Ethics in Buddhism and Change over Time

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"Ethics" in a particular belief system, is a moral philosophy or set of moral principles and rules of conduct that a group of people believe in and live by. In the Buddhist religion, the fundamental Buddhist teaching is the doctrine of conditionality. Everything is dependent on conditions – nothing has a fixed and final essence and this includes ourselves. Buddhism seeks to minimize any thoughts or actions, that cause humans to suffer and that suffering results from the nature of the reaction to events, rather than necessarily the nature of those events.

Buddhist scriptures provide guidelines to ethical behavior. One's own conscience and understanding of the Dharma ( The religious teaching of Buddha), provides an insight into the working of Karma,( The action that will inevitably give rise to certain results) . Buddhist lay people try to practice the Five Precepts, to live morally, act in a just and spiritual manner, to abstain from: killing living beings, taking what is not given, engaging in sexual misconduct, speaking falsely and taking drink and drugs which confuse the mind.

The following data has been collected from resources obtained from Buddhist philosophy and ethics and from guided conversations with two Thai families, who are practicing Buddhists and uphold and live by the fundamental principles of the Buddhist teaching.

The four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path form the core of Buddhist teachings: that is suffering and sorrow resulting from pain and illness and old age. Death is inevitable and we tend to suffer when we contemplate death. The Buddha argued that a great deal of suffering is caused through the general unsatisfactory nature of the relationships with other human beings. Most human beings suffer, due to the events and cycles in their life, that are inevitable and their reaction to this suffering.

This reaction to human suffering became the Second Noble Truth. Buddha argued that when people desire the world to be...
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