What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

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What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby AstralProjectee » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:57 am

What do Buddhists believe as far as morality. More specifically what category do they fall under when talking about morality.

Which one of these does Buddhism fall under. "Moral absolutism" or "Moral relativism" if moral relativism which one, Descriptive, Meta-ethical, Normative. Then there is "Moral universalism" if it's that then which one is it, utilitarianism, Isaiah Berlin, or non-absolutist. Which of these is it? I think I have a general idea which one it might be.

If you don't know which one of these Buddhism falls under then perhaps you can answer this.

Is there a moral absolute in Buddhism? Is there a universal moral law, if so what is it?

Thanks.
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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby catmoon » Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:54 am

No absolutes as far as I know. In fact, the bodhisattva vows require that rules be broken in certain circumstances, and it's considered a moral fault not to.
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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:28 am

AstralProjectee wrote:What do Buddhists believe as far as morality. More specifically what category do they fall under when talking about morality.

Which one of these does Buddhism fall under. "Moral absolutism" or "Moral relativism" if moral relativism which one, Descriptive, Meta-ethical, Normative. Then there is "Moral universalism" if it's that then which one is it, utilitarianism, Isaiah Berlin, or non-absolutist. Which of these is it? I think I have a general idea which one it might be.

If you don't know which one of these Buddhism falls under then perhaps you can answer this.

Is there a moral absolute in Buddhism? Is there a universal moral law, if so what is it?

Thanks.

As far as I understand, there is a moral absolute and universal moral law regarding intentions of actions we perform, not just the actions themselves.
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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby catmoon » Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:34 am

tomamundsen wrote:As far as I understand, there is a moral absolute and universal moral law regarding intentions of actions we perform, not just the actions themselves.


Hmm, I hadn't thought of taking to the level of intentions. If there is an absolutely evil intention, without a shred of redeeming qualities it might be hard to find.

Consider that mosquito on your arm. If you swat it, how evil can the intention be? To be maximally evil you'd have to torture it to death or something worse, so the intention is not absolutely evil, is it?
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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby Sönam » Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:33 am

AstralProjectee wrote:What do Buddhists believe as far as morality. More specifically what category do they fall under when talking about morality.

Which one of these does Buddhism fall under. "Moral absolutism" or "Moral relativism" if moral relativism which one, Descriptive, Meta-ethical, Normative. Then there is "Moral universalism" if it's that then which one is it, utilitarianism, Isaiah Berlin, or non-absolutist. Which of these is it? I think I have a general idea which one it might be.

If you don't know which one of these Buddhism falls under then perhaps you can answer this.

Is there a moral absolute in Buddhism? Is there a universal moral law, if so what is it?

Thanks.


There is more vehicle in Buddhisme that there is type of moral in your presentation. Each vehicle has is own "morality" (or not) ... so or you first specify the vehicle of buddhisme you want to know about (there is about 9 in the nyingma classification), or you define the contain of a morality, and we may answer for each vehicle ...

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By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby AstralProjectee » Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:55 am

Sönam wrote:There is more vehicle in Buddhisme that there is type of moral in your presentation. Each vehicle has is own "morality" (or not) ... so or you first specify the vehicle of buddhisme you want to know about (there is about 9 in the nyingma classification), or you define the contain of a morality, and we may answer for each vehicle ...

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IDK, the most common forms/form of Buddhism in the west.
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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby viniketa » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:16 pm

If Buddhists have one overarching moral it is: don't moralize. One is encouraged to look toward one's own faults and to at least ignore the faults of others.

There is a set of ethical principals Buddhists are encouraged to follow:

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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby Nikolay » Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:03 pm

I think that the most basic ethical (or, should I say, axiological) truth at the heart of Buddhism would be "Suffering is bad". Everything else is just an elaboration of this simple truth and practical advice based on it.
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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby KeithBC » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:21 pm

The categories of morality used by western philosophers are based on the morailities of western religions. I am not convinced that Buddhist morality fits into any western categories. (If it happens to fit into one of them, I could probably be convinced, but it's not an area of study that I find entertaining or useful.)

In general, western morality is based on authority: certain actions or categories of action are immoral because someone said so. People who subscribe to these beliefs (which includes most people in the west, whether religious or not) cannot conceive of morality if there is no one giving orders.

Buddhist morality, as noted above, is based on intention and the Four Noble Truths. An action is moral if it is intended to relieve suffering. It is immoral (or at best amoral) if it causes suffering, and evil if it is intended to cause suffering. No authority figure is required, because we know suffering and the desire to relieve it from our own personal experience. That is the message of the Four Noble Truths.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby deepbluehum » Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:06 pm

AstralProjectee wrote:What do Buddhists believe as far as morality. More specifically what category do they fall under when talking about morality.

