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Ethics in the “Śiksāsamuccaya”: A study in Mahāyāna morality
Author Clayton, Barbra Robina (著)
Volumev.64 n.4 Section A
PublisherMcGill University
Publisher Url
LocationMontreal, Canada [蒙特婁, 加拿大]
Content type博碩士論文=Thesis and Dissertation
InstitutionMcGill University
AdvisorHayes, Richard; Young, Katherine
Publication year2002
KeywordEthics; Morality; Siksasamuccaya; Mahayana; Santideva
AbstractThis dissertation examines the ethics of Śāntideva, an Indian Mahāyāna Buddhist thinker of the seventh century CE, particularly through his work, the Śiksādsamuccaya (Compendium of Teaching). This study therefore helps redress a significant imbalance in the scholarship on Buddhist ethics, which has up to now focused primarily on the morality of the Theravāda Buddhist tradition. The dissertation incorporates both descriptive and metaethical analyses to answer three questions: What is Śāntideva's moral theory, and how does it compare with other characterizations of Buddhist ethics? Can one moral theory adequately describe Buddhist moral traditions?

Through textual analysis and translations, this thesis offers a exegetical account of the moral thought in the Siksāsamuccaya , beginning with a description of Śāntideva's understanding of how to become a bodhisattva, the Mahāyāna spiritual ideal. I provide an analysis of Śāntideva's understanding of key moral concepts, with a particular focus on virtuous conduct (śīla ), skillfulness (kuśalatvā), and merit (punya). I then test the assumption that Buddhist moral theory is homogeneous by comparing the results of this study with those of existing secondary literature on Buddhist ethics, and in particular, I respond to Damien Keown's position that Buddhist ethics can be considered a form of Aristotelian virtue ethics. I highlight those features of Śāntideva's thought that fit the framework of a virtue ethic, and then discuss the implications of those aspects of the tradition that are not well captured by it. In particular, I consider the utilitarian elements in Śāntideva's morality. In my conclusion, I attempt to resolve these apparently conflicting styles of moral reasoning with the idea that there is a shift over the course of a bodhisattva's career from a straightforward virtue ethic to a kind of utilitarian hybrid of virtue ethics. I conclude the thesis with some reflections on the value of comparative ethics and the effort to develop a comprehensive moral theory to describe Buddhist traditions.
ISBN0612786668; 9780612786660
Created date2005.09.23
Modified date2022.03.24

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