Planned Parenthood, Abortion and Buddhism

Last weekend a white terrorist with a gun shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. The United States needs tougher anti-gun laws. This is not an opinion or a political position. It is an indisputable fact.

Do you know how many times the Bible mentions abortion? How about none? The website Christian Bible Reference says, “Abortion, infanticide and child abandonment were permitted under Roman law at the time of Jesus. Surprisingly, abortion is never mentioned in the Bible, despite the fact that it has been practiced since ancient times by a variety of means.” So Jesus himself was aware that abortions, infanticides and child abandonment were happening all around him and did not say a single thing about it.

In its entry on the Buddhist view of abortion Wikipedia says, “all traditional sources, such as the Buddhist monastic code, hold that life begins at conception and that abortion, which would then involve the deliberate destruction of life, should be rejected.” I found this surprising. I’ve never come across this view before. It seemed like some Wikipedia editor wanted the Buddhist position to sound as much like the current “Pro-Life” position as possible. So I looked up the reference.

It’s from a book called Introduction to Buddhist Ethics by Peter Harvey, published in 2000 by the Cambridge University Press. The entire book can be downloaded as a PDF for free. Wikipedia seems to be paraphrasing a line that appears early in the chapter on abortion and contraception.  The actual line is, “The monastic code recognizes human life as starting at conception; for the minimum age for full ordination, twenty, is reckoned from then, not from leaving the womb.” So Wikipedia’s paraphrasing is a bit, shall we say, “liberal.”

The chapter also cites the following conversation between the Buddha and his attendant and cousin Ananda:

BUDDHA: Were consciousness Ananda, not to fall into the mother’s womb, would the sentient body be constituted there?

ANANDA: It would not, Lord.

BUDDHA: Were consciousness, having fallen into the mother’s womb, to turn aside from it, would the sentient body come to birth in this present state?

ANANDA: It would not, Lord.

This is a very different view from the one that most “Pro-Life” folks in the US these days hold. Consciousness is one of five factors that make up a human being. The others are form, feeling, perception, and impulses to action. There is no idea that consciousness is a single unique unified entity that constitutes the real essence of a person, as in the idea of a soul.

A little further down, the same book quotes another passage from the early Buddhist scriptures. This one says:

“If there is, here, a coitus of the parents, and it is the mother’s season, and a gandhabba is present: it is from the conjunction of these three things that there is descent of the embryo [and not if only the first, or only the first and second, condition is met].”

A gandhabba is an already existent being who is ready to be reborn once more.

So, yeah, maybe you can make the case that there is a Buddhist view that “life begins at conception” but you ought to say something like, “this life begins at conception.” Life, in Buddhist terms, has no beginning or end. It doesn’t start at conception and it doesn’t end if there’s an abortion.

As for the statement that “all traditional sources … (say) that abortion … should be rejected,” that too is arguable. So arguable, in fact, that I’d go as far as to say it’s bullshit.

The Wikipedia entry itself quotes the Dalai Lama as saying, “Of course, abortion, from a Buddhist viewpoint, is an act of killing and is negative, generally speaking. But it depends on the circumstances.” In Buddhist Japan, abortion is legal and nobody protests against it. In fact, there is a Buddhist tradition for mourning the loss of aborted children. Little statues of the Buddhist saint Jizo are placed on street corners all over the country. There was one about half a block from my apartment. I passed it on my way to work every day and often it would be surrounded by boxes of candy and little toys as gifts for someone’s unborn child.

I think most Buddhists, like most people of any religion or philosophy, would avoid having an abortion unless there was no other choice. But to imply that Buddhism is a kind of Asian version of the American “Pro Life” movement is, quite frankly, a load of crap and Wikipedia ought to change their entry.

Officially, the motive for the shooting in Colorado is unknown. But we all know what it was. He saw that video created by a group called the Center for Medical Progress in which a Planned Parenthood spokesperson is edited so that it seems like she’s talking about selling fetal baby parts. She isn’t. The video also shows a bunch of clips of stillborn babies and gross-out medical procedures with the implication that these unrelated scenes were shot at Planned Parenthood clinics. They were not.

The shooter was also batshit crazy. And it was easy as pie for him to get a firearm.

