Buddhist obligations

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Posted by Sam on November 20, 1999 at 09:19:50:

I was struck by an encouter the other day and didn't know what to think of it until I read Grace's questions about not harming sentient creatures. Where do babies fall in the sentient creature catagory? Are they sentient before birth, or only after? At what point are they sentient? The reason I asked is this -- I saw a pregnant woman standing around smoking a cigarette yesterday. I thought, science has proven a relationship between smoking during prenancy and birth defects. So, is smoking during pregnancy actually harming a sentient being, or is it only harming a potential sentient being; and if the latter, is it still admonishable since the baby is not yet "actual" but only "potential." But, more importantly -- if I've given up meat in an effort to not indirectly harm sentient sentient beings, should I also confront the expectant mother in an effort to prevent harm to this sentient being? What are my obligations in this? To what extent do I interfere with a person's life to help prevent harm to another person's life? Of course, I don't expect other people to give up meat just because I think it's a good idea for me, so I guess I shouldn't interfere at all -- and I didn't, at the time. But this really shook me up, and I didn't know what to do with it. I don't actually expect an answer here -- this is just for thought.

Peace and compassion... Sam :)

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