Journal of Religious Ethics 7 (1):12 - 26 (1979)

Abstract
Theravāda Buddhists draw a doctrinal distinction between otherworldly (lokuttara) and this-worldly (lokiya) actions, and also an ecclesiastical distinction between bhikkhu (wandering mendicant or 4 "monastic") action and lay action. Within the Theravāda tradition these modes of action have overlapped to form a more empirically relevant set. This set is constituted by the otherworldly action of the path winning bhikkhus, the this-worldly action of ordinary bhikkhus, the path winning or bodhisatta (future Buddha) action of exceptional laymen, and the this-worldly action of ordinary laymen. These four modes of action have meshed together to form the basis for very complex and persistent Theravāda societies in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. The article concludes with some methodological observations concerning the relationship between the study of action (as carried out in the body of the article), and the study of ethics (as carried out by most contemporary scholars in the field of religious ethics).
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