The Pali Canon includes many verses (gathas) of poetry that movingly extol the beauty of nature and that use themes from the natural world in describing Buddhist ideas and practices. This weekend program will look closely at examples of these gathas, particularly those relating to nature and the use of nature metaphors to express Buddhist teachings. We investigate the use of special wording that allows for the aesthetic appreciation of nature while avoiding the kinds of pleasure and attachment that can lead to suffering; we review the importance of meter and how it influences the poetics of early Indian traditions; and we consider social issues such as who is composing nature poetry (monks) and who is not (nuns). The program is intended for those who have an interest in the historical Buddha and his first generation of followers, as well as in the Pali language and its nuances. Many of the verses will be recited out loud, both in Pali and in English.