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    Contemporary Buddhist Practices

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    How do contemporary Buddhist practices reflect the foundations of the religion?

    © BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 9, 2019, 7:57 pm ad1c9bdddf
    https://brainmass.com/religious-studies/buddhism/contemporary-buddhist-practices-134344

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    Interesting question! Please see response below. I hope this helps and take care.

    RESPONSE:

    1. How do contemporary Buddhist practices reflect the foundations of the religion?

    Many scholars, especially the traditional Buddhist scholars, argue that contemporary Buddhist practices are taken out of its original ethical context of loving-kindness, compassion, and ahimsa that it becomes a potentially dangerous doctrine used to justify unethical behavior.

    Thus, some scholars (not all) argue that the contemporary Buddhist practices do not reflect the foundations of traditional Buddhism. For example, Nelson explores the concept of "skillful means" and how the meaning has been distorted to promote different "non-Buddhist views. Nelson examines the claim that the contemporary Buddhist doctrine of 'skillful means' is too open or ambiguous such that it justifies unethical behavior. He is especially interested in how it has been used to justify behavior contrary to the basic ethical principles of Buddhism such as the rejection of violence and war. In the first part of the paper, he considers how the question of skillful means is situated in the context of the debate about ethical antinomianism and nihilism developed in some critiques of Buddhism. In the second part of the paper, he turns to classic discussions of skillful means in the Pali canon as well as contemporary discussions in Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhism. He argues on this basis that it is only when skillful means is taken out of its original ethical context of loving-kindness, compassion, and ahimsa that it becomes a potentially dangerous doctrine used to justify unethical behavior. Like other forms of prudential and contextual ethics, such as Aristotelian and Confucian ethics, Buddhist ethics cannot be understand based on a single universal rule but must be seen as developing an ethical mode of comportment and disposition. Without this ethical orientation and context, a de-contextualized notion of skillful means in particular and appropriate judgment in general can and has been used to justify violence and war in ways that run contrary to the teachings of the Buddha. In conclusion, Nelson considers whether this account leaves any ...

    Solution Summary

    Based on research and discussion, this solution explores how contemporary Buddhist practices reflect the foundations of the religion. References are provided.

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