INDUCED ABORTION AS PĀṆĀTIPĀTA

Revisiting Buddhist Position on the Right to Life of an Unborn

  • Abhinav Anand
Keywords: Avihimsā, Gabbhapātana, Gandhabba, Jalābujāyoni, Pāṇātipāt, Pārājika, Thullaccay, , Utunī

Abstract

In this paper, investigating the issue whether Buddhism proposes (a) pro-life, (b) pro-choice, (c) middle way, or (d) ambiguous position on the issues of abortion, three questions are examined: (i) when does an individual life begin according to the early Buddhist texts? (ii) what are the cases of abortion recorded in the Pāli texts? (iii) how and why the Buddhist metaphysical and ethical principles prohibits killing? Analysing selected passages of Pāli texts such as Majjhima, Saṃyutta and Aṇguttara Nikāya-s, Vinaya Piṭaka, Milindapañha, Dhammapada and Jātaka, and their metaphysical and ethical ideas the author argues that abortion is an act of ṇātipāta (killing) a moral being and is prohibited.

Author Biography

Abhinav Anand

¨Dr Abhinav Anand holds a PhD from Indian Institute of Technology (ISM) Dhanbad and is currently associated as Intern with Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi. His areas of interest are Ethics and Human Values, Environmental Ethics, Ethical thinking in the Indian Tradition, and Gender and Indic Tradition.

References

Aṇguttara Nikāya: The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Aṇguttara Nikāya. Tr. Bhikkhu Bodhi. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 2012.

Atthasālinī: Commentary on the Dhammasaṅgaṇī by Buddhaghosa. Tr. Pe Maung Tin. London: Pali Text Society. 1920.

Baroetto, G. “The Illusion of Reincarnation.” Octagon – The Quest for Wholeness, Volume 2. Ed. Hans Thomas Hakl. Gaggenau: Scientia Nova, 2016.

Boisvert, Mathieu. “Conception and Intrauterine Life in the Pāli Canon.” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 29.3 (2000): 301-11.

Brown, H. Jean. “Key Tenets of Classical Buddhist Dharma Leave Space for the Practice of Abortion and are Upheld by Contemporary Japanese Buddhist MizukoKuyo Remembrance Rituals.” Journal of Religion and Health 58.2 (2019): 476–489.

Caraka-Saṃhītā: Agniveśa’s Treatise Refined and Annotated by Caraka and Redacted by Dṛḍhabala. Sharma, P. V. Trans. and ed. Delhi: Chaukhambha Orientalia, 1981.

Damian, Constantin-Iulian. “Abortion from the Perspective of Eastern Religions: Hinduism and Buddhism.” Romanian Journal of Bioethics 8.1 (2010): 124-136.

Dhammapada: Pāli Text and Translation with Notes. Tr. Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Dīgha Nikāya: The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Dīgha Nikāya. Tr. Maurice Walshe. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1987.

Florida, R. E. “Buddhism and Abortion.” Contemporary Buddhist Ethics. Damien Keown. Ed. London and New York: Routledge Curzon, 2000: 133-160.

Florida, R. E. “Buddhist Approach to Abortion,” Asian Philosophy, vol. 1.1 (1991): 39-50.

Harvey, Peter. An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Harvey, Peter. The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness, and Nirvana in Early Buddhism. London and New York: Rutledge Curzon, 1995.

Horner, I. B. Tr. Vinaya Piṭaka: The Book of The Discipline. 6 Volumes. London: Pali Text Society, 1938–66.

Jha, G M. Tr. Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 1920-1939.

Keown, Damien. “Buddhism and Abortion: Is there a ‘Middle Way’?” Buddhism and Abortion. Ed. Damien Keown. Honolulu: University of Hawaii’s Press, 1999: 199-217.

LaFleur, William. “Abortion in Japan: Towards a 'Middle Way' for the West?” Buddhism and Abortion. Ed. Damien Keown. Honolulu: University of Hawaii’s Press, 1999: 67-92.

Lecso, Phillip A. “A Buddhist View of Abortion.” Journal of Religion and Health 26.3 (1987): 214-218.

Majjhima Nikāya. The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya. Tr. Nanamoli, Bhikkhu and Bhikkhu Bodhi. MA: Wisdom Publications, 1995.

McDermott, James P. “Abortion in the Pali Canon and Early Buddhist Thought.” Buddhism and Abortion. Ed. Damien Keown. Honolulu: University of Hawaii’s Press, 1999: 157-182.

Milindapañha: Milinda’s Questions, vol 2. Tr. Horner I. B. Luzac, London: Luzac & Company, LTD, 1963–1964

Nyanasobhano, Bhikkhu. A Buddhist View of Abortion. Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1989.

Ratanakul, Pinit. “Social-Medical Aspect of Abortion in Thailand.” Buddhism and Abortion. Ed. Damien Keown. Honolulu: University of Hawaii’s Press, 1999: 53-66.

Roy, W. Perrett. “Buddhism, Abortion and the Middle Way.” Asian Philosophy 10.2 (2000): 101-114.

Saṃyutta Nikāya. The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Saṃyutta Nikāya. 2 Volumes. Tr. Bhikkhu Bodhi. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1987.

Tedesco, Frank M. “Teachings on Abortion in Theravāda and Mahāyāna Traditions and Contemporary Korean Practice.” International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture 4 (2004): 91-106.

Turner, R. L. (1966). A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Language. London: Oxford University Press, 1966.

Tworkov, Helen. “Anti-abortion/ Pro-choice: Taking both Sides.” Tricycle 1.3 (1992): 60-69.

Walshe, Maurice. The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the DīghaNikāya, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1995.

Published
2020-09-30
How to Cite
Anand, A. (2020). INDUCED ABORTION AS PĀṆĀTIPĀTA. Journal of Dharma, 45(3), 421-436. Retrieved from http://dvkjournals.in/index.php/jd/article/view/3169