Are zygotes humans?

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Grigoris
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by Grigoris »

Monlam Tharchin wrote:By "opposite side of the fence" I meant especially in regards to the quote below and my reply:
Redfaery wrote:More to the point, if I somehow became pregnant, would I be committing infanticide if I took a pill to flush a zygote out of my body? A zygote that would likely be miscarried due to the IUD I have implanted for other medical reasons?
Here is my opinion where we may diverge.
I don't think one can simultaneously form the intention to end a possible human birth by taking a morning after pill then say that the way it does this (flushing the zygote) does not end a human birth. Even if a woman is not sure if there's a zygote or what a zygote is.
If the intention remains to end a human birth, then that is considerable.

I realize this could easily turn into an abortion discussion, so I'm trying to stick very closely to the treatment of a zygote and its potentiality.
Sorry, I thought you were continuing to reply to me.
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by Malcolm »

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Yes, because a gandharva, a consciousness seeking rebirth, has entered the fertilized ovum.
So, for you, a fertilised ovum is a human being?
Yes, of course. It cannot be fertilized without the entrance of a gandharva. No gandharva, not conception.
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

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Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Yes, because a gandharva, a consciousness seeking rebirth, has entered the fertilized ovum.
So, for you, a fertilised ovum is a human being?
Yes, of course. It cannot be fertilized without the entrance of a gandharva. No gandharva, not conception.
Just consciousness, not perception/sensation?
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by Malcolm »

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:So, for you, a fertilised ovum is a human being?
Yes, of course. It cannot be fertilized without the entrance of a gandharva. No gandharva, not conception.
Just consciousness, not perception/sensation?
After the gandharva enters fertilized ovum( from allopathic pov), it becomes unconscious, without sensations until the 24th week, as above. In reality, all three things have to join together at once for conception to occur. And this is a universal doctrine in Buddhist sutras and tantras, as stated above, in the Medicine Tantra. Not sure why you are having a hard time with this. It is standard Buddhist doctrine.
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

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Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Yes, of course. It cannot be fertilized without the entrance of a gandharva. No gandharva, not conception.
Just consciousness, not perception/sensation?
After the gandharva enters fertilized ovum( from allopathic pov), it becomes unconscious, without sensations until the 24th week, as above. In reality, all three things have to join together at once for conception to occur. And this is a universal doctrine in Buddhist sutras and tantras.
Let me see if I understand what you are saying: You are saying that a zygote is a human being because a consciousness enters the zygote when the ovum is fertilised, but then the consciousness ceases and does not kick off again until the 24th week? Is that what you are saying?
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by Malcolm »

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:Just consciousness, not perception/sensation?
After the gandharva enters fertilized ovum( from allopathic pov), it becomes unconscious, without sensations until the 24th week, as above. In reality, all three things have to join together at once for conception to occur. And this is a universal doctrine in Buddhist sutras and tantras.
Let me see if I understand what you are saying: You are saying that a zygote is a human being because a consciousness enters the zygote when the ovum is fertilised, but then the consciousness ceases and does not kick off again until the 24th week? Is that what you are saying?

It is latent, but present. In other words, a zygote has a faculty of body, mind, and a faculty of life, but since it has no sense organs, it cannot engage in any mental processes and there is no input to stimulate mental processes. Something like a candle in a room with no windows and no doors. In the 24th week, after the six sense gates are fully developed, it experiences pain and pleasure. You can make a direct equation in the chain of dependent origination in this way, from the point of conception, it is the link of consciousness; from then until the 24th week, name and form, after this we have six sense organs, contact, sensation, etc.
Last edited by Malcolm on Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

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Malcolm wrote:It is latent, but present. In other words, a zygote has a faculty of body, mind, and a faculty of life, but since it has no sense organs, it cannot engage in any mental processes and there is no input to stimulate mental processes. Something like a candle in a room with no windows and no doors. In the 24th week, after the six sense gates are fully developed, it experiences pain and pleasure. You can make a direct equation in the chain of dependent origination in this way, from the point of conception, it is the link of consciousness; from then until the 24th week, name and form, after this we have contact, sensation, etc.
Okay, that's much clearer now. Thank you! :twothumbsup:
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by MiphamFan »

So zygote selection is a no-no for Buddhists I guess.

That leaves CRISPR genetic engineering on the table though.
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

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Taco_Rice wrote:Every time a human is born, that is another being can attain the Way...
That's not quite true. According to Tibetan Buddhism, a human existence by itself is not enough, you need a PRECIOUS human rebirth. One needs the eight freedoms and the ten endowments too.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by Karma Dorje »

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
After the gandharva enters fertilized ovum( from allopathic pov), it becomes unconscious, without sensations until the 24th week, as above. In reality, all three things have to join together at once for conception to occur. And this is a universal doctrine in Buddhist sutras and tantras.
Let me see if I understand what you are saying: You are saying that a zygote is a human being because a consciousness enters the zygote when the ovum is fertilised, but then the consciousness ceases and does not kick off again until the 24th week? Is that what you are saying?

