English Section

      Buddhism Today 

Vietnamese Section

   

...... ... .  . .  .  .
Justification of the Moral Life
Prof. David J. Kalupahana

1. Life without Permanence

After denying a permanent and ultimate reality in the world of human experience, and having declared that all becoming (bhava) is impermanent and nonsubstantial the Buddha was not willing to accommodate any conception of permanence even as a rational requirement for the moral life. His conception of life or living beings is embodied in the theory of the five destinies (pa~nca-gati) [D. III. 234; M. I. 73; A. IV. 459]. They are the gods (deva) or the denizens of the various heavens (sagga), the humans (rnanussa‚), the hellish beings (nerayika) inhabiting the various hells (niraya), those of the animal kingdom (tiracchaa.nayoni), and the departed spirits (peta). The first two are generally looked upon as good destinies (sugati), while the last three are described as bad destinies (duggati). These five are not hierarchical, with the heavens at the top and the world of the departed spirits at the bottom. As will be explained later, they revolve with the world of humans at the center.

2. The Heavens

Several heavenly abodes are mentioned: the Caatummahaaraajikas, the Taavati.msas, the Yamas, the Tusitas, the Nimmaa.naratis, the Paranimmitavasavattis, Brahmakaayikas, and those above them (taduttari) [A. III. 314] But none of them are permanent and eternal, even though life in the heavens is considered to be longer when compared with that of the humans. A human being who has led a virtuous life is born in these heavens. Thus, we have Sakka (Vedic, Indra) reborn as chief among the gods as a result of practicing simple virtues while he was a human being (manussabhuuta) [S. I. 228].

Once the Buddha is represented as ridiculing Sakka, for making too excessive a claim regarding morals [A. I. 143-4]. Sakka is not free from birth, decay, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, dejection, and dispair because he has not totally eradicated attachment, aversion, and confusion, whereas the Buddha's disciples, who have attained freedom from these, can claim moral superiority. The relationship between the virtuous life in the human world and the enjoyment of heavenly pleasures is expressed in a subtle way when it is said that the gods of the Mivatimsa become agitated when their flock is reduced as a result of human beings not practicing the virtues [A. I. 142-3].

Reaching the company of Brahmaa (brahmasahavyataa) is no doubt an allusion to the Upanisadic ideal of attaining unity with brahma, the ultimate moral reality from which the three lower social classes are derived. The Buddha's own version of reaching the company of Brahmaa or being born in the world of Brahmaa is therefore based upon the practice of four socially significant virtues, namely, friendliness, compassion, rejoicing (in the happiness of others), and equanimity, but not the fulfilling of duties assigned by caste. The Buddha claimed that in some of his previous lives he considered the attainment of the company of Brahmaa as the moral ideal and that he instructed his disciples on how to achieve it. However, in this life he realized that it is only a halfway house [D. III. 251]. Therefore, he found fault with Saariputta for instructing a brahman named Dhana~njaani, while he lay on his deathbed, regarding the way to the Brahmaa world, when he could have been directed at a higher achievement (uttari.m kara.niiya), which is cessation of birth. Saariputta's response was that the brahmans are intent on the ideal of reaching Brahmaa [M. II. 194]. There indeed are references to the world of Brahmaa becoming empty [D. I. 117; III. 29: su~n~na.m brahmavimaana.m]. The possibility was recognized that the gods could fall from heaven straight into any one of the three lower realms [A. I. 127]. The best possible destiny for the gods is said to be birth in the human realm. A discourse in the Itivuttaka [It. 76-7] describes how the gods who found one of their kind ready to pass away from heaven (devakaayaa cavanadhammo) exhorted him to be reborn in a good destiny (sugati), obtain a good acquisition, and be well established. Questioned by a monk as to what these three are, the Buddha responded by saying that a good destiny for such a person is birth as a human (manussatta), a good acquisition is having the opportunity to place confidence (saddhaa) in the teachings of the Buddha, and to be well established is to have confidence in the teachings.

3. Bad Destinies (Duggati)

The sufferings in hell are graphically described in a passage in the A"nguttara-nikaaya [A. I. 141]. The concept of Yama, who, according to Vedic mythology, was the first departed ancestor of the humans, was adopted by the Buddha as the sovereign who decides what form of punishment should be meted out to evildoers immediately after their deaths. Yama is supposed to send his divine messengers (devaduuta), symbolizing old age, decay, disease, and death, and the human beings who ignored them and continued to commit evil deeds are then subjected to the most severe punishments by the guardians of hell (nirayapaala).

