Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

A place to bring a contemplative / Dharmic perspective and opinions to current events and politics.
santa100
Posts: 2725
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by santa100 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:58 am

tiltbillings wrote:But your use of the Dalai Lama's words here is very inappropriate -- a misuse of his words, in that you have taken them out of their very important, to the question, context:
“Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances… I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance”
No, absolutely not. The first phrase clearly states that abortion is "of course, and act of killing". Since killing is unwholesome kamma, therefore abortion is unwholesome kamma. This clearly answer the question I've raised. Now, the next phrase: "I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance”" clearly indicates his own opinion (by saying "I think") on whether to approve or disapprove abortion, which in no way, shape, or form refute the validity of the first phrase, which is: "of course, abortion is an act of killing".

By the way, please provide yes or no answer to the question raised.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23043
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:32 am

santa100 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:But your use of the Dalai Lama's words here is very inappropriate -- a misuse of his words, in that you have taken them out of their very important, to the question, context:
“Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances… I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance”
No, absolutely not.
The Dalai Lama did not just say: Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing. He went on to say: "Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances...", which is also very much in keeping with Buddhist teachings.
By the way, please provide yes or no answer to the question raised.
I am assuming this is the question you want me to answer:
    • If Jane Doe was pregnant (either due to consensual sex or rape), then made up her mind (regardless of whether she's given much thought about the decision or not at all), proceeded, and an abortion procedure has been completed, has Jane Doe generated an unwholesome kamma?
The answer:
      • “Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances… I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance”
As for a yes and no answer, life is not black and white, and if a meaningful Dhamma practice teaches one anything it is that how to understand something: It depends.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

santa100
Posts: 2725
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by santa100 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:54 am

tiltbillings wrote:As for a yes and no answer, life is not black and white, and if a meaningful Dhamma practice teaches one anything it is that how to understand something: It depends.
About the Dalai Lama quotes, you intentionally omit an important detail about his quote "But it depends on the circumstances": it is a separate sentence, not a phrase following the preceding sentence asserting that abortion is an act of killing. Therefore, the "depends on the circumstance" sentence is used to lead up to his opinion on whether to approve or disapprove abortion on his last sentences, which as already stated, has absolutely nothing to do with the validity of the "abortion is an act of killing" sentence.

About your "life is not black and white" statement, we haven't even talked at that scope just yet. Here is a very simple question with well-defined scope and all context clearly specified in parenthesis. I'm still waiting for your answer for I don't know if you meant "yes" or "no" to this simple question. It sounds like a "yes" but it's up to you to clarify.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23043
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:06 am

santa100 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:As for a yes and no answer, life is not black and white, and if a meaningful Dhamma practice teaches one anything it is that how to understand something: It depends.
About the Dalai Lama quotes, you intentionally omit an important detail about his quote "But it depends on the circumstances": it is a separate sentence, not a phrase following the preceding sentence asserting that abortion is an act of killing. Therefore, the "depends on the circumstance" sentence is used to lead up to his opinion on whether to approve or disapprove abortion on his last sentences, which as already stated, has absolutely nothing to do with the validity of the "abortion is an act of killing" sentence.

About your "life is not black and white" statement, we haven't even talked at that scope just yet. Here is a very simple question with well-defined scope and all context clearly specified in parenthesis. I'm still waiting for your answer for I don't know if you meant "yes" or "no" to this simple question.
"But it depends on the circumstances" One could have just as easily transcribed the Dalai Lama statement: "Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking, but it depends on the circumstances..." As for his opinion, it is also grounded in solid Buddhist teachings.

The answer to the question is: "Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking, but it depends on the circumstances..." If you want a simplistic, black and white answer that does not reflect real life, or the Dhamma itself, ask somebody else.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

santa100
Posts: 2725
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by santa100 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:19 am

tiltbillings wrote:
santa100 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:As for a yes and no answer, life is not black and white, and if a meaningful Dhamma practice teaches one anything it is that how to understand something: It depends.
About the Dalai Lama quotes, you intentionally omit an important detail about his quote "But it depends on the circumstances": it is a separate sentence, not a phrase following the preceding sentence asserting that abortion is an act of killing. Therefore, the "depends on the circumstance" sentence is used to lead up to his opinion on whether to approve or disapprove abortion on his last sentences, which as already stated, has absolutely nothing to do with the validity of the "abortion is an act of killing" sentence.

