Many Buddhists or scholars promote Buddhism as holistically ecological. This view is popular and unquestioned for a long time so much so that there are terms such as ‘eco-Buddhism’ or ‘green Buddhism’. However, since the late twentieth century, this view has been challenged. Some scholars question whether Buddhism offer holistic and genuine discourse on ecology or it is a product of Buddhist apologists. This paper will use the case study of a Buddhist organization in Taiwan- Tzu Chi, to reflect on this debate. It will examine Tzu Chi’s environmental protection works through the standpoint of Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory. By so doing, I hope to offer a new perspective on the relationship between Buddhism and ecological discourse.
Keywords: Buddhist ecology, Niklas Luhmann, Tzu Chi, eco-religious communication