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Buddhists/Buddhism view on stemcell research


Good evening Mr McLaughlin (presently coming up on 11.00 pm Australian time)

My name is Michael Zande ,  Christian’s Dad.

Thank you for your prompt response to the email that I had sent on Christian’s behalf 27 April (though it was probably still 26 April on your side of the date line). I attempted to respond to it using the reply function in Microsoft Outlook same day- without realising it was sent from a “donotreply” address.

So I am now resending as a posting back through the portal for your website.

First - yes of course we very much appreciate everyone is busy however for Christian to meet the assessment  criteria for this piece of work, all of the questions asked, do require some sort of answer. If this issue can be resolved by remuneration then, so long as we can afford it, we are happy to compensate you for your time. We are not well practiced in transferring money overseas. We mainly use “PayPal” here. Is that a system you also use? If so could you please advise your estimate of the cost, details of your bank account and terms for payment for our consideration.  

Second - as for the question numbering - I do apologise. The auto-numbering must have suffered some form of corruption when we cut and pasted it into your website’s dialog box. I have redone the document with correct numbering below and hopefully the numbering will hold this time. If not the questions are supposed to be in sequence 1 – 16.
Finally as for information concerning stem cell research,  Christian’s has put together some preliminary research notes on the topic which I believe should give you all of the relevant scientific back ground  as relates to the moral issue which is to be covered in Christian’s report. We are happy for you to base your answers on the assumption that the information in that document is correct and do not require you to research any further to verify the accuracy of that information for yourself.

So if all can be resolved as to your fee and method for payment, I  can arrange for that document to be sent to you via direct email from us to you if that is suitable to you.  

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Michael Zande – on behalf of Christian Zande

Study of Religion

Hi, my name's Christian Zande and I'm doing an assignment for study of religion. I would really appreciate if someone could help me answer some questions from a Buddhist perspective. It can be done face to face, over the phone or email.
The questions are to follow.

Ethnographic Report
Investigating and comparing religious perspectives on the ethical issue of
Embryonic stem cell research ( here after referred to as “ESCR”)
According to Catholic and Buddhist faiths
By: Christian Zande
Questions for interview with Buddhist adherent:   

1.   What is your name, age, how long have you been a practising Buddhism and do you have any formal role in your community  ?

2.   When do you think human life begins? Is that belief based on your values as a practicing Buddhist or other ideals?

3.   According to Buddhist faith what do you believe is your duty when it comes to protecting human life?

4.   Scientists argue that an embryo is not equivalent to human life because it is incapable of      existing outside the womb. They say at that stage of development the embryo :-
         -Has no brain
         -No central nervous system
         -No pain receptors
         -No sensory perception
         -Are fully devoid of any kind of conciseness
Given your answer to (Q3) do you agree or disagree with the scientists and why?

5.   As a practicing Buddhist, what is your position on scientific studies using ESCR ?

6.   Is your answer to (Q5) influenced by your religious values and if so are you able to provide examples of the teachings or core values of Buddhism that have shaped those values?

7.   As a general rule under what circumstances do you support scientific research, is there anything that specifically prevents you from doing so on ESCR?  

8.   Are there any circumstances you could see that you might change your views and if so would this be with or without counsel of your Buddhist instructors ?

9.   Some religions (for example Catholism) tend to provide an ethical and moral monitor on scientific progress. Some might say this slows research and thus potential cures, treatments and advancements what do you say about this?

10.   Given that embryonic stem cell research is done using leftover embryos from IVF treatments that will never be allowed to develop and would have eventually been destroyed anyway, what do you believe is the moral harm in using those embryos for scientific research which will ultimately help people?

11.   What is your understanding on creation of human life via IVF? Is it morally permissible and if not why not?

12.   If the creation of an embryo via IVF is itself an immoral act according to Buddhist faith, how is it then justified to attach moral rules to it?

13.   If, as a practicing Buddhist , you believe ESCR is morally wrong, given ESCR is presently legal under Australian law, do you believe you are under any moral obligation to try and stop it? If so what do you believe you are morally obligated to do about it?

14.    Do you think it would be immoral for you as a practicing Buddhist to accept a medical treatment (for example an organ transplant) if that treatment was directly sourced from stem cells that were taken from an embryo. And if “yes” why so or if “no” why not?

15.    Would your answer to (Q14)  change if the treatment had been originally developed using ESCR but was not now actually sourced from embryonic stem cells but rather from your own adult stem cells  that were sourced another way (for example via either induced pluripotent stem cells  “iPSCs” or transdifferentation)?

16.   Does your answer to (Q’s 14 and 15) change if the treatment was not for you but for one of your children?

Hi there -

Thanks so much for getting back to me -

One question before I definitely say yes or no is I need to know a deadline date so I know if I can give you the information you are looking for in the time allotted -

And I don't know what IVF means either -

Looking forward to hearing back from you



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Laurie McLaughlin


I can answer questions about basic Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism and meditation especially how the Buddha's teachings can help us in day to day living.


I have been studying Mahayana Buddhism and meditation since 2001. I have lead meditation classes and retreats for over 5 years. I have lived at a Buddhist retreat center for over 4 years and am currently ordained as a novice Buddhist nun. My nun name is Gyalten Yanghchen.

I hold a BA degree in technical theatre from the University of South Florida.

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