Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.

Archive for the ‘Volume 23 2016’


Grief, Impermanence, and Upāya

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

“To Whom Does Kisā Gotamī Speak?” Grief, Impermanence, and Upāya

Richard K. Payne
Institute of Buddhist Studies, at the Graduate Theological Union

This article develops a perspective on the nature of Buddhist pastoral care by considering the needs of the bereaved. Differentiating the interpretive frameworks of different audiences and understanding different contexts of interpersonal relations are necessary for effective pastoral care. A distinction between the goal of realizing impermanence and the goal of resolving mourning is heuristically useful in theorizing Buddhist pastoral care. The discussion also seeks to underscore the value of upāya as a positive moral injunction on teachers, indicating the need to properly match their audience and to employ the textual tradition responsibly.

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Review: Luminosity and Personhood in Indian and Chinese Thought

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Encounters of Mind: Luminosity and Personhood in Indian and Chinese Thought. By Douglas L. Berger. Albany: SUNY Press, 2015, 262 pages, ISBN 9781438454740 (paperback), $24.95.

Reviewed by Leah Kalmanson

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Review: Buddhist Reflection on a More Equitable Future

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Valuing Diversity: Buddhist Reflection on Realizing a More Equitable Global Future. By Peter D. Hershock. Albany: SUNY Press, 2014, vi + 332 pages, ISBN 978-1-4384-4458-1 (paperback), $29.95.

Reviewed by Seth D. Clippard

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Review: Tracing the Evolution of Esoteric Buddhist Rituals

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Spells, Images, and Maṇḍalas: Tracing the Evolution of Esoteric Buddhist Rituals. By Koichi Shinohara. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014, xxii + 324 pages, ISBN 978-0-231-16614-0 (hardback), $55.00.

Reviewed by Joseph P. Elacqua

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Buddhist Nuns’ Ordination in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya Tradition

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Buddhist Nuns’ Ordination in the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya Tradition: Two Possible Approaches

Bhikṣuṇī Jampa Tsedroen
Academy of World Religions and Numata Center for Buddhist Studies, University of Hamburg

This article examines the possibilities of reviving the Mūlasarvāstivāda lineage of fully ordained nuns (bhikṣuṇī). It explores two ways to generate a “flawless and perfect” Mūlasarvāstivāda bhikṣuṇī vow, either by Mūlasarvāstivāda monks alone or by Mūlasarvāstivāda monks with Dharmaguptaka nuns (“ecumenical” ordination). The first approach is based on a Vinaya passage which traditionally is taken as the Word of the Buddha, but which, from a historical-critical point of view, is dubious. The second approach is not explicitly represented in the Vinaya but involves “re-reading” or “re-thinking” it with a critical-constructive attitude (“theological” approach). Each approach is based on my latest findings from studying the Tibetan translation of the Bhikṣuṇyupasaṃpadājñāpti and related commentaries.

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Review: The Ethics of Śaṅkara and Śāntideva

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

The Ethics of Śaṅkara and Śāntideva: A Selfless Response to an Illusory World. By Warren Lee Todd. Farnham, Surrey and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2013, xii + 220, ISBN: 9781409466819 (hardback), $149.95.

Reviewed by Joseph S. O’Leary

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Review: Japanese Women, Pregnancy Loss, and Modern Rituals of Grieving

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Narratives of Sorrow and Dignity: Japanese Women, Pregnancy Loss, and Modern Rituals of Grieving. By Bardwell L. Smith. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013, xvii + 410 pag-es, ISBN 978-0-19-994213-8 (cloth), $115.00.

Reviewed by Maureen L. Walsh

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Review: Madhyamaka in 12th Century Tibet

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Reason and Experience in Tibetan Buddhism: Mabja Jangchub Tsöndrü and the Traditions of the Middle Way. By Thomas Doctor. Routledge Critical Series in Buddhism. New York: Routledge, 2014, 156 pages, ISBN 9780415722469 (hardback), $145.

Reviewed by Adam C. Krug

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Report: Conference on Buddhist Ethics

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Inaugural Conference on Buddhist Ethics

Daniel Cozort
Dickinson College

A report on the Conference on Buddhist Ethics held at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on June 14-16, 2016.

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Review: Family Matters in Indian Buddhist Monasticisms

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Family Matters in Indian Buddhist Monasticisms. By Shayne Clarke. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2014, xiii+275 pages, ISBN 978-0-8248-3647-4 (cloth), $52.

Reviewed by Cuilan Liu

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Review: Buddhism, the Internet, and Digital Media

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Buddhism, the Internet, and Digital Media: The Pixel in the Lotus. Edited by Gregory Price Grieve and Daniel Veidlinger. New York: Routledge, 2015, viii + 232 pages, ISBN 978-0-415-72166-0 (hardback), US$145.00.

Reviewed by Maria Sharapan

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Facing Death from a Safe Distance

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Facing Death from a Safe Distance: Saṃvega and Moral Psychology

Lajos Brons
Nihon University and Lakeland University

Saṃvega is a morally motivating state of shock that—according to Buddhaghosa—should be evoked by meditating on death. What kind of mental state it is exactly, and how it is morally motivating is unclear, however. This article presents a theory of saṃvega—what it is and how it works—based on recent insights in psychology. According to dual process theories there are two kinds of mental processes organized in two “systems”: the experiential, automatic system 1, and the rational, controlled system 2. In normal circumstances, system 1 does not believe in its own mortality. Saṃvega occurs when system 1 suddenly realizes that the “subjective self” will inevitably die (while system 2 is already disposed to affirm the subject’s mortality). This results in a state of shock that is morally motivating under certain conditions. Saṃvega increases mortality salience and produces insight in suffering, and in combination with a strengthened sense of loving-kindness or empathic concern both mortality salience and insight in suffering produce moral motivation.

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Is Compassionate Killing Psychologically Impossible?

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

On Compassionate Killing and the Abhidhamma’s “Psychological Ethics”

Damien Keown
University of London Goldsmiths

Is compassionate killing really psychologically impossible, as the Abhidhamma claims? Previously I discussed a Vinaya case that seemed to show the contrary. Reviewing my conclusions in the light of commentarial literature, Rupert Gethin disagreed and restated the Abhidhamma position that killing can never be motivated by compassion. This paper supports my original conclusions and argues further that the Vinaya case reveals underlying problems with the Abhidhamma’s “psychological ethics.”

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Review: Militarism and Buddhism in Modern Asia

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

Buddhism and Violence: Militarism and Buddhism in Modern Asia. Edited by Vladimir Tikhonov and Torkel Brekke. New York: Routledge, 2013, 264 pages, ISBN: 9780415536967 (cloth), $125.00.

Reviewed by Kendall Marchman

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The Going Forth of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 23, 2016

The Going Forth of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī in T 60

Bhikkhu Anālayo
University of Hamburg

In what follows I translate a discourse preserved as an individual translation in the Taishō edition under entry number 60, which reports the going forth of Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī. Following that is a discussion concerning the different attitudes toward women that emerge from this discourse and a comparison to the current setting in Thailand.

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