Wittgenstein, Guilt, and Western Buddhism

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Whereas Christians often give guilt a prominent role Buddhists are encouraged not to dwell on feelings of guilt. Leading members of the Triratna organisation: Sangharakshita, Subhuti, and Subhadramati, characterise guilt as a negative emotion that hinders spiritual growth. However, if we carefully examine the concept of guilt in the manner of Wittgenstein we find that the accounts of guilt given by leading members of Triratna mischaracterise it and so ignore its positive aspects. They should acknowledge the valuable role that guilt can play in our lives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-303
Number of pages20
JournalContemporary Buddhism
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Wittgenstein
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Catholicism
  • Bernard Williams


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