Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction

Damien Keown
Pub date
Jun 2005
Very Short Introductions
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  • Written by one of the few academics worldwide who specializes in the area, this is the only short introduction to Buddhist ethics available.
  • Addresses controversial contemporary ethical issues from an up-to-date and intelligent perspective: ranging from suicide to sexuality, and even war and economics.
  • Buddhism is a subject of growing interest in the West for general readers and students alike
  • An ideal companion volume for Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction by the same author, which introduces the teachings of Buddha and the history of Buddhism.

The latter half of the twentieth century witnessed a growing interest in Buddhism, and it continues to capture the imagination of many in the West who see it as either an alternative or a supplement to their own religious beliefs. Numerous introductory books have appeared in recent years to cater for this growing interest, but almost none devotes attention to the specifically ethical dimension of the tradition. 
For complex cultural and historical reasons, ethics has not received as much attention in traditional Buddhist thought as it has in the West, and publications on the subject are few and far between. Here, Damien Keown, author of Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction , illustrates how Buddhism might approach a range of fascinating moral issues ranging from abortion and suicide to cloning.


1: Buddhism: An introduction
2: The Foundations of Buddhist Ethics
3: Later Developments
4: The Nature of Buddhist Ethics
5: Animals and the Environment
6: Sexual Ethics
7: Abortion
8: Suicide and Euthanasia
9: Cloning
10: Politics, Society, and Justice

About the author: 

Damien Keown is Reader in Buddhism at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His entire academic career has been devoted to research in Buddhist ethics, and he has been teaching the subject for over 20 years. He is also Editor of The Journal of Buddhist Ethics and Coeditor of The Curzon Critical Studies in Buddhism series.

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