While the excruciating pain and suffering one undergoes in hell are described in the discourses, no comparable descriptions are found of the sufferings of animals and the departed spirits. It is only in a later text, the Petavatthu, a text that received canonical status sometime before the canon came to be closed, that we find the accounts of the sufferings of the departed spirits. Several reasons may be adduced for this. First, the sufferings of animals are too obvious. Unlike the bells or the world of the departed spirits, the animal world is physically available for the humans to perceive. Second, the world of the departed spirits (peta), traceable to the pre-Buddhist concept of the departed ancestors, is looked upon with more sympathy than that of those who suffer in the bells. On the one hand, they are one's own relatives, and on the other, the evils committed by them are mostly in the form of being miserly, selfish, and greedy. They did not commit evil deeds comparable to those of the denizens of hell. Thus, the departed spirits become not only objects of human sympathy, but also subjects of human generosity, the non-practice of which brought about their unfortunate destiny. The Petavatthu emphasizes the extent to which the departed spirits depend upon their living relatives to free them from their sufferings. That this was a strong incentive for the moral life is exemplified by its prevalence in places like China and japan even before the introduction of Buddhism. This belief gave rise to various rituals, such as offering gifts (dakkhi.naa) to the monks and nuns and transferring the merit thereof to the departed spirits [see Kalupahana (ed.) Buddhist Thought and Ritual, New York: Paragon House, 1991, pp. 151-8]. Here again, by recognizing the fact that the departed ancestors can benefit by the generosity of living relatives and return to life as humans, the Buddha was making human life the center of the universe.

The question as to whether heavens, hells, or the world of departed spirits are real in the sense that humans and animals are real is one that would generally be raised by the skeptical materialist thinker, as was done during the Buddha's day. For the psychologist Buddha, these places are not unreal; they are real in the sense of depicting the most exotic pleasures and the most excruciating pain one can suffer even as humans [S. IV. 206]. It is consistent with the idea that the Buddha continued to emphasize-that within this fathom-long body associated with consciousness and mind is the world, its arising, its cessation, and the path leading to its cessation [M. I. 82; S. I. 62; A. II. 48; Iv. 429].

It seems that the Buddha focused his attention on life without hellish sufferings and heavenly frustrations, a middle path that was discussed earlier. It is evident that, according to the Buddha, the virtues and morals differ in terms of their scope. The virtues represent the beginning of the moral life, which is intended to bring about social harmony, while the morals are more comprehensive in that they are concerned with the ultimate health, both physical and mental, and the welfare of oneself and others. Thus, the fruits of the virtuous life and the moral life need not be identical. It was therefore possible for the Buddha to offer heavenly pleasures as the reward for virtues, even though in the larger or more exalted context of morals those pleasures themselves serve as obstructing conditions (antaraayikaa dhammaa) [M. I. 130]. The stories about heavens in the early discourses illustrate precisely this fact.

In presenting the five destinies in the above manner, and recognizing no other destiny, the Buddha was working within the context of human life. The four destinies surrounding human life are satellites that facilitate moral discourse. Moral progress does not stretch into an unchartered domain; it is within this human life and experience. Moral perfection is part of human life with the other four destinies benefitting from such perfection. Furthermore, the Buddha's doctrines of karma and rebirth are embodied in this description. Therefore, it may be appropriate to examine them in some detail so that some of the misunderstandings can be cleared before they are presented as justifications for the moral life.

4. Karma

Among the various reasons we become involved in discussions of human action, there seem to be two very important ones. First, there is an interest in the consequences of action, mostly because we like to know whether an action will lead to happiness or suffering. Second, there is a need to determine who or what is responsible for the action, and this involves us in the examination of sources or motives of action. These two issues are therefore present in various forms in the theories of action. Thus, in the Buddhist context, the term karma, while signifying an individual action, is also used to refer to the doctrine of karma involving a relation between action and consequence.

