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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Appendix II: Moral Code [go up]

1. Social and Moral Code

The most important element of the Buddhist reform has always been its social and moral code. That moral code taken by itself is one of the most perfect which the world has ever known. On this point all testimonials from hostile and friendly quarters agree; philosophers there may have been, religious preachers, subtle metaphysicists, disputants there may have been, but where shall we find such an incarnation of love, love that knows no distinction of caste and creed or color, a love that overflowed even the bounds of humanity, that embraced the whole of sentient beings in its sweep, a love that embodied as the gospel of universal "Maitri" and "Ahimsa."

— Prof. Max Muller, A German Buddhist Scholar

2. Morality is based on freedom

Buddhist morality is based on freedom, i.e., on individual development. It is therefore relative. In fact there cannot be any ethical principle if there is compulsion or determination from an agent outside ourselves.

— Anagarika B. Govinda, A German Buddhist Scholar

3. Knowledge and Morality

In Buddhism there can be no real morality without knowledge, no real knowledge without morality; both are bound up together like heat and light in a flame. What constitutes "Bodhi" is not mere intellectual, enlightenment, but humanity. The consciousness of moral excellence is of the very essence of "Bodhi."

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