Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.

Archive for the ‘Volume 06 1999’


Just-War Ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka

ISSN:1076–9005
Volume 6, 1999

In Defense of Dharma: Just-War Ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka

Tessa Bartholomeusz
Florida State University

Sri Lankan Buddhists avail themselves of a variety of Buddhist stories, canonical and post-canonical, to support their point of view regarding war. And because there are no pronouncements in the stories attributed to the Buddha or in those stories told about him that declare unequivocally and directly that war is wrong, the military metaphors of the stories allow for a variety of interpretations. Some Buddhists argue that the stories directly or indirectly permit war under certain circumstances, while others argue that war is never acceptable. Whether they justify war or not, these Buddhists engage the stories, sometimes the very same ones, to argue their points of view.

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Buddhist Approaches to Social Change

ISSN:1076–9005
Volume 6, 1999

Changing the Way Society Changes: Transposing Social Activism into a Dramatic Key

Peter D. Hershock
East-West Center
Asian Studies Development Program

While many Buddhists are rightly committed to working in the public sphere for the resolution of suffering, there are very real incompatibilities between the axiomatic concepts and strategic biases of (the dominant strands of) both current human rights discourse and social activism and such core Buddhist practices as seeing all things as interdependent, impermanent, empty, and karmically configured. Indeed, the almost startling successes of social activism have been ironic, hinging on its strategic and conceptual indebtedness to core values shared with the technological and ideological forces that have sponsored its own necessity. The above-mentioned Buddhist practices provide a way around the critical blind spot instituted by the marriage of Western rationalism, a technological bias toward control, and the axiomatic status of individual human being, displaying the limits of social activism’s institutional approach to change and opening concrete possibilities for a dramatically Buddhist approach to changing the way societies change.

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Rules for Bhikṣuṇīs and Bhikṣus

ISSN:1076–9005
Volume 6, 1999

A Buddhist View of Women: A Comparative Study of the Rules for Bhikṣuṇīs and Bhikṣus Based on the Chinese Prātimokṣa

In Young Chung
Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley

A generalized view of women in Buddhism is imposed by almost one hundred additional rules and the “Eight Rules” upon nuns. Some scholars, writers, and practitioners have asserted that the rules in the Prātimokṣa subordinate nuns to monks. However, I argue that the additional pārājikas for nuns treat sexual matters seriously because of the fertility of females. Some sa.mghĀva”seṣas for nuns provide safeguards against falling victim to lustful men. Some ni.hsargika-pāyantikas for monks forbid them from taking advantage of nuns. Two aniyatas for monks show a landmark in trust in women. Furthermore, seven adhikara.na”samathas provide evidence of the equality of men and women. Many of the additional pāyantikas for nuns originated because of nuns’ living situations and social conditions in ancient India. Finally, the totally different tone and discrepancies in penalties for the same offenses between the pāyantikas and the “Eight Rules” suggest that the “Eight Rules” were appended later.

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Euthanasia in the Vinaya and Commentary

ISSN:1076–9005
Volume 6, 1999

Attitudes to Euthanasia in the Vinaya and Commentary

Damien Keown
Goldsmiths College, University of London

The prohibition on taking human life is one of the cornerstones of Buddhist ethics, but there is often confusion about the interpretation of this prohibition in different contexts. In his commentary on the third pārājika in the Samantapāsādikā, Buddhaghosa sets out to clarify the legal provisions of the monastic precept against taking life. The root text and his comments on it are relevant to the contemporary debate on euthanasia, and this paper considers what light Buddhist jurisprudence can shed on this moral dilemma.

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Problems with Bhikkhunīs in the Pāli Vinaya

ISSN:1076–9005
Volume 6, 1999

Damming the Dhamma: Problems with Bhikkhunīs in the Pali Vinaya

Kate Blackstone
University of Manitoba

Why should one of the contesting voices insist on the decline of saddhamma? How can women’s subordination help preserve the dhamma? This paper poses a possible answer. The Vinaya represents a very formalized statement of both the individual and communal dimensions of monastic life. It prescribes the activities, appearance, decorum, and lifestyle of individual bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs. It also specifies the procedures and protocol for the administration of the sangha. In so doing, the Vinaya authorizes and delimits the mandate of the monastic community over its members and in relation to its supporting community. In the terms of my analysis, it articulates a model of self-identity and a set of guidelines for the expression of that identity.

