Front Matter - Wiley Online Library


Praise for Moral Struggle and Religious Ethics “Over the past several years, comparative religious ethics has emerged as a centrally important interdisciplinary line of research, crossing the boundaries among religious studies, history, anthropology, and ethics. David Clairmont’s book offers a strikingly original contribution to this emerging field. In contrast to most earlier work, he directs our attention away from the comparative study of texts, toward the moral and religious vision, and also the struggle and frustration, of the individual adherents of a given tradition. Admittedly, we normally have access to individual experience only indirectly, and primarily through texts, but if these texts are approached with an aim to identifying what they say or imply about individual struggles and perceptions, they can teach us a great deal. The person him or herself, mediated through the text, can be regarded as a religious classic, in David Tracy’s terms, not so much as a representative of an ideal, but as an exemplar of ongoing struggle with both personal and communal weaknesses and blind spots. The individual is exemplary in his or her struggles, precisely because sustained engagement with one’s weaknesses is by no means an optional academic exercise – on the contrary, this kind of ongoing struggle will inevitably characterize the life of any serious and self-aware believer. This focus on individual experiences of personal limitation and moral failure, seen in all their power to disrupt intellectual certainties and moral self-satisfaction, offers a powerful corrective to pervasive tendencies to presuppose that fundamental disagreements on these matters can only reflect the blindness or bad faith of one’s interlocutors. On the contrary, Clairmont shows that a serious and deep encounter with the very different religious and moral perspectives that we encounter everyday is not just a matter of courtesy or (much less) a way of instructing ‘them’ in ‘our’ values – it is, rather, a reflection of our own urgent need to learn from them.” Jean Porter, John A. O’Brien Professor of Theological Ethics, University of Notre Dame

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To Michelle Ann Pinard Clairmont With love and thanks for your patience and encouragement As disciples of Jesus we stand side by side with all people. Like them we are burdened by the same struggles and beset by the same weaknesses; like them we are made new by the same Lord’s love; like them we hope for a world where justice and love prevail. Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross (2.12)

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Moral Struggle and Religious Ethics On the Person as Classic in Comparative Theological Contexts David A. Clairmont

A John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Publication

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This edition first published 2011 © 2011 Wiley-Blackwell Blackwell Publishing was acquired by John Wiley & Sons in February 2007. Blackwell’s publishing program has been merged with Wiley’s global Scientific, Technical, and Medical business to form Wiley-Blackwell. Registered Office John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, United Kingdom Editorial Offices 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148-5020, USA 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, UK For details of our global editorial offices, for customer services, and for information about how to apply for permission to reuse the copyright material in this book please see our website at wiley-blackwell. The right of David A. Clairmont to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted by the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, without the prior permission of the publisher. Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books. Designations used by companies to distinguish their products are often claimed as trademarks. All brand names and product names used in this book are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. The publisher is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold on the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Clairmont, David A. Moral struggle and religious ethics : on the person as classic in comparative theological contexts / David A. Clairmont. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index. ISBN 978-1-4443-3682-5 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Bonaventure, Saint, Cardinal, ca. 1217–1274. 2. Christian ethics–Catholic authors. 3. Theological anthropology–Catholic Church. 4. Buddhaghosa. 5. Buddhist ethics. 6. Theological anthropology– Theravada Buddhism. 7. Religious ethics–Comparative studies. 8. Theological anthropology–Comparative studies. I. Title. B765.B74C63 2011 241′.042–dc22 2010033790 A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. This book is published in the following electronic formats: eBook 9781444393620; Wiley Online Library 9781444393644; ePub 9781444393637 Set in 10/12.5pt Galliard by SPi Publisher Services, Pondicherry, India Printed in Singapore 1

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List of Figures Acknowledgments List of Abbreviations

vii viii x



Part I


Questions and Contexts

1 Person as Classic: Questions, Limits, and Religious Motivations Persons, Limits, and Religious Classics Classics: questions and limits in thought and action Religious ethics: interpreting limited persons The model of person as classic Classic Persons: Ideas, Practices, and Questions Bonaventure as mediator of classic ideas and practices Buddhaghosa as mediator of classic ideas and practices Moral struggle as classic question

9 13 14 17 19 21 22 24 28

2 Context: The Symbolic Religious Cosmologies of Roman Catholicism and Therava-da Buddhism Moral Struggle in Greek, Roman, and Christian Philosophy Weakness of will and volition in classical philosophy Law, love, and wisdom in Christian scriptures Love, sin, and self-examination in Patristic theology Natural law and rational appetite in medieval theology Moral Struggle in Indian and Buddhist Philosophy Universal dharma and individual dharma in the Vedas and epics Self and world in the Moral perfection in the Buddhist Nika-yas The Symbolic Religious Cosmology of the Trinity Trinitarian doctrine Trinitarian symbolism Trinitarian exemplarity

38 40 40 43 45 47 49 49 54 56 59 59 60 62

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Contents The Symbolic Religious Cosmology of Buddhist Abhidhamma Constitution of persons: aggregates, characteristics, and ultimate realities The nature of reality and the structure of causality Intention, volition, and personal continuity in Buddhist Abhidhamma Abhidhamma and Trinity as Comparative Contexts and Categories

64 65 67 69 71

3 Context: Material Simplicity in Christian and Buddhist Life Historical Introduction to Material Simplicity Poverty and avarice in Bonaventure’s Europe Simplicity and sponsorship in Buddhaghosa’s Ceylon Bonaventure on Material Simplicity Material sufficiency in institutional life Voluntary poverty in individual life Buddhaghosa on Material Simplicity Wealth, giving, and the sacrifice of purification On the twofold nature of materiality Material Simplicity and the Problem of Moral Struggle

