Babies Born Dying: Just Bad Karma? A Discussion Paper
The paper examines the notion of being born dying and karma. Karma is a belief upheld by Buddhists and non-Buddhists: That is, karma follows people from their previous lives into their current lives. This raises a difficult question: Does karma mean that a baby’s death is its own fault? While great peace can be found from a belief in karma, the notion of a baby’s karma returning in some sort of retributive, universal justice can be de-emphasized and is considered “un-Buddhist.” Having an understanding of karma is intrinsic to the spiritual care for the dying baby, not only from the perspective of parents and families who have these beliefs, but also for reconciling one’s own beliefs as a healthcare practitioner.
KeywordsNeonatal Buddhism Karma Death
The author would like to thank the wisdom and spiritual guidance offered by her teachers in the preparation of this paper: The Venerable Wu Chin from the Pure Land Learning College Association; the Venerable Robina Courtin from the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition; and Bhikkhu Dhammasiha from the Dhammagiri Forest Hermitage.
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