Buddhist Moral Ethics

Intend No Harm, Intend to Be of Benefit

Authored by: S. Holly Stocking

The Routledge Handbook of Mass Media Ethics

Print publication date:  March  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138681323
eBook ISBN: 9781315545929
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter responds to the need for non-Western approaches to media ethics.  Specifically, it explains Buddhist ethics, drawing on classic texts and recent commentaries from a scholarly tradition that developed in Tibet.  As with all traditions of Buddhism, the principles explained here—“intend no harm” and “intend to be of benefit”—seek to minimize suffering and maximize happiness.  Since media both reflect and contribute to personal and collective suffering, the implications and applications of this ethical system are described for mass media practice and scholarship.  For media professionals, the chapter offers guidance for choosing the kinds of media work to pursue, for conducting that work, and for dealing with the ethical dilemmas that arise when values clash.  For researchers and scholars, the chapter invites normative studies that compare the many similarities and distinctive differences of this system with ethical systems long studied and practiced in the West; it also invites descriptive studies that examine the interplay of religious and professional norms in media practice. 

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