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Issues in Eastern Religion

Having many different cultures, societies and religions spread around the world, one can simply find conflict within each religious belief. Religion stands for a base of teaching morals, values, spirituality and guides a person on the path of life.  In the eastern region of the world conflicts over religious beliefs have been growing and harming the lives of millions. Some of the major issues viewed in the eastern religions are Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. Each has different views and values in life, but that does not stop the judgment and discrimination of others as they question the behavior and beliefs of each religion.

Buddhists believe that physical pain also causes mental pain allowing the mind of a person to become highly emotional. However, in an attempt to avoid harm Buddhism places large stress on non-harm and believers meditate and use proper meditation to heal the mind. Yet, during the Vietnam War Martin Frost states that monks used euthanasia as suicide and as a form of political weapon during such harsh times. Monks preached that the mind of a person at the time of death should be free of anger, hate and fear, it is then and only then a person will reach peace. As many Buddhism followers are firm believers of karma, they avoid all that they feel will provide bad karma, which means that although monks have practiced euthanasia and/or suicide, no person was willing to take his own life when help has been available.

Such behavior is viewed as purely improper Buddhist practice by monks, as the religion itself states that no harm should be brought to a person. Even those who are not Buddhist believers, practice meditation that has been part of Buddhism for generations, claiming that calm relation of mind not only brings peace to emotions but physical relaxation as well.

According to Juergensmeyer (2000), religious violence has been growing globally and the fear of god has been placed in the mind of believers. Hence, if one is a true believer, the fear of god should not be placed upon them. But yet there exist people who attempt to control society by forcing people to have the same beliefs as their own, no matter they are right or wrong. Hinduism shares similar beliefs in euthanasia as their view on the practice is seen as a way of ending pain of life by performing good deeds and fulfilling moral obligations.

The issue of abortion is one of the largest controversial topics all over the world. Many believe that performance of abortion should be forbidden by law, others feel that women have the right to decide, since it is their body that is changing as a result of pregnancy. Hence, what if carrying a baby to term means that lives of the mother and a child is put in jeopardy and only one will survive after the birth of this baby? Or in the event a woman was raped and as a result of this rape she has to carry a child of her rapist which is a constant reminder of the horrific nightmare. Does not this woman have the right to terminate the pregnancy? Well, if suicide is acceptable by Buddhist believers and Hinduism also believes in suicide, why shouldn’t a woman have the right to choose for herself? The difference between the two is that women have not had equal opportunities in the Eastern world as they are viewed a lower then men and only men have the right to make such decisions.

Unlike Buddhism and Hinduism, Sikhism is against euthanasia, as Sikhs believe that life is a gift from god and only god has the right to take it away. Though Sikh Gurus rejected suicide, other religions viewed it as rejection of their religion, but the Sikhs were clear in their beliefs and strong standings against suicide or taking another person’s life. However, when question is about life support and removing an individual from living an artificial life, Sikhism finds it difficult because in such cases religious leaders had to consider suffering of the individuals terminally ill and sufferings being caused by machines. They had to distinguish the difference between the ending of life and not prolonging artificial life.

Although the Eastern World has different beliefs and views of how life should be treasured and what god means to each person or religion, even within their own religious beliefs they have disagreements. Samurai in Buddhism would behead a person who had just fatally stabbed himself in religious ritual, insisting that he is reducing pain of a person committing suicide. Life is a gift that should be valued and as adults people should take responsibility for their actions and not eliminate the problem by simply depriving themselves or another person of life.

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