Theravada monks have an obligation to follow the Patimokkha Rules, violation of which may lead to expulsion from the monastic order. That seems like obligation to me. In addition, lay people are given responsibilities and obligations as well. Yes, the Buddha was a "man", but he was also more than a man -- and it's that "more" that is the reason for someone voluntarily undertaking the obligations of following the Dhamma.
Yes, you keep repeating that. I absolutely understand that if a person chooses to follow rules that he has an obligation to do so, which he can then choose not to. This really stretches the definition of 'obligation' since it is self-imposed and not objective, as in Christianity, but Ok.But
since it is conditional upon weather you are a Buddhist or not, The DUTY is not objective. As I keep saying, unless I'm mistaken, a non-buddhist has no obligation to restrain himself from killing or raping etc
Also, a Buddhist wouldn't try to put a stop to it, as long as it is a non-buddhist doing the raping, a buddhist has no ground to object.
He could only point out it will lead to suffering.
Actually, it is morally harmful if the Nazis decide to not follow the Dhamma. That is, not following the Dhamma will harm the Nazi's moral and spiritual state.
Yes, I said that if you look back. I actually even pointed out the Nazi's realized they were damning themselves in certain cases, but were willing to do so for their stated ends.
Again, they have no obligation or duty to stop - so a Buddhist has no argument of why they OUGHT not to commit genocide etc
If you are not a Buddhist, then you have no duty to follow the Dhamma as understood by Buddhists. That does not mean that you will not suffer the negative moral consequences of not following the Dhamma. For instance, if you are Christian, then you have a duty to follow the Dhamma (or "Truth") as understood by Christians, but that doesn't mean that if you are not Christian, you can escape the negative effects of not following the Dhamma.
Actually, in Christianity there are no negative effects, God is conceived not in some mechanical fashion, like Karma is perceived. There is no cause and effect - God is free in that specific sense, He can forgive a Nazi completely and the Nazi would not suffer the 'effects' - which is a difference of Christianity.
Plus there is the matter of Grace.
However, even if a person is NOT a Christian, from the Christian viewpoint, that person is still responsible because we believe God has writ the moral law on every persons heart, that he may know right and wrong.
Because of that, every person is born knowing the moral law and has a duty to follow it
I'm not sure how a non-buddhist, from yr view, would even know what right and wrong is, unless they are as intelligent as the Buddha.
So Christians would stop a rape or murder since it violates the law and we have a personal duty to God.
Each living thing, including yourself, is capable of happiness and wants happiness, so increasing the happiness of living beings leads to one's own happiness. This is one of the eternal laws of Dhamma.
I do believe that! Although, with Kierkagaard, I am really not interested in happiness or peace for myself, it seems a rather selfish petty thing.
As far as human life being especially precious, that is due to the unique ability of humans to realize Nibbana, the "highest Happiness".
You seem to keep changing the terms slightly! Twisting words around and there meaning to fit you.
However I said the very beginning of ethics rests not with things being "especially precious" but intrinsically valuable.
We can use that term though. For whom is this ability to be happy precious too? I must say a Nazi probably wouldn't care how happy a Jew could be. So, again, it it not intrinsic but arbitrary and conditional.
In Buddhism there is no ground for people to be objectively intrinsically valuable in themselves.
Unless I've misapprehended you! Then I apologize.
It's not arbitrary for someone who has taken Refuge in the Buddha. In that case, the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha provide the visible proof of the efficacy of the Path. Commitment to the Dhamma is, by definition, a commitment to the "oughts" that lead to greater understanding and devotion to the Dhamma.
IF it depends on a person taking refuge in the Budddha then it is conditional and does not apply to anyone else, as I keep pointing out.
It is up to individuals. Unlike Christianity where ALL ought to be good - which is set forth by God's will and known through conscience.
So a Buddhist OUGHT not rape, but a non-buddhist has no obligation, and a Buddhist would not stop him and be coherent.
Another over-emphasis in Western Buddhism is the monastic emphasis. Western Buddhists often think that they are capable of really being radical renunciating monastics, whereas oftentimes that is not the case at all. That's why in Japan, the samurai balanced their militant/aggressive/protective side with the practice of Zen.
But, in the West, Western Buddhism has a decidedly "liberal" slant, which tends to be wary of the masculine/aggressive aspect of life. That's an imbalance that should be corrected, if Buddhism is to flourish in the West.
That's an interesting analysis - Zen and the art of War is a good book on it. Traditionally I've always thought of Zen as very militaristic.
Anyway, I'm not sure what that has to do with my point, which was as follows :
Picture a man about to smash a child in the head. What would you say? "Hey, 'you' are going to feel consequences that will make you live a less rich life!"
Buddhism has no grounds to stop that person (IF he is a non-buddhist) but Judaism/Christianity/ and Islam do, having a personal moral lawgiver which one is obligated to follow.