Which one of these does Buddhism fall under. "Moral absolutism" or "Moral relativism" if moral relativism which one, Descriptive, Meta-ethical, Normative. Then there is "Moral universalism" if it's that then which one is it, utilitarianism, Isaiah Berlin, or non-absolutist. Which of these is it? I think I have a general idea which one it might be.

If you don't know which one of these Buddhism falls under then perhaps you can answer this.

Is there a moral absolute in Buddhism? Is there a universal moral law, if so what is it?

Thanks.


It is between universalism and relativism. The one important rule is to maintain mindfulness of the nonduality of emptiness-compassion. From this ethical determination about how to maintain one's mind, springs all the compassionate activities of a buddha or a bodhisattva. Whatever a Buddha does, it will always be compassionate and helpful to a sentient being, and in fact, helpful to all sentient beings simultaneously. Such activities usually will fit within a normative ethical paradigm, but it might entail contravening the norm if one senses that it is needed to bring about a more compassionate result.
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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby AstralProjectee » Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:16 am

Thanks all you for your answers, though I don't see any answers that really answer the heart of my question.

Peace.
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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby Yudron » Sat Oct 20, 2012 6:10 am

AstralProjectee wrote:
Is there a moral absolute in Buddhism? Is there a universal moral law, if so what is it?

Thanks.


Whenever possible, do not harm any sentient being.
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Re: What do Buddhists believe as far as morality.

Postby Ikkyu » Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:08 am

AstralProjectee wrote:What do Buddhists believe as far as morality. More specifically what category do they fall under when talking about morality.

Which one of these does Buddhism fall under. "Moral absolutism" or "Moral relativism" if moral relativism which one, Descriptive, Meta-ethical, Normative. Then there is "Moral universalism" if it's that then which one is it, utilitarianism, Isaiah Berlin, or non-absolutist. Which of these is it? I think I have a general idea which one it might be.

If you don't know which one of these Buddhism falls under then perhaps you can answer this.

Is there a moral absolute in Buddhism? Is there a universal moral law, if so what is it?

Thanks.


The three pure precepts seem to lay it out simply enough:

1. Do no evil.
2. Do only good.
3. Purify the mind.

As for the Eightfold Path and the fact that "suffering is bad", these are also right answers. The fact that "suffering is bad" is, as has been previously stated in this thread, the only moral absolute Buddhism would seem to really push for. Otherwise, it would seem asbolutes as a whole are meant to be avoided in Buddhism. Really things have to be looked at in the context of conceptual and practical vs. universal truths. Of course in certain ways morality is relativistic, but for instance the 14th Dalai Lama continuously reiterates the simple truth (in nearly any talk on morality he ever gives) that, "all people simply want to be happy." So of course we should strive for the happiness of ourselves and others. It would only seem to logically follow. However I think where things become complicated is when we set out to define what happiness entails. (What is good? What is happiness? is this even worth worrying about or can we ever possibly come to an ultimate conclusion?)

I think Nietzsche, for instance, suggested the idea that maybe evil is good and suffering is happiness and we simply perceive these dichotomies ass backwards. But then again Buddhism steps in and suggests we dissolve our sense of dichotomies to begin with (as the Diamond Sutra continuously seems to reinforce) in a way while retaining right judgement and view and a moral stance of compassion... again implying this "suffering is bad" thing. It can seem contradictory at times, but in a way paradoxes can co-exist. Or rather we can learn to reconcile what we see as moral paradoxes in Buddhism by understanding the Buddhist method of perceiving phenomena. It's pretty complicated and in terms of commentaries and sutra studies gets really dense, and it's beyond my grasp after this point. But this is just my two cents.

As far as utilitarianism goes, I've always been told that to prove anything in Buddhism you have to practice and see for yourself. The Buddha himself was said to have suggested a utilitarian approach. The whole "if it works, go with it" thing. So if meditation, reducing your passions, a more refined sense of balance, an understanding of the emptiness of self and phenomena, compassion and wisdom make you happy, then maybe the approach is worth it.

Not to argue semantics, but the terms "good" and "happiness" don't always imply something about each other. This further complicates things. Then again, I think this is why so many Zen masters basically decided, "Screw language. Let's just sit down and shut up and realize suchness."

If I'm wrong in any way perhaps someone more educated in Buddhist doctrine could correct my assumptions.
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