Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

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Buddha Vacana
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Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Buddha Vacana » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:17 pm

Here is an excerpt from a discussion on the parajika rule of murder:
there is a phrase in the original rule that is important.

“or praise the advantages of death”
This opens up the door just about anything, even a nod of the head or a grunt, etc that may praise the benefits of killing, or death. In this case, speaking up in praise of abortion for any case, even to save the life of a mother, is an offense as well. If someone were to listen to a recording of such words or read an article of such words, and then do the abortion, then it would be an offense for a monk all the same as killing himself.

Such a topic is sort of taboo for a monk to publicly speak on because there is no way of really knowing if someone had killed an unborn baby based on such words. Just as it is the penalty for monks on killing humans, it can be used as a model for the first precept for lay people on killing living beings.


"At one time a certain woman whose husband was living away
from home became pregnant by a lover. She said to a monk who was
supported by her family, “Master, please find a method of abortion.”
“All right, sister,” he said, and he gave her a method of abortion. The
child died. He became anxious. … “You, monk, have fallen into an
offence entailing expulsion.”

At one time a certain man had two wives, one who was barren
and one who was fertile. The barren one said to a monk who was
supported by her family, “If she should bring forth a child, bhante,
she will become mistress of the whole household. Master, please find
a method of abortion for her.” “All right, sister,” he said, and he gave
her a method of abortion. The child died, but the mother did not die.
He became anxious … “… expulsion.”

At one time a certain woman who was pregnant said to a monk
who was supported by her family, “Master, please find me a method
of abortion.” “Well then crush¹ it, sister,” he said. She crushed it and
caused an abortion. He became anxious … “… expulsion.”


Could we replace "method of abortion" with "justification for abortion"?

Adversely, is it arguable that insofar as the monk justifying abortion does not regard the fetus as a human being, he does not knowingly encourage murder?

What if the monk actually lies to himself and convinces himself that the fetus is not a human being, disregarding blatant evidence of the contrary, say, out of willingness to be considered a progressist?

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Mr Man » Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:03 pm

Buddha Vacana wrote:

What if the monk actually lies to himself and convinces himself that the fetus is not a human being, disregarding blatant evidence of the contrary, say, out of willingness to be considered a progressist?


Yesterday Bhikku Pesala replied on another topic with the following

"Even a bhikkhu who falls into an offence of defeat is not "kicked out" of the Sangha, until and unless he acknowledges his offence, then he automatically ceases to be a bhikkhu. No kicking is required."


So possibly if other Bhikku's were convinced that the said Bhikku had committed a parajika offence it would be up to the them to convince the said Bhikku.

viewtopic.php?f=45&t=28372#p405470

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Zom » Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:17 pm

What if the monk actually lies to himself and convinces himself that the fetus is not a human being, disregarding blatant evidence of the contrary, say, out of willingness to be considered a progressist?


Again, still there is the question - what if the fetus (on early stages) is indeed not a human being? How can one know? Buddha did not clarify that, and science is yet to discover such thing as citta (so to know for sure when there is a citta in a fetus or when there is none).

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:33 pm

Five factors must be fulfilled for an offence of defeat:-
  1. Object: a human being, which according to the Vibhaṅga includes human fetuses as well, counting from the time consciousness first arises in the womb immediately after conception up to the time of death.
  2. Intention: knowingly, consciously, deliberately, and purposefully wanting to cause that person’s death. “Knowingly” also includes the factor of:
  3. Perception: perceiving the person as a living being.
  4. Effort: whatever one does with the purpose of causing that person to die.
  5. Result: The person dies as the result of one’s act.

There is no offence if not knowing that a living being was there — e.g., placing a heavy load on a pile of cloth without realising that a person was lying underneath it.
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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Caodemarte » Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:36 pm

Just a note that the tradtonal alternative to abortion in very poor areas where abortion is not available is often infanticide. In Europe this was often done by exposure. That would certainly be child murder. The argument is made that those who forbid abortion are responsible for de facto encouraging child murder and bear the responsibility for that crime.

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Bakmoon » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:39 pm

Buddha Vacana wrote:Could we replace "method of abortion" with "justification for abortion"?

