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Methodology of the Buddhist Bioethics Studies



Parallel abstracts

In studying topics related to the study of Buddhist Bioethics, there are three preparatory works that cannot be neglected:1. To master the theoretical system of the study of Buddhist ethics.2. To find direct or indirect 'teaching proofs' from the Buddhist texts/scriptures.3. To learn the professional knowledge of the various life science studies.When applying the theoretical system of Buddhist ethical studies in related research, there are five important points of consideration:1. The aim of Buddhist ethical studies is to clarify the Buddhist's definition of life and the status of human beings. This will affect our views on the controversial ethical topics of animals, embryos and foetus.2. The definition of life will also affect subject classification. According to Buddhism, we should include animal, embryo and foetus into the scope of Bioethics studies (and not in the environmental ethics studies).3. The Buddhist's justification for the ethical concern of life is founded on the ability to perceive/feel, not on intellect or what is God-given. Due to differences in judgment, the opponents that are included in the scope of ethical concern would also vary (so as to consider whether animal, embryo and foetus are included).4. By analysing the theoretical system of the common/general study of ethics from a Buddhist perspective, we may further clarify/explain how we could study the various topics of Bioethics according to the Buddhist theoretical system.5. We should try to apply the Buddhist's Middle Path Philosophy-that is, to make a relative best choice among the causes and conditions that we can see, hear, sense and know-so that it becomes our practical guideline for individual ideology or in promoting public policies.The Middle Path Philosophy is a methodology that takes into consideration the circumstances so as to perceive individual differences. However, this approach has to be founded on the fundamental understanding that all sentient beings are equal, and with 'protecting lives' as the premise. We should never rationalise or legitimatise actions that bring harm to sentient beings by glorifying it with excuses like 'respecting diversity' and uniqueness of culture or differences in individual taste.



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