On the Classification of Śāntideva’s Ethics in the Bodhicaryāvatāra

Philosophy East and West 65 (1):249-275 (2015)
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In this essay several challenges are raised to the project of classifying Śāntideva’s ethical reasoning given in his Bodhicaryāvatāra, or Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva, as a species of ethical theory such as consequentialism or virtue ethics. One set of difficulties highlighted here arises because Śāntideva wrote this text to act as a manual of psychological transformation, and it is therefore often difficult to determine when his statements indicate his own ethical views. Further, even assuming we can identify a set of statements that accurately portray the moral position of Śāntideva, it is argued that these statements underdetermine which foundational normative theory should be ascribed to him.
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