The Buddha's discourses refer to four types of theories presented by his predecessors and contemporaries. First, an action is performed by oneself and, as such, the consequences, whether good or bad, are also reaped solely by oneself. This is the early Brahmanical theory, with its aatma-metaphysic (i.e., the one that prevailed before the appearance of the idea in the Bhagavadgiitaa that in the final analysis a human is only an instrument [nimitta] of God). Second is the view that one person acts and another experiences the consequences. This seems like the theory presented by the biological determinists, who denied the efficacy of human action but maintained that all beings experience happiness and suffering as a result of biological evolution, a process that is external to the beings. Third is a combination of the first two views, which is the theory adopted by the Jainas. It combined the metaphysics of the first two and, as a result, turned out to be the most deterministic theory of karma. Fourth is a theory that rejected the previous theories and argued that everything in the world, including happiness and suffering, is accidental (adhiccasamuppanna) [S. II. 19-20].

None of these theories was compatible with what the Buddha realized to be the nature of existence, or becoming. In his own formulation of the theory of action he had to accommodate many issues that were compatible with his insight and understanding. For example, there could not be absolute certainty regarding the connection between action and consequence, but that did not mean they are totally unrelated. The relationship had to be conditional because no two situations in which an action is performed are identical. The concept of a self was important, but such a self could not be eternal and immutable. External factors would play a role, but even they are not the sole determinants.

The most philosophical account of the doctrine of kan-na in Buddhism is found in the Greater Discourse on the Analysis of Action (Mahakamnmavibha"nga-Sutta) [S. III. 207-15]. Here the Buddha refers to four kinds of persons:

a. One who has performed evil actions and is reborn in an evil state, in hell

b. One who has performed evil actions and is reborn in a good state, in heaven

c. One who has performed good actions and is reborn in a good state, in heaven

d. One who has performed good actions and is reborn in an evil state, in hell [S. III. 209-10].

At first glance, this admission of the possibility of examples of two and four may appear to invalidate the doctrine of karma. However, the Buddha proceeds to explain that ascetics and brahmans who developed higher forms of knowledge when perceiving examples one and three asserted deterministic theories about karma by universalizing a relation between action and consequence. Similarly, by universalizing the absence of a relation between action and consequence in examples two and four, some arrived at theories of indeterminism [S. III. 212]. Buddha's criticism here is twofold. First, after observing examples one and three or two and four, it is inappropriate to reach the conclusion that this is the case with regard to all (sabba). A dogmatic adherence to any one set of observations, saying, "This alone is true; everything else is false" (idam eva sacca.m, mogha.m a~n~na.m) is not epistemologically justified. Second, if someone has performed evil actions here and now (idha) and is reborn in heaven, there is no need to immediately come to the conclusion that the doctrine of karma is invalid. For it is possible that the person had performed good actions in the past or, at the moment of death in this life, cultivated right views. In other words, to arrive at a deterministic theory that an evildoer is destined to be reborn in hell, it is necessary for us to have an absolutely perfect record of that person's behavior from the time of birth, if not before birth, until the moment of death. Such retrieval of information is not available even to the higher forms of knowledge such as clairvoyance, except omniscience, which the Buddha disclaimed. It is also possible that the consequences of evil actions may be reaped here in this life itself (di.t.the va dhamme) without having to wait for a future life. This latter qualification was of great significance, for it allows room for a person who has done evil in the past to attain enlightenment and freedom in this very life. The story of A"ngulimaala, the murderer, is the best illustration of this idea [S. II. 97-105]. A discourse included in the A"nguttara-nikaaya [A. I. 249] represents a further commentary on this issue. Here, the Buddha says that if a person were to maintain that lust as a person does a deed, so does that person experience its consequences,- then the living of the noble life would be rendered meaningless, for there would be no opportunity for the complete elimination of suffering (i.e., the attainment of nibbanaa). But if one accepts the theory that "just as this person does a deed whose consequences would be determined in a certain way [lit., "a deed whose consequences is to be experienced in a certain way"], so does that person experience its consequences,- then the noble life will be meaningful and there will be an opportunity for the complete elimination of suffering. The distinction drawn here is as follows: In the first case, there is complete determinism between action and consequence; in the second, the recognition of the circumstances in which the action is committed, and so on, makes the effect conditional upon the circumstances. This is illustrated by an apt metaphor. If a person threw a grain of salt into a small cup of water, the water in that cup would become salty and undrinkable because of that salt. If a person were to throw a similar grain of salt into the river Ganges, because of the great mass of water therein, the water would not become salty and undrinkable. Similarly, some trifling evil action of a person may lead him to hell. But a similar trifling evil action committed by another person may bring consequences experienced in this very life-consequences, indeed, that may be barely noticeable. Here we find two people performing similar actions but reaping consequences in different ways. Thus, the same discourse states

A certain person has not properly cultivated his body, behavior, thought and intelligence, is inferior and insignificant and his life is short and miserable; of such a person ... even a trifling evil action done leads him to hell. In the case of a person who has proper culture of the body, behavior, thought and intelligence, who is superior and not insignificant, and who is endowed with long life, the consequences of a similar evil action are to be experienced in this very life, and sometimes may not appear at all.

