Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Jea Sophia Oh, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Matthew Pierlott, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Helen Schroepfer, Ph.D.


The primary motivation for this study will be to propose a nature ethic inspired by a belief of deep ecology, and nestled within an a metaphysical representation of the world as presented by process metaphysics and Mahayana Buddhist doctrine. This research will be exploring various applications of Whiteheadian process metaphysics, as well as Mahayana Buddhist ontology to establish a solidified metaphysical platform to further expand to include humans and the natural world on the same plane of being. Upon this platform, Hua-yen Buddhist thought, existing as a subset of Mahayana Buddhism, will be brought into dialogue with its interconnected cosmology to accentuate the implications of the proposed metaphysical notions towards human orientation regarding nature. After an analysis and exploration of the potential critiques of the proposed framework, the practicalities regarding reaching an understanding regarding this altered awareness and the resulting consequences of how individuals perceive their relation to the natural world will be formulated toward a holistic and organismic nature ethic.