Why Buddhist Ethics?Siddhartha Gautama, the man who was much later named The Buddha (an ‘awakened one’), had a lot of time on his hands. He found the answers to a huge pile of human problems that we may never have the time to confront and solve, ourselves.
He understood how the mind works (in multi-layers), how we create our reality from our unreliable five physical senses. And he understood that our beliefs about our world are purely our own, created from our personal filters.This was in the 6th century BC . . . Siddhartha Gautama was most probably the world’s first, and greatest to date, behavioural psychologist.
To find our inner peace, Siddhartha realised that we must dissolve our inner enemies of hatred and aversion, and also our self-made obstructions from the attachments we cling to so passionately. The opposite qualities to these hindrances are equanimity and detachment. In other words, experiencing the present moment purely as it is, with no expectations.
Living an ethical life is to live without personal obsessions and hateful aversions. As these vices, based purely on fear (a reaction of weakness, not strength) can only lead to our exploitation of others. And if we are all out there in the world exploiting each other, we will all suffer.
Buddhist Ethics are based on an appreciation of the power of karma, which is the ’cause and effect’ principle. All results have causes. Therefore, we must always be mindful of the power of our thoughts, which create our words and actions, which will affect other beings—no matter whether the visible results will be immediate and momentary or long-term.
Your astrological birth-chart will reveal where a little more effort in some areas can dissolve the fears that prevent forward movement; and it can reveal the higher virtues you have already achieved (which you may not even be acknowledging, as they are a natural part of you), and which can be put to good use in your important work in the world.
Living ethically also leads to a highly valued reputation, which generates trust: one of the greatest assets in any business. As my very wise mother had drummed into me,
Your reputation is worth more than money in the bank"
— Patricia Redgate (my Capricorn Mum)
Living an ethical life is also to live a spiritually mature life which involves compassion and kindness toward others. Unlike Western definitions (based more in logic), Buddhist Ethics is born of this compassionate attitude, which is the only way we will all survive. We are all in this soup together. And if Ethics is not based on genuine compassion, we are merely paying lip-service to an ideal.
Right now, within this present sixteen-year Pluto-in-Capricorn paradigm, Ethics is a vital term to be including in our vocabulary. Siddhartha didn’t invent the idea of ethics, but compassionate ethical behaviour was the basis of His personal teachings, for forty-five years.
Without a genuine ethical basis for our work, we can never lead lives of Exceptional Purpose.
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