Tobes wrote:By virtue of what is the Buddha a world honoured one and by virtue of what could Buddhism be considered a universal religion?
answer is: by virtue of awakening to pratītyasamutpāda
, the Law of Conditioned Origination. From the Buddhist perspective, this is indeed a universal law, and it governs the affairs of every living being, even those in other realms.
There is no compulsion for you to believe
that this is a law, but I think it is safe to say that Buddhists generally do so consider it.
But what is this but a very particular metaphysics of causation? I think you essentialise it here, and in doing so, fundamentally distort what it is.
But I agree that this it is so whether it is asserted or not, whether it is believed or not.
This means: we are talking about metaphysics
here - how reality functions, and how beings living in that reality, function.
What you refer to as the scientific-secular view, if it may be so generalised, is very similar. What is Darwinian theory but a very particular metaphysics of causation? What is Newtonian physics but a very particular metaphysics of causation?
These too, are often referred to as laws. The law
of gravity, for example.
However, the question of morality: how should we act, what should we do - given this particular metaphysics of causation - is a distinctly different kind of question.
It presupposes interpretation, value judgements, discourses (and the cultural-linguistic context in which discourses are embedded): these are necessarily contextual, particular.
"Given that, we should do this. Given that, we should do this."
The very structure of Buddhist moral discourse, is imbued with the logic of dependent co-arising: it must be
dependent. Thus, it cannot be
So I think you are slipping between metaphysics and ethics, and failing to see that the normative moments in Buddhist thought - the Vinaya, lay precepts, paramita's etc - cannot be universal moral laws.
If we are just talking about metaphysics, then I agree, we are in a domain of universality.