International Journal of Scientific Research and Engineering Development

International Journal of Scientific Research and Engineering Development

( International Peer Reviewed Open Access Journal ) ISSN [ Online ] : 2581 - 7175

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Critical Evaluation of the Buddhist Methods of Arriving at Valid Ethical Judgements

    International Journal of Scientific Research and Engineering Development (IJSRED)

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Published Issue : Volume-4 Issue-2
Year of Publication : 2021
Unique Identification Number : IJSRED-V4I2P6
Authors : Bhikkhu B. Dhammarama
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Abstract :

Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy involves in systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct of a person. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, the term ‘Ethics’ derived from the Greek word ‘Ēthikē’ which connotes the science or study of human conduct. The main purpose of this ethical philosophy is to provide the criteria or standards to determine the value and disvalue of the human bodily and verbal conducts. For this purpose, different religions and different socio-philosophical thinkers have distinctively presented their opinions to assess the nature and the function of good and bad. Among those opinions, Buddhist philosophical standpoint on ethical judgement is adequate and satisfactory enough to evaluate the moral questions of human action. In the early canonical scriptures of Buddhism there are some notable references which illustrate the standard moods of Buddhist rational foundation of ethical questions. Most importantly the Kālāmasutta widely exemplifies diverse standards of moral advice which were existed contemporary with the Buddha. In this sutta, while the Buddha is rejecting ten grounds of moral decisions which are considered to be unsatisfactory points in the ethical judgement, signifies the possibility of independent enquiry into moral questions. Another notable explanation on ethical reasoning is found in the Ambalaṭṭhikārāhulovāda-sutta and the Bhāhitika-sutta in which rational evaluations for making a contrast between praiseworthy (anavajja) and blameworthy (sāvajja) conduct of a person. Prominently, Buddhism not only considers the ethical behaviour of the body and verb of a person, but also the mind of a person can be functioned ethically or unethically. Therefore it is noteworthy to mention that Buddhism gives special attention to the psychological aspect of ethics as well. The Buddha’s advice to Ven. Rāhula given in Ambalaṭṭhikārāhulovāda-sutta shows that just as one corrects errors by looking at a mirror, one should perform an action and should make a moral choice in the body or verbal after having continuously reflected on it. In addition to that, Buddhist ethical system is much richer as it concerns the inner purification of a person who commits wrong. This is an important place in Buddhist ethical explanation that one should admit his own offence and declare it to a person whom he respects and promise himself not to do it again. It is clearly evident by examining aforementioned accounts that the criteria clarified in Early Buddhist scriptures on ethical conduct and evaluating ethical distinctions are foremost ample and sophisticated.