Moonpaths: Ethics and Emptiness

Paperback | November 16, 2015

EditorThe Cowherds

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The Mahayana tradition in Buddhist philosophy is defined by its ethical orientation - the adoption of bodhicitta, the aspiration to attain awakening for the benefit of all sentient beings. And indeed, this tradition is known for its literature on ethics, which reflect the Madhyamaka traditionof philosophy, and emphasizes both the imperative to cultivate an attitude of universal care (karuna) grounded in the realization of emptiness, impermanence, independence, and the absence of any self in persons or other phenomena.This position is morally very attractive, but raises an importantproblem: if all phenomena, including persons and actions, are only conventionally real, can moral injunctions or principles be binding, or does the conventional status of the reality we inhabit condemn us to an ethical relativism or nihilism?In Moonpaths, the Cowherds address an analogous problem in the domain of epistemology and argues that the Madhyamaka tradition has the resources to develop a robust account of truth and knowledge within the context of conventional reality. The essays explore a variety of ways in which to understandimportant Buddhist texts on ethics and Mahayana moral theory so as to make sense of the genuine force of morality.

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The Mahayana tradition in Buddhist philosophy is defined by its ethical orientation - the adoption of bodhicitta, the aspiration to attain awakening for the benefit of all sentient beings. And indeed, this tradition is known for its literature on ethics, which reflect the Madhyamaka traditionof philosophy, and emphasizes both the imper...

The Cowherds are an international collective of scholars in Buddhist Studies. They worked together first on Moonshadows: Conventional Truth in Buddhist Philosophy, an investigation in Madhyamaka epistemology. They are united by a commitment to rigorous philosophical analysis as an approach to understanding Buddhist metaphysics and epis...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 0.79 inPublished:November 16, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190260513

ISBN - 13:9780190260514

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsJay L. Garfield: Introduction: Why Ask About Madhyamaka and Ethics1. Charles Goodman and Sonam Thakchee: The Many Voices of Buddhist Ethics2. Amber Carpenter: Aiming at Happiness, Aiming at Ultimate Truth - In Practice3. Koji Tanaka: The Dismal Slough4. Jay L. Garfield, Stephen Jenkins, and Graham Priest: The Santideva Passage: Bodhicaryavatara VIII:90-1035. Jay L. Garfield: Buddhist Ethics in the Context of Conventional Truth: Path and Transformation6. Stephen Jenkins: Waking into Compassion: the Alambana of Karuna7. Mark Siderits: Does "Buddhist Ethics" Exist?8. Charles Goodman: From Madhyamaka to Consequentialism: A Roadmap9. Sonam Thakchee: The Prasangika's Ethics of Momentary Disintegration (Vinasa Bhava): Causally Effective Karmic Moments10. Guy Newland: How Does Merely Conventional Karma Work?11. Jan Westerhoff: The Connection between Ontology and Ethics in Madhyamaka Thought12. Graham Priest: Compassion and the Net of IndraCharles Goodman and Mark Siderits: Appendix: Bodhicaryavatara-pajika VIII. 90-103 by Prajakaramati, commenting on Santideva's BodhicaryavataraReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"How does one square Buddhist ethics with the circle of the doctrine of emptiness? This is, arguably, the single most daunting challenge for those interested in Mahayana thought. This important and timely book, a collaboration between buddhologists and philosophers, is the most significant andsophisticated response to the problem to date." --Robert Sharf, Professor of Buddhist Studies, University of California, Berkeley