No, the textual sources don't mention that. By the four great standards you could probably say that by analogy a Monk who speaks in praise of abortion or encourages an abortion knowing that the fetus is a human being as per Parajika 3 and doing that purposefully would be an offence, but you can't expand it indefinately because the Sutta Vibhanga says:

There is no offense: if it is unintentional; if he does not know; if he is not aiming at death; if he is insane; if he is the first offender.

So if the Monk is just giving an opinion on when life begins and someone acts on that and procures an abortion after consciousness has appeared, although it would be an act of killing, you can't blame the Monk because they didn't intentionally have anything to do with it, and they didn't have the necessary knowledge, just as the Ven. Pesala explained with an analogy.

If the rule didn't work this way all sorts of bizarre things would follow. Monks in effect would be barred from discussing entire topics just on the off chance that someone might do something with that information that might end up killing someone.
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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby SarathW » Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:07 pm

Monks in effect would be barred from discussing entire topics just on the off chance that someone might do something with that information that might end up killing someone.]


Is there any rules to prohibit monk (even lay people) talking about this sort of speculative discussions?
This may be applicable for monks talking in support of euthanasia.
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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Buddha Vacana » Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:32 pm

Zom wrote:
What if the monk actually lies to himself and convinces himself that the fetus is not a human being, disregarding blatant evidence of the contrary, say, out of willingness to be considered a progressist?


Again, still there is the question - what if the fetus (on early stages) is indeed not a human being? How can one know? Buddha did not clarify that, and science is yet to discover such thing as citta (so to know for sure when there is a citta in a fetus or when there is none).

Let's say for example the monk says it's ok up to 16 weeks or more.

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby santa100 » Sat Dec 10, 2016 6:06 am

Also don't forget the factor of whether the monk is a nobody or a world renowned teacher. With higher seniority, rank, status, etc. it's obvious that s/he will have much larger number of followers who look up to them and tend to follow/implement what they teach. Hence the proportional increase in responsibility and much more care must be put into each thought, act, or speech. When a nobody in Germany talks about the "final solution", nothing would happen. But when Hitler, the Nazi chancellor talked about it, 6 millions Jews perished as a result.

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Zom » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:36 am

Let's say for example the monk says it's ok up to 16 weeks or more.


No idea. Difficult to say when exactly vinnana enters rupa. Ajahn Brahm in that his paper shared some thoughts which seem logical. But again, who knows..

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Buddha Vacana » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:51 am

Zom wrote:
Let's say for example the monk says it's ok up to 16 weeks or more.


No idea. Difficult to say when exactly vinnana enters rupa. Ajahn Brahm in that his paper shared some thoughts which seem logical. But again, who knows..

This question has been answered.
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=28371#p405419

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:37 am

Hi.
Justifying abortion would possibly be praising abortion. However it would depend on when the justification happened (before an abortion would possibly be praising), and how it was being justified.

Without further information it would be hard to tell

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But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Dec 10, 2016 6:06 pm

Zom wrote:Difficult to say when exactly viññāṇa enters rūpa.

Viññāṇa never enters rūpa. The idea of consciousness "entering" the womb or a gandhabba hanging around waiting to "enter" the womb is misleading, and may give rise to false views of transmigration of a soul.

What is mind? No matter!
What is matter? Never mind!

When decease consciousness (cuti citta) ceases in a being who is about to be reborn (gandhabba), it conditions the arising of rebirth consciousness (patisandhiviññāṇa) in a new existence, which is when life begins. (I realise that you know this, but what you wrote needed to be corrected).

These first few cells of life connected with a process of consciousness without any brain, spinal cord, or lungs cannot be "conscious" in the normal sense of responding to stimuli, but then neither is a person in a deep coma, yet they are still alive. I think that problems arise when one conflates "consciousness" with being conscious. They are not the same. I had a nap this afternoon, when I was quite unconscious of my surroundings for some time, but I was not dead, and the process of consciousness continued to flow as usual while I was fast asleep.
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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Zom » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:18 pm

This question has been answered.
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=28371#p405419


Yes, I read. But this is just another opinion.

Viññāṇa never enters rūpa. The idea of consciousness "entering" the womb or a gandhabba hanging around waiting to "enter" the womb is misleading, and may give rise to false views of transmigration of a soul.

