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An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics

An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics
Foundations, Values and Issues


Part of Introduction to Religion

  • Date Published: June 2000
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521556408

£ 28.99

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About the Authors
  • This systematic introduction to Buddhist ethics is aimed at anyone interested in Buddhism, including students, scholars and general readers. Peter Harvey is the author of the acclaimed Introduction to Buddhism (Cambridge, 1990), and his new book is written in a clear style, assuming no prior knowledge. At the same time it develops a careful, probing analysis of the nature and practical dynamics of Buddhist ethics in both its unifying themes and in the particularities of different Buddhist traditions. The book applies Buddhist ethics to a range of issues of contemporary concern: humanity's relationship with the rest of nature; economics; war and peace; euthanasia; abortion; the status of women; and homosexuality. Professor Harvey draws on texts of the main Buddhist traditions, and on historical and contemporary accounts of the behaviour of Buddhists, to describe existing Buddhist ethics, to assess different views within it, and to extend its application into new areas.

    • Written in a clear style, assuming no prior knowledge, yet is probing and analytical
    • Draws together a growing body of material, integrates it and extends it
    • The only up-to-date systematic introduction to Buddhist ethics available
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Marks the beginning of a new era in the study of Buddhist ethics … an accessible and authoritative way in to a subject that is sure to become one of the major growth areas in Buddhist Studies.' Expository Times

    'This volume will undoubtedly carve out a niche for itself in terms of the information it provides, for both the general audience and the serious scholar.' Religion

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2000
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521556408
    • length: 500 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.73kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Shared foundations of Buddhist ethics: sources of guidance to Buddhists
    Rebirth and karma
    The four noble truths
    Philosophy of action
    2. Key Buddhist values
    Keeping the lay precepts
    Monastic values
    Ethics of inter-personal relationships
    Loving kindness and compassion
    Social ethics
    3. Mahayana emphases and adaptations: the path of the Bodhisattva
    The ethics of the Bodhisattva
    Skilful means and overriding precepts
    Specific strands of Mahayana thought and practice
    Mahayana reassessment of monasticism
    4. Attitude to and treatment of the natural world
    Humanity's place in nature
    Non-harming of animals
    Positive regard, and help, for animals
    Plants, trees and forests
    Conservation and environmentalism
    5. Economic ethics
    Lay economic ethics
    The monastic economy
    Buddhism and capitalism: Weber's 'Protestant Ethic' thesis
    'Buddhist economics'
    Buddhism and economics in the modern world
    6. War and peace
    Buddhist analyses of the causes of conflict
    Solutions to conflict
    Non-violent reflections on a violent world
    The position of the soldier
    Buddhist 'justifications' of and involvement in, violence
    Buddhist action for peace in the modern world
    7. Suicide and euthanasia
    considerations and arguments against suicide
    Suicide and the precepts
    8. Abortion and contraception
    Embryonic life
    Abortion and Buddhist principles
    Abortion in Buddhist cultures
    Anti-abortion but pro-choice?: the relationship between morality and law
    9. The status of women: women in early Hinduism
    the effect of Buddhism
    The spiritual potential and achievement of women
    Gender, rebirth and the status of women
    Views on spiritual statuses unattainable by women
    Images of wise and wayward women
    Ascetic wariness of the opposite sex
    The ordination of women
    Nuns and other female religious roles in Buddhist cultures
    Lay women in Buddhist texts
    Lay women in Buddhist cultures
    10. Homosexuality and other forms of 'Queerness'
    Sex change
    Homosexual acts
    Homosexuality in Buddhist cultures.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Buddhist Ethics
    • Buddhist Philosophy
    • Comparative Religious Ethics
    • Introduction to Buddhist Ethics
    • Religious Ethics
  • Author

    Peter Harvey, University of Sunderland

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