Buddhism an ethical system?
no doubt contains an excellent ethical code which is unparalleled
in its perfection and altruistic attitude. It deals with one way
of life for the monks and another for the laity. But Buddhism
is much more than an ordinary moral teaching. Morality is only
the preliminary stage on the Path of Purity, and is a means to
an end, but not an end in itself. Conduct, though essential, is
itself insufficient to gain one's emancipation. It should be coupled
with wisdom or knowledge (pañña). The base
of Buddhism is morality, and wisdom is its apex.
observing the principles of morality a Buddhist should not only
regard his own self but also should have a consideration for others
we well animals not excluded. Morality in Buddhism is not
founded on any doubtful revelation nor is it the ingenious invention
of an exceptional mind, but it is a rational and practical code
based on verifiable facts and individual experience.
should be mentioned that any external supernatural agency plays
no part whatever in the moulding of the character of a Buddhist.
In Buddhism there is no one to reward or punish. Pain or happiness
are the inevitable results of one's actions. The question of incurring
the pleasure or displeasure of a God does not enter the mind of
a Buddhist. Neither hope of reward nor fear of punishment acts
as an incentive to him to do good or to refrain from evil. A Buddhist
is aware of future consequences, but he refrains from evil because
it retards, does good because it aids progress to enlightenment
(bodhi). There are also some who do good because it is
good, refrain from evil because it is bad.
understand the exceptionally high standard of morality the Buddha
expects from his ideal followers, one must carefully read the
Dhammapada, Sigalovada Sutta, Vyaggapajja Sutta, Mangala Sutta,
Karaniya Sutta, Parabhava Sutta, Vasala Sutta, Dhammika Sutta,
a moral teaching it excels all other ethical systems, but morality
is only the beginning and not the end of Buddhism.
one sense Buddhism is not a philosophy, in another sense it is
the philosophy of philosophies.
one sense Buddhism is not a religion, in another sense it is the
religion of religions.
is neither a metaphysical path nor a ritualistic path.
is neither sceptical nor dogmatic.
neither self-mortification nor self-indulgence.
neither pessimism nor optimism.
neither eternalism nor nihilism.
neither absolutely this-worldly nor other-worldly.
a unique Path of Enlightenment.
original Pali term for Buddhism is Dhamma, which, literally, means
that which upholds. There is no English equivalent that exactly
conveys the meaning of the Pali term.
Dhamma is that which really is. It is the Doctrine of Reality.
It is a means of deliverance from suffering, and deliverance itself.
Whether the Buddhas arise or not the Dhamma exists. It lies hidden
from the ignorant eyes of men, till a Buddha, an Enlightened One,
realizes and compassionately reveals it to the world.
Dhamma is not something apart from oneself, but is closely associated
with oneself. As such the Buddha exhorts: "Abide
with oneself as an island, with oneself as a refuge. Abide with
the Dhamma as an island, with the Dhamma as a refuge. Seek no