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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter two Buddhist moral psychological categories are analysed: the brahmavihāras (the four Boundless Qualities), which are the main moral affective states in Buddhist ethics, and the kleśas, or the afflictive mental states. Based on this analysis, two general claims about moral psychology in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist ethics are argued for. First, that Buddhist moral psychology is centrally interested in the psychology of moral improvement: how do I become the kind of person who can respond in the best possible way to the moral needs of myself and others? Second, and related, Buddhist moral psychology focuses on the skills of moral perception and attention. Moral philosophical arguments, it is argued, are generally offered in the context of self-cultivation exercises and not, as they often are in Western ethics, as models of moral deliberation.

Keywords: Buddhism, moral psychology, moral perception, emotions, ethics, attention

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