and acute vulnerability in coexisting and intersecting human and nonhuman pluriworlds.




How to Cite

Schröer, Frederik. 2024. “Affective Entanglements: Human-Nonhuman Relations in Buddhist Ecologies of Feeling”. Journal of Global Buddhism 25 (1):27-43.



Special Focus: Buddhism in the Anthropocene