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Abortion - Dhamma Wheel

Abortion

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Will
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Abortion

Postby Will » Sat May 11, 2013 3:55 pm

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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Lazy_eye
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Re: Abortion

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat May 11, 2013 4:08 pm

Well, it seems pretty clear that Theravada Buddhism does not condone abortion as a form of birth control.

Things get trickier, though, when situations arise that involve the health or life of the mother. Because in such cases, the decision to save the fetus may amount to killing the mother.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Sat May 11, 2013 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Will
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Re: Abortion

Postby Will » Sat May 11, 2013 4:12 pm

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

Coyote
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Re: Abortion

Postby Coyote » Sat May 11, 2013 4:20 pm

I think it is pretty clear. Abortion (even as contraception) is willfully putting an end to the life of an unborn, which, undeveloped though it might be, would continue to grow and develop until it is ready to be born.
I think this is different from "pro-life" as that often comes with a whole load of political and philosophical baggage that may be alien to the Dhamma.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

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daverupa
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Re: Abortion

Postby daverupa » Sat May 11, 2013 5:02 pm


Dennenappelmoes
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Re: Abortion

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Sat May 11, 2013 5:19 pm

A less conservative approach to the Dhamma, also touches on abortion:


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Will
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Re: Abortion

Postby Will » Sat May 11, 2013 5:25 pm

Sure is difficult to focus on what Buddha taught - evidently.
A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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daverupa
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Re: Abortion

Postby daverupa » Sat May 11, 2013 5:46 pm


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Lazy_eye
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Re: Abortion

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat May 11, 2013 6:17 pm

If we're talking about personal opinions, mine is that abortion in the first few weeks after conception doesn't present a moral problem, for the reasons Daverupa mentioned. And I also think it is justifiable when the mother's health is at stake.

However, my view is informed by secular ethics rather than Theravada moral norms, and I believe Will was asking an informational question about what (Theravada) Buddhism teaches. It seems difficult, to me, to find a basis in the suttas for justifying abortion at any stage of pregnancy, except when the mother's life is in danger. Again, let me stress that I'm simply trying to answer Will's question, not promulgate my own views.

The issue seems entangled fairly deeply with everyone's favorite dhamma topic, rebirth. If we go by the orthodox Theravada teachings, which not only assert that rebirth takes place but provide a detailed outline of how it takes place, then abortion clearly violates the first precept. Worth remembering here, perhaps, that even intentional killing of a bumblebee is a breach of the precept, at least from an orthodox point of view.

Unfortunately, if one is agnostic about rebirth, there is still a potential moral problem. Being agnostic means you accept the possibility that rebirth might be true, in which case abortion isn't ahimsa.

If one rejects rebirth, then we 're left with the need to define a starting point for "life" in an ethically meaningful sense. Maybe the viability threshold.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Sat May 11, 2013 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Will
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Re: Abortion

Postby Will » Sat May 11, 2013 6:31 pm

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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cooran
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Re: Abortion

Postby cooran » Sat May 11, 2013 6:51 pm

hello all,

This previous thread may be of interest:

Theravada's Teaching on bioethics:
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1392

With metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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daverupa
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Re: Abortion

Postby daverupa » Sat May 11, 2013 7:19 pm


Zakattack
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Re: Abortion

Postby Zakattack » Sat May 11, 2013 9:24 pm


Dennenappelmoes
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Re: Abortion

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Sat May 11, 2013 10:30 pm


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Aloka
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Re: Abortion

Postby Aloka » Sun May 12, 2013 2:41 am

There was a sad case of a woman being refused an abortion in Ireland recently.



.

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Ben
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Re: Abortion

Postby Ben » Sun May 12, 2013 5:15 am

That is indeed, sad, Aloka. I just think its a little bizarre that the doctors did not remove the dead foetus.
I wonder whether all the relevant facts have been reported.
kind regards,
Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Abortion

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun May 12, 2013 9:26 am

Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


Dennenappelmoes
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Re: Abortion

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Sun May 12, 2013 11:10 am


Zakattack
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Re: Abortion

Postby Zakattack » Sun May 12, 2013 11:33 am


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Will
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Re: Abortion

Postby Will » Sun May 12, 2013 2:18 pm

As yogurt put it: "trying to form an opinion on abortion in today's world based on the suttas". Very true, but I was not trying to form my opinion or anyone's else's. I simply wanted to get many Theravadin sources on the subject and discuss how abortion was viewed THEN not now.
A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25


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