Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

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BlueLotus
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Re: Abhidhamma

Post by BlueLotus » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:03 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
A moderator, and it is a thankless job having to read most everything here. Why am I trying to deal anything at all? To ultimately help this forum run a bit smoother, if I am successful in what I am doing. At least I try.
I think we were running smooth until you intervened. Buhahaha. :D I think I saw a moderator tag under your name a long time back and thought you were a moderator and I just looked there before and all I saw was a grumpy looking man doing the thankless job. No tag. :D Heheh I'm joking. Maybe you should add that tag?

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Re: Abhidhamma

Post by Mkoll » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:56 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
A moderator, and it is a thankless job having to read most everything here. Why am I trying to deal anything at all? To ultimately help this forum run a bit smoother, if I am successful in what I am doing. At least I try.
I think we were running smooth until you intervened. Buhahaha. :D I think I saw a moderator tag under your name a long time back and thought you were a moderator and I just looked there before and all I saw was a grumpy looking man doing the thankless job. No tag. :D Heheh I'm joking. Maybe you should add that tag?
There is a reason why certain names are colored. Green = Moderator.

~~~

And I'd like to thank Vens. Pesala and Dhammanando for their clear and insightful posts in this rather volatile thread.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

Virgo
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Re: Abhidhamma

Post by Virgo » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:39 pm

Mkoll wrote: There is a reason why certain names are colored. Green = Moderator.
Actually, green is global moderator. You can see the moderation team here:

http://dhammawheel.com/memberlist.php?mode=team

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Mkoll
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Re: Abhidhamma

Post by Mkoll » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:15 pm

Virgo wrote:
Mkoll wrote: There is a reason why certain names are colored. Green = Moderator.
Actually, green is global moderator. You can see the moderation team here:

http://dhammawheel.com/memberlist.php?mode=team
Yes, that's what I meant, thank you for making that distinction.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Abhidhamma

Post by Virgo » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:37 pm

Mkoll wrote:
Virgo wrote:
Mkoll wrote: There is a reason why certain names are colored. Green = Moderator.
Actually, green is global moderator. You can see the moderation team here:

http://dhammawheel.com/memberlist.php?mode=team
Yes, that's what I meant, thank you for making that distinction.
No problem. :anjali:

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by BlueLotus » Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:48 am

Aha! Thank you.

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by acinteyyo » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:32 pm

I am aware of the common Theravada viewpoint, if I may call it so. However I also want to take a look at the discussion from a viewpoint which includes some scientific knowledge.

It is very difficult imho to say at which point in time we can talk about a "being" in the process of pregnancy and birth.

I recommend reading the articles on "Embryogenesis" and specially "Fetus" on wikipedia to get a general overview on the terms, particularly since the term "fetus" has been repeatadly used on the thread.

I, for myself, consider what is called a "fetus" a "living being", but the fetal phase starts at about the end of the 8. and with the begining of the 9. week (3rd month). Before that the "being to be born" is called an "embryo". The embryo starts to develop at around the 16th day. Prior to that the "being to be born" is a small lump of about some hundred cells, going through phases from what is called a "zygote" (1 cell/1st day) to a "morula" (4 - 32 cells/4th day). From there in the "blastogenesis" to a "blastula" which develops into the embryo, going through some more stages of transformation.
Not until the 3rd month the organs beginn its functions one after another. This is the beginning of the fetal phase and this is when I start considering a lump of cells a "living being". Others, of course, may see it differently. I also think that might be the point when "the presence of a being to be born (gandhabba)" is given. When the organs don't start functioning there cannot be said to be a living being, can we?
Therefore prior to the fetal phase I wouldn't consider abortion killing.
What do others think about this?

best wishes, acinteyyo
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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by daverupa » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:46 pm

acinteyyo wrote:Therefore prior to the fetal phase I wouldn't consider abortion killing.
What do others think about this?
From the first page, I had mentioned
daverupa wrote:...fetal viability...
which suggests something similar to me, ~5 months or so.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by Mkoll » Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:51 pm

I think Ven. Pesala has some very good points that happen to be opposed to your argument, acinteyyo. I'll quote a few of them below, cut from different posts.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The benefit of the unborn child is surely to live, and to be adopted by a caring family if unwanted, or perhaps to be raised by the father if the mother dies during child-birth. No one knows for sure, but most would choose to live over being killed for the short-term benefit of others.

[...]

Killing a human being is a more weighty kamma than killing an animal, due to the rarity of human rebirth, and its value for gaining enlightenment. For that see the Chiggala Sutta

[...]

It is not a random statement to say that human birth is exceedingly rare, and of great potential benefit to the being yet to be born. A painful and difficult life, such as that experienced by Kisagotami, Pātācara, and others, may be the spur needed to strive for enlightenment.

[...]

A foetus has no soul, just like a human baby, or a fully grown human being. What it does have is life, and if it is not destroyed by an abortionist's scalpel, by drugs, or by other interference, it will develop into a human being. If they were just cancer cells, destroying it would not be killing a human being. If it were just excess flab, cutting it out would not be killing a human being.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by acinteyyo » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:25 am

Mkoll wrote:I think Ven. Pesala has some very good points that happen to be opposed to your argument, acinteyyo. I'll quote a few of them below, cut from different posts.
