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From Is to Ought: Natural Law in Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and Phra Prayudh Payutto

Sallie B. King
The Journal of Religious Ethics
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Summer, 2002), pp. 275-293
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40018083
Page Count: 19
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From Is to Ought: Natural Law in Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and Phra Prayudh Payutto
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Abstract

The contemporary Thai Theravada Buddhist monks Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and Phra Prayyudh Payutto espouse a version of natural law thinking in which the norms of good behavior derive from the nature of the world, specifically its features of conditionality, causality, karma and interdependence. An ethic which stresses non-egoic harmony is the result. This paper (1) develops the notion of natural law in their thinking and (2) critically evaluates these ideas as a foundation for ethical thought, specifically asking whether such ideas recognize something of value in the individual per se and in individual freedom and, in an interdependent world, how one can challenge injustice or a brutal government.

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