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Kinadeter, Michael (2015): Probleme der buddhistischen Verdienstethik. Dargestellt am Beispiel der Lehrrede vom Verdienst der Hauslosigkeit (T 707). Master of Arts, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
(Munich University Japan Center Graduation Theses)




The Shukke Kudoku Kyō ("Sutra on the Fruitfulness and Blessings of Leaving one's home", T 707) addresses issues of morality and expounds upon the karmic effects of leaving one's house (i.e. leaving the ordinary life in order to focus on the development of insight). The Sutra specifically speaks to lay practitioners. By telling the story of Prince Vīrasena, the Buddha shows the fruitfulness and blessings of leaving one's home to include a good future rebirth in the various heavens and the eventual attainment of the path of a pratyekabuddha. By the same token, the Buddha strongly counsels against dispraising a person who is leaving his house. The first part of this paper deals with the text itself and its reception, starting with the historical background. Although it is impossible to determine the exact origin of the text for lack of manuscript evidence, it seems likely that the text has been known since the late fourth century or, at latest, since the early seventh century. After the presentation of such historical contexts, an annotated translation of the Sutra follows. Subsequently the only known commentary (1691/1692) by the Japanese monk Shōryō is discussed. Based upon the close examination of the original text with its historical and philological features, the second part of this paper focuses on its philosophical issues and their consequences. Besides the social implications for society and the respective attitude towards (the efforts of) others, the Sutra raises questions as to the concept of Karma and one's motivation for abandoning home. Is it possible to destroy the Karmic potential or merit of another person? Is merit the pleasant karmic consequence of virtuous action? Or is virtuous action merit in and of itself?