BUDDHISM

The Sangha & Buddhist Attitudes to Life

The Sangha & Buddhist Attitudes to Life

The Sangha

sanghaThe Sangha is the third of the Three Refuges, the spiritual community of Buddhism. Usually the Sangha refers to monks and nuns, but lay people can also be considered as part of the Sangha if they have worked hard to gain enlightenment.

Both prospective monks and nuns must give up their worldly possessions and enter into a life of asceticism. There is a complex set of rules governing their daily behaviour. They spend much of their time meditating, chanting and studying. Buddhist monks and nuns are celibate.

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Attitudes to Life

sanghaBuddhism teaches five moral precepts which underpin attitudes to life and important issues like abortion, euthanasia and death.

The five moral precepts are:

– Do not take life
– Do not take what is not given
– Do not misuse the senses
– Do not speak falsehoods
– Do not take intoxicants that cloud the mind

Two important concepts in Buddhist ethics are Metta which calls on Buddhists to love their fellow humans and treat them with kindness, and Karuna which teaches that Buddhists must be compassionate.

Traditional Buddhists do not accept abortion as they believe it destroys life.

The teachings of Buddha do not specifically mention euthanasia, but most Buddhists oppose it because it destroys life. When a Buddhist dies, it is seen as the beginning of a transition to another life. Buddhists cremate their dead and the family offers alms to the poor shortly after, and every year from then on to mark the anniversary of death.

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