Buddhist Ethics

Subject Code: 


  Lecture Date Census Date Location

Semester 2 2017

30 Oct - 3 Nov 2017

31 October NTI Wollongong Campus

Increasing individual ethical behaviour is at the heart of Buddhist traditions: understanding the nature of ethical choices and behaviours is fundamental to a sound comprehension of Buddhism. ‘Buddhist Ethics’ presents an introduction to the major areas of ethical consideration important in Buddhist teachings and then critically investigates a range of contemporary issues in order to highlight possible contributions from—or gaps in—traditional Buddhist paradigms and perspectives.

The subject provides an overview of Buddhist ethics in different traditions; it also examines issues arising from their application in the contemporary world. After outlining the framework of Buddhist ethics, a number of contemporary issues are reviewed and discussed using the lens of Buddhist ethical traditions: issues examined include environmental, animal welfare, conservation, abortion, suicide, euthanasia, war, gender and sexuality, economics, and social responsibility.

Students will:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the concepts, beliefs and world-views underlying the principles of ethics as presented in Buddhist traditions.
  • Critically analyse fundamental issues involved in the application of Buddhist ethical principles.
  • Understand the role of ethics within the traditional Buddhist doctrinal framework.
  • Critically evaluate and reflect issues arising from applications of Buddhist ethical principles in a variety of contemporary contexts e.g. euthanasia, suicide, abortion, gender issues, terrorism etc.
  • Develop critical thinking, problem solving, cultural and historical appreciation, interdisciplinary perspectives, scholarship, and oral and written communication skills.

Who is it for?

‘Buddhist Ethics’ is ideal for:

  • any student starting an NTI postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or Masters program in Applied Buddhist Studies
  • Buddhist academics, teachers, publishers, librarians
  • health practitioners, including psychologists, psychotherapists, and other mental health professionals
  • anyone involved in international diplomatic relations or foreign aid programs
  • devotees of Buddhism and anyone interested in learning more about Buddhism.


Preliminary reading

1 week prior to lectures and workshops

Lectures and workshops (5 day intensive on-campus)

9:00am - 5:00pm daily


3 weeks - Final assignments due 


‘Buddhist Ethics’ is a core subject of Nan Tien Institute’s postgraduate Applied Buddhist Studies program. It provides a foundation for the ethical components and Buddhism’s modern application, covered by all NTI subjects.

This 6 credit point subject is a core component of:

Master of Arts (Applied Buddhist Studies)

72 credit points

The subject can also be taken as a non-award subject or as an elective in the:

Graduate Diploma of Applied Buddhist Studies

48 credit points

Graduate Certificate in Applied Buddhist Studies

24 credit points

Study costs/scholarships

The total subject cost is $1,250.00 for Domestic students, and $1,600.00 for International students.

Australian students


International students


Entry requirements

There are no prerequisites to study this subject as a non-award student. Buddhists and non-Buddhists are welcome, and no prior knowledge is required.
There are academic and/or program and work experience prerequisites for studying this subject as part of the NTI Applied Buddhist Studies and Health and Social Wellbeing programs. Contact NTI for details on entry requirements.