The points Ven. Pesala mentioned deal with the consequences of killing a living being, which does not adress what I tried to point out. What I am concerned with is to clarify the question at which point in time there really is a living being before I consider the question of killing one. Why should one believe for example that a living being "exists" from the time on when the egg and sperm meet? As far as I am concerned, I believe a living being does not "exist" until the fetal phase with the beginning of its bodily functions for the reasons I've explained. So what do you think?
best wishes, acinteyyo
Last edited by acinteyyo on Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by acinteyyo » Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:29 am

daverupa wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:Therefore prior to the fetal phase I wouldn't consider abortion killing.
What do others think about this?
From the first page, I had mentioned
daverupa wrote:...fetal viability...
which suggests something similar to me, ~5 months or so.
I agree...
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by Mkoll » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:50 am

acinteyyo wrote:
Mkoll wrote:I think Ven. Pesala has some very good points that happen to be opposed to your argument, acinteyyo. I'll quote a few of them below, cut from different posts.
The points Ven. Pesala mentioned deal with the consequences of killing a living being, which does not adress what I tried to point out. What I am concerned with is to clarify the question at which point in time there really is a living being before I consider the question of killing one. Why should one believe for example that a living being "exists" from the time on when the egg and sperm meet? As far as I am concerned, I believe a living being does not "exist" until the fetal phase with the beginning of its bodily functions for the reasons I've explained. So what do you think?
best wishes, acinteyyo
True, Ven. Pesala's points don't directly address your points. I simply think they outweigh them; they're a more important consideration than at what point in time one wants to make the case for "life" or "existence" being present. To use an analogy, I bring up the poison arrow simile: the fact that one has been pierced with the arrow is a more important consideration than who shot me, what the arrow is made of, etc.

Human birth is rare. Though we may sometimes think there are too many of us and we're overpopulating the Earth, we must keep in mind how many more animals are being born and how many more still are being born in the even lower realms. The last 30 or so suttas in SN make this very clear. Here are a few.
SN 56.102-113 wrote:Then the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?"

"The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It doesn't even count. It's no comparison. It's not even a fraction, this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail, when compared with the great earth.

"In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn among human beings. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn in hell.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"

Then the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?"

"The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It doesn't even count. It's no comparison. It's not even a fraction, this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail, when compared with the great earth.

"In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn among human beings. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn in the animal womb... in the domain of the hungry ghosts.

... "In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn among devas. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn in hell... in the animal womb... in the domain of the hungry ghosts.

... "In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the deva realm, are reborn among devas. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the deva realm, are reborn in hell... in the animal womb... in the domain of the hungry ghosts.

... "In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the deva realm, are reborn among human beings. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the deva realm, are reborn in hell... in the animal womb... in the domain of the hungry ghosts.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by BlueLotus » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:41 am

Mkoll wrote: Human birth is rare. Though we may sometimes think there are too many of us and we're overpopulating the Earth, we must keep in mind how many more animals are being born and how many more still are being born in the even lower realms. The last 30 or so suttas in SN make this very clear. Here are a few.
So what is your point? I don't agree with killing but I also don't agree with making a person feel guilty of removing an embryo (especially an immature one) if that causes distress or life threats. Religion should not be the cause of stress. It should be the opposite. I don't know how an immature embryo is a person. It is just a cell formation. Period.

My friend is not budging. She continues with strong beliefs and fears of karma. The spirit of religion and ethics is lost when you are so blinded by fears to see that your actions make a worse situation for you, your loved ones and even the unborn child. I don't have anything much to say to her at this point.

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by Aloka » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:56 am

Interesting that there haven't been any women posting in this thread, its just all male opinions about what women should or shouldn't do.



.

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by BlueLotus » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:45 am

Haha! That is true. My other friend here (not the one pregnent) is a very good practicing Buddhist and she agrees with my ideas that it needs not be imposed on someone what they do with their body. So there's one with a opinion offline.

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by Mkoll » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:54 am

BlueLotus wrote:
Mkoll wrote:Human birth is rare. Though we may sometimes think there are too many of us and we're overpopulating the Earth, we must keep in mind how many more animals are being born and how many more still are being born in the even lower realms. The last 30 or so suttas in SN make this very clear. Here are a few.
So what is your point? I don't agree with killing but I also don't agree with making a person feel guilty of removing an embryo (especially an immature one) if that causes distress or life threats. Religion should not be the cause of stress. It should be the opposite. I don't know how an immature embryo is a person. It is just a cell formation. Period.

My friend is not budging. She continues with strong beliefs and fears of karma. The spirit of religion and ethics is lost when you are so blinded by fears to see that your actions make a worse situation for you, your loved ones and even the unborn child. I don't have anything much to say to her at this point.
My point is that I'm presenting what I'd call a "Dhammic perspective." Or rather, to give credit where it's due, I'm building upon Ven. Pesala's (edit: and Ven. Dhammanando's as well) points. It's just another point of view. Take it as you will.

