Can you talk about morality? Is it universal or relative?

Can you talk about morality? Is it universal or relative? –@jonathankyou

Very little of morality is relative.

I did a post about a year ago that provoked some discussion on other websites. The post was “Was Buddha a Bad Father”? Buddha was prince with everything: a kingdom, a beautiful wife, a newborn son.

So what did he do on the night his son was born? In the middle of the night, when everyone was asleep (so he didn’t have to say goodbye) he rode off on his quest for enlightenment.

On other blogs people wrote I didn’t understand the relative morality of what was happening. That fatherhood was different then. Okay, maybe. It’s an interesting discussion to me.

But, more interesting to me (and something none of the other blogs commented on when trashing me on this topic) was much later when Buddha finally came to scoop up his son and teach him about life and morality.

He gave perhaps his most powerful and useful sermon in all the Pali Canon (the collection of works containing Buddha’s actual thoughts instead of the meassive hearsay which has gotten passed down through the ages). He basically said: “before, during, and after a thought, action or speech, consider whether or not you are hurting someone”

So this was a guy giving a moral rule 2,500 years ago, 12,000 miles away. This rule is still an important rule and one that many people ignore. Every day I see trolls on the Internet trying to hurt people. People in the news trying to hurt each other. Politicians and businessmen trying to backstab each other.

Nobody follows this universal rule of morality. I hope I can follow it. But it’s very hard.

Notably, I believe it’s the last mention of Buddha’s son in Buddhist scriptures. So maybe he couldn’t follow it either. I don’t know.