Studies of Religion Buddhism
The impact of Buddhist ethical teachings has been extremely effective throughout the world of adherents. Buddhism exists as living religious tradition and continues to thrive throughout the world, except paradoxically in India, the land of its beginnings (Living a Religion Third Edition). This can be attributed to Buddhist ethical teachings easily adapting itself to cultural and social conditions around the world. However, flaws exist within society which tampers on attaining Nirvana.
Through interpreting Buddhism’s Five Precepts, Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, we can further explore the impact of Buddhist teachings on its adherents and understand Sutta Nipata 705 quote Comparing oneself to others in such terms as “Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I,” he should neither kill nor cause others to kill. Sutta Nipata 705 Sutta Nipata 705 quote refers to the equality of all people as it states “Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I,” This equality therefore assess the harming of other people and self-harming as it states “he should neither kill”.
Buddhists must treat other people the same as how they would treat themselves. Therefore, they must not harm others or themselves. Buddhist ethical teachings have a strong and positive impact on the expression of Buddhism as a living religious tradition. This is because it provides solutions to different types of ethical issues such as sexual issues. However, this equality as described by Sutta Nipata can be distraught as we live in an imperfect world. The Four Noble Truths are significant to the ethical teachings of Buddhism, which is the Dharma.
They are a guide for Buddhists to attain Nirvana. These Noble Truths build the structure of sexual ethics for the adherents of Buddhism. These Noble Truths can be used to judge sexual issues like rape, premarital sex, and extramarital sex. For example, sexual issues and practices are a desire and are described in the second Noble Truth as “the cause of suffering is from desires”. These issues and desires stem from the contemporary society in which adherents live in as the media powerfully influences their everyday lives.
For example, everyday advertisements are constantly bombarding adherents with sexual images to attract a range of products and services which make sexual immorality a means of bettering oneself through material goods/ services. This marketing strategy makes it extremely difficult for Buddhists to follow their ethical teachings and fully express Buddhism as a living religious tradition. With Buddhist ethical teachings aiming to reduce suffering from desire, society can be seen as creating suffering.
Society can be described as the “killer” of sexual morality and as Sutta Nipata 705 quotes “he should neither kill nor cause others to kill”, he indirectly describes the media as the “killer” of sexual ethics. The fourth Noble Truth which is, “the way to overcome suffering is through eightfold path” also relates to ethical teachings and provides morals of a Buddhist adherent since it aims to grow self-understanding and control. The Eightfold Noble Path is the ‘middle way’ of life for Buddhists. The performance of sexual activity is outside the middle way.
The eightfold path judges different sexual issues depending on the effect of the issue. Extramarital sex is judged by the third step “speech” since it allows the senses to take control over mind and body and a destruction of honesty. This destruction can further cause marriage and family breakdowns and cause psychological and emotional harm to the children and partners involved. Rape is judged by the fourth step “action” since this act effects other people. Rape breaks the first Precept (to refrain from destroying living creatures) since these sexual activities harm another person physically and emotionally.
Rape also breaks the second Precept (to refrain from taking that which is not given) since this sexual activity performed by a person steals the respect and dignity of another person. For example, rape causes destruction to the victim involved as they suffer traumatically through their emotional and physical state. The perpetrator is further sanctioned with imprisonment by the Criminal Justice System to keep society safe from harm. An element of suffering is evident within prison for the perpetrator but mainly the victim.
This significance is related to Sutta Nipata 705 since the equality towards the adherents has the same meaning to “Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I,” and the elimination of the destruction towards others has the meaning to he should neither kill nor cause others to kill. Sexual ethics provides equality in Buddhist adherents since it guides them to a path of no destruction of other people including themselves. The Five Precepts form the foundations of the morals of a Buddhist. Each Precept judges different types of ethical issues.
These Precepts have a theme of not harming one another and self-harming which embeds with Sutta Nipata 705 quote since it relates to the theme of the Precepts. They apply to ethical issues, for example, the 5th Precept (to refrain from misuse of the mind or body through intoxicants) assesses the use of drugs and alcohol and provides the consequences of the use. These Precepts also guide sexual ethics which provide judgments on improper sexual activity. Sexual ethical issues like rape, premarital sex, and extramarital sex, all break the third Precept (to refrain from sensual misconduct).
The Third Precept prevents improper decision making and allows the mind to take control over mind and body. As Sutta Nipata 705 quote refers to “kill” which means harming, it supports the Precepts on judging the sexual issues, in this case, these issues “kill” or harms other people. When relating this to premarital sex, refraining from sensual misconduct prevents Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s), relationship breakdowns, abortions, unwanted pregnancies, all in which damage or “kill” others/ themselves.
The observance of Buddhist ethical teachings can prevent this harm and portrays the manifestation of Buddhism as a living religious tradition. Buddhist ethical teachings can have a positive impact on the expression of Buddhism as a living religious tradition. This is due to deep and meaningful ethics and judgements which many foreigners find to be positive to their everyday lives. As Sutta Nipata 705 quotes “Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I”, an element of equality is evident which makes the expression of Buddhism appealing.