~~~
Aloka wrote:Interesting that there haven't been any women posting in this thread, its just all male opinions about what women should or shouldn't do.
Just for the record, I'm not demanding that women should or shouldn't do something. I'm simply building upon a point of view that's relevant to this subject.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by BlueLotus » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:06 am

Mkoll wrote: My point is that I'm presenting what I'd call a "Dhammic perspective." Or rather, to give credit where it's due, I'm building upon Ven. Pesala's points. It's just another point of view. Take it as you will.
Okay, I don't see any "Dhammic perspective" in any opinion regarding abortion. People just have views and opinions. That's all. No need to give special credit to any view because it is coming from a man in a robe right? Other than the vinaya rules, I don't think Buddha tried to analyze it in terms of dhamma. Maybe this issue was not that important back then as it is now.

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by Mkoll » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:21 am

BlueLotus wrote:
Mkoll wrote: My point is that I'm presenting what I'd call a "Dhammic perspective." Or rather, to give credit where it's due, I'm building upon Ven. Pesala's points. It's just another point of view. Take it as you will.
Okay, I don't see any "Dhammic perspective" in any opinion regarding abortion. People just have views and opinions. That's all. No need to give special credit to any view because it is coming from a man in a robe right? Other than the vinaya rules, I don't think Buddha tried to analyze it in terms of dhamma. Maybe this issue was not that important back then as it is now.
The way I see it, the point I'm making is about the rarity of a human rebirth. And that is certainly a Dhammic perspective because it's in the suttas, such as the ones I just quoted.

That it has a connection to views about abortion is something I didn't think about until it was pointed out here, and I wanted to emphasize it. It's an important teaching in and of itself.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by BlueLotus » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:32 am

Mkoll wrote: The way I see it, the point I'm making is about the rarity of a human rebirth. And that is certainly a Dhammic perspective because it's in the suttas, such as the ones I just quoted.

That it has a connection to views about abortion is something I didn't think about until it was pointed out here, and I wanted to emphasize it. It's an important teaching in and of itself.
I don't see any connection to what you say with abortion unless you think that a cell formation developing inside a person's belly is a separate human being.

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Re: Abhidhamma: Is an abortion killing a living being?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:09 am

BlueLotus wrote:I don't see any connection to what you say with abortion unless you think that a cell formation developing inside a person's belly is a separate human being.
According the orthodox teachings, life begins at conception, so yes, those developing cells are already a human being.

I am curious to know at what point in gestation a woman knows that she is pregnant? There are a few rare cases where women have given birth before they even realised they were pregnant, but I guess that most will know after a month. After a month of gestation, the foetus is no longer just a few cells.

After just four weeks, the foetus is clearly not just a few cells.

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