A Study of Gharāvāsa-dhamma through A Christmas Carol


  • Nattapat Pattana


Gharāvāsa-dhamma, A Christmas Carol, Morality, Buddhist Teaching, Charles Dickens


The goal of this qualitative study was to examine the compatibility of moral concepts desirable for people of the West and morality of Buddhism, a non-theistic religion of the East; therefore, the objectives of this study were 1) to examine issues of morality reflected in A Christmas Carol, a classic literature written by Charles Dickens and 2) to compare the moral issues in this classic literature with those specified in Gharāvāsa-dhamma, a set of Buddhist doctrines. The analysis framework developed from the synthesis of Gharāvāsa-dhamma by a famous high-ranked Buddhist monk and a group of researchers, Phra Dhambhidok (P.A. Payutto) (2003) and Wongsritep, Thongpan, Wanichat, and Kaewketpong (2019), respectively, was relied upon. It was found that the moral issues found in A Christmas Carol are honesty, training one’s self, perseverance, and liberality. These issues agree with all four principles in Gharāvāsa-dhamma namely Sacca, Dama, Khanti, and Cāga, respectively. Outstandingly, the moral issue highlighted in A Christmas Carol is liberality or Cāga in Gharāvāsa-dhamma. Without this moral principle, Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character becomes a stingy, ungenerous, and money-oriented old man. After he is warned and terrified by the ghost characters visiting him in one Christmas’ Eve and showing him the good side of giving and sharing, he becomes a happy man and welcomed by the society. This agrees with essence of Cāga in Gharāvāsa-dhamma that that one without Cāga is miserly, money-oriented, selfish, and ungenerous, and it causes that individual to be unwanted by society he lives in.


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