By Peter Harvey

This systematic creation to Buddhist ethics is geared toward someone attracted to Buddhism, together with scholars, students and common readers. Peter Harvey is the writer of the acclaimed creation to Buddhism (Cambridge, 1990), and his new e-book is written in a transparent variety, assuming no previous wisdom. while it develops a cautious, probing research of the character and sensible dynamics of Buddhist ethics in either its unifying issues and within the particularities of other Buddhist traditions. The ebook applies Buddhist ethics to various problems with modern challenge: humanity's courting with the remainder of nature; economics; battle and peace; euthanasia; abortion; the prestige of ladies; and homosexuality. Professor Harvey attracts on texts of the most Buddhist traditions, and on old and modern money owed of the behaviour of Buddhists, to explain current Buddhist ethics, to evaluate diversified perspectives inside it, and to increase its software into new components.

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Giving from the last of these motives is then said to lead to rebirth in the first heaven of the realm of (elemental) form, where the brahma¯s dwell. Thus doing a good action simply because it is seen to have pleasant results is not the highest of motives – it is better to value goodness in itself, and the peace and wisdom that it facilitates (Payutto, : –). Accordingly, the Therava¯din commentator Buddhaghosa says, on moral virtue: That undertaken just out of desire for fame is inferior; that undertaken just out of desire for the fruits of karmically fruitful actions is medium; that undertaken for the sake of the Noble state thus, ‘This is to be done’, is superior.

Working with a rebirth perspective also helps sustain a long-term motivation for moral and spiritual practice. While death means that one loses all physical possessions, and is parted from one’s loved ones and one’s life’s ‘attainments’, the purification of character that is developed by ethical and meditative practice is seen as something that death does not destroy (Khp. ). It becomes part of one’s mental continuum that will ‘spill over’ into another life. In that life, the spiritual development of this life may be neglected or further built on: but at the very least, it can act as a positive residue of this life, to be used as a foundation for further development.

Dhammapada – Fundamental features of Buddhism’s world-view relevant to ethics are the framework of karma and rebirth, accepted by all schools of Buddhism, with varying degrees of emphasis, and the Four Noble Truths, the highest teachings of early Buddhism and of the Therava¯da school. In the Maha¯ya¯na tradition, an increasing emphasis on compassion modified the earlier shared perspective in certain ways, as will be explored in chapter .               In ethics as in other matters, Buddhists have three key sources of inspiration and guidance: the ‘three treasures’ or ‘three refuges’: the Buddha, Dhamma and San˙gha.

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