The people who made that video are now trying to claim the shooting is not their fault. David Daleiden, the head of the Center for Medical Progress, said, “The Center for Medical Progress condemns the barbaric killing spree in Colorado Springs by a violent madman. We applaud the heroic efforts of law enforcement to stop the violence quickly and rescue the victims, and our thoughts and prayers are with the wounded, the lost, and their families.”

Condemnation and applause, thoughts and prayers. That’ll fix things. Works every time.

David Daleiden and the folks at the Center for Medical progress are far from the first ones to absolve themselves of responsibility for the actions their rhetoric has inspired and they won’t be the last. It’s hard to draw a straight line of connection, but we all know there is one. It’s like the connection between violent video games and actual violence. Not everyone who hears the message becomes a killer, but some do. There are lots of batshit crazy people out there and, at least in America, quick and easy access to guns of all kinds to anyone who wants them.

It’s probably pointless for me to condemn the shooter or applaud the cops here on this little blog. I doubt any of my audience are the kinds of twerps who post tweets about how the shooter saved the lives of innocent babies. If you are, please go away.

I mourn the dead and hope that this kind of completely unnecessary misery will someday be a thing of the past. Please always remember that people have shitty enough lives already without you adding more shittiness to them in any form. So cut it out.

Thanks.

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63 Responses

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  1. sri_barence
    sri_barence November 30, 2015 at 1:40 pm |

    At least one news account says the shooting may have had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood. (See: http://www.examiner.com/article/witness-accounts-conflict-with-planned-parenthood-shooting-narrative).

    Whatever the case may be, I still agree with your arguments re: gun control and general craziness.

    1. drocloc
      drocloc November 30, 2015 at 4:49 pm |

      “Life in Buddhist terms, has no beginning or end. It doesn’t start at conception and it doesn’t end if there’s an abortion.”

      All armed,

      None harmed.

      Burma Shave^^

      As Dogen says, we have no power to kill: cause death, but never kill.

  2. Khru 2.0
    Khru 2.0 November 30, 2015 at 1:43 pm |

    Life is thus,
    Death is thus,
    Gatha or no gatha,
    What’s the fuss?

    1. Cygni
      Cygni November 30, 2015 at 7:57 pm |

      We’re angels of Life
      We’re angels of Death

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9e0pvwWtXA

      1. Khru 2.0
        Khru 2.0 December 1, 2015 at 8:09 am |

        Nice triggers.

        1. Cygni
          Cygni December 1, 2015 at 9:11 am |
          1. Khru 2.0
            Khru 2.0 December 1, 2015 at 10:01 am |
          2. Cygni
            Cygni December 1, 2015 at 2:42 pm |
          3. Khru 2.0
            Khru 2.0 December 1, 2015 at 3:24 pm |

            “Can I please speak to the voice of the master pretender?”

            http://www.nhne.com/specialreports/bigmind/

          4. Cygni
            Cygni December 1, 2015 at 4:07 pm |
          5. Khru 2.0
            Khru 2.0 December 1, 2015 at 4:11 pm |

            I can give you “the” apple
            but I can’t chew it for you.

        2. Cygni
          Cygni December 2, 2015 at 5:17 pm |
          1. Khru 2.0
            Khru 2.0 December 3, 2015 at 6:18 am |

            I have been chewing on it. For years.

          2. Cygni
            Cygni December 3, 2015 at 7:55 am |
          3. Khru 2.0
            Khru 2.0 December 3, 2015 at 12:37 pm |

            Yes, that’s great. I love puppies too.

          4. Cygni
            Cygni December 4, 2015 at 3:00 am |
  3. Inge
    Inge November 30, 2015 at 3:09 pm |

    I agree, this guy is batshit crazy and responsible for his own actions, even though… he’s batshit crazy. He brought the gun and killed people. Certain people love to point fingers and say “they made me do it” (the Republicans, FOX News, a video, the devil) but refuse to acknowledge that each and everyone of us is responsible for the choices we make. The news media loves to stoke the fire and keep people riled up. It keeps us divided and that’s just the way those in power like it.

    Thank you for the information on Buddhism’s point of view on when life begins, consciousness or otherwise. But, even though I practice Buddhism, I am first and foremost female, and I decide whether or not I give birth. I don’t need anyone’s permission. This is not aimed at you Brad, but I’ve attended my share of Pro-choice events, along with standing outside Planned Parenthood clinics so women could have access…and the majority of pro-lifers who showed up were men. Why are so many of these guys interested? If men could get pregnant this wouldn’t be an issue and there would probably be a drive thru abortion clinic on every corner.

