Department     College of Asia Pacific Studies
   Position   Professor
Language English
Publication Date 2015/09
Type Research paper (Academic/Professional Journal)
Peer Review Peer reviewed
Title A bioethical interpretation of Buddha’s enlightenment
Contribution Type Single Work
Journal Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics
Volume, Issue, Page 25(5),pp.204-208
Details Siddhārtha Gautama attained Buddhahood by ‘awakening’ or ‘enlightenment’. Having spent many years in the struggle to find the truth about suffering, he was finally enlightened after spending days in meditation under a tree in Bodh Gaya, India. Later he started on a journey to spread his teachings, what is currently known as Buddhism with about 360 million practitioners worldwide. This paper examines the teachings of Buddhism in a bioethical perspective to hypothesize on what awakening or enlightenment meant to the Buddha. The paper argues that the concept of reincarnation, cycle of suffering, and compassion are closely knitted in Buddha’s realization of enlightenment; suffering follows a cyclic pattern through life and unless the cycle is broken, it is inclined to repetition. This cycle starts with birth which is then afflicted with illness, aging and death. However, all living things are connected through the unity of life, like a river that flows. The ‘truth’ is that we are all but one living organism. Compassion can reduce suffering, though suffering can only be stopped when one is so overwhelmed with pure compassion that ‘oneness’ with all life is realized. This allows one to lose the illusion of self so that the cycle of suffering may be brought to an end. Therefore, compassion, altruism, giving and receiving are only ‘natural’. Those who do not realize the truth, stay within the cyclic pattern of suffering that only changes form along the time. Purity and perfection of compassion is the key to end suffering. It can be concluded that the concept of enlightenment is based on Buddha’s philosophical comprehension of the unity and connectedness of life as understood in biology today.
ISSN 1173-2571