KEOWN ON ETHICS - SOCIALLY ENGAGED BUDDHISM

  • Created by: Banisha.
  • Created on: 21-04-18 15:52

DAMEIN KEOWN

  • He argues that all Buddhist ethics are founded on self- cultivated virtue 
  • buddhist ethics was the appearance of a related movement known as 'engaged buddhism'
  • buddhist ethics is concerned with the specifics of individual conduct
  • engaged buddhism focuses on larger question of public policy such as social justice, poverty and the environment 
  • buddhist ethics and engaged buddhism are like corresponding to two of the major branches of western though 
  • keowns interpretation of buddhist ethics - draws comparision between virue and buddhist ethics
  • Virtue ethics proposes a path of self-transformation in which a person comes gradually to emulate certain ideal standards of behaviour disclosed in the conduct of teachers or sages who have progressed further towards the goal of human fulfilment –
  • ‘the actions they systematically avoid become codified in the form of precepts that serve to guide their followers.’
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KEOWN ON HUMAN RIGHTS

Damien Keown accounts for concern over human rights as being to do with a sense of dignity derived from a universally shared potential for enlightenment. Points out that traditional sources have little to say about the kinds of questions which are now regarded as human right issues •However: a Buddhist could argue there is a link between rights and duty The quality of compassion has a role to play in ensuring human rights By virtue of this common potential for enlightenment, all individuals are worthy of respect, and justice therefore demands that the rights of each individual must be protected.

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BUDDHISM WAR/TERRORISM

Buddhist teachings strongly oppose the use of violence Violence stems from the 3 poisons Example of Asoka turning against violence “Atman” or self tends to want to protect self with war and violence – Buddhism is anatman Classical sources teach strict pacifism Some history of Buddhist states not being averse to the use of force  – but war never used for religious coercion Seeking to understand causes of conflict; showing compassion to opponents; endeavouring to solve disputes by peaceful means DHAMMAPADA - " all tremle at violence, all fear death. comparing onself with oters one should neither kill nor cause to kill" 

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BUDDHISM AND SEXUALITY

Celibacy is seen as preferable Buddhism generally conservative on sexuality despite the ****** art of Tantric Tibetan Buddhism There is no obligation to procreate and marriage is not a religious matter; but for the married sexual conduct should be procreative Vinaya has clear rules on sexual conduct Suffering is caused by craving/desire Third precept on sexual misconduct could be seen as relative to time, place and culture Dalai Lama recognises the need for more discussion about homosexuality

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OTHER ISSUES ABORTION/ SUICIDE

Abortion: Keown points out how abortion has been seen as against the first precept and that rebirth is though to occur at the moment of fertilization, but, noting that monks do not picket abortion clinics, draws attention to popular ceremonies particularly in Japan to mark abortions and cases where abortion is regarded as acceptable by Buddhists, and suggests this area is open to discussion currently as Buddhism gains hold in the west Suicide: There are disagreements about the actions of Thich Nhat Hahn and other Vietnamese monks (self-immolation). Keown sees little evidence that the Buddha condoned suicide.

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ETHICAL TEACHINGS

The Noble Eightfold Path The Eight Precepts    The Ten Precepts   The Vinaya, The Patimokkah, The 4 Parajikas   Dana and Punya    Compassion   (The six perfections, The ten perfections) The Five Precepts

I undertake to observe the rule:

1. to abstain from taking life 2. to abstain from taking what is not given 3. to abstain from sensuous misconduct 4. to abstain from false speech 5. to abstain from intoxicants as tending to cloud the mind

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THE VINAYA/ PATTIMOKKHA

Buddhist monks follow the Vinaya.    The term ‘Vinaya’ translates as ‘education’ or ‘discipline’    It is the disciplinary code of self training that all monks and nuns follow. There are some 227 precepts or rules that Buddhist monks follow.  There are 311 rules for Buddhist nuns. This is known as the patimokkha.

Of the 227 precepts, four are considered to be the most important for monks to follow. These are called the four defeats or four parajikas. If a Buddhist monk breaks these, then they could be asked to leave the Sangha (expelled).

Not to have sexual intercourse. Not to steal. Not to commit murder. Not to claim attainments of stages of pure
mental
concentration that have not been achieved.
 

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