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Hello, I am doing a speech for a class in which I must persuade people as to what a person is.
What are the Buddist teachings on this? What makes someone a person? Also, on a related topic, what parts of Buddist teaching could be applied to abortion?
Thank you for asking me.
I don't understand what you mean by "persuading people as to what a person is". Maybe you mean to persuade people to follow certain behaviour. Or you may be asking about the Buddhist concept of what constitute a person.
For the first meaning, I would say the Buddha advised all to live a harmless life. Just imagine if all of us decide to live a harmless life, will there be any trouble? But in reality not many want to live a harmless life because there is always greed and hatred in all of us in various degree. We are by nature very unforgiving and very selfish. This is the cause of all our troubles.
As for the second meaning, physiologically, a person is no different from an animal. The only difference is in the conscious mind. Animals are guided by natural instincts. Man has a higher intelligence because of the mental consciousness enabling him to think and analyze. The danger is that he may be very intelligent, but lack the moral fibre to lead a harmless life. He may use his cleverness to harm others. This is the tragedy of the human species.
Without going into critical analysis of this sensitive issue of abortion, generally speaking, abortion is the termination of life on purpose. In Buddhist teachings, termination of life on purpose is not wholesome. If we follow a good moral life-style we will not face the problem of abortion.
Smile from justinchoo :-)