RELG271 Lecture 10: Lecture 10 -Buddhist Sexual Ethics

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21 Oct 2015
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Buddhist Sexual Ethics
Buddhism in brief
-Several crucial early Buddhist notions:
-Karma & rebirth (samsara=cycle of rebirth) (intentions of our actions, quality of
actions determine current rebirth)
-Rebirth not a good thing, trapped in a cycle of death and rebirth (karma keeps us
in cycle)
-Tahna (craving) >>> Dukka (suffering) –lead to inevitable deprivation which
results in the suffering
-Anatman (=soul, eternal self that will exist through rebirth), there is no
permanent ‘self, since there is no self, we are in eternal torment and suffering
which we can empathize in others (joint suffering)
-Nirvana is the end of the ‘cycle’, difficult to describe unless experienced. It’s a
sensation that will allow one to escape their suffering- cure to physical world,
leads people away from disease and harm,
-Eightfold path – rules to follow in order to achieve nirvana, enlightened
experienced, right view, right suffering, right action, etc. (see phil. Gr12)
Buddhist Ethical Precepts:
-Right action –involves 5 abstinences from:
-Killing
-Stealing
-Misconduct concerning sense pleasures
-False speech
-Intoxicants
-Actions are judged by their intentions (e.g. premeditation), larger harm versus
smaller, actions that are not known to be wrong
-Utilitarian aspect, like kant
-Not so much rules, we are obliged to take the initiative to follow them ourselves
-To disobey eightfold path is not sinful but not respected, guilt would be the
natural emotion when failing to reach nirvana
Third precept: misconduct concerning sense pleasure
-Could include gorging on food
-Mostly pertains to sexual pleasure, includes adultery, incest, coercive intercourse,
promiscuity
-Avoiding sexual activity which is exploitative in any way or hurts others
-What is considered misconduct is up for interpretation
-Monogamy is preferred (however Tibet tolerates polyandry)
Monastic Code (Vinaya)
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