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

One thought on “Buddhism and Capital Punishment: A Revisitation”

  1. I read your article “Buddhism and Capital Punishment,” which strongly opposes capital punishment. Although no humanitarian religion has ever been in favor of capital punishment, Buddhism is at the top in this matter. This is why Buddhism is considered to be a symbol of nonviolence. Overall, your article deals with both political and religious views in relation to this topic. Finally, thank you heartily for writing such a good and informative article available to readers like us.

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