    Abortion rights have been a hot topic for all presidential campaigns since Roe v. Wade became law. It probably will continue and PP isn’t the only place to get an abortion. Plenty of hospitals offer it, including Kaiser Permanente.

    So whenever anyone asks for my opinion, I tell them, “If you don’t like abortions, don’t have one.”

    1. tysondav
      tysondav November 30, 2015 at 3:44 pm |

      “If men could get pregnant this wouldn’t be an issue and there would probably be a drive thru abortion clinic on every corner.”

      i really get tired of seeing and hearing this sentence. take out men and put any other word in there such as women, african-americans, martians, etc, and white liberals would be going crazy about how offensive it was and saying you can’t generalize and would be running for their “safe spaces”.

      it is your body. but if YOU choose to have unprotected sex (which all but a very tiny percentage of pregnancies result from) then YOU should deal with the consequences. you should not be able to choose life or death for another human just because it is an inconvenience for you.

      1. drocloc
        drocloc December 1, 2015 at 9:05 am |

        Well said,

        Pregnancy is not medical – it’s the only miracle humans perform. Gassho

    2. Wedged
      Wedged November 30, 2015 at 5:38 pm |

      Inge, I’m a male and I agree 100% with you…

    3. senorchupacabra
      senorchupacabra November 30, 2015 at 6:34 pm |

      Inge,

      The older I get, and the longer I practice, the more I’m convinced with the very unpopular idea that most, if not all, of us are not in control of our actions. The mental processes are so complex and convoluted and its causes are so deep and well-hidden that we’re all slaves to unconscious impulses. Some of us become more and more aware of how easily influenced we are, but seeing as how there’s really no “self” and the ego is just an illusion, I’m inclined to believe that any control over these processes is likely illusory to some extant as well.

  4. tuberrose
    tuberrose November 30, 2015 at 3:54 pm |

    You demonstrated why no one should rely on Wikipedia as a source. It can be wildly inaccurate and anyone can contribute and edit. I think guns should be banned aside from hunting rifles. In my original part of the world, many families relied on what their old dad could shoot for their supper but no one needs assault weapons or repeating anything. We do need better mental health resources. If a person can’t shoot a place up, he can still buy or make the explosives to blow the place up.
    I believe Job mentioned that he wished his mother had aborted him so that he could have missed his trials and tribulations so it is mentioned at least once and for all we know, Jesus may have spoken extensively on abortion but no one thought to write it down. Or if they did, it wasn’t included in the compilation of the Bible. You just never know.
    As a female, I haven’t had an abortion but I never had to face that decision either. My mother had one and lived through it without apparent regret and her mother had one but died from the effects of a hysterectomy necessitated by the abortion.
    Abortion is a private matter concerning the woman and, sometimes, the man directly involved with the pregnancy but no one else as far as I can see.

  5. tysondav
    tysondav November 30, 2015 at 5:03 pm |

    Brad, if you do more than a wikipedia search on the topic, you can find many online sources discussing this subject. Most with a Western author admit that Buddhism is against abortion as a general rule, but have a permissible attitude towards it. The few Eastern authored sites I could find were more adamant in their leanings that Buddhism does not support abortion.

    As for abortion in Japan, the main culprit for this is the Purple Cloud temple that makes a lot of money performing the mizuko ceremony. I have read that the ceremonies were a lot more common in the 70s and 80s than they are now and abortion has been less tolerable of late in Japan.

    As for the shooter, yes he is batshit crazy. Although according to the American PC Police, you are now not supposed to associate mental illness and “craziness” with mass murderers. Also, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions that it was directly aimed at Planned Parenthood (although it probably was).

  6. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara November 30, 2015 at 8:09 pm |

    The saddest thing about the way we talk about abortion, is how polarized and hostile it becomes. It’s virtually a taboo subject in western society, with extremists on both sides – ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ – viciously attacking any discussion of the subject that takes a more nuanced view than their own.

