Deckard
 
Reply Wed 23 Dec, 2009 12:22 am
I just started reading a pro-life book called "Buddhism and Abortion" by Damien Keown.

I don't profess any religious creed. However, I am certain that I am pro-life/anti-abortion with very few exceptions (health of the mother, rape, incest). I'm interested to hear what those members of the forum who have some knowledge of the Dharma have to say about abortion.

Try to keep posts on topic: What does Buddhism have to say about abortion?
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jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Dec, 2009 12:33 am
@Deckard,
Well, being a Western Buddhist convert, I would hazard as follows.

First, Damien Keown is an excellent author and the editor of the Journal of Buddhist Ethics.

Second, Buddhism tends not to adopt broad stances on social issues such as this. Partially because it grew out of a monastic creed, so by definition, such questions are beyond its purview. Also because Buddhists tend to be wary of dogmatic pronouncements. I think many of them would say 'it depends very much on the situation'. This I suppose could be read as 'pro life'. On the other hand, Buddhists generally, and this goes much for Buddhists in traditional Buddhist countries, rather than Western Buddhists, tend to be socially conservative. So they would generally look askance upon extra-marital sex, casual sexual relationships, and the like. This might influence their attitude to the idea of 'abortion on demand'. I don't think 'traditional' Buddhism is nearly as liberal in these matters as 'Western Buddhists' would like it to be. But Buddhism is not really a 'busy-body' religion, going around and telling everyone what they should or shouldn't do. That I can say with confidence.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Dec, 2009 01:10 am
@jeeprs,
This is interesting: Mizuko kuyo, the Japanese Buddhist ceremony for aborted and miscarried fetuses.

Mizuko kuyō - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Reconstructo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Dec, 2009 01:12 am
@Deckard,
I had no idea such a thing went down. Thanks for posting.
0 Replies
 
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Dec, 2009 12:26 pm
@Deckard,
Not all Buddhists agree on the legitimacy of the Mizuko kuyo ritual. Some dismiss it and condemn it as a superstitious ritual derived from folk ritual. Kuyo is only loosely affiliated with Buddhism. Mizuko kuyo is derived from the Japanese memorial service for ancestral spirits senzo kuyo.

Quote:

(brackets mine)
In Shin Buddhist terms, the practice misses the point in two ways. It defines the central problem to be the need for kuyo rather than the practice of abortion, which in Buddhism is seen as the taking of a life. And it draws a karmic connection between the spirits of dead children and real life problems...
- Elizabeth Harrison 'I can only move my feet towards mizuko kuyo'
(I'll just edit this post if I feel the desire to post more info on mizuko kuyo.)
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Dec, 2009 08:11 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;113706 wrote:
This is interesting: Mizuko kuyo, the Japanese Buddhist ceremony for aborted and miscarried fetuses.

Mizuko kuyō - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I wonder if they mean an induced or therapeutic versus a spontaneous abortion. The term "abortion" traditionally has a broader meaning than just deliberate termination of a pregancy.

One would think Buddhists with their traditional reverance for all forms of sentinence and life would consider deliberate abortion in a negative light.
Deckard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Dec, 2009 09:03 pm
@prothero,
prothero;113941 wrote:
I wonder if they mean an induced or therapeutic versus a spontaneous abortion. The term "abortion" traditionally has a broader meaning than just deliberate termination of a pregancy.

One would think Buddhists with their traditional reverance for all forms of sentinence and life would consider deliberate abortion in a negative light.


Ah, I'm sorry it was not clear. The mizuko kuyo is a Japanese ceremony of remembrance for an unborn child usually repeated yearly on the day of the child's death. It in no way condones abortion. The mizuko kuyo ceremony is also performed for miscarriages and stillbirths.

Most agree that mizuko yoku is a recent tradition that only began sometime in the middle of the 20th century. There was some media fanfare about it in Japan but this has died down. People accused the priests of running a scam and frightening women by telling them that they were haunted by the ghost of their unborn child. Maybe there is an element of this sometimes.

However it seems clear (to me at least) that the ritual has value as it allows women and men (and society) to recognize the loss of an unborn life (reverence for life) and to process the grief, guilt and frustration they have over the loss (alleviates suffering).
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Dec, 2009 10:21 pm
@Deckard,
I don't think that any Buddhist would celebrate such an outcome. I am sure it is to be regretted under any circumstances. But sometimes it is unavoidable. Also I do agree with Deckard on the sense of the mizoku yoku ceremony.
Ali phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:40 am
@jeeprs,
The fetus has a soul, and is living, the taking of its life is the same as taking of any life.

I think you would find that the majority of buddhists would beleave that letting nature take its caurse would be the best action.

Intresting post (:
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:43 am
@Ali phil,
Ali;153485 wrote:
The fetus has a soul, and is living, the taking of its life is the same as taking of any life.

