Contemporary Buddhist ethics

PHL 245 - Buddhist Ethics
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For all enquiries, please contact Herb Tandree Philosophy Books directly - customer service is our primary goal. Seller Inventory BTE The resultant of an action often referred to as Karma depends on the intention more than the action itself. It entails less feelings of guilt than its Judeo-Christian counterpart. Buddhism places a great emphasis on 'mind' and it is mental anguish such as remorse, anxiety, guilt etc. The five precepts are:. This precept applies to all living beings not just humans.

All beings have a right to their lives and that right should be respected. This precept goes further than mere stealing. One should avoid taking anything unless one can be sure that is intended that it is for you. This precept is often mistranslated or misinterpreted as relating only to sexual misconduct but it covers any overindulgence in any sensual pleasure such as gluttony as well as misconduct of a sexual nature.

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An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues (Introduction to Religion) by Peter Harvey Paperback $ Series: Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism (Book 17) An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues. Damien Keown. This innovative volume brings together the views of leading scholars on a range of controversial subjects including human rights, animal rights, ecology, abortion, euthanasia, and contemporary business practice. Contemporary Buddhist Ethics, Damien Keown.

As well as avoiding lying and deceiving, this precept covers slander as well as speech which is not beneficial to the welfare of others. This precept is in a special category as it does not infer any intrinsic evil in, say, alcohol itself but indulgence in such a substance could be the cause of breaking the other four precepts. These are the basic precepts expected as a day to day training of any lay Buddhist.

On special holy days, many Buddhists, especially those following the Theravada tradition, would observe three additional precepts with a strengthening of the third precept to be observing strict celibacy. The additional precepts are:. This would mean following the tradition of Theravadin monks and not eating from noon one day until sunrise the next. Again, this and the next rule.

Laypersons following the Mahayana tradition, who have taken a Bodhisattva vow, will also follow a strictly vegetarian diet. This is not so much an additional precept but a strengthening of the first precept; To undertake the training to avoid taking the life of beings. The eating of meat would be considered a contribution to the taking of life, indirect though it may be.

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The Buddhist clergy, known as the Sangha, are governed by to rules depending on the school or tradition for males or Bhikkhus and between and rules, depending on the school or tradition for females or Bhikkhunis. These rules, contained in the Vinaya or first collection of the Buddhist scriptures,, are divided into several groups, each entailing a penalty for their breech, depending on the seriousness of that breech.

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The first four rules for males and the first eight for females, known as Parajika or rules of defeat, entail expulsion from the Order immediately on their breech. The four applying to both sexes are: Sexual intercourse, killing a human being, stealing to the extent that it entails a gaol sentence and claiming miraculous or supernormal powers. Bhikkhunis' additional rules relate to various physical contacts with males with one relating to concealing from the order the defeat or parajika of another.

Before his passing, the Buddha instructed that permission was granted for the abandonment or adjustment of minor rules should prevailing conditions demand such a change. These rules apply to all Sangha members irrespective of their Buddhist tradition. The interpretation of the rules, however differs between the Mahayana and Theravada traditions. The Theravadins, especially those from Thailand, claim to observe these rules to the letter of the law, however, in many cases, the following is more in theory than in actual practice.

The Mahayana Sangha interprets the rule not to take food at an inappropriate time as not meaning fasting from noon to sunrise but to refrain from eating between mealtimes. The fasting rule would be inappropriate, from a health angle, for the Sangha living in cold climates such as China, Korea and Japan. When one examines the reason that this rule was instituted initially, the conclusion may be reached that it is currently redundant. It was the practice in the Buddha's time for the monks to go to the village with their bowls to collect food. To avoid disturbing the villagers more than necessary, the Buddha ordered his monks to make this visit once a day, in the early morning.

ISBN 13: 9780700713134

This would allow the villagers to be free to conduct their day to day affairs without being disturbed by the monks requiring food. Today, of course, people bring food to the monasteries or prepare it on the premises so the original reason no longer applies. As many of you would be aware, in some Theravadin countries, the monks still go on their early morning alms round, but this is more a matter of maintaining a tradition than out of necessity.

SOR: Religion, Values & Ethics 10 Buddhist Ethics

Also, a rule prohibiting the handling of gold and silver, in other words - money, is considered by the Mahayana Sangha a handicap were it to be observed strictly in today's world. They interpret this rule as avoiding the accumulation of riches which leads to greed.

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Theravadin monks tend to split hairs on this rule as, although most will not touch coins, many carry credit cards and cheque books. Let me now deal briefly with the Buddhist attitude to violence, war and peace. The Buddha said in the Dhammapada:. The defeated live in pain. Happily the peaceful live giving up victory and defeat.

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This is an eternal law. The first precept refers to the training to abstain from harming living beings.

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Although history records conflicts involving the so-called Buddhist nations, these wars have been fought for economic or similar reasons. However, history does not record wars fought in the name of propagating Buddhism. Buddhism and, perhaps, Jainism are unique in this regard. Published Richmond, Surrey : Curzon Press, Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 3 of 3. Other Authors Keown, Damien, , editor. Buddhist ethics. Notes Includes bibliographical references and index.

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