    As far as I’ve ever been able to see, the vast majority of people (of both sexes) don’t fall squarely into either camp – but we don’t voice our thoughts publicly, for fear of reprisals. (I’m in Britain, but the situation in America seems about the same)

    It’s a sore spot on our cultural psyche, and a subject where the digital right-and-wrong of morality is hard to apply. So I know that anything I write here will offend someone. But, in the words of Allah, the gracious, the merciful: FUCK IT! If some random stranger’s comment on a blog angers you, get your head checked.

    Brad says, “Consciousness … form, feeling, perception, and impulses to action…”, are the factors that make up a human being. It’s ludicrous to suggest that a fetus in the second trimester doesn’t have all five of those. It’s ludicrous to suggest that abortion isn’t killing in some sense. And I CAN say that without saying that it’s murder. And I CAN say it without thinking that a 13-year-old should be forced to give birth to her rapist uncle’s baby. Those who say the fetus is just a ‘growth’ or a ‘collection of tissue’ remove the possibility of a woman coming to terms with her choice, just as much as those who say it’s a sacred and inviolable soul. … I’ve known too many young women who were tortured by shame and guilt after abortions where they had no other real option. If we pretend it’s a routine procedure like a tonsillectomy, we alienate and harm a lot of vulnerable people. The Mizuko Jizo ritual is a very good thing, psychologically. Admitting and accepting a difficult decision is growth, denying it is hell.

    Brad also wrote, “… most people …. would avoid having an abortion unless there was no other choice…”. But only about 8% of terminations happen because of medical reasons, or other things totally outside the woman’s control. Most people have abortions for social and economic reasons. Social and economic reasons are real and serious things, and so are states of mind – and nobody is in a position to tell a pregnant woman that she must or should be prepared to give birth, or raise a child. But, if we just say it’s a woman’s right on demand, and close the book, we permit society to walk on by. What about people who’d use contraception if they weren’t mentally ill, or if they felt they had more control of their sex lives? What about women who are financially dependent on a man, but would have the baby otherwise? What about women who want a baby, but know that their social status is based on their job, and that motherhood gets zero kudos or support? What about dirt poor girls? A more compassionate and sharing society would give these people a real choice in family planning. The hate-fuelled, bi-polar discourse about abortion just limits choices and isolates suffering people. Liberals and conservatives, left and right, are all as bad as each other when it comes to this.

    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara November 30, 2015 at 9:43 pm |

      BW: “… the decision rests only with the person having the abortion. … the father also has a legitimate right to speak but it’s not his decision. … ”

      Yeah, sure, I agree.

      Except that everyone has a legitimate right to speak: kindly. I’m unlikely to need an abortion in this lifetime… but if I did, I’d want some wise guidance and advice. The only widely publicized opinions on the matter are “it’s murder” and “it’s your right, and nobody can tell you what to do”. So we leave frightened and confused teenagers to go figure out the meaning, value and purpose of their lives, often alone, in the space of a few weeks.

      There’s a huge gap between noting whose decision it is legally, and providing someone with the means to make a choice they can live with. It’s this kind of gap that philosophers, counsellors and zen priests are expected to work in.

  7. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 30, 2015 at 9:28 pm |

    As has been mentioned, anyone can edit a Wikipedia entry. Sign on up, Brad, and add the whole passage to the previous author’s quote, along with other references if you have any.

    Interesting; I used to have Kobun’s words on the translation of “shikantaza” on the Wikipedia entry for that topic. Looks like they’re long gone. Shifting sands of Wikipedia, nothing to get alarmed about; these topics are hot buttons and always have been.

    “We have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period,” Obama said in a statement.

    (as reported by Reuters)

    It’s interesting to me that Gautama spoke of suffering as birth, sickness, old age and death, and then added: “in short, the five groups of grasping”. The five groups of grasping follow from ignorance, the kind of ignorance that gives rise to intentional activity which gives rise to a stationing of consciousness. The five groups do not come to be in the absence of ignorance, and the eight-fold path leads to such a cessation. That’s my understanding.

    There’s no self there. What we really take to be ourselves, the sense of where we are in space, is a function of the eyes, the vestibular organs, and the proprioceptors, working together right now (according to Blanke and Mohr, in their paper “Out-of-body experience, heautoscopy, and autoscopic hallucination of neurological origin: Implications for neurocognitive mechanisms of corporeal awareness and self consciousness”).

