The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics

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Daniel Cozort, James Mark Shields
Oxford Handbooks
  • Oxford, England: 
    Oxford University Press
    , May
     712 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Stephen Harris forthcoming.


Many forms of Buddhism, divergent in philosophy and style, emerged as Buddhism filtered out of India into other parts of Asia. Nonetheless, all of them embodied an ethical core that is remarkably consistent. Articulated by the historical Buddha in his first sermon, this moral core is founded on the concept of karma--that intentions and actions have future consequences for an individual--and is summarized as Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood, three of the elements of the Eightfold Path. Although they were later elaborated and interpreted in a multitude of ways, none of these core principles were ever abandoned. The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics provides a comprehensive overview of the field of Buddhist ethics in the twenty-first century.

The Handbook discusses the foundations of Buddhist ethics focusing on karma and the precepts looking at abstinence from harming others, stealing, and intoxication. It considers ethics in the different Buddhist traditions and the similarities they share, and compares Buddhist ethics to Western ethics and the psychology of moral judgments. The volume also investigates Buddhism and society analysing economics, environmental ethics, and Just War ethics. The final section focuses on contemporary issues surrounding Buddhist ethics, including gender, sexuality, animal rights, and euthanasia. This groundbreaking collection offers an indispensable reference work for students and scholars of Buddhist ethics and comparative moral philosophy.


Daniel Cozort and James Mark Shields
Peter Harvey
Paul Groner
Justin Whitaker and Douglass Smith
Martin T. Adams
Charles S. Prebish
Bhikkhu Analayo
Barbra Clayton
Bronwyn Finnegan
Michael Conway
Gene Reeves
Christopher Ives
Gareth Sparham
Juliana Essen
Richard Madsen
Holly Gayley
Meynard Vasen
Emily McRae
Dan Arnold
Peter Harvey
James Mark Shields
Stephanie Kaza
Michael Jerryson
Sallie B. King
Christopher Queen
Damien Keown
Alice Collett
Amy Paris Langenberg
Michael Barnhart
Damien Keown
Martin Kovan
Paul Waldau

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Daniel Cozort is Professor of Religion at Dickinson College. He is the author of Unique Tenets of the Middle Way Consequence School (Snow Lion Publications, 2013) and Highest Yoga Tantra (Snow Lion Publications, 2005).

James Mark Shields is Associate Professor of Comparative Humanities and Asian Thought at Bucknell University. His publications include Against Harmony: Progressive and Radical Buddhism in Modern Japan (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Critical Buddhism: Engaging with Modern Japanese Buddhist Thought (Ashgate, 2011).

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