Do you as a Buddhist believe in abortion?
Buddhism teaches that life actually starts before conception, so killing a fetus even before it takes a single breath must obviously be a horrifying Karmic act.
However, there are also other tragedies in life like murder and suicide. These tragedies will never end until all people finally learn the true value of life and the reason why they have to stay alive no matter how hard it is.
I think this is why Buddhism emphasizes sharing its teachings without pushing a judgmental or political stance. Once people understand the true value of each human life, they will find the answer for this question by themselves.
How do you as a Buddhist react to a same-sex marriage question?
I don’t even think of this matter as being religious. This issue is related to the current political and social meaning of the marriage system which determines whether a country gives a tax reduction or other kinds of merits to only different-sex couples. Therefore, it’s not a religious issue for me.
How do you as a Buddhist view a disaster like the petroleum leak in the Gulf of Mexico?
As a Buddhist, I believe that every incident has a cause and an effect. All the results we experience are caused by our own deeds. Because of this, Buddhism teaches there is no point to blame or to curse others for what is really our fault.
This accident in the Gulf of Mexico may have been caused by excessive greed, from a failure to enforce safety measures, or a variety of other reasons. However, we never attribute it to something external like God’s will.
The more negative an effect occurs in life like the oil spill, the more of an opportunity it becomes to deeply reflect on our past negative actions. In this way, we can examine what caused our own negative effects thoroughly, modify our current situation, and improve our future behaviors accordingly to avoid repeating the same failures again. This transforms major upsets on a societal level into a more personal reflection that brings about positive change.
How do you as a Buddhist think of the conflict in Middle East?
So many of moderate Muslims have been killed in India recently by a group described as more radical Muslims. Have these kinds of incidents occurred to different Buddhist sects?
Buddha’s compassion does not discriminate. All human beings, regardless of their gender, wealth, social class or race, are equally the object of his salvation.
There is a celebrated Buddhist thinker named Shinran Shonin who endeavored to guide all people toward True Buddhism whether they believed in the teachings or even whether they slandered them.
Because of his example, I strongly believe there is no way to justify attacking or killing someone holding different beliefs in the name of truth.