The theoretical foundations of Buddhist ethics

Buddhist monk

On this module of the MA Buddhist Studies, you will examine the theoretical foundations of Buddhist ethics including key values, views of contemporary Buddhists and past and present behaviour of Buddhists.  We will also look at a range of ethical issues in light of Buddhist textual materials.

What you will study

Introduction; The impact of Buddhist karma theory on its ethics; Ethics and the early Buddhist analysis of reality; The role of ethics within the ordinary and Ennobling Eightfold Path; Buddhist and Western ethical theories; Assessing degrees of culpability in the  Suttas and Vinaya; The nature of Buddhist lay precepts; Ethics and  monasticism; The nature and role of lovingkindness and  compassion; Family, social and political ideals;  Mahāyāna Bodhisattva-precepts; Skilful means and the compassionate breaking of precepts; Ethics in the later forms of Mahāyāna Buddhism; Engaged Buddhism; Buddhism and human rights  Buddhism, war and  peace: theory; Buddhists' involvement in war and conflict; Buddhist actions for peace; Attitude to and treatment of animals;  Buddhism and environmentalism; Lay and monastic economic ethics; 'Buddhist economics', capitalism and consumerism; Buddhism on suicide and self-immolation; Buddhism on Euthanasia and organ donation; Buddhist perspectives on abortion; Buddhism and abortion: practical issues; Buddhism and sexual equality: theory; Buddhism and sexual equality: practice; Buddhism and homosexuality.

What to read before class...

Harvey, P. (2000) An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues
Keown, D. (1992) The Nature of Buddhist Ethics