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?
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.