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(1) After watching the documentary and reading the selections from the Dhammapada, you will write a short response paper addressing a topic in Buddhist Ethics. Below are some of the topics; select one:

–The Buddhist view on justice

–The Buddhist view on right and wrong/good and evil

–The Buddhist view on assisted suicide

–Buddhist ethics and the afterlife

–The Buddhist view on animal consumption (vegetarianism)

–Buddhist views on social justice

–Buddhist views on Death Penalty

–Buddhist views on abortion

(2) Select one of the above topics, and formulate a thesis concerning the topic.

(3) You will need to show how a Buddhist would address one of those philosophical topics based on the documentary/reading.


(a) 3-4 pages

(b) double spaced

(c) times new roman

(d) 12 point font

(e) paper should not contain any quotes from the Dhammapada or secondary resources. You are not allowed to use secondary resources. Your entire paper will come from the documentary and reading. Use of secondary resources will result in point deductions.


Below is a suggestion for the structure of this paper in order to help you organise it properly

(i) Introduction (introduce ideas and thesis statement)

(a) Thesis Statement: a one sentence statement that clearly formulates the position you will argue in favour of. For example, “in this paper, I will argue that the Buddha would have been opposed to the death penalty”

(ii) Body Paragraph 1: discuss the particular ethical debate you are engaging with (i.e. death penalty, abortion, etc.)

(a) provide both sides of the debate. For example, if you are engaging with the abortion debate, you should show both sides of the debate and demonstrate how each side would argue. 

(b) try to be neutral. Do not take a side, but demonstrate each side of the argument

(iii) Body Paragraph 2: show how you think the Buddha would have approached this topic

(a) Introduce some ideas from Buddhism that you learned from the documentary and reading. 

(b) Demonstrate how it provides evidence for your thesis. For example, discuss the Buddha’s views on violence, and then demonstrate how this relates to your thesis (i.e. “the Buddha would have been opposed to abortion”, “the Buddha would have been opposed to death penalty” etc.)

(iv) Body Paragraph 3: provide an additional argument, that elaborates on the argument in Body Paragraph 2:

(a) explore the same topic, but from a different angle. For example, if you’re writing about the death penalty, discuss the Buddha’s views on justice in addition to violence to make an additional argument. 

(v) Conclusion: draw some conclusions about how Buddhism helps reframe the ethical problem and sheds new light on its possible resolution. End the paper with a restatement of your thesis statement.

(a) demonstrate how Buddhism sheds new light on your topic. For example, if youre writing about the death penalty, write about how Buddhism can help strengthen the debate. 

This is a speculative paper based on a unique engagement with the text.  


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