Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.


Is Buddhaghosa the Author of the Vinaya and Abhidhamma Commentaries?

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 25, 2018

The Authorship of the Vinaya and Abhidhamma Commentaries: A Response to von Hinüber

Ven. Pandita (Burma)
University of Kelaniya

Von Hinüber claims in his recent article, “Early Scripture Commentary,” which is included in Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism, that: (1) Buddhaghosa is the author of the commentaries on four nikāyas, but (2) not of other commentaries traditionally attributed to him. I agree with (1) but not with (2). On the contrary, I believe it is highly probable that the Vinaya and Abhidhamma commentaries have come from Buddhaghosa. I will give in this article the reasons for this belief.

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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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Review: Perspectives on Buddhist Ethics

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 2 1995

Perspectives on Buddhist Ethics. Edited by Prof. Mahesh Tiwary. Delhi: Department of Buddhist Studies, Delhi University, 1989. Rs 150.00.

Theravāda Buddhist Ethics with Special Reference to Visuddhimagga. Dr Vyanjana. Calcutta: Punthi Pustak, 1992. Rs 275.00.

Reviewed by Roger Farrington

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