Individual wrote:Furthermore, the Five Precepts are misunderstood as moral absolutes and better understood as guidelines which ought to be enforced not blindly, based on their technical wording, but based on insight about the issue at hand. If the present circumstances make a particular precept irrelevant, it violates the spirit of the law to follow it.
Could you please show me a Canonical reference which supports your point?
I'm just a blind man, but I have always taken the precepts to be absolute. After all, what is the meaning of abstinence? To abstain, not to engage in the act where one feels justified as to the circumstance. Opening the precepts to interpretation is a bit like opening a pandora's box in my opinion
Individual wrote:Mahayanists more heavily emphasize "expedient means" over moral absolutism
It was "expedient
" for Ajātasattu to kill his father, but it didn't make it skillful. It was "expedient" for King Mahasena to destroy the Mahavihara, but it didn't make it skillful. "For the sake of convenience
" can be used to justify nearly anything, and has - If you look at our long history of bloodshed. If one upholds the precepts with vigour and great effort, I cannot envision a single case where someone might come to harm as a result. But perhaps I am wrong, in which case could please point these cases out to me?
Individual wrote:and because a person really ought to have no rightful ownership over what is essentially a derivative work.
What ought to be and ought not to be, is not always what is. I think it pays to remember that breaking copyright is going to cause somebody
some dukkha, somewhere. It doesn't matter that they might be wealthy, or in the case of the BPS that they're simply trying to keep on truckin'.
The law defines "what is essentially a derivative work." as someone's property, when we take that item from somebody, they're still going to feel annoyed. Which in my opinion
Individual wrote:I've said this before, by the way, in past discussions on this, but it's worth saying every time: The wide proliferation of Buddhist texts from Pali to Sanskrit, to Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai, would not have happened if translations were commercially restricted the way they are now.
You have a good point, but it's a red herring.
Hope you have a good day, and your practice goes well.