Buddhist ethics test

What does my religion tell me is right or wrong in this situation?

How to identify an ethical issue using the Buddhist Test

How can I introduce the Buddhist Ethics tests into a business or social conversation?
How could the Buddha's insights be applied in this situation?
Why are Buddhist Ethics tests a valid way to decide right and wrong?
The Buddha received this name of "the Enlightened One" from his followers who recognized his teachings as insights into the true nature of the world.  These teachings can guide others to realize the right and wrong way to act.
How can I apply the Buddhist Ethics tests to decide if it's ethical to pad my expense report?

How to use the Buddhist Test

1.  Will the decision I am planning to make and the action I am planning to take cause suffering to others? 
The Buddha teaches that our wrongful view of possessing a separateness, a  differentiated identity or ego, removed from all other things and  beings, is what creates our craving and causes our suffering.  Knowing  how painful our own suffering is, we should engage in mindful effort to  not act in ways that cause suffering to others.

2.  Will the decision I am planning to make and the action I am planning to take express compassion toward other beings?
The entirety of the Eightfold Path is intended to guide us toward a realization of our connection to others and to cultivate in us a compassion for the pain others experience, for in Buddhist thought, we are all not only our brother’s keeper, but in actuality, in the truth found beyond the veil of ego’s illusion, we are all indeed our brother! Therefore, when applying right mindfulness and concentration and realizing, as the Buddha said, that if we “cut a blade of grass, the universe trembles,” we can choose with clarity to act in ways that constitute right action, that show compassion for others, knowing full well that we always hope others will show compassion to us as well.

3.  Will the decision I am planning to make and the action I am planning to take constitute right livelihood?
Right livelihood is the Fifth Path on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path.  This is a very important guidepost because in today’s world we frequently have ethical decisions to make within a business or work context. The Buddha included this Path because he felt it was very important to not earn our “livelihood” in ways that cause pain, suffering, inconvenience, or injustice to others.

4.  Will the decision I am planning to make and the action I am planning to take cultivate humility or narcissism (ego)?
In Buddhism, one is encouraged to think and act in ways that are  conducive to a more humble attitude or perception.  Because Buddhism is  committed to the belief that our egos are an illusion, leading us to  wrongful conduct (acts of avarice, lust, violence, deceit, etc.), it is  best that we behave in ways that carry us toward a more modest and  humble perception of the world and our role in it, so that we will  behave more charitably toward others, bringing more peace, rather than  rancor, to the world.  To exemplify this point, think of any  over-the-top entertainer whose destructive egotism promotes suffering in  the world, and then think of a Mother Teresa, whose humility led to  acts of great charity, compassion, and peacefulness, each of which  mitigate suffering in the world.

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How to identify an ethical issue using the Buddhist Ethic's Test

How can I introduce the Buddhist Ethics tests into a business or social conversation?
How could the Buddha's insights be applied in this situation?
Why are Buddhist Ethics tests a valid way to decide right and wrong?


The Buddha received this name of "the Enlightened One" from his followers who recognized his teachings as insights into the true nature of the world.  These teachings can guide others to realize the right and wrong way to act.


How can I apply the Buddhist Ethics tests to decide if it's ethical to pad my expense report?

Why is Buddhist Ethics a valid way to decide right and wrong?

The guidance I receive from my religion is justified by my belief that the universe I live in is the way the Buddha describes it.  Therefore, if I follow his guidance, I will be able to do what is right and thereby maintain my relationship with the universe and I will know how best to live together with others.

Though they have many elements in common, ethics may differ across different traditions within Buddhism.

How to Apply the Buddhist Ethic's Test

1.  Will the decision I am planning to make and the action I am planning to take cause suffering to others? 


The Buddha teaches that our wrongful view of possessing a separateness, a  differentiated identity or ego, removed from all other things and  beings, is what creates our craving and causes our suffering.  Knowing  how painful our own suffering is, we should engage in mindful effort to  not act in ways that cause suffering to others.

2.  Will the decision I am planning to make and the action I am planning to take express compassion toward other beings?


The entirety of the Eightfold Path is intended to guide us toward a realization of our connection to others and to cultivate in us a compassion for the pain others experience, for in Buddhist thought, we are all not only our brother’s keeper, but in actuality, in the truth found beyond the veil of ego’s illusion, we are all indeed our brother! Therefore, when applying right mindfulness and concentration and realizing, as the Buddha said, that if we “cut a blade of grass, the universe trembles,” we can choose with clarity to act in ways that constitute right action, that show compassion for others, knowing full well that we always hope others will show compassion to us as well.

3.  Will the decision I am planning to make and the action I am planning to take constitute right livelihood?


Right livelihood is the Fifth Path on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path.  This is a very important guidepost because in today’s world we frequently have ethical decisions to make within a business or work context. The Buddha included this Path because he felt it was very important to not earn our “livelihood” in ways that cause pain, suffering, inconvenience, or injustice to others.

4.  Will the decision I am planning to make and the action I am planning to take cultivate humility or narcissism (ego)?


In Buddhism, one is encouraged to think and act in ways that are  conducive to a more humble attitude or perception.  Because Buddhism is  committed to the belief that our egos are an illusion, leading us to  wrongful conduct (acts of avarice, lust, violence, deceit, etc.), it is  best that we behave in ways that carry us toward a more modest and  humble perception of the world and our role in it, so that we will  behave more charitably toward others, bringing more peace, rather than  rancor, to the world.  To exemplify this point, think of any  over-the-top entertainer whose destructive egotism promotes suffering in  the world, and then think of a Mother Teresa, whose humility led to  acts of great charity, compassion, and peacefulness, each of which  mitigate suffering in the world.

Click the following links for case examples

 

For a page of quick links to move between ethical theories and steps to operationalize these theories, return to the EthicsOps Theory + Practice page.

 

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