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Questions tagged [ethics]

Skillful and unskillful thought, speech and action. These questions include but are not limited to questions on the vinaya and precepts.

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33
votes
10answers
14k views

Is killing vermin and insects justifiable?

The first precept goes something similar to I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing. Now, I understand that, for instance, eating meat is allowed, but what about, for instance, ...
33
votes
7answers
9k views

If a buddhist should not kill a mouse living in their home, what justification do they have to rid themselves of a parasite such tapeworms

An extension of this question posted earlier: How not to kill the mouse in my house? Where does one draw the line for which forms of life are ok to destroy, and which ones are not? Is it just a ...
30
votes
10answers
4k views

Does illegal downloading or viewing of copyright material violate the second precept?

As a kid I used to download a lot of softwares and movies using torrents. Even if something illegal is done, it doesn't necessarily mean that it violates a precept. But can this be considered as ...
30
votes
17answers
42k views

Is moderate drinking acceptable in Buddhism?

I have heard a certain interpretation of the 5th precept and I'm curious about it, the person said that for lay people the 5th precept means "not drinking alcohol to the point you get intoxicated or ...
27
votes
14answers
7k views

Should one give to beggars?

I'm very fortunate to live in an affluent part of the world. Even so, it is a common site to see people begging for money in the street. In our town there are posters up asking people not to give to ...
26
votes
10answers
8k views

How not to kill the mouse in my house?

I live with my mother in her house. There have been a mouse for a few months, living in the ceiling of my bedroom, and since a few weeks, it has been a nuisance for it scratches something, day and ...
20
votes
14answers
14k views

Can or should a Buddhist defend themselves physically?

If someone is attacking you to kill you should you defend yourself? Would it be ethical to kill an intruder coming into your home? If not, how did the bushido samauri warriors justify it? We're they ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

Polyamory in Buddhism

What does Buddhism say about polyamory? By polyamory I mean a consensual romantic relationship that involves more than two adult people, which may or may not involve sexual contact. Is it wholesome, ...
14
votes
12answers
3k views

What determines whether actions are good or bad?

In a large number of religions, 'good' and 'bad' are defined by some all-powerful diety who either sends a representative or himself to tell us about what exactly they want us mortals to do. In ...
13
votes
13answers
3k views

Will actors really go to hell?

In the Talaputta Sutra the Buddha says that actors will either be reborn as an animal or go to hell When an actor on the stage, [he thinks that] after death, he is reborn in the company of the ...
13
votes
10answers
2k views

Why not kill animals to hasten their rebirth?

This may be primarily for the Tibetan style practitioners. Also, my question assumes that "rebirth" etc are not metaphors. Since non-human animal existence is lower down in the six realms, why ...
13
votes
10answers
3k views

Is it ethical to kill plant life while gardening?

I live in Denmark and here we have gotten an amazing concept called "City Gardens". Its basically a 3 x 3 meter garden in the middle of the city granting city dwellers acces to grow their own ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

A Good Career for a Buddhist?

I am a business woman and my job is stressful. It is entirely motivated by greed. I want to leave my career but I have a dream to help poor people in my country and also to make my parents proud of me....
12
votes
9answers
2k views

Enlightened Lies - Can lying be the correct action in certain situations?

Can lying be the correct action in certain situations? Bhikkhu Bodhi gave an example of a situation where lying might be appropriate: In World War II some nice people would hide those oppressed by ...
12
votes
4answers
487 views

Found items and the Second Precept

There was a crumbled up dollar bill on the stairs when I was coming out of work today. I looked around and didn't see anyone who might have dropped it. I picked it up and walked away. Pretty soon I ...
11
votes
13answers
1k views

If there is no self, why do anything?

My limited understanding of Buddhism has already helped me in many ways and I am very glad to have found it. With that said, I have always wondered about this title question. If there is no 'I', ...
11
votes
9answers
3k views
+50

How/Why to be moral without believing God or any supernatural entity?