    Consciousness is the result of contact between sense object and sense organ. I mostly don’t see it that way, but if my equalibrioception yields a single-pointedness in three dimensions, and proprioception and the sense of gravity enter in (and the effect of the eyes is recognized), the distinction of the senses can become action.

    “When you find your way at this moment, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point.”

    “To unfurl the red flag of victory over your head, whirl the twin swords behind your ears—if not for a discriminating eye and a familiar hand, how could anyone be able to succeed?”

    (“The Blue Cliff Record”, trans. T. and J.C. Cleary, case 37 pg 274)

    http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ben_turpin_1793.jpg

  8. Thor29
    Thor29 November 30, 2015 at 11:00 pm |

    So tougher gun laws will solve the murder problem in the United States? Murder is illegal, but people seem to do it anyway. Guess who enforces the laws – dudes with guns (aka cops). But cops are perfect moral agents who never shoot anybody unless they deserve it, right? This is where I really tire of the liberal viewpoint. Government is the answer to everything. I beg to differ, but no it isn’t. Government is rule by force (the monopolization of violence). It’s not a very good answer at all.

    Okay, I get it. Brad really hates guns. Except if the cops use them. Because they will enforce those tougher gun laws. With guns. And they only kill about a thousand people a year (in the USA), so it’s okay. And it’s okay for me to make someone else wield a gun in my defense rather than for me to do it myself. Right? I mean we shouldn’t take responsibility for ourselves, should we? So if some twisted person were about to shoot Brad and I had a gun and could shoot that guy first, well, it would be better if I just let the guy shoot Brad while I call the cops.

    What I am trying to say, is the gun problem in America is just as convoluted and complicated as the abortion issue, but for Brad gun violence is a trigger issue (pun intended) and his emotions get the better of his logic. Too bad. Violence and zen could be an interesting subject but I’m not sure that Brad can handle it as easily as he has dealt with sex and zen.

    1. Shodo
      Shodo December 1, 2015 at 5:30 am |

      “Government is rule by force (the monopolization of violence). It’s not a very good answer at all.”

      Oh please, without government, you have no rights at all.
      So take your “taxation = slavery” libertarian nonsense and file it in with all the other made up pipe dreams – like unicorns.

    2. Fred
      Fred December 1, 2015 at 5:40 am |

      “Okay, I get it. Brad really hates guns. Except if the cops use them. Because they will enforce those tougher gun laws. With guns. And they only kill about a thousand people a year (in the USA), so it’s okay. And it’s okay for me to make someone else wield a gun in my defense rather than for me to do it myself. Right?”

      How many of that 1000 have black or brown skin, and would the trigger be squeezed if the skin was white?

    3. Hungry Ghost
      Hungry Ghost December 1, 2015 at 12:33 pm |

      I hesitate to throw in and I don’t want to become embroiled in a fight but I agree with Thor to some degree – I don’t think the state should have a monopoly on violence, there is nothing more dangerous, and I don’t think guns should be illegal. This is an issue that causes outrage, but outrage is not a good basis for legislation. More importantly though, I don’t see how liberal principles got to be conflated with Zen or Buddhist principles. I think Zen is at its most relevant when an old catholic nun, an atheist, a left coasty crystal healer, a honky business suity guy, etc. can all practice together. I don’t think plain politicking belongs in Zen. It also may be worth reminding people that for all intents and purposes most of the Zen/Buddhist lineage and its practitioners have been politically absolute monarchists or theocrats or both. They believed in emperors or chakravartins, they believed women were impure and inferior (Dogen a notable exception). Most historical Buddhists have been right of our Republican party, not left of it. I say this not to encourage a right-shift (I’m left-wing enough to know that Thor’s reference to the state’s monopoly on violence is a classic Anarchist point) but to point out that Zen/Buddhism might be better when politics is left out entirely.

      1. tysondav
        tysondav December 1, 2015 at 4:58 pm |

        I can’t agree with you more about Zen and politics. Zen “started” in the most liberal city in the US during the most liberal time possible (San Fran in the late ’60s) so from the beginning the left has had a stranglehold on the Zen agenda. And I don’t think there should be a Zen agenda other than zazen and sutra studies.

