Demandingness, Well-Being and the Bodhisattva Path

Sophia 54 (2):201-216 (2015)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
This paper reconstructs an Indian Buddhist response to the overdemandingness objection, the claim that a moral theory asks too much of its adherents. In the first section, I explain the objection and argue that some Mahāyāna Buddhists, including Śāntideva, face it. In the second section, I survey some possible ways of responding to the objection as a way of situating the Buddhist response alongside contemporary work. In the final section, I draw upon writing by Vasubandhu and Śāntideva in reconstructing a Mahāyāna response to the objection. An essential component of this response is the psychological transformation that the bodhisattva achieves as a result of realizing the nonexistence of the self. This allows him to radically identify his well-being with the well-being of others, thereby lessening the tension between self and others upon which the overdemandingness objection usually depends. Emphasizing the attention Mahāyāna authors pay to lessening moral demandingness in this way increases our appreciation of the philosophical sophistication of their moral thought and highlights an important strategy for responding to the overdemandingness objection that has been underdeveloped in contemporary work
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-10-31
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Practical Ethics.Singer, Peter

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
187 ( #17,337 of 42,235 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
27 ( #22,664 of 42,235 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.