Being believer or dependent on God so far in my life, I'm clueless how exactly can I become independent without turning morally Bankrupt? Being devotee I'm automatically moral & lovingly but When ...
11
votes
6answers
375 views

How to address wrong view

Did the Buddha give any teachings on how to deal with individuals spreading wrong view? If someone is expounding their beliefs in a public forum under the guise of the Buddha's teaching, given the ...
10
votes
9answers
1k views

As per buddism, how is it possible to leave behind my obsession with drugs?

I don't want to consult any doctor about my obsession. I do not even want to speak about it to my family and friends. I wish to get an answer tailor-made for me about my obsession with getting dead-...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the motivation for the list of 5 deadly sins?

I'm particularly interested in if there is any evidence in the sutras (or commentaries or anything old) that explains this peculiar list of transgressions (the Ānantarika-karma): patricide matricide ...
9
votes
4answers
250 views

Hatred arising after a friend tried to make my fiancé cheat on me

Yesterday one of my fiancé's friends had a heart attack at 25 due to alcoholism. She stayed with him all night. When he was discharged she was sleeping at his house because she was too tired to drive ...
9
votes
10answers
4k views

Should a Buddhist advocate the learning of a martial art?

I'm listening to a lecture series about child development and in the first lecture it advocates teaching children martial arts as an aid to enhancing their self-control. I would quite like my daughter ...
9
votes
8answers
1k views

Should I always put another person's interest before mine?

I try to become a kinder person. Sometimes I feel bad ( guilty) after not doing a service for someone, even if it's not in my benefit to do that thing. How can I understand when it's kindness toward ...
9
votes
10answers
834 views

Should Buddhist teachers get rich?

In recent years in "Western" culture, teachings derived from Buddhist practices have been increasingly common. These teachings are often of a secular nature and are about compassion, meditation and ...
9
votes
9answers
2k views

Can bad kammas be eased by apologizing?

For example if I have lied to my parents and can the bad kamma be deleted when I apologize to them? What is the difference between the bad kamma that are committed to parents and ordinary people?
9
votes
4answers
582 views

Is it ok for a Buddhist to participate in a demonstration?

I'm talking about a peaceful demonstration against a corrupt government. The point is: It can be seen as divisive speech because there will be people against it.
9
votes
3answers
3k views

What would Buddhists do to get rid of the feeling of insecurity in relationships?

Sometimes I feel insecure and worry about my current relationship. I try to live with mindfulness each day, but it seems very hard because I still cannot forget my bad past experience. What should I ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there any mention of child adoption in any Buddhist writings and what is the view on child adoption with regard to Buddhism?

Being married, I have of late been coming across the dilemma of whether to have a child or not and if yes, if a biological child or not (which by itself may be another question which I may ask ...
9
votes
1answer
243 views

What do buddhists do in a situation of war where all able-bodied men must become soldiers?

I was reading a chapter called "The Buddhist Stand on the Death Sentence" on p. 390-393 in the book "What Buddhists Believe" by Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda. In here it is written that the law is supreme ...
8
votes
8answers
2k views

Can Buddhism give any justification for military violence?

In Buddhism can there be found any justification (whatever the perceived provocation) for war and military violence?
8
votes
4answers
5k views

What is idle chatter?

In AN 10.176 idle chatter is defined as He speaks in season, speaks what is factual, what is in accordance with the goal, the Dhamma, & the Vinaya. He speaks words worth treasuring, ...
8
votes
7answers
1k views

Does hosting guests at home with meat and alcohol (because they are fond of it) amount to aiding the guests break their Sila?

I'm a strict vegetarian and non-alcoholic. But all my friends are non-vegetarians and alcohol consumers. So, when I host a party at my place, it becomes obligatory of me to host them with alcohol and ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

If the literal truth causes confusion, but a lie portrays the truth via a careful misunderstanding, is it really a lie?

Sometimes during everyday conversation, you can notice based on someone's subtle feedback, that they may be misinterpreting something you are telling them. For the sake of the question, please suspend ...
8
votes
3answers
296 views

Does using a pdf for sale for free violate the 2nd precept?

