Buddhist and Christina Ethic Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2543 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

In his meditations, the Buddha noticed that even people with good karma were sometimes born into bad situations, and even those with bad karma sometimes found inordinately pleasant rebirths.

Within this work it is made clear that the circumstances of ones death are foundationally important to their existence in rebirth or in the Christian sense the afterlife.

Buddha declared that the crucial variable governing rebirth was the nature of the consciousness at the moment of death. Thereafter, Buddhists placed high importance on holding the proper thoughts at the moment of death. Many examples of this idea can be found in two works of the Theravada canon, the Petavatthu and the Vimanavatthu ("Stories of the Departed"). Indeed, in many sutras, monks visit laymen on their deathbeds to ensure that their dying thoughts are wholesome, and the Buddha recommends that lay followers similarly encourage each other on such occasions. (Becker 1990)

Within the Christian ethical stance there is also the demonstration of the importance if the circumstances or even internal thoughts surrounding one's death experience. The situation of the death bed confessional and the anointing of the body just prior to death is regarded as the way in which an individual frees one's way to a desirable afterlife, or at least the avoidance of a non-desirable one. Within the Christian faith there is even the allowance for those who are either to innocent or unknowing to purify their last actions and thoughts, for them there is a purgatory where the higher powers decide their fate in the afterlife.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Within the Augustine tradition there is a demonstrative and fundamental conflict associated with the actions and free will of man. Confessions itself can be seen as a demonstration of Augustine's own grappling with the desire to commit acts of free will that are clearly against the true purity of faith and God. "Augustine's guilt and shame for some of his teen-age exploits is fully chronicled in the Confessions. Our interest is not in the theft of pears by he and his friends or in their sexual exploits, but rather in his intellectual search."

Coward 21)

Yet, clearly Augustine demonstrates his own personal view on the utter necessity for the avoidance of suicide, for almost any reason.

Deliberately seeking self-destruction would, Augustine feared, lead down a dangerous and slippery slope. If seeking death to avoid temporal troubles were acceptable, then why not suicide to avoid any risk of future sin or other degradation? "For if there could be any just cause of suicide, this were so."(159)

One example of such belief by Augustine serves to demonstrate the real association of this point of the personal ethics of the man and in turn the influential nature of his works and beliefs. Going against the beliefs of many Augustine demonstrated not his association of value upon those who avoid sin through death but also his assumption that sin unintended was not necessarily to be avoided by the individual.

In fact, during the sacking of Rome, Christian virgin women committed suicide in order to avoid rape and, they thought, sin. Early Christians revered these women. But Augustine disagreed: "Why, then, should a [person] who has done no ill do ill to [herself], and, by killing [herself] kill the innocent [person] to escape another's guilty act, and perpetrate upon [herself] a sin of [her] own, that the sin of another might not be perpetrated upon [her]?"

Gorsuch 599)

Though Augustine may sound callous in his condemnation of the act of suicide by these would be rape victims and the reverence of them by the faithful, there is fundamental proof that his beliefs were closely adhered to by the early church and very influential for change.

Within the Buddhist faith there are many indications that a life ended wrongly might lead to a worse life lived without joy or freedom. While in the Christian faith it is mostly accepted that a life ended wrongly and without proper motive or reason will lead to eternal separation from God, the Christian ideal of the worst possible afterlife. The anguish over the possibilities of eternal unhappiness serves as a motivation to not end life artificially. Though the questions associated with modern secular society are largely unanswered and based intrinsically upon morals and standards of a secular world, they also clearly, without nomination reflect much older standards for morality and ethics. It is a rare situation where a publicly secular figure demonstrates his or her disbelief in suicide or euthanasia due to a religious standard it does occur.

Shielded by modern words such as bioethics and even euthanasia many individuals have conflicting feelings and beliefs associated with suicide, euthanasia and death in general. Faith being a standard ground for many to stand on with regards to these issues, the differences and similarities between these two evolving faiths on these issues could be a large part of the future of laws and ethics regarding medical and social stigmas of the taking of human life.

In fact, while human life contains many difficulties, to cut it short means that the potential for spiritual development which is present in a rare "precious human rebirth" will have been thrown away. Not only does suicide waste this opportunity for oneself, but it also deprives others of benefits that one might bring them. (Harvey 2000)

Within the conflicts of both Christianity and Buddhism on the issue of suicide and euthanasia there are many answers to modern ethical questions, yet there are also countless questions worth further exploration.

Works Cited

Becker, Carl "Buddhist Views of Suicide and Euthanasia," June 14, 2004 http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/cf_eng.htm.

A www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99196789

Coward, Harold G. "Memory and Scripture in the Conversion of Augustine." Essays on Augustine. Ed. Meynell, Hugo Anthony. Calgary, Alta.: University of Calgary Press, 1990. 17-27.

Eliade, Mircea ed. Encyclopedia of Religion New York, NY: G.K. Hall and Co.

A www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5001776263

Gorsuch, Neil M. "The Right to Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia." Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 23.3 (2000): 599. Questia. 15 June 2004 http://www.questia.com/.

Harvey, Peter. Introduction to Buddhist Ethics New York, NY: Cambridge

University Press, 2000.

Keown, Damien "Buddhism and Suicide: The Case of Channa," 14 June 2004 www.jbe.gold.ac.uk/3/keown3.html. [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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