Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.


Geopolitics of Buddhism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 25, 2018

Geopolitics of Buddhism

André Laliberté
University of Ottawa

This article argues that Buddhists still lack an international organization that could help them present a unified voice the way that the World Council of Churches does for non-Catholic Christians, or the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, for all Muslims, whether they are Sunni or Shia. There exist international organizations that claim to speak on behalf of Buddhists the world over, but they compete against each other. The basis of this competition has little to do with the differences between the Mahāyāna, Theravāda, and Vajrayāna schools, but owes a lot more to competition between Asian great powers, in particular China and India. The article will demonstrate this by first presenting an historical account of the different attempts to create a unified Buddhist international organization, along with different transnational Buddhist institutions. Then it will review the divisions that have prevented, so far, the creation of such an organization.

Read article

Is a Buddhist Praxis Possible?

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 25, 2018

Is a Buddhist Praxis Possible?

Charles R. Strain
DePaul University

The question that forms the title of this essay may well evoke an instant response: “Of course, why not?” This answer assumes a vague and quite elastic understanding of praxis. Latin American Liberation theologians saw praxis, to the contrary, as arising from a dialectic of critical reflection and practice. Following the example of Liberation Theology, this paper argues the thesis that the pieces of the puzzle of an adequate critical reflection on Buddhist praxis exist but they have yet to be put together into a Buddhist theory of political transformation akin to any number of Liberation Theologies. The following definition of praxis serves as a heuristic device to examine engaged Buddhist theoretical contributions to a Buddhist praxis: Praxis is action that is: (1) symbolically constituted; (2) historically situated; (3) critically mediated by a social theory; and (4) strategically and politically directed. After examining each of these components in turn, the article concludes by asking what might be the “vehicle” of a distinctively Buddhist praxis.

Read article

Zen Meets Kierkegaard

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 22, 2015

A Love Knowing Nothing: Zen Meets Kierkegaard

Mary Jeanne Larrabee
DePaul University

I present a case for a love that has a wisdom knowing nothing. How this nothing functions underlies what Kierkegaard urges in Works of Love and how Zen compassion moves us to action. In each there is an ethical call to love in action. I investigate how Kierkegaard’s “religiousness B” is a “second immediacy” in relation to God, one springing from a nothing between human and God. This immediacy clarifies what Kierkegaard takes to be the Christian call to love. I draw a parallel between Kierkegaard’s immediacy and the expression of immediacy within a Zen-influenced life, particularly the way in which it calls the Zen practitioner to act toward the specific needs of the person standing before one. In my understanding of both Kierkegaard and Zen life, there is also an ethics of response to the circumstances that put the person in need, such as entrenched poverty or other injustices.

Read article

Review: Meditation on Good and Evil

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 12, 2005

Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil. By Stephen Batchelor. New York: Riverhead Books (Penguin Imprint). Pp. 224. ISBN 1573222763.

Reviewed by Michael Keating

Read article

Review: History of Christian-Buddhist Dialogue

SSN 1076-9005
Volume 9 2002

Christianity and Buddhism: A Multicultural History of Their Dialogue. By Whalen Lai and Michael von Bruck. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2001, xiv + 265 pages, ISBN 1-57075-362-8 (paperback), $40.00.

Reviewed by Peter A. Huff

Read article

Review: Buddhist-Christian Dialogue

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 8, 2001

Buddhists Talk about Jesus, Christians Talk about the Buddha. Edited By Rita M. Gross and Terry C. Muck. New York: Continuum, 2000, 144 pages, ISBN: 0–8264–1196–7 (paperback), US $14.95.

Reviewed by Eric Reinders

Read article

Review Essay: Buddhist-Christian Dialogue

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 4 1997

Reflections On The Buddhist-Christian Dialogue In Its Second Decade: Issues In Theory And Practice

A Bridge to Buddhist-Christian Dialogue. By Seiichi Yagi and Leonard Swidler. New York: Paulist Press, 1990. 152 p. $9.95.

Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit: the Place of Zen in Christian Life. By Robert L.Kennedy. New York: Continuum, 1996. 144 p. $12.95.

The Emptying God: a Buddhist-Jewish-Christian Conversation. Edited by John B.Cobb and Christopher Ives. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1990. 212 p. $19.00.

The Meaning of Christ: a Mahāyāna Theology. By John P. Keenan. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1996. 312 p. $21.00.

Charles B. Jones
Catholic University of America

Read article

Review: Postmodern Thought in Buddhism and Christianity

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

Healing Deconstruction: Postmodern Thought in Buddhism and Christianity. Edited by David Loy. American Academy of Religion, Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion, no. 3. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998, 120 pages, ISBN: 0-7885-0122-4, US $23.95.

On Deconstructing Life-Worlds: Buddhism, Christianity, Culture. By Robert Magliola. American Academy of Religion, Cultural Criticism, no. 3. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997. Pp. xxii + 202. ISBN: 0-7885-0296-4, US $19.95.

Reviewed by N. Robert Glass

Read article

Review: Monasticism in Theravāda Buddhism and Medieval Catholicism

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 4 1997

Virtuosity, Charisma, and the Social Order: A Comparative Sociological Study of Monasticism in Theravāda Buddhism and Medieval Catholicism. By Ilana Freidrich Silber. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, x + 250 pages, ISBN 0-521-41397-4, $54.95.

Reviewed by Mavis Fenn

Read article

Judeo-Christian and Buddhist Justice

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 2 1995

Judeo-Christian and Buddhist Justice

Winston King
Vanderbilt University

This article compares and contrasts the traditional Judeo-Christian and Buddhist notions of justice. It begins with an examination of some traditional biblical resources, such as the Job story, and moves ahead to trace Buddhist ideas about justice as developed in the Pāli Canon. In the Conclusion, more recent Buddhist considerations are developed, such as those found in Zen and in modern socially engaged Buddhism.

Read article