Thus, the consequence of an action is not determined solely by the action itself, but also by many other factors, such as the nature of the person who is responsible for the action and the circumstances under which it is done. This again is an application of the Buddha's conception of dependent arising, or conditionality, to the explanation of human action.

5. Rebirth, or the Survival of the Human Personality

The Buddhist doctrine of rebirth, or the survival of the human personality, has generated much controversy among modern scholars. For the Buddhist scholar interested in interpreting the doctrine in the light of what he or she believes to be critical modern philosophy, the idea of rebirth is no more than an ancient Indian philosophical relic either let alone by the Buddha because it was supposed to do no harm or brought into the Buddhist fold by his later disciples. It was not the least compatible with the Buddha's conception of no-self or nonsubstantiality. For the traditional Buddhist scholar rebirth is an absolutely inevitable occurrence until a person attains enlightenment and freedom.

There are several important questions that need to be answered before leaping to any such conclusions. To what extent is the doctrine justified by the Buddha's epistemological assertions? How compatible is it with his conceptions of nonsubstantiality and dependent arising? What is it that connects a human life of the past with that of the present, or, to use a Buddhist technical term, what connects the two processes of becoming? What is the relevance of the doctrine to social and moral philosophy? We will try to answer these questions in that order.

We have already referred to the Buddha's recognition of certain forms of higher knowledge that are the products of deep meditative contemplations, especially retrocognition and clairvoyance. According to the discourses, retrocognition, which provides information about ones own survival, is simply a sharpened memory of certain events, situations, or associations of the past. The Buddha himself claimed that he remembered some of his past lives, and three specific ones are described in great detail [D. I. 196, 215; M. II. 82]. Such memories have been reported even by those who did not practice yoga, especially by children during the early stages of their lives before their attention become focused on the present [see Ian Stevenson, Cases of Reincarnation Type. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983]. Clairvoyance, or the knowledge of the survival of others, does not involve memory. Hence, it has to deal with the moment of its occurrence. The description of this knowledge is therefore always given in the present tense. For example, it is said that the clairvoyant "sees beings ceasing and arising" (satte passati cavanaane uppayamaane) [D. I. 82-3]. It is compared to the perception of someone who, standing in a high-rise, sees people leaving one house and entering another. Occasions on which the Buddha appeared at the scenes of the death of two of his disciples, Godhika [S. I. 120-2] and Vakkhali [S. III. 119] are reported, and on both occasions he observed that they passed away without being reborn. Those who are brought up in the traditions that accept only the "one-life-after-death" theory are generally not inquisitive about where their loved ones would be after death. That one life is common to all. However, in the traditions that recognize rebirth, people are very much interested in finding out how their kith and kin fare after death. When the Buddha visited a place called Naadikaa, Aananda, probably goaded by the people of Naadikaa, questioned the Buddha about the fate of the Naadikans who had died. The Buddha's response was that what happens to a person depends upon that person's character. The Buddha then presented them with what he called the -mirror of morals (dhammadaasa) so that a person, without having to harass the Buddha with such questions, could look at oneself and predict about oneself (attanaa va attaana.m vyaakareyya) where one would go after death [D. II. 91-4].

If there were an easy solution to the problem of rebirth, it would be accepting a permanent and eternal self, as did the Brahmanical tradition. The Buddha rejected that solution. His alternative explanation of rebirth is couched in the language of dependent arising, hence his statement that at least three conditions have to be fulfilled for a human to come into existence: the coitus of the parents, the mother being in the proper season, and the presence of a gandhabba [M. I. 266]. The first two conditions are not controversial, while the third is.

