Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.

Archive for the ‘Volume 16 2009’


Western Self, Asian Other in Buddhist Studies

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 16, 2009

Western Self, Asian Other: Modernity, Authenticity, and Nostalgia for “Tradition” in Buddhist Studies

Natalie E. Quli
Graduate Theological Union

There has been considerable rancor and finger-pointing in recent years concerning the intersection of the West and Buddhism. A new wave of research has focused on Orientalism and the ways in which Western ideas about Buddhism, and even Western criticisms of Buddhism, have been appropriated and turned on their heads to produce a variety of hybrid traditions most often called Buddhist modernism and Protestant Buddhism. Western scholars and early adopters of Buddhism, as well as contemporary Western Buddhist sympathizers and converts, are regularly labeled Orientalists; Asian Buddhists like Anagārika Dharmapāla and D. T. Suzuki are routinely dismissed for appropriating Western ideas and cloaking them with the veil of tradition, sometimes for nationalistic ends, and producing “Buddhist modernism.”

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Buddhist Ahimsā and its Existential Aporias

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 16, 2009

Violence and (Non-)resistance: Buddhist Ahiṃsā and its Existential Aporias

Martin Kovan
University of Queensland

This essay considers a paradigmatic example in Buddhist ethics of the injunction (in the five precepts and five heinous crimes) against killing. It also considers Western ethical concerns in the post-phenomenological thinking of Derrida and Levinas, particularly the latter’s “ethics of responsibility.” It goes on to analyze in-depth an episode drawn from Alan Clements’s experience in 1990 as a Buddhist non-violent, non-combatant in war-torn Burma. It explores Clements’s ethical predicament as he faced an imminent need to act, perhaps even kill and thereby repudiate his Buddhist inculcation. It finds a wealth of common (yet divergent) ground in Levinasian and Mahāyāna ethics, a site pregnant for Buddhist ethical self-interrogation.

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Buddhist and Tantric Perspectives on Causality and Society

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 16, 2009

Buddhist and Tantric Perspectives on Causality and Society

Chris Kang
University of Queensland

This paper examines the articulation of causality from Buddhist and Indian Tantric perspectives, offering a potentially fresh look at this topic using epistemologies and insights outside the dominant Western paradigm. Reclaiming non-Western voices that analyze and intuit causality rooted in multidimensional modes of knowing reveals new possibilities about the nature of reality and enables integral transformative actions for emancipating human suffering. In particular, I examine the genealogy of early Buddhist, Buddhist Tantric, Sāṃkhya, and Hindu Tantric perspectives, with reference to relevant internal philosophical debates, to explicate alternative viewpoints on causality and their implications for society.

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Buddhism, Nonviolence, and Power

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 16, 2009

Buddhism, Nonviolence, and Power

Sallie B. King
James Madison University

Contemporary Buddhists have in recent decades given the world outstanding examples of nonviolent activism. Although these movements have demonstrated great courage and have generated massive popular support, sadly, none of them has, as yet, prevailed. In this paper I will explore how nonviolent power was exercised in these cases. I will draw upon the work of nonviolent theorist Gene Sharp to help us understand the nature and sources of nonviolent power. I will then use that material to analyze the power dynamics of the Buddhist nonviolent struggles in Vietnam during the war years, and in Burma and Tibet today. I will also reflect upon Buddhist attitudes towards the wielding of nonviolent power in conflict situations.

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Chinese and Pāli Parallels On Women’s Inabilities

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 16, 2009

The Bahudhātuka-sutta and its Parallels On Women’s Inabilities

Anālayo
University of Hamburg
Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Taiwan

The present article offers a comparative study of the Bahudhātuka-sutta, based on a translation of one of its parallels found in the Madhyama-āgama preserved in Chinese translation. The study focuses in particular on the dictum that a woman cannot be a Buddha, which is absent from the Madhyama-āgama version.

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Review: Yogācāra and Ch’eng Wei-shih Lun

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 16, 2009

Buddhist Phenomenology: A Philosophical Investigation of Yogācāra Buddhism and the Ch’eng Wei-shih Lun. By Dan Lusthaus. Curzon Critical Studies in Buddhism Series. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002, xii + 611 pages, ISBN: 0-7007-1186-4 (hardcover), US $65.00.

Reviewed by Alexander L. Mayer

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Review: Attitudes Towards Religious Others

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 16, 2009

Buddhist Inclusivism: Attitudes Towards Religious Others. By Kristin Beise Kiblinger. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2005, 145 pages, ISBN: 0-7546-5133-9 (hardcover), US $100.00.

Reviewed by Danny Fisher

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