When decease consciousness (cuti citta) ceases in a being who is about to be reborn (gandhabba), it conditions the arising of rebirth consciousness (patisandhiviññāṇa) in a new existence, which is when life begins. (I realise that you know this, but what you wrote needed to be corrected).


Yes, I'm aware of abhidhammic explanation, but I don't agree with it since there are evidences of so called "intermediate state" in suttas themselves (this is not something new, sarvastivadins pointed to this fact long long time ago). In this sense, yes, I do believe there is a "soul" entering rupa (and this belief goes along smoothly with modern reports of rebith, such as Ian Stevenson works or numerous reports of NDE). However, this "soul" is still as impermanent as everything else, so no, it is not something which could be considered "atta" or a "true self".

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Buddha Vacana » Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:34 pm

Zom wrote:
This question has been answered.
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=28371#p405419


Yes, I read. But this is just another opinion.

Yeah, right. Anything anyone can ever say is "just another opinion", including what is most certainly the Buddha's words. But then again, what have we come here for, exactly?

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:35 pm

Zom wrote:In this sense, yes, I do believe there is a "soul" entering rupa (and this belief goes along smoothly with modern reports of rebirth, such as Ian Stevenson works or numerous reports of NDE). However, this "soul" is still as impermanent as everything else, so no, it is not something which could be considered "atta" or a "true self".

Your belief sounds very similar to that of Bhikkhu Sāti the son of a fisherman who believed that it was consciousness that transmigrated, not that it is something that arises dependent on conditions.
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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby SarathW » Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:50 pm

:goodpost: Bhante
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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Zom » Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:41 am

Your belief sounds very similar to that of Bhikkhu Sāti the son of a fisherman who believed that it was consciousness that transmigrated, not that it is something that arises dependent on conditions.


I don't know why this sounds like that to you, since I did say, that consciousness is impermanent, while Sati said it was permanent .)
Consciousness indeed exists only when nama-rupa exists, but as I see it, in the intermediate state there are some remains of namarupa elements (including rupa as well, not speaking about nama), which help consiousness to be there. Again, I repeat, there are suttas which have strong arguments for intermediate existence. I guess, there are some papers and remarks from famous teachers as well on this account, such as Ven. Bodhi or Piya Tan. I find their explanations grounded and convincing.

Here, I found one, please take a look: http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-con ... .-piya.pdf


Yeah, right. Anything anyone can ever say is "just another opinion", including what is most certainly the Buddha's words


I read suttas. Buddha never gave detailed explanation on the subject, so sorry, what you say to be "most certainly the Buddha's words" here is just a personal opinion, a speculation, to be exact. Ajahn Brahmavamso has his own, others have their own. Its okay.

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:04 pm

Buddha Vacana wrote:Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?


If some modernist bhikkhu were to speak favourably of foeticide and it happened that a pregnant woman, as a result of hearing/reading his words, was emboldened to have an abortion, he would be pārājika only if this was the outcome he was aiming at. He wouldn’t be pārājika if his aim was merely to give an exposition of his view. Although the third pārājika rule can be transgressed in quite a variety of ways, all of these ways require that there be some particular human being (or in the present case some human embryo or foetus) whose death the bhikkhu seeks to encompass. Without this there won’t be any pārājika because the factors of perception and intention will be absent.

This is not of course to say that such a bhikkhu’s conduct will be free of blame. He can rightly be criticized for being reckless and irresponsible, and it’s possible his words might also be actionable under the 68th pācittiya rule.


Buddha Vacana (quoting Bhikkhu Subhūti) wrote:If someone were to listen to a recording of such words or read an article of such words, and then do the abortion, then it would be an offense for a monk all the same as killing himself.


No, it wouldn’t.

I googled for source of your quote and read the full blog entry. It’s rather poor and seems to have been written without consulting the Vinaya Piṭaka’s detailed exposition but only the bare training rule as it’s found in the Pāṭimokkha.

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Re: Do bhikkhus who justify abortion risk becoming parajika?

Postby Buddha Vacana » Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:37 pm

Dhammanando wrote:...

Thank you for this precise and well informed answer, Bhante.


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