About your "life is not black and white" statement, we haven't even talked at that scope just yet. Here is a very simple question with well-defined scope and all context clearly specified in parenthesis. I'm still waiting for your answer for I don't know if you meant "yes" or "no" to this simple question.
"But it depends on the circumstances" One could have just as easily transcribed the Dalai Lama statement: "Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking, but it depends on the circumstances..." As for his opinion, it is also grounded in solid Buddhist teachings.

The answer to the question is: "Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking, but it depends on the circumstances..." If you want a simplistic, black and white answer that does not reflect real life, or the Dhamma itself, ask somebody else.
Again, you continue to intentionally omit the big period separating the 2 sentences. The fact that you've continued to avoid giving a simple yes/no answer to a simple question well defined in scope and context, indicates something really fishy here. But hey, if you don't want to answer it, fine. I have done my part by raising a legit. question for everyone and will repeat it here one more time in case someone finds it's useful or relevant to the OP topic:
If Jane Doe was pregnant (either due to consensual sex or rape), then made up her mind (regardless of whether she's given much thought about the decision or not at all), proceeded, and an abortion procedure has been completed, has Jane Doe generated an unwholesome kamma?
[Notice the question expects a simple yes/no response. It does not ask for the gradation of kammic results for that info. has already been included per the clarifications inside parenthesis.]

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5634
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by Aloka » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:51 am

Just a note to say that the link to the Dalai Lama quote I provided was from an article in Lion's Roar magazine. The link santa100 has given for the same quote is from an interview with the Dalai Lama in the New York Times. It includes the following section which wasn't in the quote I found, and I've written it in italics:
Question Can you also understand the needs of a woman who might not be able to raise a child?

Answer When I was in Lithuania a few years ago, I visited a nursery and I was told, "All these children are unwanted." So I think it is better that that situation be stopped right from the beginning -- birth control. Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances. If the unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent, these are cases where there can be an exception. I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance.

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/28/magaz ... wanted=all
In my opinion, its not up to men of any religious beliefs (or none) to dictate what women do with their bodies however many "holy" texts they can refer to.

Most men haven't got a clue about how traumatic, painful and life threatening pregnancy and childbirth can be for a lot of women, nor do some men even choose to try and understand the type of terrible physical and mental injuries which can be caused by rape.

:anjali:
Last edited by Aloka on Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23043
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:54 am

santa100 wrote: Again, you continue to intentionally omit the big period separating the 2 sentences. The fact that you've continued to avoid giving a simple yes/no answer to a simple question well defined in scope and context, indicates something really fishy here. But hey, if you don't want to answer it, fine. I have done my part by raising a legit. question for everyone and will repeat it here one more time in case someone finds it's useful or relevant to the OP topic:
If Jane Doe was pregnant (either due to consensual sex or rape), then made up her mind (regardless of whether she's given much thought about the decision or not at all), proceeded, and an abortion procedure has been completed, has Jane Doe generated an unwholesome kamma?
[Notice the question expects a simple yes/no response. It does not ask for the gradation of kammic results for that info. has already been included per the clarifications inside parenthesis.]
has Jane Doe generated an unwholesome kamma
That nature of her kamma will be dependent upon her intentions, intentions being a central factor in Buddhist ethics, and Dhamma practice. So, the Dalai Lama's response, big red period or not, is totally appropriate. A simple yes or no simply does not -- cannot meaningfully -- reflect, or compassionately characterize, the reality of such a complex, emotional fraught situation. I prefer a Dhamma that is humane, empathetic and compassionate, not a legalistic, black and white simplistic yes or no.

Either iteration of the Dalai Lama's statement will do, for either more accurately reflects the Buddha's teachings in a real world, real life situation:

"Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking, but it depends on the circumstances..."

"Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. but it depends on the circumstances..."
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by Ben » Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:56 am

Aloka wrote:Just a note to say that the link to the Dalai Lama quote I provided was from an article in Lion's Roar magazine. The link santa100 has given for the same quote is from an interview with the Dalai Lama in the New York Times. It includes the following section which wasn't in the quote I found, and I've written it in italics:
Question Can you also understand the needs of a woman who might not be able to raise a child?

