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Buddhism and Vaccines?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I know that there is no specific teaching on vaccines, but what is the general consensus among Buddhists based on the writings? What writings/teachings would apply, if any?
post #2 of 6

I'll be interested to see if you get any answers because my mom is Buddhist. Our vaccines were delayed but I don't think it had anything to do with her religion, just that she was crunchy
post #3 of 6
This is an interesting question! I don't know much about Buddhism, but I do know that lots of Buddhists are vegetarians and that is based in their philosophy/religion. And since lots of vaccines are made from animals by-products, tested on animals, and so forth, that might be one place to direct your research?
post #4 of 6
I am 100% certain there is no widespread position on the subject of vaccines in Buddhism. There really are no writings that would apply. Being a subject with a diversity of opinions on whether or not vaccination is necessary/fairly neutral/harmful, any Buddhist position would really just be a matter of where individual followers fall on that particular spectrum of opinions, and the degree to which they personally feel that relates to more general ideas of healthfulness and not doing harm.

Even going with the vegetarian thing, vegetarianism, and particularly vegetarianism among non-monastic Buddhists, is a complicated subject with Buddhists with no faith-wide (or often even sect-wide) consensus whatsoever.
post #5 of 6
Here's an interesting post from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective...


Here's another article on Cambodian Buddhists requesting the H1N1 vax at their temple. http://www.voanews.com/Khmer/archive...d572440d792b41

In general, in Buddhist countries like Myanmar... you see very high vaccination rates, such as for BCG (Tuberculosis). http://www.who.int/immunization_monitoring/data/mmr.pdf In Cambodia, polio was just eradicated in 2000...and they still have one of the highest under five mortality rates due to preventable illness. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... choosing to vax or not seems to be a luxury of the West. If you're living in poor rural countries where there's a very good chance your child won't make it to 5 years of age due to a variety of reasons that compromise immunity--you generally don't say no to anything that might improve their odds of survival.
post #6 of 6
I was going to say, considering a lot of Eastern Buddhists live in poor countries with high (or relatively high) infection rates for a lot of vaccine preventable diseases, I've never met any that voiced any opposition to vaccines that I know of. Like Umsami said, not vaccinating is largely a luxury of Western nations.

And, regarding vegetarianism, non of the Buddhists I know who are actually from Eastern countries are vegetarian, including my brother's Geshe (who's from the Tibetan region). There are dietary restrictions for the Dali Lama and maybe some other higher ranking people, but most aren't vegetarian in my experience.
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