42. Buddhist Perspectives on Human Rights
- Steven M. Emmanuel
Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy
How to Cite
Tsomo, K. L. (2013) Buddhist Perspectives on Human Rights, in A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy (ed S. M. Emmanuel), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118324004.ch42
- Published Online: 5 FEB 2013
- Published Print: 25 MAR 2013
Print ISBN: 9780470658772
Online ISBN: 9781118324004
- human rights
An assessment of Buddhist ethical theory through a Western lens can run the risk of overlooking or dismissing some of the pertinent aspects of the Buddhist traditions. Although the latter do not speak with one voice, for hundreds of years they all have directed their attention towards liberation from suffering, which is also the presumed goal of human rights theories. At the time of the Buddha, there were no historical circumstances as widespread and horrible as those of the twentieth century that served as a catalyst for the creation of human rights theory. Early Buddhist political ideals focused on the qualities of the good king as an archetype of enlightened leadership, rather than providing a framework for governance. Today, many Buddhists express a deep concern for the welfare of all living beings, but few have recognized the importance of addressing the structural causes of suffering on social and political levels.