A beautiful, righteous, and wise life is possible if you are happy
Through interplay of the laws of cause and effect, which buddhism call Karma - the laws governing the consequences of our actions - ethics are therefore intimately linked to well-being.
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What are the criteria that qualify an act as good or bad? Buddhist ethics is not just ways of acting, but a way of being. A human being endowed with loving kindness, compassion and wisdom will spontaneously act in an ethical way because he or she is " good at Heart". In Buddhism, an act is essentially unethical if its aim is to cause sufferings and ethical if it is meant to bring genuine well being to others. It is the motivation, altruistic or malicious, that qualifies the action as being good or bad just as a crystal takes the color of the cloth upon which it rests. Ethics also affects our own well being: making others suffer will bring suffering onto ourselves, either immediately or in the long term, while bringing happiness to others is ultimately the best way to guarantee our own.
Through interplay of the laws of cause and effect, which buddhism call Karma - the laws governing the consequences of our actions - ethics are therefore intimately linked to well-being. A Luca and Francisco Cavalli Sforza write: " Ethics arose as the science of happiness. In other to be happy, is it better to take care of others or to think exclusively of one self? " Buddhism ethical precepts are reference points, reminding us to adopt an altruistic and constructive attitude toward others and ourselves. The precepts highlight the consequences of our actions and encourage us to avoid that provoke suffering.
The monotheistic religions are founded on divine commandments. Certain philosophers have based their thinking on concepts that they believe to be absolute and universal - good, evil, responsibility or duty. Others adopt a utilitarian point of view that can be summed up as " the greatest good for the greatest number." Contemporary gatherings of philosophers, scientist, politicians, and others who meet to discuss ethical ways of action try to make the best use of rational thinking available scientific information to solve the dilemmas raised by recent progress in research, such as the manipulation of the environment, genetics, stem cell research, and artificial life support.
In the buddhists approach to ethics as the Dalai Lama explains, " a meaningful ethical system divorced of an individual experience of suffering and happiness is hard to imagine. " the goal of buddhist ethics is to free all beings, including oneself, from momentary and longterm suffering and to develop the ability to help others to do so. In order to accomplish this, we must equably balance our own aspiration for wellbeing with that of others.
Disclaimer: This article was originally published on HappyHo and is republished here with permission.
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