The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 395–410 | Cite as

Suffering and the Six Perfections: Using Adversity to Attain Wisdom in Mahāyāna Buddhist Ethics

  • Emily McRaeEmail author
In a collection of fourteenth century biographical narratives, a group of Japanese nuns discuss the events in their lives that motivated the decision take monastic vows. In one, “The Wife from the Western Part of the Capital,” a nun in her late thirties tells a particularly tragic tale of loss:

…I gave birth to a baby boy. He was an extraordinary child. He was not only very beautiful, but he was precocious and clever. He had a sweet voice and would hug his father and me and say things beyond his years. I was sure he would be a most wonderful person if he reached adulthood…His father adored him beyond all limits. Because he loved his son so much, in the winter of the boy’s fourth year, he had decided to kill a crane with his own hand, to serve to his son. At the time, our boy was at play on the other side of the carving board. The knife blade flew out of its handle and stuck in his breast, piercing him clean through. He screamed in fright, thinking his father had done it to chastise...


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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