ILS 2018

#53 Morality and Ethics 2: “ISKCON and the Contemporary Ethical Climate”

This presentation expands Morality and Ethics 1 to explore the contemporary ethical climate, both within ISKCON and beyond. We propose that the Society would benefit from (1) enhanced ethical literacy (2) a self-standing Chaitanya Vaishnava ethics (moral philosophy). We also interrogate claims that the Vedic and Vaisnava traditions have been reticent to embrace ethics, to their detriment. We will share results from preliminary small-scale research, both shastric and empirical, while also alluding to the ‘Devotee Care’ initiative. Finally, we consider ways ethical literacy may be applied to change management, in three broad domains; personal spiritually, community development, and creative outreach. We conclude by posing a pertinent but taxing question; How, if at all, can devotee leaders legitimately and constructively address ISKCON’s persistent and tenacious ethical issues.

Rasamandala Dasa joined ISKCON in 1973 at Bhaktivedanta Manor. He served as national coordinator of ISKCON Educational Services and course director for a degree in Education Studies (at Bhaktivedanta College and validated by the University of Chester). He has authored several key texts, including the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism and was commissioned by the UK-based Avanti School Trust to help write its Philosophy, Religion & Ethics curriculum. He contributed to the development of the highly-popular VTE Teacher Training Courses and, more recently, training courses for the ‘Devotee Care’ Initiative. His research interests embrace pedagogy, philosophy of education and Hindu-Vaishnava ethics.

HG Rasamandala Dasa

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