“Aristotelian and Buddhist ethics are alike formally: each advocates moderation”. Discuss. (15 Marks)

According to Aristotle Happiness exits in the rational exercise of the soul’s faculties in conformity with virtues such as courage, justice, temperance, benevolence, and prudence.

  • Aristotle argues that virtue is achieved by maintaining the Mean, which is the balance between the two excesses. Aristotle’s doctrine of the Mean is reminiscent of Buddha’s Middle Path.
  • Aristotle’s doctrine of virtue is “golden mean”. Courage, for example, is a mean regarding the feeling of fear, between the deficiency of rashness (too little fear) and the excess of cowardice (too much fear). Justice is a mean between getting or giving too much and getting or giving too little. Benevolence is a mean between giving to people who don’t deserve it and not giving to anyone at all.
  • Similarly Buddhism aims not to eradicate all feelings but to liberate it from its attachment to false values. He gave the concept of the Middle Way, a path between the extremes of religious asceticism and worldly self-indulgence to move away from false values.
  • Aristotle and the Buddha reached very similar conclusions as to how we should conduct our lives, if we wish to find happiness and fulfillment as human beings.
  • However, for Aristotle the mean was a method of achieving virtue, but for Buddha the
  • Middle Path referred to a peaceful way of life which negotiated the extremes of harsh asceticism and sensual pleasure seeking.
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