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What Is Buddhist Enlightenment?$
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Dale S. Wright

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190622596

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190622596.001.0001

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Enlightenment and the Experience of Karma

Enlightenment and the Experience of Karma

(p.73) 4 Enlightenment and the Experience of Karma
What Is Buddhist Enlightenment?

Dale S. Wright

Oxford University Press

“Enlightenment and the Experience of Karma” analyzes this traditional Indian and Buddhist moral/ethical concept in order to assess the role that it might play in a contemporary culture of enlightenment. Elucidating five dimensions of this moral principle where questions can be raised by means of critical inquiry, the chapter strives to articulate a naturalized conception of karma that could conceivably play an important role in future global society. In order to do that, it reflects on the traditional connection between karma as a moral principle and rebirth as a religious concept and asks what it might mean to develop a karma-based morality without a necessary link to any traditional understanding of afterlife. The chapter aspires to develop elements implicit in the traditional Indian idea of karma that could provide a basic structure for the human moral practice that is essential to any society and any quest for enlightenment.

Keywords:   karma, rebirth, morality, afterlife, enlightenment

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