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A Comparative Study of Goodness:Cases of Dhamma Tales and Folktales

A Comparative Study of Goodness:Cases of Dhamma Tales and Folktales

Chariya Somprasong
Faculty of Communication Arts. Saint John’s University
e-mail : camelane@stjohn.ac.th

1. Abstract
This study entitled “The Comparative Study of Goodness: Cases of Dhamma Tales and Folktales” has three objectives: 1) To study the standard or universal meaning of goodness; 2) To study the methods of achieving “goodness” as illustrated in dhamma tales and folktales; and 3) To study the didactic morals in the folktale literary genre. In terms of methodological approach, it employed a qualitative research approach using in-depth interviews and documentary analysis of sources such as textbooks, books, and research reports. The findings from these two methods were then compared to draw a conclusion.The meaning of goodness is action reflecting physical, spiritual, and ideological attributes that result in desirable and satisfactory behaviour. The practice of goodness can be categorised into three virtues: Physical Virtue, that is, proper conduct and behaviour, Spiritual Virtue, that is, altruism and good intentions, and Ideological Virtue, that is, behaviour according to religious strictures. There are also three levels of good conduct. The first level, the easiest to evaluate through reference to the religious framework, is the conduct of morals. The second is harder to evaluate is the conduct of virtue. The final and most difficult to evaluate of all is the conduct of ethics since analysis needs to be conducted on indicators on both the concrete and abstract levels.In respect of the morals embedded in the dhamma tales, the study found that while the Jataka, the history of the apostles, and prophets refer to religious principles, they also refer to a level of goodness that transcends ideologies, that is, moral codes. Buddhism refers to righteousness, the belief in karma, and the five precepts, which are incorporated to guide actions designed to ultimately guide adherents to Nirvana. Islam praises Allah, who is regarded as the embodiment of greatest virtue. The beliefs and actions of Muslims are guided by the Quran and the Hadith, the Five Pillars of Islam (the Idabat), the Six Articles of Belief, the Principles of the Religion, and the Practices of the Religion, all in the hope of an ultimate reunion with Allah. Meanwhile, Christians conduct themselves according to the New Testament and the Ten Commandments as
well as their belief in Purgatory, the love of God, and the Golden Rule – to treat others as
they would treat themselves. As for the morals
from folktales, which are characterised as Aesop-type tales, they correlate with religious teachings since they encourage righteous conduct. More specifically, in the level of ethical behaviour and virtue, they refer to co-operation, gratitude, loyalty, integrity, perseverance,serenity,friendship, and modesty.
Keyword : Goodness , Dhamma Tales , Folktales



2. Introduction
Technological progress in the fields of communications and telecommunications has resulted in a borderless world in which it is necessary to have a clear direction, allies, and co-operation for survival and a harmonious existence. A starting vision is the obvious origin for co-operative developmental activities in any organisation ranging from corporations to nations.
A vision of goodness has moulded the notion of virtue in various nations and societies, forming and encouraging a united ideology, altruism, and a common stand point akin to a plan of operations that respond to the needs of the society, leading to positive changes that do not discriminate against nationalities, religions, and ethnicities.
This comparative study of goodness is an investigation into the narratives and principles of goodness that have religion as their core, as transmitted through dhamma tales and folktales.



3. Objectives
1. To study the standard or universal meaning of goodness.
2. To study the methods of achieving “goodness” as illustrated in dhamma tales and folktales.
3. To study the didactic morals in the folktale literary genre.



Create Date : 28 มกราคม 2553
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