Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.

Archive for the ‘Volume 26 2019’


Review: The Golden Age of Indian Buddhist Philosophy

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 26, 2019

The Golden Age of Indian Buddhist Philosophy. By Jan Westerhoff. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, 9780198732662 (hardback), $40.00US.

Reviewed by Douglas L. Berger

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The Experience of Dukkha and Domanassa among Puthujjanas

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 26, 2019

The Experience of Dukkha and Domanassa among Puthujjanas

Ashin Sumanacara
Mahidol University

In the Pāli canon, the terms dukkha and domanassa are used with reference to different types and degrees of suffering that must be understood according to context. This article first examines the meaning of puthujjana in the Pāli Nikāyas. It then analyses the contextual meanings of dukkha and domanassa, including a discussion of their types based on a thorough investigation of the Pāli Nikāyas. Finally, it examines the explanation in the Pāli Nikāyas of the arising of dukkha and domanassa, and, in particular, how lust, hatred, delusion and some other negative emotions are considered to cause physical pain and mental pain among puthujjanas.
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Review: Meat, Vegetarianism, and the Limits of Buddhism in Tibet

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 26, 2019

Food of Sinful Demons: Meat, Vegetarianism, and the Limits of Buddhism in Tibet. By Geoffrey Barstow. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018, 312 pp., ISBN 978-0-2311-7997-3 (Paperback), $27.00.

Reviewed by James Stewart

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Review: Minority Buddhism on China’s Southwest Border

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 26, 2019

Educating Monks: Minority Buddhism on China’s Southwest Border. By Thomas Borchert. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2017, ISBN 9780824866488 (hardback), $68.00.

Reviewed by Kai Chen

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Review: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 26, 2019

Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy. By Evan Thompson. New York: Columbia University Press, 2017, 496 pages, ISBN 9780231136952 (paperback), $22.95 / £17.99.

Reviewed by Jesse Butler

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Buddhism and Capital Punishment: A Revisitation

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 26, 2019

Buddhism and Capital Punishment: A Revisitation

Martin Kovan
University of Melbourne

The first Buddhist precept prohibits the intentional, even sanctioned, taking of life. However, capital punishment remains legal, and even increasingly applied, in some culturally Buddhist polities and beyond them. The classical Buddhist norm of unconditional compassion as a counterforce to such punishment thus appears insufficient to oppose it. This paper engages classical Buddhist and Western argument for and against capital punishment, locating a Buddhist refutation of deterrent and Kantian retributivist grounds for it not only in Nāgārjunian appeals to compassion, but also the metaphysical and moral constitution of the agent of lethal crime, and thereby the object of its moral consequences. Read article

Conference: Reducing Suffering During Conflict

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 26, 2019

Reducing Suffering During Conflict: The Interface Between Buddhism and International Humanitarian Law

International Conference of The International Committee of the Red Cross
Dambulla, Sri Lanka
4–6 September 2019

Though there are over half a billion Buddhists around the world, there has so far been no systematic and focused study of the interface between Buddhism and International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The core of IHL—also known as “the law of war” or “the law of armed conflict”—is formed by the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. Its purpose is to minimize suffering during armed conflict by protecting those who do not—or no longer—participate directly in hostilities, and by regulating the means and methods of warfare.

Buddhism has grappled with the reality of war throughout its long history. But what guidance does Buddhism provide to those caught up in the midst of hostilities, and how do Buddhism and IHL compare in this respect? It is timely and relevant to explore these two distinct bodies of ethics and legal traditions from inter-disciplinary perspectives.

This conference, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in collaboration with a number of universities and organizations, will explore correspondences between Buddhism and IHL and encourage a constructive dialogue and exchange between the two domains. The conference will act as a springboard to understanding how Buddhism can contribute to regulating armed conflict, and what it offers in terms of guidance on the conduct of, and behavior during, war for Buddhist monks and lay persons—the latter including government and military personnel, non-State armed groups and civilians. The conference is concerned with the conduct of armed conflict, and not with the reasons and justifications for it, which fall outside the remit of IHL.
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Review: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 26, 2019

21 Lessons for the 21st Century. By Yuval Noah Harari. New York: Spiegel and Grau, 2018, ISBN 9780525512172 (hardback), U.S. $28.00.

Reviewed by Victor Forte

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Sustainability Views in Two Rural Development Movements

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 26, 2019

A Comparative Analysis of Sustainability Views across the Saemaul Movement in South Korea and the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in Sri Lanka

Jungho Suh
University of Adelaide

This paper compares and contrasts the Saemaul Movement in South Korea and the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement in Sri Lanka. The paper identifies and polarizes sustainability views played out from each of the two rural development movements, making use of content and discourse analysis techniques. Although the two movements commonly emphasize the mobilization of human resources available in rural villages, both are premised on contested sustainability views. The Saemaul Movement has been driven by a solely growth-oriented developmentalism and has strived for affluent rural villages whereas the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement has been guided by a Buddhist ethic and has pursued a “no-poverty and no-affluence” society. The former is hardly concerned with the ecological dimension of sustainability, while the latter is very concerned about it. The former tends to risk eroding social capital whereas the latter weighs the overriding importance of social capital. The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement recognizes interdependence between the economic, ecological, and social dimensions of sustainability, and also endeavors to put a holistic sustainability view into practice. Read article