If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
mddrill
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If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by mddrill » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:36 am

Wouldn't that be bringing a child into an existence which is suffering?

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retrofuturist
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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:43 am

Greetings,

It isn't just suffering, or else we wouldn't be here, because we'd have all committed suicide.

The fact we're having this conversation now suggests we've decided life is worth living, and by virtue of that, it renders your premise moot.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by DNS » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:53 am

Continuing with what retro said, it's the unenlightened life that is suffering. We can greatly reduce the suffering or even eliminate it, as we progress on the Path.

If you believe in or accept rebirth, then one argument that goes with that belief is that one is giving the opportunity for awakening to another sentient being. However, this does not mean or suggest that one must have children; the Dhamma doesn't require that or even marriage, the way monotheistic religions typically do (calling it a sacrament or commandment).

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:13 am

DNS wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:53 am
the Dhamma doesn't require that or even marriage, the way monotheistic religions typically do (calling it a sacrament or commandment).
In five ways, young householder, the parents thus ministered to as the East by their children, show their compassion:

(i) they restrain them from evil,
(ii) they encourage them to do good,
(iii) they train them for a profession,
(iv) they arrange a suitable marriage :| ,
(v) at the proper time they hand over their inheritance to them.

Sigalovada Sutta
A sacrament is a Christian rite recognised as of particular importance and significance.
1 Corinthians 7:8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried...

Matthew 19:10 The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."
Celibacy- is marriage obligatory in Judaism?

All Jewish men are obligated to marry because they need it both physiologically and spiritually in order to keep them focused on life itself (rather than being preoccupied with their sexual gratification).... This clearly set the tone and norm for the family life which is so basic and elementary to anyone who knows anything about Judaism (the celibacy found in the Essene, Catholic and other religions was always mocked and ridiculed by Judaism as if inferring that a perfect God “made a mistake” (!) when He created the exceptional attraction between men and women!).

http://www.yeshiva.co/ask/?id=7302

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:17 am

Having a child is a responsibility.
If you have a child and do not take the responsibility then it is unethical.
If you believe in Buddhism and rebirth, becoming a human is the greatest of all being.
Only a human can realise Nibbana so giving a being to become a human is a greatest giving.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:22 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:17 am
If you believe in Buddhism and rebirth, becoming a human is the greatest of all being.
Then why don't arahants & other enlightened Buddhists have children?
SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:17 am
Only a human can realise Nibbana so giving a being to become a human is a greatest giving.
Where does Dhamma say this?
This is the best of gifts: the gift of Dhamma. And this is the best of friendly speech: to teach again and again Dhamma to those who wish for it and who listen attentively. And this is the best of helpful acts: to arouse, instil and strengthen faith in the unbeliever; to arouse, instil and strengthen virtue in the immoral; to arouse, instil and strengthen generosity in the niggard; to arouse, instil and strengthen wisdom in the unwise. And this is the best bestowal of equity: if a stream-winner becomes equal to a stream-winner; a once-returner equal to a once-returner; a non-returner equal to a non-returner; and an arahant equal to an arahant. AN 9.5

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by DNS » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:35 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:13 am
1 Corinthians 7:8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried...
A widow is someone who was married, it is just that her husband happened to have passed away. Full context of that passage here:

Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

8 Now to the unmarried[a = widowers] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Matthew 19:10 The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."
Full context of that passage:
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”
11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

(it was about divorce, not that one should not get married, according to Christianity)

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:38 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:22 am
SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:17 am
If you believe in Buddhism and rebirth, becoming a human is the greatest of all being.
Then why don't arahants & other enlightened Buddhists have children?
SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:17 am
Only a human can realise Nibbana so giving a being to become a human is a greatest giving.
Where does Dhamma say this?
This is the best of gifts: the gift of Dhamma. And this is the best of friendly speech: to teach again and again Dhamma to those who wish for it and who listen attentively. And this is the best of helpful acts: to arouse, instil and strengthen faith in the unbeliever; to arouse, instil and strengthen virtue in the immoral; to arouse, instil and strengthen generosity in the niggard; to arouse, instil and strengthen wisdom in the unwise. And this is the best bestowal of equity: if a stream-winner becomes equal to a stream-winner; a once-returner equal to a once-returner; a non-returner equal to a non-returner; and an arahant equal to an arahant. AN 9.5
Your liberation come first.
Yes, Dhamma is the highest gift. Becoming a human is rare.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:43 am

DNS wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:35 am
Now to the unmarried

... there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.
Revelation 14.4

These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... ersion=NIV
:alien:
SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:17 am
Becoming a human is rare.
7 billion homo sapiens on earth does not appear rare. But living 'humanely' according to the Dhamma seems rare.

