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Explain how a moral life could be said to be at the heart of Lay Buddhism.

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Introduction

Hossein Amini 5S GCSE COURSEWORK- BUDDHISM The Life of the Buddha Question 2- Explain how a moral life could be said to be at the heart of Lay Buddhism Moral life, in many ways, can be said to be at the heart of lay Buddhism. However, the first thing to get clear is the meaning of the term morality. The word morality, technically means, the distinction between good and evil, right and wrong, in relation to actions, volitions, and character. Essentially, it relates to the nature and application of what is ethical. So by a moral sense, we mean the power, and ability to understand the difference between what is right, and what is wrong. There are several aspects to a Buddhist's moral life. Karma is the law that every action, word, or thought, has consequences. This law of karma, which is the way in which life works, affects a Buddhist's reaction to his or her surroundings, thereby giving the opportunity to decide by moral means. For example, when a Buddhist does something good for the environment, such as setting up a clear up program in parks, this action of his, is 'ethically significant', and thus, this generates good karma, which then consequently, goes towards the next life. So, in this way, moral life can be said to be at the heart of Buddhism, because the law of karma, (one of the most crucial and fundamental aspects of Buddhism) causes one to decide by moral means, and hence develop, spiritually and mentally, so to build a right frame of mind. ...read more.

Middle

4.The 4th precept 'concerning the spoken word or Right Speech, is Samma vaca.'3 This is a unique gift to mankind of which the most harmless, fruitful use should be made. 5. The 5th Precept about the abstinence from intoxicants in whatever form, liquid or solid, involves several aspects of the Noble Eight Fold path - Right Mindfulness, Understanding, Thought, Livelihood, Action and Effort. The five precepts essentially undermine the true way to live a Buddhist life. Hence, because the five precepts, like Metta, and Kamma, branch externally out from morality, this does give evidence that moral life is the heart of Buddhism. Moreover, the precepts, form a foundation for the religious development of a Buddhist, and hence are crucially important. In general, all lay people, aim to abide as best as they can, by the precepts, so to develop an understanding of what is around them, and hence decide by moral means. For Buddhists, the five precepts provide the essential guidelines for living an ethical life. The issue I have chosen to discuss is the issue of life and death (i.e. abortion and euthanasia). The key ethical principles involved in making a decision on abortion or euthanasia, is ahimsa, which means non-violence. The principle of ahimsa is based on an understanding of the inter-connectedness of life and involves avoiding deliberate harm, and striving to bring out the greater good. Metta is also a key principle, as we have mentioned, in deciding on such issues. ...read more.

Conclusion

It guides one to be good and to keep away from evil. It involves performance of certain deeds and the avoidance of others. Buddhist morality goes hand in hand with wisdom and concentration - sila, samadhi, and panna. Here, wisdom is not the same as being knowledgeable only. Gaining knowledge only, without wisdom, could turn out to be a dangerous asset. Leading a positive and wholesome life on earth following the guidelines in Buddhism, creating true happiness, peace and contentment to oneself and others is certainly worthier than a life of trying to satisfy one's ego and greed. It also automatically builds up an insurance policy for the future after death. 'If you can honestly and sincerely say to one another, you are a blessing to us, we are practitioners of the Buddhist perspective of morality and are also treading on the Noble Eight Fold Path.'6 Therefore a time-tested, rational, reasonable, logical, practicable moral code is essential for everyone, just as we need the knowledge and application of the highway code for all road-users and motorists in particular. The Buddha's teachings have given Buddhists such a code, but if only one cares to recognise and abide by it. 1 S. Clark & M. Thompson: Buddhism: a New Approach London, Hodder and Stoughton 1996, p 45 2 D.Subhadra & B. Richardson: Buddhist Ethics and the Moral Life 1990, p36 3 A.Lambert: A Dharmacchari's Life in Tibet 1982 pp56 4 D.Subhadra & B. Richardson: Buddhist Ethics and the Moral Life 1990, p38 5 D.Subhadra & B.Richardson: Buddhist Ethics and the Moral Life 1990, p39 6 A.Lambert: A Dharmacchari's Life in Tibet 1982 pp72 ...read more.

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