Tagged: #buddhism #pacifism #war #peace
Question 1 – Why can’t monks and nuns handle money?
There are quite a few reasons why a monk and nun cannot handle money. The first being the worry of their safety if they were met by robbers on their travels with gold and silver in their position. There was also the worry of the temptation handling money may cause the monk. The thought being that holding large sums of money with them may lure them into spending it in a worldly manner. It also disrupts the symbolism of monks being concerned with the spirituality of the world whilst lay people were concerned with the materialistic aspect of life.
In situations in the olden times where monks were forced to spend money they would carry a lay person with them on their travels who would dispense the money when necessary. Today most monks are more relaxed about this law. They adopt the Mendaka’s permission clause as an explanation for this. Mendaka was a rich householder of Bhaddiyanagara and one of the five treasurers of Bimbisara. He entertained the Buddha and his monks in his home and at the end of the visit he set them on their way with an abundance of food. The monks declined but the Buddha made the allowance and they accepted. Modern day monks Mendaka’s permission clause as being allowed to handle money when travelling for the sake of food and basic necessities. Other modern day monks are more technologically advanced and use debit/credit cards instead.
Question 2 – What is the Buddhist view on abortion?
Buddhists believe that an unborn child is a life from the moment of conception rather than at birth so the aborting of a fetus is murder. Murder is against the first precept of Buddhism, which is to abstain from killing. Even in extenuating circumstances practicing Buddhist expectant mothers usually see through the pregnancy and extended family and wider Buddhist community support her once the child is born; be this by offering support or adoption.
(I thought I’d add to your topic as it looks lonely on your own.)
Question 3 – Are Buddhists pacifists?
We learn that non-violence is at the heart of Buddhist thinking and behaviour. The first of the five precepts that all Buddhists should follow is, “Avoid killing, or harming any living thing.”
The Dali Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
However, Buddhism may not be as pacifist as we think. Stephen Jenkins argues that nonviolvence isn’t the same thing as pacifism. He claims in Buddhism, even murder, done for the right reasons and with compassion, may be an act of nonviolence.
So assessments of conflict involving Buddhists, such as in Southeast Asia and previously in Sri Lanka, may be assessed at a personal moral level as to whether ‘violence’ was done with compassion; and at a political level as to whether mediation had been sought first.
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