        1. Jinzang
          Jinzang December 2, 2015 at 9:35 am |

          Zen “started” in the most liberal city in the US during the most liberal time possible (San Fran in the late ’60s)

          Why does everyone forget about Sokei-An Sasaki, who was teaching Zen in New York City in the 30’s? Also, Daisetz Suzuki at Columbia University in the 50’s. By the time San Francisco Zen Center moved into Tassajara, Zen had graduated from a novelty to a cliche.

          1. tysondav
            tysondav December 2, 2015 at 4:04 pm |

            That’s why I put started in quotation marks. Most people now say Zen started there. They forget the people you mentioned. Although I would argue that DT Suzuki didn’t really teach Zen. He just lectured about it here.

  9. Duke_PA
    Duke_PA December 1, 2015 at 5:20 am |

    It’s like Michelle Bachman became a buddhist up in here.

    1. Fred
      Fred December 1, 2015 at 5:52 am |

      If you practice not killing things, like if a mosquito lands on you, you don’t squash it and you call yourself a Buddhist, then, you cannot deny that abortion is killing.

      I am a liberal and pro-abortion, but I live with the reality of it being killing.

      Millions of things are killed every day – cats and dogs put down, mice in traps, worms on the sidewalk, etc

      1. zucchinipants
        zucchinipants December 1, 2015 at 9:41 am |

        Brad said that life has no beginning or end, so if you squash a mosquito or have an abortion, you’re merely providing Life with an opportunity to transmigrate into another body.

        You’re welcome!

        1. Fred
          Fred December 1, 2015 at 11:36 am |

          There is no soul, no atman, no agent, no transmigration, no body-jumping.

          You’re welcome.

  10. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon December 1, 2015 at 8:40 am |

    The Zen Master asked, “How many of the scriptural quotations and comments on the Hardcore Zen blog are Buddha’s words and how many are devils’ words?”
    The Zen student replied, “They are all devils’ words.”
    The Zen Master concluded, “Hereafter, no one will be able to deceive you.”

    1. Fred
      Fred December 1, 2015 at 11:32 am |

      How many of the non-Buddhist’s troll words are devil’s words?

      All of them.

      1. Fred Jr.
        Fred Jr. December 1, 2015 at 1:53 pm |

        14

      2. Mumbles
        Mumbles December 1, 2015 at 4:34 pm |

        There is no soul, no atman, no agent, no transmigration, no body-jumping, no devil, no words.

        You’re welcome.

  11. Thor29
    Thor29 December 1, 2015 at 9:36 am |

    It’s pretty funny how many of you assume I am a conservative Republican or Libertarian because I think for myself and don’t belong to any particular ideological herd.

    Shodo -Without government I have no rights at all? Really? I think you might want to examine that a little more closely. Did the introduction of the United States government to North America give more rights to Native Americans? Are they now more free than they were in it’s absence? Were the Africans brought to this continent more free than they were in Africa without government? I never mentioned taxation, I am only pointing out that you very conveniently forget that this society is founded on slavery and genocide and the current situation of mass incarceration, growing poverty, and worldwide environmental destruction is enforced via the police, the court system, and the military. That is a system of violence that you benefit from and yet you deny it.

    Liberal Zen Buddhists just let somebody else do the killing for them and pretend that they are wonderful nice people who just eat vegetables and stare at walls. All the while their pampered existence is protected and enhanced by men with guns.

    Fred is right. Abortion is killing. There is violence everywhere you turn and it’s something that we need to come to terms with. As far as my political views are concerned, I side with the downtrodden, the dispossessed and especially the non-human. American liberals pretend to do that, but they sold out the poor and the wild a long time ago and now just pretend to care.

    1. Hungry Ghost
      Hungry Ghost December 1, 2015 at 12:44 pm |

      I thought you were an Anarchist, or at least Anarchisty, which I don’t consider a dirty word. I still consider Colin Ward to be one of the people who’s influenced my thinking the most, and a little John Zerzan can be thought provoking.

    2. Shodo
      Shodo December 3, 2015 at 6:32 am |

      Your argument is a goofy one Thor.

      In essence, “no government is perfect, therefore we shouldn’t have governments.”

      Who is so naive to think there are *any* perfect forms of governments? Look at any countries history back far enough and with a comb fine enough and you will find injustice and abuses – and the challenges and problems we face today are such that with *every* action on *every* policy, there will be someone out there who will be negatively effected, and some of the problems we face today are so huge that the individual cannot tackle them alone, only governments can.
      If you think the “solution” to that is the elimination of government, then you have never lived somewhere without government.

