The four noble truths are one of the features that distinguish Buddhist ethics most from Western ethics. The truth of suffering is the problem that Buddhism tries to solve. The universe is strongly affected by suffering and the causes of suffering. The Buddha assumed that suffering is a bad thing. No such thing in Western ethics mentions that suffering is bad. There is no problem to be solved. If you love headaches then don’t bother taking aspirin, if you don’t, then you may consider taking medication. The Buddha argued that suffering doesn’t just happen; it comes as a consequence of actions that you have done that were related to attachment and dislike. In Western ethics actions that you make that are related to attachment and dislike isn’t necessarily bad and leading to suffering, because attachment can lead you to many good things in life, such as attachment to God leads you to be a religious human being. Unlike Buddhist ethics where they believe that even attachment to the Buddha himself is bad. The second noble truth, suffering is caused by craving, shows us how different Buddhist ethical thought is from most Western ethical thought. The three roots of suffering are each thought of as moral corruptions and aren’t seen as different in character. None of them are seen as problematic in most Western ethical theory, and the first two: attachment and aversion is courageous in some contexts, especially Aristotle’s
The third noble truth, suffering can have an end, is rarely seen in Western ethics as a moral matter, unless it is because one has a duty to be clear about things. But that is far from the issue that Buddhist ethics explains. Buddhism is about solving a problem, the problem is suffering, and the three root vices are vices because they cause the problem to happen. The moral theory here is not meant to clarify a set of values but it is meant to solve a problem. The problem is that the world is strongly affected by unwanted suffering;...
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