“Buddhist ethics,” as I’ve pointed out in recent posts, has nothing to do with traditional Buddhist morality. Instead, it’s indistinguishable from mainstream leftish middle-class American secular morality.
This page points out disagreements between contemporary “Buddhist ethics” and a Tantric Buddhist view, for several reasons:
- I think, at these points of conflict, Tantra is ethically correct, and “Buddhist ethics” is wrong.
- Western Buddhist Tantra was suppressed in the early 1990s partly because of these conflicts. Explaining the Tantric view may help reopen a door that has been closed for two decades.
- An attractive, genuinely Buddhist alternative to “Buddhist ethics” might be possible.
- Middle-class American secular values are failing many people—but are taken for granted, with no obvious alternative available. Tantra might be a weapon for throwing them off and constructing a more satisfactory way of being.
Tantric Buddhism includes a complete rejection of mainstream (Sutric) Buddhist morality. However, since “Buddhist ethics” is not that, most of the traditional Tantric critique is irrelevant.
Instead, this is a brief critique of certain leftish secular views, common in Consensus Buddhism, from a Tantric perspective. It’s not meant to be comprehensive, and I will make no detailed arguments. I want to give the flavor of a Tantric alternative.
This is also not a general critique of leftism. And, although Buddhist Tantra rejects some leftist views, that does not make Tantric Buddhism rightist. Nor am I a rightist personally. Buddhist Tantra rejects many rightish aspects of Sutric Buddhism, such as its sex-negativity, misogyny, and anti-world attitude. Those are not part of current “Buddhist ethics,” however, so they don’t need to be discussed further here.