Answer When I was in Lithuania a few years ago, I visited a nursery and I was told, "All these children are unwanted." So I think it is better that that situation be stopped right from the beginning -- birth control. Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances. If the unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent, these are cases where there can be an exception. I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance.

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/28/magaz ... wanted=all
In my opinion, its not up to men of any religious beliefs (or none) to dictate what women do with their bodies however many "holy" texts they can refer to.

Most men haven't got a clue about how traumatic, painful and life threatening pregnancy and childbirth can be, not do some of them even choose to try and understand the type of terrible physical and mental injuries which can be caused by rape.

:anjali:
Thank you, Aloka.
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

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23043
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:07 am

Aloka wrote:Just a note to say that the link to the Dalai Lama quote I provided was from an article in Lion's Roar magazine. The link santa100 has given for the same quote is from an interview with the Dalai Lama in the New York Times. It includes the following section which wasn't in the quote I found, and I've written it in italics:
Question Can you also understand the needs of a woman who might not be able to raise a child?

Answer When I was in Lithuania a few years ago, I visited a nursery and I was told, "All these children are unwanted." So I think it is better that that situation be stopped right from the beginning -- birth control. Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances. If the unborn child will be retarded or if the birth will create serious problems for the parent, these are cases where there can be an exception. I think abortion should be approved or disapproved according to each circumstance.

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/28/magaz ... wanted=all
In my opinion, its not up to men of any religious beliefs (or none) to dictate what women do with their bodies however many "holy" texts they can refer to.

Most men haven't got a clue about how traumatic, painful and life threatening pregnancy and childbirth can be for a lot of women, nor do some men even choose to try and understand the type of terrible physical and mental injuries which can be caused by rape.

:anjali:
Thanks.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 3687
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:56 am

santa100 wrote:If Jane Doe was pregnant (either due to consensual sex or rape), then made up her mind (regardless of whether she's given much thought about the decision or not at all), proceeded, and an abortion procedure has been completed, has Jane Doe generated an unwholesome kamma?
Yes.

If she subscribes to the view that a fetus doesn't become a living being until some later stage of pregnancy, then she does not make the unwholesome kamma of the intentional killing of a human being. If she thinks that it is a living being, then she makes the unwholesome kamma of intentional killing.

There are many circumstances in which individuals think that killing is justifiable: in warfare, euthanasia (mercy killing), capital punishment, for the sake of food, etc. Anyone is enititled to their personal opinion regarding that, including the Dalai Lama, but no text that I know of says that it is not the unwholesome kamma of killing if there are mitigating circumstances.

One can find sources such as The Story of Prince Bodhi indicating that the consequences of killing are different depending on one's view, being more severe if one's view is wrong and if that killing is done without compunction, than if one's view is right and the killing is done reluctantly due to force of circumstances.

May I remind people that the topic of this thread is not "Is abortion the unwholesome kamma of killing a living-being," which has already been debated more than enough elsewhere, but "Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?"

The question is somewhat loaded due to the choice of wording implying that engaged Buddhists should be militant in their opposition to it. That is not the position of most well-informed Buddhists.

All beings are the owners of their own kamma and will inherit the results. Thus one should maintain equanimity regarding the actions of others, while guarding one's own actions carefully, as Will said.
Will wrote:So working for saving lives of children unborn is meritorious as long as we do not stigmatize the doctors, nurses & mothers as monsters or fatally flawed in some way that leads us to disregard our own failings.
I think that answers the question in full. Engaged Buddhists should work to discourage abortions, but not in a militant way. If they do anything to encourage abortions, then they will share in the unwholesome kamma of killing a living being.

1. One does it oneself
2. One urges another to do it
3. One condones it
4. One speaks in praise of it.
AIM ForumsPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23043
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:12 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: . . .
Ven Pesala's above msg should neatly wrap it. It probably won't, but it should. Thankyou, bhante, for taking the time to write this.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Should Engaged Buddhists militate against abortion?

Post by Ben » Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:37 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: . . .
Ven Pesala's above msg should neatly wrap it. It probably won't, but it should. Thankyou, bhante, for taking the time to write this.
Thanks Venerable Pesala and Tilt. At this point, I'll close the thread.

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

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Leeuwenhoek2 and 22 guests