main topics covered introduction bases for buddhist ethics alternative moral dimensions in tibetan...

Download Main topics covered Introduction Bases for Buddhist ethics Alternative moral dimensions in Tibetan Buddhist society Historical dimensions

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Key points 1 Tibetan Buddhism has a strong ethical orientation that manifests in a number of different ways. Lay Buddhist ethics, as in other Buddhist societies, are based around the principles of karma, of the inevitable results of positive and negative actions, and summarized in ten kinds of virtuous and non- virtuous actions. Beyond this lies the ethics of the path to Buddhahood, which is based on bodhicitta, the drive to relieve the sufferings of all beings, but can lead elite practitioners to undertake actions that transcend and may in some cases contradict ordinary morality.

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Main topics covered Introduction Bases for Buddhist ethics Alternative moral dimensions in Tibetan Buddhist society Historical dimensions Key points 1 Tibetan Buddhism has a strong ethical orientation that manifests in a number of different ways. Lay Buddhist ethics, as in other Buddhist societies, are based around the principles of karma, of the inevitable results of positive and negative actions, and summarized in ten kinds of virtuous and non- virtuous actions. Beyond this lies the ethics of the path to Buddhahood, which is based on bodhicitta, the drive to relieve the sufferings of all beings, but can lead elite practitioners to undertake actions that transcend and may in some cases contradict ordinary morality. Key points 2 For ordinary lay Tibetans, Buddhist morality is widely known, but can exist in some tension with the implicit or explicit moral sense of everyday life. Buddhist morality is about taming and control, but Tibetans also value strength, self-assertiveness and personal success. Various Tibetans myths, legends and rituals illustrate these themes. Laptse (altar to local gods) Central Tibetan village near Tsurpu Gompa, 1987 Chorten (Stpa) Junbesi village, Nepal, photo 1971 Key points 3 The path to Buddhahood is structured through three sets of vows, each of which has a strong ethical dimension. These are the pratimok a vows (which are similar to the vows taken by Buddhist lay and monastic practitioners in almost all Buddhist societies), the bodhicitta vows, and the vows taken as part of Tantric initiation. Ma i-wall Pass in Sherpa country west of Junbesi, photo 1971 Key points 4 Lamas, monks and lay people are bound together by an implicit contract, in which the support of the laity is exchanged both for the merit that can lead to a better rebirth, and also for practical aid of Tantric ritual in achieving this- worldly success. Lungta (prayer-flag) Reproduction from blockprint Atsara (ritual clowns) At a cham performance at Changsa Gompa, Kalimpong, 2009

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