82 83 84 86 88 90 92 95 101 105 110

Part II


Ideas, Practices, and Persons

4 Bonaventure and Buddhaghosa: From Ideas to Practices Bonaventure’s Continuity with Medieval Debates on the Nature of Will Buddhaghosa’s Manual of Practical Abhidhamma Bonaventure on the Connection Between Sacrament and Virtue Buddhaghosa on the Connection Between Morality and Meditation

121 122 128 137 141

5 Bonaventure and Buddhaghosa: From Practices to Persons Bonaventure on Prayer Buddhaghosa on Meditation Bonaventure on Moral Exemplars Buddhaghosa on Moral Exemplars Comparing Persons in the Process of Struggle: Two Notions of Person as Classic

153 154 164 171 174

6 Personal Horizons: Moral Struggle, Religious Humility, and the Possibility of a Comparative Theological Ethics Bonaventure and Buddhaghosa on Personal Struggle Comparative Theology and Comparative Ethics: A Religious-Interpretive Work The Methodological Struggles of Comparative Persons: Five Roads of Return Struggles for a Comparative Horizon: Religious Humility and the Problem of Conversion Appendix: Some Common Buddhist Lists, Their Relation, and Their Significance in Abhidhamma Bibliography Index

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180 189 189 192 198 206

214 226 241

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Figure 2.1 Relationship of khandhas to dhammas Figure 4.1 Bonaventure on the parts of the soul, its powers and its perfections Figure 4.2 Division of questions in Visuddhimagga Figure 5.1 Introductory pattern of Itinerarium mentis in Deum Figure 5.2 Bonaventure’s schematic of the threefold way Figure 5.3 Summary of the 37 “factors contributing to awakening” (bodhi-pakkhiya-dhamma-)

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66 127 132 160 162 179

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Scholarly work is collaborative work, even if its results are credited to individual persons. This book began as a doctoral thesis submitted to the faculty of the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. I want to thank first and foremost my advisor, William Schweiker, who guided me through many formulations of its central ideas and always gave unfailing support to all of us among his advisee group who wanted to pursue comparative studies within the larger discipline of ethics. I also want to thank the other members of my thesis committee, Frank Reynolds and David Tracy, for their patience, encouragement, constructive criticisms, and suggestions that this draft of a project’s ideas addresses. Special thanks also to Richard Rosengarten and Don Browning for their work leading and empowering a community of scholars of religion dedicated to serving the world through careful conversations. My gratitude also to many teachers and friends at the University of Chicago: Franklin Gamwell, Anne Carr, Steven Collins, David Wray, Margaret Mitchell, Kevin Jung, Kelly Brotzman, Melanie Barrett, Warren Chain, Sandra Peppers, Elizabeth Bucar, Michael Hogue, Michael Johnson, William Wood, Jonathan Schofer, Jamie Schillinger, Yuki Miyamoto, Bruce Rittenhouse, and John Wall. The University of Chicago Divinity School provided generous financial support throughout my studies; the Henry Luce Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Institute continued that support of my research in its later stages; and James Halstead and the Department of Religious Studies at DePaul University provided me with a welcome opportunity to teach. Among my colleagues and friends at the University of Notre Dame, I would like to thank especially John Cavadini, Paulinus Odozor, Jean Porter, Lawrence Cunningham, Gerald McKenny, Matthew Ashley, M. Catherine Hilkert, Cyril O’Regan, Robert Gimello, Jennifer Herdt, Michael Connors, Paul Doyle, Mark Poorman, Dorothy Anderson, David Lantigua, Kathleen Grimes, Conor Kelly, Brain Hamilton, and Deonna Neal. Special thanks to Rebecca Harkin, Bridget Jennings, Lucy Boon, Isobel Bainton and Sarah Dancy of Wiley-Blackwell for their support of this work and for guidance through the process. Thanks also to Claire Creffield for copy-editing the book, to the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame for funding to support preparation of the index, and to James Martin for compiling it.

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I am also grateful to Georgetown University Press and Columbia University Press for permission to reprint portions of previously published work in this book: “Bonaventure on Moral Motivation: Trajectories of Exemplification in his Treatment of Voluntary Poverty,” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 25.2 (Fall/Winter 2005): 109–36; and “Comparative Religion, Ethics, and American Family Life: Concluding Questions and Future Directions,” in American Religions and the Family: How Faith Traditions Cope with Modernization and Democracy, Don S. Browning and David A. Clairmont, eds. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), pp. 244–58. Finally, my debt for the support by my family and friends is great: Norman and Kathleen Clairmont; Matthew Spates; Robert Kelly and Sarah Ramsey; Jennifer Malin and Joseph Kelly; Louis and Elaine Pinard; Jackson Marvel, Paul Foster, and Patrick Moeschen. Lastly, my greatest thanks to my wife Michelle: for being with me every step of the way, for patiently reading every page of this book, for setting the highest example of labor for love of family, and for our sons, Joseph and John, who will face a beautiful but difficult world.

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A. Ath. Brev. D. Hex. Itin. M. Op. Om. S. Sent. Soliloq. S.T. Vsm.

Clairmont_flast.indd x

An.guttara Nika-ya Atthasa-linıBreviloquium Dı-gha-nika-ya Collationes in hexaemeron Itinerarium mentis in Deum Majjhima-nika-ya Opera Omnia Sam . yutta- nika-ya Commentaria in Quatuor Libros Sententiarum Soliloquium de quatuor mentalibus exercitiis Summa Theologiae Visuddhimagga

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