It is latent, but present. In other words, a zygote has a faculty of body, mind, and a faculty of life, but since it has no sense organs, it cannot engage in any mental processes and there is no input to stimulate mental processes. Something like a candle in a room with no windows and no doors. In the 24th week, after the six sense gates are fully developed, it experiences pain and pleasure. You can make a direct equation in the chain of dependent origination in this way, from the point of conception, it is the link of consciousness; from then until the 24th week, name and form, after this we have six sense organs, contact, sensation, etc.
So without functioning sense organs and their fields, how do zygotes differ *at an experiential level* from any other aggregation of cells or conversely from any other bardo being without a physical body? We seem to only be differentiating based on the potential to develop these. Nobody gets upset at the cells that are killed during cancer surgery or an appendectomy, though surely even single cells have a mode of consciousness.
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by Grigoris »

I guess though that one would still consider a person in a deep coma as a human being, even though they don't have functioning sense organs.
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"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

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Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Mother's Lap wrote: The being is unconscious at that point in gestation isn't it?
I don't know why Malcolm affirmed this.
It is because the gandharva has only three indriyas when it enters the fertilized ovum, according to the The Nanda-garbhavakranti-sūtra:

  • Nanda, in the nineteenth week, the four organs of the fetus in the womb mother’s womb, the eyes, the ears, the nose, and the tongue fully formed. In the beginning when entering the womb initially only three faculties were attained, these being the body, life and mind.




Sensations, according to Desri Sangye Gyatso's commentary on the Medicine Tanta, occur only in the 24th week:
  • In the twenty-fourth month the “moving everywhere” wind clear matures the functional and hollow organs. At that time, also the thoughts of happiness and suffering, the objects of sensation, become known.

Well, gee, a Tibetan medical doctor quoting from medical texts (thus info not available to the average practitioner), is sort of :quoteunquote: cheating. :shock:

Okay - thanks!

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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by kirtu »

Mother's Lap wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Mother's Lap wrote: The being is unconscious at that point in gestation isn't it?
I don't know why Malcolm affirmed this.
....
Kirt
Khenpo Rinpoches: "The moment mind enters between the two essence elements, there is a brief instance of intelligence, feelings, blissfulness or whatever; immediately following this, however, consciousness is trapped and enters a state of total neutrality. Awareness and conceptions are not waking up, but rather are sinking into a state of rest or unconsciousness- it is like the individual has fainted".

Consciousness only starts to rouse at the fifth week, after which it gradually becomes more aware.
Quoting from mutually shared lamas (even though I have not had a chance to take much teaching from them) is also sort of :quoteunquote: cheating. :lol:

Shot down twice today :crying: ..... obviously I have a lot to learn.

Thanks!!

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Re-opened for civilised, on-topic discussion.

:namaste:
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by Malcolm »

Karma Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:Let me see if I understand what you are saying: You are saying that a zygote is a human being because a consciousness enters the zygote when the ovum is fertilised, but then the consciousness ceases and does not kick off again until the 24th week? Is that what you are saying?

It is latent, but present. In other words, a zygote has a faculty of body, mind, and a faculty of life, but since it has no sense organs, it cannot engage in any mental processes and there is no input to stimulate mental processes. Something like a candle in a room with no windows and no doors. In the 24th week, after the six sense gates are fully developed, it experiences pain and pleasure. You can make a direct equation in the chain of dependent origination in this way, from the point of conception, it is the link of consciousness; from then until the 24th week, name and form, after this we have six sense organs, contact, sensation, etc.
So without functioning sense organs and their fields, how do zygotes differ *at an experiential level* from any other aggregation of cells or conversely from any other bardo being without a physical body? We seem to only be differentiating based on the potential to develop these. Nobody gets upset at the cells that are killed during cancer surgery or an appendectomy, though surely even single cells have a mode of consciousness.
The difference is that the single cell formed from the merging of the spermatozoa and the ovum have been appropriated as a body by a consciousness seeking rebirth.
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

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Monlam Tharchin wrote:I also notice an ambiguous position in this thread.
If a zygote is not a human, then something like the morning after pill for instance does not "impede" a human being, if "kill" is too strong a word.
Yet people take the morning after pill precisely to avoid the possibility a human birth in the future.
So one simultaneously takes action to avoid giving rise to a human while saying one is not giving rise to a human being.
It seems some slice up the causation differently, sometimes in the same thought, and that is where the crux of the matter lies.

For what it's worth, I was once on the opposite side of the fence on the whole wad of issues that come with this subject.
That is until I began reading opinions of Buddhist teachers.
FYI, the "Morning After Pill" does not "impede" anything except ovulation. It will not prevent a zygote from implanting, or dislodge one that has already implanted, which is why it isn't a failsafe method to prevent pregnancy. It's emergency birth control, nothing more than that. I too used to be on the opposite side of the fence from where I am now, that is, until I read about how human bodies actually worked.

I am not saying that if I had an abortion it would not be killing something - that I would not be committing a downfall. But it would not be the same downfall as if someone were to kill me.
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by newbie »

To clear out confusion, animal cells after being harvested are treated with cryoprotective agents and stored according to protocols in place.
When retrieved, the cells are tested for viability. Absorption of dye applied signifies that the cell membrane has ruptured, thus content has spilled out.
I hope that helps.
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Re: Are zygotes humans?

Post by Tsongkhapafan »

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:https://books.google.com/books?id=cy980 ... an&f=false


According to Tibetan Buddhism, consciousness enters, the zygote when the sperm and ovum unite...

So if the zygote has consciousness...it is a being already...a sentient being...
What he said :)
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