I think you would find that the majority of buddhists would beleave that letting nature take its caurse would be the best action.


How do you know that deciding to have an abortion is not the natural course of action. I mean are you saying human thought is outside nature? That thoughts are unnatural?

I don't see how any human activity, weather thoughts, or actions or even sayings fall outside the natural course of nature.
Ali phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:50 am
@Deckard,
You are absoloutly right it is natrual, but not a conducive action towards satori.
Um must correct my self in buddhism there is no soul sorry

But would have the same principles, which is its living, and you shouldnt take its life.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:56 am
@Deckard,
couldn't you say that insofar as we are aware of ourselves as being separate to nature, then we are indeed outside it. Isn't this the meaning of The Fall? Where in 'nature' will you find an artificial material like plastic, a computer, a building?
Ali phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 03:59 am
@Deckard,
Although the taking of life isn't forbidin or anything it all has to be taken with perspective, if this child was the cause of sombody els not the mother (rape for example)

And having this child will take away your ability to perform many more good deeds then you could abort the fetus.

Also we are taking life when we breath and swollow for example.

So accualy I was being far to simple in my previus comment it does really 'depend'

---------- Post added 04-18-2010 at 10:01 PM ----------

All things have buddha nature this includes a table a plastic chair etc.
All things are connected there is no 'outside' nature as such from what i can gather in my head.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 04:04 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;153490 wrote:
couldn't you say that insofar as we are aware of ourselves as being separate to nature, then we are indeed outside it. Isn't this the meaning of The Fall? Where in 'nature' will you find an artificial material like plastic, a computer, a building?


plastic is natural. We just happen to mix some things that don't always find themselves mixed. It doesn't mean that plastic is unnatural. Just because a few chemicals don't come together on an every day example you want to refer to it as unnatural?

You might want to view the human as being unnatural. I however; do not have that perspective, not in the least. I don't see anything that humans do that is unnatural. We are a part of nature in every sense of the word and you can't do anything outside nature.

---------- Post added 04-18-2010 at 03:06 AM ----------

Ali;153491 wrote:
All things have buddha nature this includes a table a plastic chair etc.
All things are connected there is no 'outside' nature as such from what i can gather in my head.


Thank you. I agree, I never understood why people insist on calling thing unnatural. There is nothing unnatural.
Ali phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 04:17 am
@Deckard,
It is a 'natrual' thing for humans to want to sperate un-natrual from natraul etc
In my opinion absoloutly everything is the same thing, a total interconnectedness
Science calls it intanglement i think. There is a buddhist saying that is, 'no one is truly enlightend untill all are enlightend.'
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 04:42 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;153494 wrote:
plastic is natural. We just happen to mix some things that don't always find themselves mixed.


Come on. Up until the exact time that humans created this particular compounds, they did not exist. If you went digging through ancient landscapes looking for them, you wouldn't find any. So what does 'natural' mean then? If it means 'everything that exists' then it means exactly nothing at all, and we might as well abandon the word.

---------- Post added 04-18-2010 at 08:58 PM ----------

Natural

1.existing in or formed by nature (opposed to artificial): a natural bridge.

2.based on the state of things in nature; constituted by nature: Growth is a natural process.

3.of or pertaining to nature or the universe: natural beauty.

4.of, pertaining to, or occupied with the study of natural science: conducting natural experiments.

5.in a state of nature; uncultivated, as land.

6.growing spontaneously, without being planted or tended by human hand, as vegetation

Artificial

1. made by human skill; produced by humans (opposed to natural): artificial flowers.
2. imitation; simulated; sham: artificial vanilla flavoring.
3. lacking naturalness or spontaneity; forced; contrived; feigned: an artificial smile.

---------- Post added 04-18-2010 at 09:03 PM ----------

Ali;153496 wrote:
It is a 'natrual' thing for humans to want to sperate un-natrual from natraul etc
In my opinion absoloutly everything is the same thing, a total interconnectedness
Science calls it intanglement i think. There is a buddhist saying that is, 'no one is truly enlightend untill all are enlightend.'



They may be good sentiments, though carelessly typed. But a great part of philosophical analysis is the ability to make distinctions. So to say 'everything is the same thing' may be a poetic expression, but it is not actually a true statement.

Entanglement refers to the quantum phenomenon of the measurement of particles which appear to affect each other, regardless of the separation in space.

It is indeed true that Mahayana Buddhism places the enlightenment of all beings ahead of enlightenment for oneself.
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 05:12 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;153500 wrote:
Come on. Up until the exact time that humans created this particular compounds, they did not exist. If you went digging through ancient landscapes looking for them, you wouldn't find any. So what does 'natural' mean then? If it means 'everything that exists' then it means exactly nothing at all, and we might as well abandon the word.