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Vinaya Principles for Assigning Degrees of Culpability

ISSN:1076–9005
Volume 6, 1999

Vinaya Principles for Assigning Degrees of Culpability

Peter Harvey
University of Sunderland

The Buddhist literature that goes into most explicit detail on factors affecting degree of culpability in wrong actions is the Vinaya. While this includes material that goes beyond the scope of ethics per se, it contains much of relevance to ethics. Focusing on overt physical and verbal actions, it also has much to say on states of mind which affect the moral assessment of actions: knowledge, perception, doubt, intention, carelessness, remorse, etc. These factors interact in sometimes complex and subtle ways, and their relevance varies according to the type of action being assessed, rather than being applied in an indiscriminate blanket fashion. The sources used for the article are primarily the Pāli Vinaya and its commentary, with some reference to the Milindapañha, Kathvātthu, and Abhidharma-kośa-bhāṣya when they discuss Vinaya-related matters.

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Buddhist Case Law on Theft

ISSN:1076–9005
Volume 6, 1999

Buddhist Case Law on Theft: the Vinītavatthu on the Second Pārājika

Andrew Huxley
University of London Law Department
School of Oriental and African Studies 

Of the twenty-eight pages of the vinayapāli devoted to theft, fifteen contain case law. They are the object of this study. The vinayapāli (which was collated and reduced to writing in the first century BCE) consists of oral memorized texts and jottings of various kinds from the prior Buddhist centuries, the core of which must have been fixed by the reign of King Aśoka (circa 273-232 BCE) The four most dramatic offences known to the vinayapāli are the pārājika, the conditions of defeat, dealt with in the first of its six volumes. The second pārājika, identified by a Pāli abstract noun that means taking things which have not properly been offered to you, is what we call theft.

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Review: Philosophy of the Bodhicaryāvatāra

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Altruism and Reality: Studies in the Philosophy of the Bodhicaryāvatāra. By Paul Williams. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 1998, ISBN 0700710310, cloth, £40.00, $48.00.

Reviewed by John W. Pettit

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Response to John Pettit

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

A Response to John Pettit

Paul Williams
University of Bristol

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Review: Buddhism in Taiwan 1660-1990

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Buddhism in Taiwan: Religion and the State, 1660-1990. By Charles Brewer Jones. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1999, xvii + 259 pages, ISBN 0-8248-2061-4, US $46.00.

Reviewed by André Laliberté

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Review: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Being Good: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life. By Master Hsing Yun; translated by Tom Graham. New York and Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1999, 176 pages, ISBN 0-8348-0458-1, US $14.95.

Reviewed by Damien Keown

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Review: Practice and Study of Buddhism in America

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Luminous Passage: The Practice and Study of Buddhism in America. By Charles S. Prebish.  University of California Press, 1999, xi + 334 pages, ISBN: 0-520-21696-2 (cloth), 0-520-21697-0 (paper), US $45.00 (cloth), $18.95 (paper).

Reviewed by Franz Aubrey Metcalf

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Review: Tibetan Buddhism in France

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Bouddhisme et Occident: La diffusion du bouddhisme tibétain en France. By Lionel Obadia. Paris: Éditions L’Harmattan (Collection Religion & Sciences Humaines), 1999, 272 pages, ISBN 2-7384-7570-1.

Reviewed by Elke Hahlbohm-Helmus

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Review: Vinaya for Theravāda Nuns

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Die Vorschriften für die Buddhistische Nonnengemeinde im Vinaya-Piṭaka der Theravādin. By Ute Hüsken. (Monographien zur Indischen Archäologie, Kunst und Philologie. Edited By Marianne Yaldiz, Vol. 11.) Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 1997, 519 pages, ISBN 2-496-02632-4, DM 148.00.

Reviewed by Eva K. Neumaier

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Review: Nirvana and Other Buddhist Felicities

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Nirvana and Other Buddhist Felicities: Utopias of the Pali imaginaire. By Steven Collins. Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions, No. 12. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998, xxiv + 684 pages, ISBN 0-521-57054-9, (cloth), US$85.00.

Reviewed by James P. McDermott

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Review: Emptiness in the Mind-Only School

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Emptiness in the Mind-Only School of Buddhism: Dynamic Responses to Dzong-ka-ba’s The Essence of Eloquence: I. By Jeffrey Hopkins. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999, xiv + 528 pages, ISBN: 0-520-21119-7 (cloth), US$45.00.

