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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern ethics 2500 years old, 26 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Buddhist Ethics (Paperback)
The best book about Buddhist ethics I have found. The great merit of this book is that he author, a monk from Ceylon, took a Ph.D. at Edinburgh University. He therefore is able to find the right words to explain clearly to Western readers Buddhist concepts. The book relates everything to the teachings of Gotama Buddha presenting exact quotations before giving explanations. The book also presents in detail what Buddha taught about the role of the family "the house holder" and for a businessman (trader). Many of the concepts strike one as very modern and up to date and very relevant for to day. Buddha has made no comments on the relationship between the state and individuals. The state in India at the time of Buddha resembles the ideal state as described in Plato's book "The republic". At least as far as the existence of different classes is concerned. Buddha insisted on mobility between the classes, whereas Plato strictly forbade this mobility. Also Buddha did not assign the role of ruling the nation to the class of the philosophers. Buddha appeared to think that if rulers had the right motivations and acted accordingly all would be well. This is a scholarly book, but as it only contains 176 pages it can be digested in a reasonable amount of time. This book is of interest to all persons with a serious interest for Buddhism and or ethics
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5.0 out of 5 stars Modern ethics 2400 years old, 25 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Buddhist Ethics (Paperback)
The best book about Buddhist ethics I have found. The great merit of this book is that the author, a monk from Ceylon, took a Ph.D. at Edinburgh University. He therefore is able to find the right words to explain clearly to Western readers Buddhist concepts. The book relates everything to the teachings of Gotama Buddha presenting exact quotations before giving explanations. The book also presents in detail what Buddha taught about the role of the family "the house holder" and of a businessman (trader). Many of the concepts strike one as very modern and very relevant for to day. Buddha has made no comments on the relationship between the state and individuals. The state in India at the time of Buddha resembles the ideal state as described in Plato's book "The republic". Buddha insisted on mobility between the classes, whereas Plato strictly forbade this mobility. Also Buddha did not assign the role of ruling the nation to the class of the philosophers. Buddha appeared to think that if rulers had the right motivations and acted accordingly all would be well. This is a scholarly book, but as it only contains 176 pages it can be digested in a reasonable amount of time. This book is of interest to all persons with a serious and profound interest in Buddhism and or ethics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Getting to the core of Buddhism, 11 Jun 2013
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laurens van den muyzenberg "laurens" (Villa Lama, Super Cannes, 06220 Vallauris Golfe-Juan.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Buddhist Ethics (Paperback)
Hammalawa Saddhatissa 1914-1990, was a Ceylon Buddhist monk that after extensive studies in Ceylon and India moved to the West where he pursued an active academic career that included obtaining a Ph. D from Edinburgh University, and teaching at the universities of Oxford, London and Toronto.
He studied also Hindu, Greek, other Western philosophers and their systems of morality. This has the advantage that different from many other Buddhists texts, this book is very easy to understand for those that have no previous knowledge of Buddhism. Yet it is of such quality that it is also of interests to "specialists". He translated many original Buddhist texts from Pail and Sanskrit into English and did original research comparing many texts about the same object in their original languages.
This book presents the summary of what he found about the subject of ethics. Buddhism is an ethic philosophy and therefore this book covers all the essential aspects of Buddhism. In addition the author focuses how people should think and act if they follow Buddhist principles.
In chapter six he describes the layman's duties to his associates. Associates refer to shopkeepers (businessmen) and workers, householders and servants, parents and children. These comments present what Buddha said on these subjects. To take one example about shopkeepers (businessmen) "It is recommended for a businessman to be alert, capable and dependable. His clear-sightedness consists in judging the possibility of sale and the amount to be obtained thereby. After having acquired and consolidated his wealth, he should distribute it suitably. No benefit accrues to the miser who merely hoards it, or to the person who uses it entirely for selfish ends. "
Chapter seven, the "Layman's Relation to the State" is presented the same way. For example Buddha said: "The duties of the population include to attend and co-operate in the pubic gatherings where the discussion of legislation should take place. Moral responsibility lies not only with the rulers but also with the masses. Each person should share in the responsibility of making decisions, in the working out and the community should present a united front."
I recommend, especially those that have not studied Buddhism before, to start reading chapters six and seven. Chapter one describes the history, chapter two and three are primarily for nuns and monks. Chapter four and five are about morality both for nuns, monks and laymen. These chapters also present the Buddhist concepts about the origin of knowledge and the Buddhist equivalent to the "Ten Commandments" in Christianity, referred to as "The precepts". The last chapter describes Nibanna (Nirvana) as the ultimate goal.
In less than 200 pages you will find an excellent description of the "core" of Buddhism.
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Buddhist Ethics
Buddhist Ethics by H. Saddhatissa (Paperback - 1 May 1997)
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