Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short by Damien Keown

By Damien Keown

The latter 1/2 the 20 th century witnessed a turning out to be curiosity in Buddhism, and it maintains to catch the mind's eye of many within the West who see it as both an alternate or a complement to their very own non secular ideals. quite a few introductory books have seemed lately to cater to this transforming into curiosity, yet virtually none devotes realization to the particularly moral dimensions of the culture. for varied complicated cultural and ancient purposes, ethics has now not acquired as a lot recognition in conventional Buddhist concept because it has within the West. Written through Damien Keown, one of many few specialists around the world who focuses on the world, Buddhist Ethics illustrates how Buddhism may well technique more than a few modern morals starting from abortion to euthanasia, sexuality to cloning, or even battle and economics.

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Extra info for Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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Critical to the attempt is the notion of extending the traditional five vows of the laity in accordance with a supplementary series of fourteen precepts devised by Thich Nhat Hanh as part of the Tiep Hien Order, or ‘Order of Interbeing’, a community of activist-practitioners founded in 1964. In 2003, Thich Nhat Hanh and his community also released an updated version of the Pra ¯ timoksa for modern times which includes prohibitions on ˙ monks playing electronic games and using karaoke players! The fourteen precepts of the ‘Order of Interbeing’ 1.

Compassion Compassion (karuna ¯ ) is a virtue that is of importance in all schools ˙ of Buddhism but it is particularly emphasized by the Maha¯ya¯na. In early Buddhism, karuna ¯ figures as the second of the four ˙ Brahma-viha ¯ ras, or ‘Divine Abidings’. These are states of mind cultivated especially through the practice of meditation. The four are loving-kindness (metta ¯ ), compassion (karuna ¯ ), sympathetic joy ˙ (mudita ¯ ), and equanimity (upekkha ¯ ). The practice of the four Brahma-viha ¯ ras involves radiating outwards the positive qualities associated with each, directing them first towards oneself, then to one’s family, the local community, and eventually to all beings in the universe.

One could thus say that morality provides the raw data for the ethicist’s deliberations. Whatever its merits, this distinction (which I would not wish to press too far) is useful because it allows us to postulate that while Buddhism has a good deal to say about morality, it has little to say about ethics. On the 27 Ethics East and West It would be helpful if we could ask Buddhists themselves for guidance on where their religion stands on questions of the kind raised above. However, there is a curious absence of authoritative opinion on these matters.

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