Plant Lives


Border line beings in Indian traditions

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This book examines, for the first time, those threads in Indian thought that present a prolife view of plants. Using texts from Vedic, Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist traditions, the author argues that there is strong support in early materials that plants are thought to be alive, to be sentient (and have the one sense of touch), to feel pleasure and pain, to have an interior consciousness, and to be bearers of karma. Moreover, while plants are traditionally thought to be of tamasic quality with their immobility and dullness, they are sometimes described as sattvic, with their calmness, even mindedness, and service to others. In fact, the author argues, plants are frequently used to provide a model for the practiced ascetic-in that they bend but don’t break with the wind, aren’t distracted when buzzed by a mosquito, and flourish in their steadfastness.

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Ellison Banks Findly

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