"For more than a quarter of a century, those in search of an introduction to Buddhist moral thought have turned and returned to this little volume..." Thus notes Charles Hallisey of Harvard University in his introduction. Starting with an examination of classical Greek notions of ethics, Venerable Saddhatissa goes on to explain the development of Buddhist moral codes and their practical application. In this work, Venerable Saddhatissa starts with an examination of Western notions of ethics, beginning with the early Greek philosophers and moving on to show us how the study of morality is crucial to a clear understanding of the Buddhist tradition. Drawing on a vast array of Buddhist scriptures, Venerable Saddhatissa explains the development and position of Buddhist precepts from a traditional perspective, while simultaneously offering clear and practical advice on how best to live the moral life of a lay Buddhist practitioner. Throughout Buddhist Ethics, Venerable Saddhatissa always keeps us in touch with the pragmatic uses of Buddhist moral practices, not only as a way to live in harmony with the world, but as an indispensable aspect of the path to the Buddhist's highest spiritual goal.
"A guide for Westerners to the contemporary moral implications of traditional Buddhist precepts. This classic text, by the late Ven. Dr. Saddhatissa, a revered Sri Lankan monk and scholar, examines notions of ethics in both Eastern and Western traditions and includes advice on how best to follow the Buddha way."
"This work on Buddhist ethics is really an analysis of the fundamental principles of Buddhism. It is a work of solid scholarship that carefully considers the most basic teachings of Buddhism... In summary, this is a book that can be recommended to all students of Buddhism and ethics, both beginning and advanced, because of its accessibility, timeliness, and sound scholarship."
– Philosophy East & West
"This classic volume of Buddhist commentary...stands out for its depth, clarity, and compassionate intent... offers clear and practical advice on how best to live the moral life of a lay Buddhist practitoner in harmony with the world."