Reviewed by Paul G. Hackett

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Review: Japanese Mandalas

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Japanese Mandalas: Representations of Sacred Geography. By Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998, 227 pages plus 22 color plates and 104 black-and-white illustrations, ISBN: 0-8248-2000-2, US $52.00 (cloth), ISBN: 0-8248-2081-9, US $29.25 (paper).

Reviewed by Ian Harris

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Review: Nonviolence in Religions

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Subverting Hatred: The Challenge of Nonviolence in Religious Traditions. Edited by Daniel L. Smith-Christopher. Boston: Boston Research Center for the 21st Century, 1998, 177 pages, ISBN 1-887917-02-0 (paper), US $10.00.

Reviewed by Paul Waldau

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Review: Absence of the Buddha Image

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Absence of the Buddha Image in Early Buddhist Art: Towards its Significance in Comparative Religion. By Kanoko Tanaka. New Delhi: D. K. Printworld (P) Ltd, 1998 [Emerging Perceptions in Buddhist Studies, No. 8], 148 pages, plus illustrations, ISBN 8124600902, US $66.70.

Reviewed by Elizabeth J. Harris

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Review: The Study of Pure Land Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Interpreting Amida: History and Orientalism in the Study of Pure Land Buddhism. By Galen Amstutz (SUNY Series in Buddhist Studies). Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997, 248 pages, ISBN: 0791433099, US $65.00 (hardcover); ISBN 0791433102, US $21.95 (paperback).

Reviewed by Charles B. Jones

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Review: A History of Modern Tibet

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947. By Tsering Shakya. London: Pimlico Original, 1999, xxi + 571 pages, ISBN: 0-71266-533-1, £12.50 (paper).

Reviewed by Martin A. Mills

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Review: American Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

American Buddhism. Methods and Findings in Recent Scholarship. Edited By Duncan Ryuken Williams and Christopher S. Queen. Richmond: Curzon Press, 1999, xxxvii + 329 pages pages, ISBN 0-7007-1081-7, £40,00 (cloth).

Reviewed by Martin Baumann

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Review: Tibetan Buddhism and the West

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West. By Donald Lopez, Jr. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998, Hardcover 272 pages, ISBN 0226493105, US $25.00; Paperback 284 pages, ISBN 0226493113, US $14.00.

Reviewed by Tsering Shakya

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Review: Faces of Buddhism in America

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

The Faces of Buddhism in America. Edited By Charles S. Prebish and Kenneth K. Tanaka. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998, viii + 370 pages, ISBN 0-520-21301-7, US $50 (cloth), $22 (paper).

Reviewed by Franz Aubrey Metcalf

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Review: Contemporary Buddhism in India

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Buddhisten in Indien heute: Beschreibungen, Bilder und Dokumente. By Detlef Kantowsky. Konstanz: Forschungsprojekt “Buddhistischer Modernismus,” Forschungsberichte 16, 1999, ix + 216 pages pages, ISBN 3-930959-13-5, DM 25,- (paperback).

Reviewed by Oliver Freiberger

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Review: Buddhist and Confucian Ethics

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Compassion and Benevolence: A Comparative Study of Early Buddhist and Classical Confucian Ethics. By Ok-Sun An. Asian Thought and Culture, vol. 31, General Editor Sandra Wawrytko. New York: Peter Lang, 1998, ISBN 0-8204-3801-4, £26.

Reviewed by Damien Keown

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Review: Maṇḍala and Landscape

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Maṇḍala and Landscape. Edited By Alexander W. Macdonald. Delhi: D.K. Printworld / South Asia Books, 1997, ISBN: 8124600600, US $140.00.

Reviewed by Cathy Cantwell

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Review: Tibet, China and the Dalai Lama

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

The Snow Lion and the Dragon: Tibet, China and the Dalai Lama. By Melvyn C. Goldstein. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997, xiii + 152 pages, : 0-520-21254-1, US$19.95.

Reviewed by Toni Huber

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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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Review: Reflections of a Sceptical Buddhist

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Land of No Buddha: Reflections of a Sceptical Buddhist. By Richard P. Hayes. Birmingham: Windhorse Publications, 1998, ix + 276 pages, ISBN 1-899579-12-5.

Reviewed by Martin Baumann

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Review: Fundamentalism and Minority Identities in Sri Lanka

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 6, 1999

Buddhist Fundamentalism and Minority Identities in Sri Lanka. Edited By Tessa J. Bartholomeusz and Chandra R. de Silva. New York: State University of New York Press, 1998, 320 pages, ISBN 0-7914-3834-1, US $19.95.

Reviewed by Mavis L. Fenn

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