      Try going to Somalia, see if you feel more “free”.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saWCZVggQAs

      Without an effective government, you are nothing but prey to the person with the biggest gun. THAT is the historical fact. You have no rights except for the ones you can defend BY YOURSELF and only for as long as you can. Rights are not bestowed upon you on high, they are enshrined as values in governance and upheld IMPERFECTLY, no matter how well meaning.

      “I am only pointing out that you very conveniently forget that this society is founded on slavery and genocide and the current situation of mass incarceration, growing poverty, and worldwide environmental destruction is enforced via the police, the court system, and the military. That is a system of violence that you benefit from and yet you deny it.”

      I don’t deny it and haven’t forgotten it, I openly acknowledge it.
      But if you think that your “solutions” are realistic then take off your tin-foil hat for a second and realize it’s just utopian wish-making.

      How would a country of anarchists solve the problems of slavery and genocide, poverty and incarceration, and environmental destruction exactly?
      At some point someone is going to be FORCED to do something.

      (Also, try looking at other countries like Japan and Australia before thinking that gun control isn’t realistic or possible.)

  12. Used-rugs
    Used-rugs December 1, 2015 at 9:44 am |

    So the unborn, baby fetus blob-thing returns to the Lord without the knowledge and experience of having ever been separated from Him in the first place. So what’s the argument here?

  13. jason farrow
    jason farrow December 1, 2015 at 6:50 pm |

    I think meditation is the means of requesting Dharma.

    How can a pro-life advocate be killing anOther?

    I agree with the pov that there may be circumstances that allow for abortion. Like, I could never imagine making a woman who was raped, or raped by a father or such, to go through with an abortion. Or if giving birth might kill the mother.

    I agree too that tougher gun laws are required in the US. However, that doesn’t stop batshit crazy things from happening. In Canada, we have tighter gun control , and it seems to work. But it doesn’t completely stop gun violence. We had a batshit crazy terrorist hold a shoot out in rhe Parliament buildings. But that was very unusual.

    I don’t think Shakyamuni was saying there was a transfer of conciousness to a fetus though. But I do think he was saying it was a sentient being. Sentient beings are at least somewhat aware.

    I think the emphasises should be placed on the phenomenon of sentient beings. The phenomena of existence. Placing the emphasis on the mundaness of abortion makes it excusable. Putting the emphasis on the phenomena of existence makes having an abortion a very serious matter. If emphasis of phenonmena of existence was emphasised within society , I think things would be very different. May be there would be less wars. Less slaughter of animals. May be quality of existence would be a much more highly valued thing. If the idea of reincarnation is promoted as a transfer of conciusness, then the body becomes a very mundane thing. The body is the means of experiencing the phenomena of existence. Of waking up to phenomena. Of awareness. Of awareness of the Bodhimind. We don’t have to indulge it to wake up. But can’t discard it either. We cannot negate bodies. No bodies, no existence!

    If a person advocates for the death of those who participate, perform, or have abortions, then they are not pro life. They are just insane.

    If a person is insane , there should be some awareness of understanding for that insane person, just as there is awareness of compassion for those who died due to the deluded consciousness of the insane person who was not aware of compassion.

    Governments should make laws in relation to the awareness that there will be insane ppl. Batshit crazy+guns = deaths of many civilians. It’s a proven formula.

    But, enlightenment is traceless and measureless . We can’t see where it goes, where it comes from, who it comes from., how it will manifest…

    I think if we continue to meditate, develop awareness, continue to put our best efforts forward,continue to request Dharma, gradually this world may become less deluded. Existence will become less mundane.

    May be the best thing anyone can do in relation to a situation like this, is seated meditation. How else will ppl develop the awarenees of wisdom and virtue? How will,ppl come to know Dharma without experiencing it?

    I agree with the Avatamasaka sutra when it says that the Dharma Wheel only turns in one direction. It only turns towards enlightenment.
    Only towards the benefit of existence.

    I think meditation is the means of requesting Dharma.

    Amitabha.

  14. jason farrow
    jason farrow December 1, 2015 at 7:54 pm |

    To me, conciousness is delusion. Conciousness is a greedy , lustful, hateful mind. A, seeking mind. This sort of mind is reborn again and again and and…Creating another lustful, seeking, hateful, ignorant mind.

