Journal of Buddhist Ethics

An online journal of Buddhist scholarship related to ethics.


Dōgen’s Primer on the Nonmoral Virtues of the Good Person

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 21, 2014

Dōgen’s Primer on the Nonmoral Virtues of the Good Person

Douglas K. Mikkelson
University of Hawai’i at Hilo

The Shōbōgenzō Zuimonki provides a good introduction to Dōgen’s ideas about the virtues possessed by “the good person.” His depiction includes, but extends beyond, the conception of a “morally good” human being. This is evident by the number of “nonmoral” virtues that are manifest in the text. Edmund Pincoffs presents a schematization of numerous virtues based on his conception of virtues and vices as dispositional properties that provide ground for preference or avoidance of persons. This schematization seems especially well suited for an exploration and description of the nonmoral virtues that appear in the Shōbōgenzō Zuimonki.

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Review: Purifying Zen

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 20, 2013

Purifying Zen: Watsuji Tetsurō’s Shamon Dōgen. Watsuji Tetsurō, translated by Steve Bein. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2011, 174 pages; ISBN 978-0824835569 (Paperback), $24.00.

Reviewed by Anton Luis Sevilla

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Human Rights Founded on Buddha-Nature

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 17, 2010

Founding Human Rights within Buddhism: Exploring Buddha-Nature as an Ethical Foundation

Anton Luis Sevilla
Ateneo de Manila University

In this article, I hope to suggest (1) a fertile ground for human rights and social ethics within Japanese intellectual history and (2) a possible angle for connecting Dōgen’s ethical views with his views on private religious practice. I begin with a review of the attempts to found the notion of rights within Buddhism. I focus on two well-argued attempts: Damien Keown’s foundation of rights on the Four Noble Truths and individual soteriology and Jay Garfield’s foundation of rights on the compassionate drive to liberate others. I then fuse these two approaches in a single concept: Buddha-nature. I analyze Dōgen’s own view on the practice-realization of Buddha-nature, and the equation of Buddha-nature with being, time, emptiness, and impermanence. I end with tentative suggestions concerning how Dōgen’s particular view on Buddha-nature might affect any social ethics or view of rights that is founded on it.

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Review: Dōgen’s Three Hundred Kōans

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 14, 2007

The True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dōgen’s Three Hundred Kōans. Commentary and Verse by John Daido Loori. Translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi and John Daido Loori. Boston: Shambhala, 2005. 472 pages. ISBN 590302427 (cloth).

Reviewed by Gregory Miller

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Aquinas and Dōgen on Poverty and the Religious Life

SSN 1076-9005
Volume 13, 2006

Aquinas and Dōgen on Poverty and the Religious Life

Douglas K. Mikkelson
University of Hawaii at Hilo

Recent efforts to articulate Buddhist ethics have increasingly focused on “Western” ethical systems that possess a “family resemblance” sufficient to serve as a bridge. One promising avenue is the employment of Aristotelian-Thomistic thinking in seeking to understand certain manifestations of Buddhism. More specifically, we can explore how the thinking of Thomas Aquinas may serve to illuminate the moral vision of the Zen Master Dōgen on specific topics, such as that of “poverty and the religious life.” Two texts seem particularly conducive as foci for this approach, namely IIaIIae 186.3 of the Summa Theologiae and the Shōbōgenzō Zuimonki. This modus operandi reveals how Dōgen’s views on poverty and the religious life are significantly similar to, and yet in certain respects distinctively different from, those of Aquinas.

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Review: Dōgen, Mystical Realist

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 13, 2006

Eihei Dōgen – Mystical Realist. Revised, 3rd edition. By Hee-jin Kim. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2004. 320 pages. Paperback. ISBN 0861713761.

Reviewed by M. T. Jarvis

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Review: The Zen Poetry Of Dōgen

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 5 1998

The Zen Poetry Of Dōgen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace. By Steven Heine. Boston: Charles E. Tuttle Co. Inc., 1997, viii + 183 pages, ISBN: 0-8048-3107-6, US $14.95.

Reviewed by Taigen Dan Leighton

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