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Buddhist philosophy originates with the teachings of the Buddha (566–486 BCE), which are framed by the goal of eliminating suffering. Buddhist ethics aims at providing the path to achieving this goal. The teachings of the Buddha were preserved as an oral tradition for 400 years until they were compiled by monks in the Pali canon around the first century BCE. (There are many schools of Buddhist thought, but they share the same core teachings.) No separate discourse for Buddhist ethics exists in the ancient sources. Rather, a sophisticated and profound ethical theory is found throughout the canon and is inseparable from the rest of the philosophy. Works devoted explicitly to Buddhist ethics are recent, blending material from various sources into a more well-defined moral theory.

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