    How can awareness prevail when there is seeking?

    How can there be awareness when one turns away from it? Seeking something else?

    Who is aware of a conciousness being transferred?

    How can you place conciousness ontop of awareness? That is like a soul. An alternate self. Who can prove this extra self as real? As aware if its own existence separate of its body?

  15. jason farrow
    jason farrow December 1, 2015 at 8:02 pm |

    Saying there is a separate conciousness, would be like denying that one person can reproduce itself separate of the other sex.

    1. jason farrow
      jason farrow December 1, 2015 at 9:31 pm |

      sorry, i mean to say that to say that there is a separate consciousness is like saying that a person CAN reproduce separately of the other gender.

  16. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 1, 2015 at 8:03 pm |

    “the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets”- question to those who feel guns should be legal, do you feel weapons of war should be legal, and if not where do you draw the line?

    I agree with Obama, weapons of war is a real distinction; semi-automatic and automatic weapons, not really necessary to protect the house and family. If you want a weapon of war so you can be prepared to fight the government, then you’ve already given up on the great experiment and probably on civilization.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1INwtmVMgXw

  17. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 1, 2015 at 9:08 pm |

    The Zen Master asked, “How many of the scriptural quotations and comments on the Hardcore Zen blog are Buddha’s words and how many are devils’ words?”
    The Zen student replied, “They are all devils’ words.”
    The Zen Master concluded, “Hereafter, no one will be able to deceive you.”

    Was the student deceived by the Zen Master’s conclusion?

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0140212

    1. The Grand Canyon
      The Grand Canyon December 2, 2015 at 4:21 am |

      Were you?

  18. Harlan
    Harlan December 1, 2015 at 11:40 pm |

    Those who want to disarm half the American populace are not really anti-gun at all.. They just trust the most militarized State in the history of the world more than their friends and neighbors.

    1. Shodo
      Shodo December 3, 2015 at 6:10 am |

      Worked fine in Australia…

  19. Khru 2.0
    Khru 2.0 December 2, 2015 at 4:23 am |

    Harlan, you’ve hit the head on the nail.

  20. Nicole
    Nicole December 2, 2015 at 10:08 am |

    I guess that I would find those “ProLife” people much more credible, if they cared about the life of the fetus **after** birth as much as they care about its life before birth. If abortion is so terrible to them, then why don’t they fight for free child care and financial support for single moms that would allow them to continue to, e.g., get an education or find a job to make a decent living on their own, instead of patronizing them and make them feel guilty or ashamed of having ‘failed’? Given how psychologically violent many of these “ProLife” campaigns are, I cannot help but think that this is more about imposing their own values onto someone else than anything.

    Unless you do that, I am really not sure whether not having an abortion is really the most promising way of saving the fetus from future suffering. Not even to talk about the women. We might not know whether a fetus is a sentient being or not, but I do think that we all agree that a woman is. Compassion is not a uniquely Buddhist value, and a pregnant woman deserves at least as much of it as her fetus.

    As an aside, gun violence would probably also go down if we cared more about how children grow up, and less about what tough ‘choices’ some people must make when they must face situations where they really have none.

  21. Oli Bainbridge
    Oli Bainbridge December 2, 2015 at 7:49 pm |

    Why did you tell us the terrorist is white?

  22. Michel
    Michel December 3, 2015 at 10:28 am |

    Well, it seems obvious to me that, although the guns proliferation in the USA IS a problem, another is the current ethos that, in America, sex is much more condemnable than murder.

    Facebook is known to censor any pic of a woman breast feeding her child, but not being so reactive if it comes to hate speech and calls for murder.

  23. Shockabuku
    Shockabuku December 14, 2015 at 2:51 pm |

    I stumbled across your website from an article off the Lions Roar.

    Thank you so much for calling this man a terrorist. People want to label him as crazy but as a reminder anyone who murders is not right in the head. Domestic terrorism is very real in the US and until people stand up and stop the rhetoric it will continue.

  24. dwsmithjr
    dwsmithjr January 4, 2016 at 11:39 am |

    You can, I’m sure you know, change the Wiki entry yourself. Perhaps it would be a good thing if you did.

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