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Buddhism and the Coronavirus

The Buddha’s Teaching on Suffering     

Jeaneane Fowler was formerly Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Newport, and later an Honorary Research fellow. Her publications include Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices (Choice Outstanding Title, 1997; revised and enlarged to two volumes in 2019), and in the same series, Humanism, Chinese Religions, T’ai Chi Ch’üan, Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism in Wales; and books on the Philosophy of Hinduism, the Philosophy of Taoism, The Bhagavad Gita, and Causality.

In The Sussex Library of Religious Beliefs & Practices

This book examines the early teachings of Buddhism associated with the life of the Buddha, Siddhatta Gotama. In these teachings, the Buddha put forward his famous Four Noble Truths concerning the nature of suffering, its causes, the Truth that it can be overcome, and a pathway to end suffering. The suffering experienced in the contemporary coronavirus pandemic may seem to be very distant from the Buddha’s message delivered over two thousand years ago, but the teaching of the Four Noble Truths is as relevant today as it was all that time ago. So this book melds the two, occasionally with discrete treatment of past and present but ever cognizant of the ways in which the teachings of the past inform the present crisis. To understand coronaviruses, the book examines the nature of viruses, their origins, causes and the ways in which they are both friends and enemies of humankind. Importantly and crucially, the book investigates how far humanity itself is the cause of its own suffering in the pandemics that arise – no less in the coronaviruses that have emerged in the twenty-first century.

Chapters include:
• The Buddha
• Viruses: Friends and Enemies
• The Noble Truth of Suffering
• The Second Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering
• The Third Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering
• The Fourth Noble Truth: The Noble Eightfold Path
• The Noble Eightfold Path: Mindfulness and Concentration
• The Brahma-vihara: Love: Compassion: Sympathetic Joy: Equanimity

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78976-068-2
Paperback Price: £25 / $34.95
Release Date: January 2021 
Page Extent / Format: 320 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Preface and Acknowledgements


1          The Buddha

            The life and death of the Buddha

            The Buddha's Dhamma


2          Viruses: Friends and Enemies

            The virosphere

            The origins of viruses


            Characteristics of viruses

            Symbiosis of virus and host

            Viral enemies and their causes




            Covid-19: a new virus

            Characteristics of Covid

            The source and causes of Covid-19

            The immune system

            Measures for protection and prevention           

            The new normal


3          The Noble Truth of Suffering

            The Four Noble Truths

            Desire and aversion

            Mind and body

            The Five Aggregates

            Change and transience


4          The Second Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering

            Craving, tanha

            Impermanence, annica

            The three evils/poisons




            No-self, anatta


5          The Third Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering


            Dependent Origination





6          The Fourth Noble Truth: The Noble Eightfold Path

            The Noble Eightfold Path

            Right view/understanding

            Right thought/intention

            Moral and ethical conduct

            Right speech

            Right action

            Right livelihood

            Right effort


7          The Noble Eightfold Path: Mindfulness and Concentration

            Mind and body


            The calm mind

            Concentration, samadhi

            Meditation: The medical evidence

            Insight meditation, vipassana


8          The Brahma-vihara:

            Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, Equanimity

            Metta: Love, loving-kindness,

            Karuna: Compassion

            Mudita: Sympathetic joy

            Upekkha: Equanimity

            Human folly





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