Moral Issues

As a consequence of their beliefs about karma and the cycle of rebirth, Buddhists hold all life as sacred. This can lead to complicated positions on issues such as abortion because, according to early Buddhist teachings, individual human life begins at conception. Interpreting these early sources in light of modern scientific discoveries, most Buddhists hold that individual life begins at fertilisation. Abortion is therefore illegal in Sri Lanka and Thailand but is legal in Japan. As with many other Buddhists in the West, SGI followers may hold a range of personal views on abortion. Regardless of the official doctrinal position on abortion, however, some Buddhists in Japan offer the ritual of mizuko kuyo, or a memorial service, for aborted children (Keown 1996: 102–3).

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Soka Gakkai


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