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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Because the Lotus Sūtra is primarily soteriological rather than philosophical, its ethics do not readily fit into standard categories of Western philosophical discourse. What the Lotus Sūtra cares about is that every human being becomes a buddha, and it often uses unconventional or unorthodox ideas to advance that cause. Accordingly, the Lotus Sūtra gives little attention to Buddhist precepts. It is somewhat patriarchal, but only in part, as can be seen from important parts of the Sūtra itself. The ethics of the Lotus Sūtra can best be characterized as ‘the bodhisattva way’, a way of appropriate, skilful, and effective action through helping others, and which involves practising wisdom and compassion in everyday life. Moreover, helping others is not understood as solely a matter of helping individuals. Rather, the Lotus Sūtra supports what is today called ‘Engaged Buddhism’.

Keywords: bodhisattva, buddha nature, Engaged Buddhism, Guanyin, meditation, patriarchy, practical wisdom, skilful means

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