---------- Post added 04-18-2010 at 08:58 PM ----------

Natural

1.existing in or formed by nature (opposed to artificial): a natural bridge.

2.based on the state of things in nature; constituted by nature: Growth is a natural process.

3.of or pertaining to nature or the universe: natural beauty.

4.of, pertaining to, or occupied with the study of natural science: conducting natural experiments.

5.in a state of nature; uncultivated, as land.

6.growing spontaneously, without being planted or tended by human hand, as vegetation

Artificial

1. made by human skill; produced by humans (opposed to natural): artificial flowers.
2. imitation; simulated; sham: artificial vanilla flavoring.
3. lacking naturalness or spontaneity; forced; contrived; feigned: an artificial smile.



You might hold to that definition but I don't. It is nothing different than looking at a bird nest and calling that unnatural. Is it unnatural for a bird to collect twigs, leaves, and grass to build a nest? I have a feeling you will say no. But let's take it a little further. Is it unnatural for a human to take a bunch of sticks, mud and grass to build itself a "nest"? Maybe here you will say no. But you have already claimed that a building is unnatural. So when exactly does a human cross over to the unnatural side? The only thing the human did was refined the building materials. There is absolutely nothing unnatural about that, in fact that is the nature of a human being. It is our nature to refine the things we use as tools. Nothing is excluded therefore everything a human does is natural by nature. It does not matter if it is a human heating a bunch of oil until it separates or rubbing two sticks together to produce heat.

jeeprs;153500 wrote:

It is indeed true that Mahayana Buddhism places the enlightenment of all beings ahead of enlightenment for oneself.


Some do, but not all do. There are some who only strive for self realization and have no intentions of helping to point the way for others.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 05:25 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;153507 wrote:


You might hold to that definition but I don't. It is nothing different than looking at a bird nest and calling that unnatural. Is it unnatural for a bird to collect twigs, leaves, and grass to build a nest? I have a feeling you will say no. But let's take it a little further. Is it unnatural for a human to take a bunch of sticks, mud and grass to build itself a "nest"? Maybe here you will say no. But you have already claimed that a building is unnatural. So when exactly does a human cross over to the unnatural side? The only thing the human did was refined the building materials. There is absolutely nothing unnatural about that, in fact that is the nature of a human being. It is our nature to refine the things we use as tools. Nothing is excluded therefore everything a human does is natural by nature. It does not matter if it is a human heating a bunch of oil until it separates or rubbing two sticks together to produce heat.


We don't get to choose our own definitions. Artificial means 'an artifice, something that is made'. I suppose, at a stretch, a bird's nest might be considered an artifice, but I rather doubt it. 'Everything a human does is natural by nature' apart from being tautological is obviously not true. I don't even see the point of the argument.


Krumple;153507 wrote:
Some do, but not all do. There are some who only strive for self realization and have no intentions of helping to point the way for others.


in which case they are not Mahayana practitioners
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 05:32 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;153514 wrote:
We don't get to choose our own definitions. Artificial means 'an artifice, something that is made'. I suppose, at a stretch, a bird's nest might be considered an artifice, but I rather doubt it. 'Everything a human does is natural by nature' apart from being tautological is obviously not true. I don't even see the point of the argument.


You don't see the point in drawing a parallel? Early humans, what did they do? Did we always build our homes out of nicely cut lumber? Did we always build skyscrapers? I see no difference between a straw hut than a sky scraper. The only difference is the material's quality.

I do find it a little funny that you went from unnatural to artificial for your argument. I'll let you do that, but I am not making up my definition of natural. I still hold that a human can not escape nature in any way. You just want to call something a human does unnatural. Not sure why but if you insist humans do unnatural things then I think it is you who is trying to change definitions.

jeeprs;153514 wrote:

in which case they are not Mahayana practitioners


I was not aware that Mahayana meant you had seek to achieve enlightenment for the sake of all other beings. Not surprised that you would say this, since it is a common saying that has been abused and misunderstood.

Doesn't it also say that there are no sentient beings to be saved? Hmm perhaps you forgot this part?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Apr, 2010 05:42 am
@Deckard,
duh! What does 'natural' mean? I said before, if it means, 'everything that humans do' then what is the distinction between what is natural and what is not? Heavens sake. Not rocket science.

'No sentient beings to be saved' is a misinterpretation at face value. In Mahayana, there is a 'relative' truth and 'supreme' truth. You can say 'ultimately there are no separate beings, no self, no ego'. This is the supreme, ultimate truth. But the apparent individuals in their apparent life see themselves as self, ego, as I do, and I am sure you do. this is relative truth, the realm in which egoic beings dwell. Therefore the dedication of the Mahayana practitioner is to awaken all beings to the realization of 'no self, no separate being'.
 

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