In this episode, we speak with Dr. Geoff Barstow about his beginnings as a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, the complicated status of animals in Buddhism, his research into the history of vegetarianism in Tibet, and how thinking with animals can help us see the world in a new way. We discuss common questions about Buddhism and animals, such as: what did the Buddha teach about animals? Are most Buddhists vegetarians? What are some of the different ways Buddhist communities have interacted with animals? We also preview his upcoming online course, BSO 106 | Buddhism and Animals, which will explore these issues in more depth!
Dr. Geoffrey Barstow is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Oregon State University.
He first encountered Tibetan Buddhism in 1999, and since that time the study of Tibetan religion, history, and culture has been the focus of his professional life. For the last decade and a half, his research has focussed on the history and practice of vegetarianism on the Tibetan plateau, asking questions about how animals were viewed, how they were treated (i.e., eaten), what that can tell us about Tibetan Buddhism, and how Buddhist ideas about animal ethics might impact broader philosophical discussions. His published work includes Food of Sinful Demons: A History of Vegetarianism in Tibet (Columbia University Press) and The Faults of Meat: Tibetan Writings on Vegetarianism (Wisdom Publications).
Links discussed in episode