Gandhabba is a metaphorical description of consciousness (vi~n~naa.na) at the moment of death craving for survival (bhavata.nhaa), hence the Buddha's statement that if consciousness were not to enter the mother's womb, the psychophysical personality or the living organism formed therein would not reach maturity [D. II. 62-3]. The idea that the human mind, or consciousness, at the time of its first flickerings even before actual birth is a tabula rasa is not accepted by the Buddha. The reason is that the consciousness and the psychophysical personality (naamaruupa) formed in the mother's womb are interdependent [ibid]. Apart from the findings of the most advanced research in neuroscience, which seem to support the idea that consciousness at this stage is not a tabula rasa, there are influential philosophers of the modern world who would admit that there is a possibility that one may pick up the memory of a dead person and maintain some continuity in the personality [see A.J. Ayer, Concept of a Person and Other Essays, London: Macmillan, 1963, p. 127].

It is generally believed that rebirth means an uninterrupted continuity of the entire personality from the previous life. If that were to happen, the human community would be faced with a rather incredible and awkward situation where human beings would be returning life after life to claim the properties they left behind in their previous lives. Preservation of the entire personality is what everyone dreams of' whether they believe in rebirth or in one life after death. What is surprising is that both philosophers and non-philosophers are willing to accept memory as an important criterion for personal identity, even though some of the more sophisticated empiricists would insist upon the physical body as the only criterion [see P.F. Strawson, Individuals, New York: Anchor Books, 1963]. It is difficult to see how a physical personality that has not remained unchanged can be the sole criterion for absolute identity. But what about memory? Does a memory that a person may have, say, of an event or of himself or herself provide justification for the belief in a permanent identity? The memory is not independent of the event or the person of that particular time, and both these would have changed considerably. The recognition of a memory trait independent of everything else associated with it gives the false impression of an unchanging identity. The memories themselves, along with the psychophysical frame within which they occur, are in a state of flux, and that flux is, to use the Buddha's language, "dependently arised' (pa.ticcasamuppanna) [M. I. 285]. What may remain unchanged from the time a birth certificate is written until the death certificate is compiled is the -accidental word- (yad.rcchaa'sabda; i.e., the proper name, according to Dignaaga) with which that frame came to be identified.

For the Buddha it may be one single memory associated with the context, a minute element out of a lifetime of experience, that can continue.

That memory can then mold the new personality. Even a later disciple, the famous Naagaarjuna, maintained that out of all the actions a person may perform during a lifetime, only one gets transferred at the time of rebirth [Mulaamadhyamakakaarikaa, xvii. 17]. However, such a transfer is dependent upon the availability of the other conditions mentioned earlier. There is no guarantee that all these conditions will be met. Thus, the early discourses do not maintain that every person who dies is sure to be reborn. All that is asserted is that past cases of survival have been observed and it may occur in the future as well. This is how the theory of survival is accommodated under the theory of conditionality.

The Buddha was not unaware that unless a person develops the higher forms of knowledge such as retrocognition or clairvoyance, which enable a person to remember incidents of the past and perceive the survival of other beings, it would not be easy to convince oneself of the validity of the doctrines of karma and rebirth. Hence, they could not be used as arguments for convincing the ordinary people of the need to follow a moral life. In the absence of a strong imperative based upon either a moral Absolute or the belief in a Supreme Being or power whose omnipotence could induce the people to a moral life, in the absence of commandments of any sort but only advice to refrain from evil and to cultivate the good life, it would not be easy to encourage and urge ordinary people to adopt a moral life. The Buddha's strategy was to utilize the doctrines of karma and rebirth as a wager. This is the content of his dialogue with the villagers of Saala recorded in the Discourse on the Unquestionable (Apa.n.naka-sutta) [M. I. 400-13].

The Buddha, attended by a large retinue of monks, was once visiting the country of the Kosalans and arrived at a brahman village called Saala. The brahman householders heard about the arrival of the Buddha in their village. Having come to know of his reputation as an enlightened one and the nature of his teachings, they visited him and greeted him respectfully. The Buddha inquired of them as to whether they had some satisfactory teacher in whom they had reasonable confidence (aakaaravatii saddhaa). When they responded in the negative, the Buddha presented them with what can be called a "wager" on the moral life.

First he referred to three of the amoralist theories presented by the philosophers of the ascetic tradition. These, in order, are the views attributed to Ajita Kesakambali, Puura.na Kassapa, and Makkhali Gosaala. The ideas of these philosophers were selected for discussion not only because they denied the validity of the moral life, but also because they rejected the efficacy of human effort as well as the conceptions of karma and survival. The recognition of the efficacy of human effort was of paramount importance to the Buddha.

