I recall listening to this talk back in 2007, when studying the MN. To me, the particularly interesting point in this talk is that nowhere in the Suttas are there examples of difficult decisions about right or wrong. All the examples are very black and white.
What to make of this? Is pontificating about complex moral choices a waste of time in a Dhammic context?
Good observation. Didn't Ven. Bodhi contextualize his comments with the very point that nowhere in the Suttas are there examples of difficult decisions.
I thought that's what I just said...
I took it to mean he was implying a systematic moral imposition from the text transmitters.
I don't really understand this comment.
danieLion wrote:To clarify:
Out of all the moral compasses I've tried, the Buddha's is the most practical and often does provide clear-cut direction. That's why I brought this up. It's the first time I'd heard Ven. Bodhi engage in situational ethical discussion. He always struck me as a staunch sila moralist. Again, sila is very valuable and the more I use it the more conviction I have in the Dhamma and the Buddha's presentation of it.
These are the sort of issues that the students would come up with, so discussing them makes sense. I think he's a very skilled teacher who is trying to get the students to think about the issues. After raising this issue he goes on to discuss the rest of the advice to Rahula about how to behave, so perhaps the underlying message is: "there are these dilemmas" ... "this is how you should approach it" [by carrying out these examinations...].
I think this is a very good point:
I think you got me wrong. I say that our personal dilemmas (and that are those we're really dealing with, aren't they?) are imaginary and can be overcome. And actually that's the way of Dhamma, the way to arahantship. I think one can see it that way. If you're talking about an imagined holocaust scenario then you're not dealing with a personal problem that's part of your personal experience.
(And now don't accuse me of denying the holocaust or something, please. Try to not get me wrong.)
If faced with an actual dilemma, I think the least of my worries would be the intellectual logical exercise part of these scenarios. The real problem would be summoning up my moral courage. Not an easy task. As Zom says:
For an arahant there are no dilemmas and "hard cases" - for example, no, he would not lie to Nazis (since he doesn't speak lie). I think, he would just keep silence. We see different situations as "dilemmas" because of our greed-hatred-delusion. So, actually, sila is "cut and dry". The problem is that for ignorant people it seems "not cut and dry".
Thanks for the reference:
I recommend this book of Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw, where he gives a lot of examples of such "hard cases" and explains why it is unskilfull to act the way people usually do (and think that they are absolutely right):
http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books8/Pa_Au ... _Kamma.pdf
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But it's a long book. Can you point me to some particular sections?