The Moral Life...

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Bullypulpit, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. Bullypulpit

    Bullypulpit Senior Member

    Jan 7, 2004
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    Columbus, OH
    There seems to be much concern here with a "moral life". Since most who post here seem to be adherents of a deontological ethic, let us first look at the concept of "Duty".

    Duty, as it is commonly understood, requires on to act in accordance with moral, legal or spiritual authority regardless of the consequences . Within this context, these moral, legal and spiritual authorites are regarded as being absolute in nature. The edicts of these absolute authorites are then become duties.

    But if not by duty, then what agency or authority serves as the foundation for a moral life? Our actions have consequences...They bear fruit in this life and if one so believes, the next as well. It is this consequentiality which should guide our actions. This cosequentiality is illustrated in the following discourse by the Buddha to his son, Rahula...

    <blockquote>What think you of this, Rahula? Waht is the purpose of a mirror?

    Its purpose is reflection, reverend sir.

    Even so Rahula, an action of the body (speech/mind) is only to be done after repeated reflection.

    If you, Rahula, desire to perform an action, you should reflect on that action thus: "That action I might desire to perform is an action which might lead to the harm of myself, and might lead to the harm of others and might lead to the harm of both, this action is unskilled, its yield is anguish." - An action like this, Rahula is certainly not to be performed by you. But if you, Rahula, while reflectingthus should find "That action which I desire to performwould lead neither to the harm of myself, nor to the harm of others, nor to the harm of both; that action is skilled, its yield is happy." - An action like this, Rahula, may be performed by you</blockquote>

    Here we have a clear indication that the consequences of our actions must, to the best of our knowledge, be considered. And it is this consequentiality that forms the basis of a moral life in this world, or any other world one would choose to believe in.

    There are, however, who fail to recognize that their actions bear fruit in this life or any other. For them, the Buddha offered a wager similar to that which Blaise Pascal offered centuries later. Similar, but with a significant difference. That differenc being the emphasis on the consequences of actions in this life in addtition to thase that would be experience in some afterlife.

    The Buddha taught that human life, in spite of its impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and non-substantiality, presents a rare and precious oportunity. Given this, it would be folly not to do what one could to to work for the benefit of oneself and others. And it is this, rather than duty, which provides the foundation of and justification for a moral life. Our actions and their consequences are directly connected to this life, in this world.

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