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Buddhadharma : Spring 2010
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2 0 10 80 whether in immediate situations, such as interacting one-on-one with a student, or in broader, complex situations, such as facing the actions of one’s country. To his credit, Goodman acknowledges that “of course, there is room for philoso- phers to doubt that such pure, natural compassion actually exists,” but clearly his argument would benefit from further exploration of how and to what extent enlightened beings might intuitively know which action would have the best consequences. At the end of his book Goodman con- siders the differences—and similarities— between Buddhism and Immanuel Kant’s deontological ethics, which emphasizes our moral duty to do the right thing, regardless of the consequences. He notes, for example, that Kant would not counte- nance the breaking of moral rules for the sake of anticipated good consequences, and Buddhism does not accept the notion of an autonomous, rational self with free will that is so central to Kant’s system. This point ties in with one of the ques- tions Goodman highlights at the end of the book as deserving further philosophi- cal treatment: whether one can make a sound case for human rights on a Bud- dhist basis, given the doctrine of no-self. Some may find Goodman’s book daunting, but a serious reader can garner enough from his introduction of Western ethical theories to follow his arguments in later chapters. And all readers will find his exposition lively, especially where he integrates classic ethical scenarios into his discussion. For instance, in the case of “aliens and Joe from Kansas,” the American president must decide whether to comply with the demand of beings from outer space and let them take Joe for scientific study that will painfully kill him, or to reject their demand and see major U.S. cities and their inhabitants destroyed. Simply put, to journey with Good- man will require careful reading, but this effort will be rewarded, for he has crafted one of the best analyses of Bud- dhist ethics to date. Reviews 30 CHURCH STREET, BARNET, VERMONT 05821 samadhicushions.com 1.800.331.7751 A COMPLETE ONLINE SOURCE FOR MEDITATORS. SINCE 1975. 000582 582 582 5 00 AAARN RN RN TTT, BA BA BA i 3 VE VE VE 30303030 TRE TRE TREEEE CHU CHU CHURRRCCCHS HS HSTTT NT0 TT0 111 EEETTT MON MON MON Don’t just do somethinngg. Sit there. MEDITATION CUSHIONS MEDITATION BENCHES GONGS INCENSE MALAS MEDITATION TABLES BOOKS AND MEDIA BEGINNER SETS Sales support Karmê Chöling here in Vermont and other Shambhala Buddhist Centers worldwide. 1230 Pleasant Street, Barre MA 01005 • 978.355.4378 • www.dharma.org • firstname.lastname@example.org VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR RETREAT CENTER AND FOREST REFUGE SCHEDULES INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY ENTER THE REFUGE OF AN IMS RETREAT Experience silence and simplicity Strengthen awareness and kindness Build a foundation for wise and compassionate action