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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: May 2012

10 - The Discourses of Buddhist Medical Ethics

from PART IV - THE DISCOURSES OF RELIGION ON MEDICAL ETHICS
Summary
This chapter examines the place of ethics within the general Buddhist world view (a soteriological orientation). There are differences within Buddhist ethics based on Buddhism's three major traditions, Theravāada, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna, and how they view the relation between religion and medicine. In addition, there are differences in modern scholarship based on whether Buddhist ethics is viewed as limited to the means or intrinsic to both the means and the goal. Analogies with medicine were common: illness is the normal condition of the body within samsyāra, the Buddha is the great physician, Buddhist teachings are the medicine, and enlightenment is the absence of illness. The antinomian passages of Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna are interpreted literally by those scholars who view ethics as but instrumental. This has led to some modern scholars interpreting them within the Western framework of utilitarianism or situational ethics.
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The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics
  • Online ISBN: 9781139195812
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521888790
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