The Golden Rule

As we will see in chapter 6, this recommendation is characteristic not simply of Buddhism but of virtue ethics in the Western tradition. It further resonates, of course, with “the Golden Rule” – in Christian formulation: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But, of course, the Golden Rule is central to the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – and, indeed, some argue, is found throughout the world, beginning with Confucian traditions. At the same time, this recommendation reflects a Buddhist understanding of identity as primarily relational. As with the Japanese injunction to attune our acts toward the harmony of the group, the approach here resolves privacy issues first by having us (re)shape ourselves to harmonize better with others by reducing greed and increasing compassion and love.

(A) How persuasive (or not) do you find Hongladarom’s arguments and recommendations regarding privacy – including the positive injunction to minimize greed and maximize compassion? Be as clear as you can about your arguments/ evidence/reasons and/or other grounds for your response(s).

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(B) As we have seen, the national and cultural traditions surrounding us have a significant influence on our conception of selfhood (more individual, more relational?) and thereby on our ethical values and approaches to ethical decision-making. How far can you trace your (dis)agreements with Hongladarom to the cultural and national traditions that have shaped your ethical views and sense of selfhood?

That is, if you agree with Hongladarom, is this solely because you likewise have grown up in a culture more shaped by relational emphases of selfhood and/or because you are already convinced of the truths of Buddhism? And/or, if you disagree with Hongladarom, is this solely because you have grown up in a culture shaped by more individual emphases of selfhood and/or remain convinced of the truths of other traditions?

And/or: can you find other reasons/grounds/evidence, etc., for your (dis)agreement(s) with Hongladarom, beyond those reasons, etc., that may hold legitimacy primarily in one culture but not in another?