This subject provides an overview of Buddhist ethics in different traditions; it also examines issues arising from their application in the contemporary world. After outlining the framework of Buddhist ethics, a number of contemporary issues are reviewed and discussed using the lens of Buddhist ethical traditions: issues examined include the natural world (environment, animals, conservation), abortion, suicide, euthanasia, war, gender and sexuality, economics, social responsibility, health, etc.
Increasing individual ethical behaviour is at the heart of Buddhist traditions: understanding the nature of ethical choices and behaviours is also fundamental to a sound comprehension of Buddhism. This subject presents an introduction to the major areas of ethical consideration important in Buddhist teachings and then critically investigates the Buddhist response in relation to contemporary moral dilemmas, thereby highlighting possible contributions from—or gaps in—traditional Buddhist paradigms and perspectives.
- Develop the ability to skilfully reflect on the practice of Buddhist ethics and consequences of the experience to one’s ethical position and future application.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts, beliefs and worldviews underlying the principles of ethics as presented in Buddhist traditions.
- Evaluate and reflect on issues arising from applications of Buddhist ethical principles in a variety of contemporary contexts.
- Assessment 1: Reflective journal on putting one Buddhist precept into practice (30%, due week 4)
- Assessment 2: Literature critique of Buddhist ethical principles (30%, due week 7)
- Assessment 3: Memo to world leader(s) based on Buddhist response(s) to a contemporary ethical dilemma (40%, due week 10)