So I enjoy Dungeons and Dragons a bunch, and have recently begun trying to follow the first 5 precepts of Buddhism. I'm not a practicing Buddhist, but I think they are a good way to live my life. So I ...
8
votes
3answers
260 views

A question on morality

As I understand it, we carry out generous and selfless deeds for the purpose of acquiring positive kamma and/or promoting our spiritual quest. However, this seems like a form of greed, one of the ...
8
votes
4answers
875 views

What is the buddhist way of responding to compliments?

"Hey David you're a genius!" "Hey David you look so fine!" I think blushing and feeling a little nervous isn't really buddhist... But sometimes if you don't react this way you might look as if youre ...
8
votes
3answers
235 views

How do Buddhists justify or explain that monks and/or temples amass and use wealth?

This question applies mainly to Theravada Buddhism, which is the prevailing branch of Buddhism in my country (Sri Lanka). I've observed, many times, how many temples and monks are amassing wealth and ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Doing evil knowingly and unknowingly

In the Milindapanha, Nagasena points out to king Milinda that doing evil knowingly accrues lesser demerit than doing evil unknowingly. Does the Buddha make the same statement anywhere in the Suttas? ...
8
votes
4answers
494 views

Can anything in Buddhist theory explain phenomena like Buck Fever?

A surprising number of people whom I know, who are generally kind and compassionate, are also avid hunters or at least enthusiastically support hunting by others. They feel hunting is a healthy ...
8
votes
1answer
658 views

Role of suicide in the context of Dalai Lama's birthday and inevitable deathday

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama recently celebrated his 80th birthday! I've read that he is very conscious of the fact that after his death, there will be much turmoil, and it's something he thinks ...
8
votes
3answers
654 views

What happens if a monk is called for jury duty?

Is it possible for a monk to be called for jury duty in the U.S.A.? If so, does the Buddhist religion prevent them from taking part int he judicial process, as it involves passing judgment on others? ...
7
votes
10answers
3k views

Plants may be sentient beings like animals so how do you decide what to eat?

There is some evidence that plants are 'sentient beings' and can communicate (e.g. see this article or this wikipedia page). However Buddhists believe eating meat is wrong because of killing a living ...
7
votes
9answers
1k views

Choosing between wrong actions

Recently I found myself having a conversation about having to choose between wrong actions. It begun with the following scenario: While walking through the forest a rabbit passes by your side, and ...
7
votes
6answers
742 views

Why is contributing to the market demand for meat not wrong?

According to this article by Ven. Dhammavuddho Thero: Majjhima Nikaya 55 ..... The Buddha denied this, adding “Jivaka, I say that there are three instances in which meat should not be eaten: ...
7
votes
4answers
737 views

Right speech in social situations

My boss has a tendency to gossip and speak negatively about his clients when they are not present. Sometimes he speaks to me about these people, and I am unsure of how to respond with regard to right ...
7
votes
4answers
342 views

Is assault against the first precept?

The first precept states I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing. So does this mean that punching someone in the nose isn't actually against the first precept and the five precepts ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Is Karma different for accidental killing than intentional killing?

Ever since I have started following Buddhism, I have stopped killing any type of insects but during the course of time I have accidentally killed few insects when I had no intentions of harming them ...
7
votes
4answers
342 views

What can be done about fake monks?

in the city where i live (Toronto, although this is an issue in many cities around the world), there are people dressed as monks soliciting others on the street for donations. In return, various good ...
7
votes
2answers
153 views

Does avoiding a person mean I have not truly forgiven them?

This individual has been belligerent in the past causing a lot of grief to myself. I've felt a great deal of animosity towards this individual in the past but after some time forgave them. The ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What does buddhism say about bodybuilding (and weights training)?

Bodybuilding and powerlifting are making us stronger and more manliness, body can produce more testosterone and we're generally healthier. Yes, there are some bad things about this like anabolics or ...