Classes of Agent and the Moral Logic of the Pali Canon
- Martin T. Adam
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
This paper aims to lay bare the underlying logical structure of early Buddhist moral thinking. It argues that moral vocabulary in the Pali Suttas varies depending on the kind of agent under discussion and that this variance reflects an understanding that the phenomenology of moral experience also differs on the same basis. An attempt is made to spell this out in terms of attachment. The overall picture of Buddhist ethics that emerges is that of an agent-based moral contextualism. This account does not imply that the prescription for moral conduct differs according to class of agent, but rather that the correct description of moral experience does. Further it implies that the descriptions of the moral experiences of different classes of agent differ phenomenologically, rather than in terms of overt behavioral characteristics. While most of the discussion is centered on the distinction between ordinary persons and disciples in higher training, the paper concludes with a brief exploration of the problematic moral experience of the arahat.
- Adam, Martin T. 2005. Groundwork for a metaphysic of Buddhist morals: a new analysis of puñña and kusala, in light of sukka. Journal of Buddhist Ethics (http://www.buddhistethics.org) 12: 62–85.
- Adam, Martin T. 2006. Nonviolence and emptiness: Buddha, Gandhi, and the ‘Essence of Religion’. ARC, The Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University 34: 225–238.
- Anscombe, G. E. M. 1963. Intention. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press.
- Bodhi, Bhikkhu. 1992. The discourse on the root of existence: The Mūlapariyāya Sutta and its commentaries. Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society.
- Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana CD-ROM, Version 3.0. Vipassana Research Institute, Igatpuri, India, 1999.
- Cousins, L. S. 1996. Good or skillful? Kusala in Canon and commentary. Journal of Buddhist Ethics 3: 136–164.
- Gethin, Rupert. 1998. The foundations of Buddhism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Gethin, Rupert. 2004. Can killing a living being ever be an act of compassion? The analysis of the act of killing in the Abhidhamma and Pāli commentaries. Journal of Buddhist Ethics 11: 168–202.
- Harvey, Peter. 2000. An introduction to Buddhist ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Keown, Damien. 1992. The nature of Buddhist ethics. London: Macmillan Press.
- King, Winston L. 1964. In the Hope of Nibbaṇa. LaSalle, Illinois: Open Court.
- Ñāṇamoli, Bhikkhu, and Bhikkhu Bodhi. 1995. The middle-length discourses of the Buddha: A new translation of the Majjhima Nikāya. Boston: Wisdom Publications.
- Premasiri, P. D. 1976. Interpretation of two principal ethical terms in early Buddhism. Sri Lanka Journal of the Humanities 2: 63–74.
- Premasiri, P. D. 1987. Early Buddhist concept of ethical knowledge: A philosophical analysis. In Buddhist philosophy and culture: Essays in honor of N.A. Jayawickrema, eds. D. Kalupahana and W. G. Weeraratne, 37–70. Colombo: N. A. Jayawickrema Felicitation Volume Committee.
- Rhys-Davids, C. A. F. 1975. A Buddhist manual of psychological ethics. New Delhi: New Oriental Books Reprint Corporation.
- Spiro, M. E. 1971. Buddhism and Society: A great tradition and its Burmese vicissitudes. London: George Allen and Unwin.
- Velez de Cea, Abraham. 2004. The criteria of goodness in the Pāli Nikāya and the nature of Buddhist ethics. Journal of Buddhist Ethics 11: 123–142.
- Walshe, Maurice. 1995. The long discourses of the Buddha: A translation of the Dīgha Nikāya. Boston: Wisdom Publications.
- Classes of Agent and the Moral Logic of the Pali Canon
Volume 22, Issue 1 , pp 115-124
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Buddhist ethics
- Pali canon
- Industry Sectors
- Martin T. Adam (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8N 1B3