Buddhist Ethics as Moral Phenomenology

ISSN 1076-9005
Volume 28, 2021

Buddhist Ethics as Moral Phenomenology: A Defense and Development of the Theory

Colin Simonds
Queen’s University at Kingston

This article defends and develops the categorization of Buddhist ethics as moral phenomenology. It first examines the use of the term in Western philosophical settings and compares it to how the term is employed in Buddhist settings. After concluding that Western ethical comportment and Buddhist moral phenomenology are commensurate terms, it explores how moral phenomenology has been understood in Buddhist contexts and considers the evidence scholars have used to make this interpretation. The article then looks to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for further evidence of a moral phenomenological approach to Buddhist ethics and analyzes further proof of this interpretation. Finally, issues that emerge from a moral phenomenological approach to ethics are addressed from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective to strengthen this interpretation and offer moral phenomenology as a viable alternative ethical system.

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