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Buddhist ethical concerns : the problem of the universal and the particular

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Lancaster, Lewis R.








The texts of world religions that survive over the centuries are being tested in our present time as never before. The questions center on the problem of whether one can use them to deal with contemporary issues and the ethical challenges of a world that has on one level been moving into dependence on technological advances and structures and on another level struggling with deeply ingrained social patterns. Can the religious literature provide answers? Do these texts posit the claim for universal ethical values that apply in all times to all situations? If there are universals that can be identified, then it should be possible to seek for expressions of them in the oldest extant literature as well as in contemporary interpretations and practices. To be truly universal, is it not the case that the interpretation must be as universal as the stated rule? It is not difficult to point out the many problems involved in this search for a universal that extends over time and through numerous applications.

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