The Contents Are the Vessel: Snod bcud Beyond Nature




Anthropocene, Buddhist studies, humanism, snod bcud, Tibet-Mongolia interface


Reflecting on the implications of Dipesh Chakrabarty's "The Climate of History" for a critical Buddhist Studies of/for the Anthropocene, this article introduces a seven-hundred-years-old reflection among Inner Asian Buddhist scholastics about the perspectival tangle of worlds and beings. Rooted in canonical Indian Abhidharma literature and then the Tibetan Pakpa Chökyi Lodrö's didactic compositions meant for the princelings of the 13th century Mongolian Empire, Tibetan and Mongolian authors have long considered the ontological and epistemic nature of environments, beings, and perceiving minds in relation. Tracing an intellectual history leading into the Mongolian revolutionary period and Tibetan refugee diaspora in the twentieth century, this article shows that Inner Asian Buddhist have never been burdened by the tyranny of Nature and Culture, whose conceptual blurring in the Anthropocene Chakrabarty cites as imperiling the Humanities. Let the Humanities, as such, die. Finding resonances with earlier perspectival constructions of nature in the work of Alexander von Humboldt, the 19th century father of ecological studies, as well as critiques of nature/nurture in body and disability studies, this article argues for using Inner Asian perspectives as new methodological resources in the ruins of liberal humanism and the normative human sciences.




How to Cite

King, Matthew. 2024. “The Contents Are the Vessel: Snod Bcud Beyond Nature”. Journal of Global Buddhism 25 (1):60-74.



Special Focus: Buddhism in the Anthropocene