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Buddha Ethics | ETHICS

Introduction | Buddha Ethics | ETHICS 

  • Buddhism started in India over 2,600 years ago as a way life that had a potential of transforming a person.
  • It is one of the important religions of South and South-Eastern Asian countries.
  • The religion is based upon the teachings, life experiences of its founder Siddhartha Gautam, born in circa 563 BCE.
  • Buddhist ethics are neither arbitrary standards invented by man for his own utilitarian purpose nor are they arbitrarily imposed.
  • Man-made laws and social customs do not form the basis of Buddhist ethics.
  • Buddhist ethics finds its foundation not on the changing social customs but rather on the unchanging laws of nature.

Three Essentials for Life

  • Buddhism considers – Wisdom (Prajna), Ethical conduct (Sila) and the Concentration (Samadi) as the three essentials for life.
  • Wisdom comes from right view, it leads to the right intention.
  • The right view and intentions are guides to ethical conduct – right speech, right action, right livelihood and right effort.
  • Concentration – pointed focus is ‘self – activity’ to have right mindfulness and right concentration.
  • When wisdom, ethics and concentration become way of life; one gains enlightenment.

Four Noble Truth | Buddha Ethics | ETHICS 

The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold path ( Middle path )

  • The truth of Suffering – No matter how much we struggle, we are unable to find the ultimate happiness or satisfaction. Suffering is the common bond we share. Therefore suffering is the real truth of our existence.
  • Desire : The truth about the cause of suffering – Cravings, desires and ignorance about reality are the cause of suffering.
  • The truth about end of suffering – If desire is eliminated, then only the suffering would stop. This stage when all desires are burned is called “nirvana” in Buddhism.
  • The path for ending suffering – This path is called the eightfold path. It emphasizes on a middle path between worldly pleasure and painful asceticism.

Pancasila (Five Refrains)

  • Buddhism invites Buddhists to adopt five precepts voluntarily in order to live together in civilised communities with mutual trust and respect.
  • Following these five precepts helps the Buddhist make a spiritual journey towards liberation. These are:
    • No killing,
    • No stealing,
    • No lying,
    • No sexual misconduct, and
    • No intoxicants.

Ten Demeritorious Deeds | Buddha Ethics | ETHICS 

  • People are advised to keep away from deeds rooted in greed, hatred, and delusion as they will bring suffering to others.
  • These ten deeds are divided into three sets:
    Actions of the Body: Bodily actions such as killing of living beings, stealing, and unlawful sexual intercourse.
    2. Verbal Actions: lying, slander, harsh speech, and meaningless talk.
    3. Actions of the Mind: Covetousness or being desirous, especially of things belonging to others, ill-will, wrong views.

Eightfold Path | Buddha Ethics | ETHICS 

  • The Truth of the Way (Mârgasatya), which is the Middle Way, between the extremes of asceticism and indulgence, or the Eightfold Way, which is
    • Right Knowledge (or Views), samyagdr.s.t.i,
    • Right Resolve, samyaksan.kalpa,
    • Right Speech, samyagvâk,
    • Right Conduct (or Action), samyakarma,
    • Right Livelihood, samyagjîva,
    • Right Effort, samyagvyâyâma,
    • Right Mindfulness, samyaksmr.ti, and
    • Right Meditation (or Concentration), samyaksamâdhi.

Buddhist Philosophical Doctrines

  • Karma: Our karma is simply the effect now of past actions.
  • Momentariness: Nothing exists for any length of time. Nothing is fixed.
  • Relative Existence or No Self Nature: Existence as we know it is thus completely relative and conditioned by everything else. Only Nirvân.a would be unconditioned, although we cannot know what it is like. Things in isolation are shûnya, “empty.” Shûnyata, “Emptiness,” is easily misunderstood. It is not nothingness. Emptiness is neither existence, nor non-existence, nor both existence and non-existence, nor neither existence nor non-existence.
  • No-God: There is no Brahman or any other such ultimate enduring substance or nature to reality. Nirvân.a thus cannot be characterized as realizing either Self, Brahman, or God.
  • No-Âtman: There is no Self (âtman) in Buddhism, either as an essence or as a substance. What we call our self is a collection of things, the “aggregates” (skandhas): 1) the body, or “form,” 2) feelings, 3) ideas, 4) impressions, & 5) momentary consciousness.
  • Dependent Origination: Everything has a cause. A momentary existence occurs as it does because of a previous momentary existence, but the cause itself is also momentary. Dependent Origination combines the doctrines of momentariness and relative existence and is why in the Second Noble Truth desire and ignorance cause each other.

Notable Buddha Quotes for Examination | Buddha Ethics | ETHICS 

  • “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” ~ Buddha
  • It’s not what you say but what you do that defines you.
  • “A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but if he is peaceful, loving and fearless then he is in truth called wise.” ~ Buddha
  • “A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is not considered a good man because he is a good talker.”
  • “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~ Buddha
  • “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
  • “Who looks inside awakens.”
  • “The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.” ~ Buddha
  • “Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.” ~ Buddha
  • “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” ~ Buddha
  • “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
  • “Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.” ~ Buddha
  • “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”
  • Don’t believe everything you are told to believe.
  • “The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”
  • The truth has a way of always leaking out.
  • “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
  • “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.”
  • “There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
  • “Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”
  • “Do not be jealous of others’ good qualities, but out of admiration adopt them yourself.”
  • “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
  • “To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.”
  • “There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.”
  • “In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”