The Buddha presented them with the views of the amoralists mentioned above as well as views held by other ascetics and brahmans that were directly opposed to them. For example, he states the views attributed to Ajita:

There are, householders, some ascetics and brahmans who speak thus and who view thus: "There is no gift, there is no offering, there is no sacrifice, there is no fruit or ripening of action well done or AI done, this world does not exist, a world beyond does not exist, there is no mother, there is no father, there are no beings of spontaneous birth, in this world there are no ascetics and brahmans, well-gone, well-behaved and who know this world and the world beyond through their own higher knowledge and realization.

The Buddha then presented the view of other ascetics and brahmans who asserted everything that is negated in the above passage. Having done so, he questioned the people of Saala as to why the former group of ascetics and brahmans performed evil actions of body, speech, and mind after renouncing good and wholesome actions. Their response was that these ascetics and brahmans did not know the evil effects of evil actions and the good effects of good actions. The response of the people of SdIa can be taken as a natural one. They did not have a teacher who could teach them metaphysics. Yet they certainly were aware of some of the basic morals recognized in an ordinary society. However, they lacked any strong conviction about such morals or any justification for adopting them, hence the Buddha's decision to throw a wager, a proposition that is not questionable (apa.n.naka). Referring to a person who does evil and does not believe in retribution in an afterlife, the Buddha said:

Herein, householders, an intelligent person reflects thus: "If there is no world beyond, this worthy individual, at the break up of the body, after death will be safe. However, if there were to be a world beyond, this worthy individual, at the break up of the body, after death, will be reborn in purgatory, evil bourn, a fallen state, hell. Let it be that there is no world beyond, let the words of these ascetics and brahmans be true, yet this person in this very life will earn the contempt of the intelligent ones: 'This person is of bad virtues, of confused views, is nihilistic.' However, if there were to be a world beyond, then this person will face calamity in both ways: the contempt of the intelligent ones in this life and, after death, rebirth in purgatory, evil bourn, fallen state, hell. Thus, this unquestionable idea has been imperfectly grasped by him, remains partially touched and thereby looses the wholesome position." [M. I. 403].

It is interesting to note that this wager is a little different from that of Blaise Pascal, which he formulated centuries later. The reason is that Pascal's wager emphasized what happens to the non-believer after death if God were to exist. The Buddha's argument focused not only on the evil consequences an evil person would reap if there were to be an afterlife, but also on what he or she would experience in this life (di.t.the va dhamme) as well, namely, the condemnation by the intelligent ones. Thus, the immoral one faces calamity in two ways (ubhayattha kaliggaho). It may be that the addition of a second consequence was needed because, unlike the concept of God, which is absolute, the Buddha's theory of rebirth, or survival, is conditional. His theory of survival did not guarantee that everyone who dies is reborn. Thus, while recognizing rebirth as a possibility, he was not willing to wager on that alone.

The doctrine of karma and rebirth as outlined above will not satisfy the moral skeptic. Arguably, these conceptions as propounded by the Buddha are too weak to encourage the adoption of the moral life. Realizing this, the Buddha was ready with another argument. Working through the theory of five destinies, the Buddha brought human life to the center of the stage. Placing human life in that context, the Buddha was now able to argue for its rarity. He emphasized this idea throughout the discourses, but one discourse stands out [M. III. 169; S. V. 455].

Obtaining birth as a human is rare and more difficult than the success on the part of a sea turtle, blind in one eye, to get its head through the hole of a single-hole yoke floating back and forth on the surface of the ocean, in order to get a glimpse of the open sky. Human life, in spite of its impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and nonsubstantiality, is a precious opportunity not to be wasted away: "Hard is the gain of human [life]; hard is the life of mortals; hard is the hearing of the good teaching and hard is the arising of enlightened ones." [Dhp. 182].

The Buddha's advice is to not let a moment pass by without achieving what can be achieved. Having gained such an opportunity, and being possessed of intelligence and abilities that surpass even those of the gods, it would be the highest folly not to strive for the happiness and - welfare of' oneself and others.


Sincere thanks to Phramaha Somnuek Sakscree for retyping this article.

 


Updated: 3-5-2000

Return to "Buddhist Ethico-Psychology"

Top of Page