This systematic introduction to Buddhist ethics is aimed at anyone interested in Buddhism, including students, scholars and general readers. Peter Harvey is the author of the acclaimed Introduction to Buddhism, and his new book is written in a clear style, assuming no prior knowledge. At the same time it develops a careful, probing analysis of the nature and practical dynamics of Buddhist ethics in both its unifying themes and in the particularities of different Buddhist traditions. The book applies Buddhist ethics (...) to a range of issues of contemporary concern: humanity's relationship with the rest of nature; economics; war and peace; euthanasia; abortion; the status of women; and homosexuality. Professor Harvey draws on texts of the main Buddhist traditions, and on historical and contemporary accounts of the behaviour of Buddhists, to describe existing Buddhist ethics, to assess different views within it, and to extend its application into new areas. (shrink)
Abstract The Suttas indicate physical conditions for success in meditation, and also acceptance of a not?Self life?principle (primarily viññana) which is (usually) dependent on the mortal physical body. In the Abhidhamma and commentaries, the physical acts on the mental through the senses and through the ?basis? for mind?organ and mind?consciousness, which came to be seen as the ?heart?basis?. Mind acts on the body through two ?intimations?: fleeting modulations in the primary physical elements. Various forms of r?pa are also said to (...) originate dependent on citta and other types of r?pa. Meditation makes possible the development of a ?mind?made body? and control over physical elements through psychic powers. The formless rebirths and the state of cessation are anomalous states of mind?without?body, or body?without?mind, with the latter presenting the problem of how mental phenomena can arise after being completely absent. Does this twin?category process pluralism avoid the problems of substance?dualism? (shrink)
The understanding of conditioned co‐arising is central to Buddhist practice and development. This chapter presents the principle of conditionality, which can be applied to all processes, events, and things, physical or mental, in the universe. Besides explaining the origin of dukkha, the conditioned co‐arising formula also explains karma, rebirth, and the functioning of personality, all without the need to invoke a permanent self. Buddhism sees the basic root of the pain and stress of life as spiritual ignorance, rather than sin. (...) The between‐lives period has three phases: inclining to a further rebirth, seeking it here and there, and falling from one's previous identity into a new rebirth. In the Mahāyāna movement, various uses were made of the conditioned co‐arising. As a general point on conditioned co‐arising, it should be noted that it presents a “middle” way of understanding that echoes the Buddhist path as a “middle way” of practice. (shrink)
This paper critiques the standard translation of ariya-sacca as ‘Noble Truth’ and argues that the term refers to four saccas as ‘true realities’, rather than as verbalised ‘truths’ about these realities; the teachings about them are not, as such what the term ariya-sacca refers to. Moreover, only one of the ariya-saccas is itself ever described in the suttas as ‘noble’. The four are ‘true realities for the spiritually ennobled’: the fundamental, basic, most significant genuine realities that the Buddha and other (...) noble ones see in the flow of experience of themselves and/or others. The first of them is not best translated as ‘suffering’ but as ‘pain’ – in all its many senses – or indeed ‘the painful’: the up?d?na-kkhandhas as ‘bundles of grasping-fuel’ which are described, adjectivally, as ‘painful’. The paper includes a new translation of the Dhamma-cakka-ppavattana Sutta in line with this analysis. (shrink)
In what is portrayed as Buddha's first sermon, the Dhamma‐cakka‐ppavatana Sutta (DCPS), the Buddha highlighted four key aspects or dimensions of existence to which one needs to become attuned so as to become deeply spiritually transformed and end dukkha. Though the DCPS emphasizes dukkha, this is in fact only one of three related characteristics or “marks” of the five khandhas. These “three marks” of all conditioned phenomena are that they are impermanent, painful, and non‐Self. Buddhism emphasizes that change and impermanence (...) are fundamental features of everything. The Four True Realities for the Spiritually Ennobled and statements which point to these realities, such as “This is dukkha,” form the structural framework for all higher teachings of early Buddhism. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This article focuses on how Buddhist ethics contains ideas and principles that would urge those in a combat situation to minimise the harm they do to others, within the requirements of their military goal. This international humanitarian law principle is in line with both compassion for others and a concern to limit the bad karmic results to the combatant of their intentional killing and maiming. The motive for an act of killing can worsen or lessen its karmic results, and (...) non-combat actions such as helping the wounded can generate good karmic results which can dilute, though not cancel, the bad karma of killing. Harm to both humans and non-humans is to be avoided wherever possible, but killing a human is worse than killing an animal. The Mahāvaṃsa passage on combatants killed by King Duṭṭhagāmaṇi’s army as mostly being less than human, such that killing them produced little or no bad karma, is a totally implausible statement to put in the mouths of monks whom the text says were Arahats, spiritually enlightened ones. (shrink)
A strong strand of the scholarship of Lance Cousins focussed on the jh?nas and related matters, and he was also a practitioner and teacher of samatha meditation, which aims at the jh?nas. In this dual tradition, this paper explores subtle questions about the nature of each jh?na as dealt with in the Pali Nik?yas, Abhidhamma and commentaries. Its aim is to help illuminate what it is like to be in any of these jh?nas: what is going on in them, and (...) what has been transcended? What do the similes for each jh?na convey about the overall situation in them? What kind` of thought and feelings are understood to occur in them? To what extent does breathing stop in deep jh?na? To what extent is hearing transcended in them? What happens in moving between them? How are they related to developing insight? (shrink)
As is the case with most pre‐modern philosophers of India, very little historical information is available about Bhartṛ‐hari. There are many interesting legends, some turned into extensive plays and poems, current about him. However, it is impossible to determine on their basis even whether there was only one philosopher called Bhartṛ‐hari. The appellation “philosopher” could unquestionably be applied to the author or authors of at least two Sanskrit works that are commonly ascribed to Bhartṛ‐hari.
This introduction reflects on some key passages on illness in the P?li suttas, especially as regards the relationship of illness and karma, and whether Buddhist meditative qualities might be seen to alleviate or cure physical illnesses.
All Buddhists go to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sa?gha as the ‘three refuges’, but who exactly are the ‘the eight types of persons’ that are referred to in the standard passage on the nature and qualities of the third refuge? Four of these persons are clearly the stream-enterer, once-returner, non-returner, and Arahat, but who are the others, especially the lowest of them, the one practising for the realization of the stream-entry-fruit? This article aims to develop greater clarity on these eight (...) persons and their relationship to each other, and especially to focus on the first, who comes in the forms of the faith-follower and Dhamma-follower. It aims to get at the original meaning of such terms, and trace how these changed. In particular, it questions the appropriateness of the developed Pali tradition’s mapping of him/her as existing only for one moment, immediately prior to stream-entry, and seeks to gauge, from the suttas, at what point in a person’s practice they become such a person, and hence a member of the s?vaka-Sa?gha. In the process, the practices of the person practising for stream-entry are explored and the sutta meaning of terms such as ariya, ariya-s?vaka, sekha and sappurisa are also examined. (shrink)