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Renewable energy technology in Buddhist monasteries

Ngamprapasom, Peeti (2010) Renewable energy technology in Buddhist monasteries. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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The importance of renewable energy technologies has become increasingly evident in the public mind in recent times. This has arisen during instances of energy shortage and oil price shocks, coupled with emerging concerns as a result of climate change effects. The attraction of renewable, natural energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro, geo-thermal and biomass, compared to the detrimental environmental impact of existing resources is obvious. The promise of renewable energy technology has provided hope to society’s need for sustainable energy, as well as the survival of human kind in the future.

However, in the transition from fossil-fuel based technologies to renewable energy technologies, obstacles to change arise from the incumbency of vested interests. Thus, there is a pressing need to demonstrate to the public that renewable energy resources are practicable. Buddhist monasteries can be instrumental in this task. In countries, such as, Thailand, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, monasteries play a social role as public centres for their communities. Not only do they deliver Dharma from the Lord Buddha, but they also model and teach their adherents how to conduct their lives in harmony with nature and the environment.

In this paper, two aspects of energy have been discussed in relation to their application to Buddhist monasteries, including the importance of energy efficiency and the significance of renewable technology. The Bodhiyana Buddhist monastery in Serpentine, was used as a site for a case study to examine both issues. The case study contains energy audits and renewable energy resource assessments which play a vital role in each of the issues. Subsequently, the paper explores the ‘Noble Eightfold Path’ of Buddhist doctrine by demonstrating the bridge to renewable energy technology. The terms ‘Right Livelihood’ and ‘Appropriate Technology’ are used in relationship between these two elements.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Pryor, Trevor
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