Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.

Review: A Zen Pilgrimage

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 24, 2017

One Mind: A Zen Pilgrimage. Directed by Edward A. Burger. COMMONFOLK FILMS, 2016, (DVD), U.S. $349.00.

Reviewed by Dale S. Wright

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Zen Social Ethics: Satori and the Moral Dimension of Enlightenment

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 13, 2006

Satori and the Moral Dimension of Enlightenment

Dale S. Wright
Occidental College

This essay addresses the question posed by Brian Victoria’s description of “moral blindness” in twentieth-century Japanese Zen masters by claiming that since Zen monastic training does not include practices of reflection that cultivate the moral dimension of life, skill in this dimension of human character was not considered a fundamental or necessary component of Zen enlightenment. The essay asks what an enlightened moral sensitivity might require, and concludes in challenging the Zen tradition to consider re-engaging the Mahāyāna Buddhist practices of reflection out of which Zen originated in order to assess the possible role of morality in its thought and practice of enlightenment.

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Conference: Revisioning Karma

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 12, 2005

Papers from the JBE Online conference

on “Revisioning Karma”


Honorary Chairman and Convener: Dale Wright
Occidental College, Los Angeles


Critical Questions Towards a Naturalized Concept of Karma in Buddhism

Dale Wright
Occidental College

Groundwork for a Metaphysic of Buddhist Morals: A New Analysis of Puñña and Kusala, in Light of Sukka

Martin Adam
University of Victoria

Merit Transfer in Mahāyāna Buddhism

Barbra Clayton
Mt. Allison University

Reflections on Kant and Karma

Bradford Cokelet
Northwestern University

Karma, Rebirth, and Mental Causation

Christian Coseru
College of Charleston

Is the Buddhist Doctrine of Karma Cognitively Meaningful?

James Deitrick
University of Central Arkansas

Valuing Karma: A Critical Concept for Orienting Interdependence with Wisdom, Attentive Mastery and Moral Clarity

Peter Hershock
East-West Center

Karma, Rebirth, and the Problem of Evil

Whitley Kaufman
University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Karma, Character, and Consequentialism

Damien Keown
Goldsmiths College, University of London

Karma in the Later Texts of the Pāli Canon

Jessica Main
McGill University

Karma: Buddhism and the Phenomenology of the Ethical

Eric Nelson
University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Dark and Bright Karma: A New Reading

Abraham Velez
Georgetown University

The Reactionary Role of Karma in 20th Century Japan

Brian Victoria
University of Adelaide

A Naturalized Concept of Karma

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 11, 2004

Critical Questions Towards a Naturalized Concept of Karma in Buddhism

Dale S. Wright
Occidental College

In an effort to articulate a naturalized concept of karma for the purposes of contemporary ethical reflection, this paper raises four critical questions about the Buddhist doctrine of karma. The paper asks (1) about the advisability of linking the concept of karma to assurance of ultimate cosmic justice through the doctrine of rebirth; (2) about the effects of this link on the quest for human justice in the social, economic, and political spheres of culture; (3) about the kinds of rewards that the doctrine of karma attaches to virtuous action, whether they tend to be necessary or contingent consequences; and (4) about the extent to which karma is best conceived individually or collectively. The paper ends with suggestions for how a non-metaphysical concept of karma might function and what role it might play in contemporary ethics.

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Review: Philosophical Meditations on Zen

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Philosophical Meditations on Zen Buddhism. By Dale S. Wright. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998, ISBN: 0-521-59010-8, US $53.95.

Reviewed by Steven Heine

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