Buddhist Ethics

“One would not do even the slightest thing
That others who are wise would speak against.
May they be secure and profoundly well;
—May all beings be happy in themselves.” Metta Sutta, Verse 3

“Buddhist ethics are not about absolutes, and do not articulate a “right” and a “wrong” way of acting in the world. Rather they speak of cause and effect, seed and fruit, action and consequence. If you behave in wholesome and healthy ways, there are likely to be wholesome and healthy results, while the reverse is also true.” Quote and translation by Andrew Olendzki in Insight Journal

This is part of what I love about Buddhism: it focuses on results, not commands from on high. You may or may not know what is “right” in a given situation, but you know that some actions are obviously more skillful than others. When moral imperatives clash, sometimes you are only choosing the least unskillful action with the least objectionable outcome.

I have actually read articles from Christian authors denigrating young people’s emphasis on what works. They think you should do what’s “right” according to their dogma, which is their Truth (with a capital “t”). I laugh because they don’t get the fact that they are taking a hardline stance against what works. Good luck with that! They can play Cardinal Bellarmine to my Galileo.

There is also an emphasis on abandoning the unwholesome. I love that. Don’t fight evil. Leave it where you find it and refuse any association with it whatsoever. This is the drama-free approach to improving one’s life.


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About cdhoagpurple

I have an MBA, am married to a GM/UAW retiree with Huntington's Disease. I am more Buddhist than Christian. I plan on moving to Virginia when widowed. I have a friend''s parents that live down there and another friend living in Maryland. I am simplifying my life in preparation for the eventual move.Eight years ago, my husband had stage 4 cancer. I am truly "neither here nor there." My identity shifts and I am always surprised where I end up. 2015 was my hardest year ever. This is my Dark Night of the Soul. Welcome to it.

One response to “Buddhist Ethics”

  1. Chico says :

    Reblogged this on A Way in the Woods.

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