Sooner, I say, would that blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole than the fool who has gone once to the nether world would regain the human state. For what reason? Because here, bhikkhus, there is no conduct guided by the Dhamma, no righteous conduct, no wholesome activity, no meritorious activity. Here there prevails mutual devouring, the devouring of the weak. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, they have not seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn56.47
Last edited by DooDoot on Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:47 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:44 am

What is unique in human compare to an animal?


viewtopic.php?f=13&t=15139&p=218255&hilit=
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:48 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:44 am
What is unique in human compare to an animal?
Definitely not sexual intercourse, procreation & reproduction... ;)
Then the Gracious One after seeing that the Koliyan lady Suppavāsā was elated, gladdened, joyful and happy, said this to the Koliyan lady Suppavāsā: “Suppavāsā, do you long for another such son?”

“Gracious One, I long for another seven such sons.” Then the Gracious One, having understood the significance of it, on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance:

“The disagreeable in an agreeable form, the unlovely in a lovely form,
The painful in the form of pleasure, overcome the heedless one.”

https://suttacentral.net/en/ud2.8

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by DNS » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:54 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:43 am
Revelation 14.4
These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
Again, you left out the context, that this passage was referring to the 12,000 that are to be saved from each tribe (according to Christianity):

12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

Only 144,000 out of over 7 billion people.

Which tribe are you from? ;)

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:57 am

DNS wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:54 am
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun, Which tribe are you from? ;)
Zebulon :)
DNS wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:54 am
Again, you left out the context, that this passage was referring to the 12,000 that are to be saved from each tribe (according to Christianity):
Galatians 3:28 - There is neither Jew nor Gentile....for you are all one in Christ Jesus. :roll:
Last edited by DooDoot on Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by DNS » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:01 am

Galatians 3:28 - There is neither Jew nor Gentile....
Revelations comes after Galatians, so Revelations trumps...
DooDoot wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:57 am
DNS wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:54 am
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun, Which tribe are you from? ;)
Zebulon :)
I need proof, I need to see some genetic evidence. :D

:popcorn:

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:02 am

DNS wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:01 am
I need proof, I need to see some genetic evidence. :D
Blasphemy... antisemitism... its been my nickname since I was 16 years old... ask my mates :thumbsup:

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by DNS » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:12 am

Here is one of the previous threads on this topic:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=23194

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by binocular » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:01 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:43 am
It isn't just suffering, or else we wouldn't be here, because we'd have all committed suicide.
It's not clear how this holds. Don't underestimate the power of cynicism.
The fact we're having this conversation now suggests we've decided life is worth living, and by virtue of that, it renders your premise moot.
With this, too, it's not clear how it holds. There's a decisive scene in the film "The Shawshank Redemption" where the main character states, "/I/t comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'." But I doubt many people are at this juncture on a daily basis, or any kind of regular basis at all. If anything, it seems to me that many people stay alive by a kind of inertia, doing their best to altogether avoid the question of whether life is worth living or not.

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by seeker242 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:23 pm

mddrill wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:36 am
Wouldn't that be bringing a child into an existence which is suffering?
I would argue that a Buddhist having a child is more ethical than not. :smile: One could say it's ethical because bringing a child into a Buddhist family and raising them with Buddhist ethics and values, and teaching them Buddhist practices, this will be very beneficial for that being.
That being will be reborn regardless. Much better to be reborn as a Buddhist. The rebirth process for a being will not stop simply because another decides to not have children.

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by mal4mac » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:25 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:43 am

It isn't just suffering, or else we wouldn't be here, because we'd have all committed suicide.
Mild, chronic depression is quite common, but most dysthymics don't kill themselves:

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/ ... ysthymia#1

As this can go on all day, every day, then (waking) life can be *just* suffering.

Even if you aren't depressed, if you stop to reflect for a moment, then you realise (again) how unsatisfactory life is! So, if you are an upbeat sort of person, you might be feeling good, but a few moments reflection will put a stop to that :twisted:.
- Mal

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Re: If life is suffering, then wouldn't it be unethical to have children?

Post by mal4mac » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:33 pm

DNS wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:53 am
Continuing with what retro said, it's the unenlightened life that is suffering. We can greatly reduce the suffering or even eliminate it, as we progress on the Path.
But there are chronic depressives out there, and people in permanent physical pain, who don't think their suffering can be eliminated or reduced, but they don't kill themselves. They might have something to live for, maybe something as simple as knitting clothes for poor babies (just read an article on an old folks home where one "long suffering" lady kept going by doing this...) Then again, they might just stare at the wall in a state of never-ending boredom and depression (that old folks home again...) but they don't kill themselves!
- Mal

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