The Buddhas Way of Virtue

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To the extent that our own good is tied to that of others, virtue ethics includes others within our circle of concern, but only a select few.


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It is in this sense "agent-relative. There are, however, a number of problems with this characterization. First, although virtue ethics is commonly described as an ethics of "being" as opposed to an ethics of "doing," this is somewhat misleading. We use the language of the virtues and the vices not only to describe people, but to describe the things that people do. There are kind people and there are acts of kindness.

There are cruel people and there are acts of cruelty. In fact, "doing" precedes "being.

Keown "Karma" refers to this as the "intransitive" effects of moral action. According to Buddhism, moral action has a transformative effect upon the actor, registered in the form of samskaras or "mental formations.

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Every virtuous or vicious deed leaves a samskaric imprint on the actor's mental stream, which accounts for the actor's tendency to repeat the same type of action. By acting on an angry impulse, I reinforce my tendency to experience anger and hence to act angrily. Insofar as character traits are stable dispositions to act, speak, think, and feel in certain ways, people create their characters--over innumerable lifetimes, Buddhists believe--through their moral conduct.

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The Buddha's "way of virtue"

If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. Read preview. It was then, in his rejection of both self-mortification and self-indulgence, that Shakyamuni awakened to the true nature of life—its eternity, its deep wellspring of unbounded vitality and wisdom. The truth of temporary existence indicates the physical or material aspects of life including appearance, form and activities.

The truth of non-substantiality refers to the invisible aspects of life, such as our mental and spiritual functions, which lay dormant in our lives until they are manifested.

He defined this as the Middle Way. From this viewpoint stem the Buddhist principles of the inseparability of body and mind and of self and environment. It is neither existence nor nonexistence, yet exhibits the qualities of both. Like the lotus flower that blooms unsullied by the muddy waters in which it grows, Nichiren maintained that human beings possess tremendous potential and the life condition of Buddhahood which they can bring forth in direct proportion to the depth of confusion and predicament they face.

Mindfulness and Ethics: Attention, Virtue and Perfection – Jay L. Garfield

From this perspective, to pursue the Middle Way is not a compromise. Rather, it transcends subjective values and accords with something more fundamental—our humanity. At the social and political level, the Middle Way could be expressed as the commitment to upholding respect for the dignity of life and placing it before adherence to a particular political or economic ideology.

The vision of the SGI is that individuals committed to this sustained effort to orient their lives in a positive direction will inevitably begin to move society itself in the direction of happiness and harmonious coexistence. Indeed, the violence and grotesque imbalances of that era drive home the need to find a guiding principle for the peace and fulfillment of humankind.