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Thread: Is this a good thing?

  1. #1

    Is this a good thing?

    Here is a link to a recent article regarding a large donation to
    Hwang Woo Suk, the disgraced researcher, to resume his
    research.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060509...s_060509053112

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Buck_Nastier
    Here is a link to a recent article regarding a large donation to
    Hwang Woo Suk, the disgraced researcher, to resume his
    research.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060509...s_060509053112
    Several Buddhists sects in Asia are amongst the wealthiest and most powerful religious groups in the world. They fund hospitals that are dedicated to helping people. I recently met the head of a Buddhist hospital in Taiwan and was absolutely amazed by what they do. The hospital does all kinds of stem cell research. While the Buddhists are avid savers of life and are absolutely opposed to the taking of lives under any circumstance, they strongly support all forms of stem cell research. When the earthquake occurred in Pakistan, they sent 90 doctors and emergency care teams into the mountains and stayed for the past year, saving lives and taking care of people.

    As I understand it, Woo-Suk Hwang is a serious and devout Buddhist. When he got into trouble and he needed shelter, he stayed to the Buddhist monastary. By donating US$65 million to stem cell research, the Buddhist group that did this is declaring their support of the research and their faith in Woo-Suk Hwang. One of the tenets of the Buddhist faith is learning how to be a better person and saving people from the excesses of the world. On my last trip to Hong Kong, I had lunch at a major Buddhist monastary. Our guide was a calm peaceful Buddhist nun who went to university in the United States and worked in the stockbroking business in New York! She had given it all up to be a Buddhist. She described how they worked so hard every day and all day that there was no time for anything else. Work, work, and more work.

    I was impressed by her description of their meals, which is of course strictly vegetarian due to their respect for life. They had a few utensils that were set in a particular way. The cook would come with the food and ladel it into the bowl, while looking at the face of the person. They are not supposed to speak. Everybody ate the same. She described how they handled the food situation for nuns who are diabetic. They work until they go to sleep and get up early. They have given up the excesses of life to devote their lives to good deeds. And, by the way, many of the Buddhists are superb at business. That is one of the reasons why they are so rich. Buddhists give up all the material aspects of their lives.

    It is suitable and laudable, I think, that the Buddhists have decided to support Woo-Suk Hwang. This is a man that has been battered as far down as a scientist can go. He has lied not only to his colleagues but also to people who are hoping to benefit from stem cell research. In the western world, he would have been thrown in jail and the key thrown away. In Korea, he will live in a self-imposed prison for the rest of his life, working to restore the damage that he has done, to make himself a better person. I think that this iis a good thing.

    Wise.

  3. #3
    Thank you Dr. Young. I just wasn't sure how Hwang Woo Suk
    could continue to make progress in his research after all that
    he has done. That $65 million could do a lot for the ChinaSCINet
    and there would be no fraud involved.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Buck_Nastier
    Thank you Dr. Young. I just wasn't sure how Hwang Woo Suk
    could continue to make progress in his research after all that
    he has done. That $65 million could do a lot for the ChinaSCINet
    and there would be no fraud involved.
    Buck,

    A long long time ago, I learned never to be jealous of money that other people get, make, or raise. People support and give of their own will. Eventually, we will make it in ChinaSCINet. When people understand what it can and will do, money should not be a problem. By the way, it is always hard at the beginning. Over the years, I have been involved in many projects and there are none that I think is more important and gives more value for the spinal cord injury community.

    Our ultimate goal is to show that therapies can be tested rigorously, rapidly, and efficiently. I hope that it will not only bring the cure to China but improve the care. In many ways, we have had a significant impact. Imagine trying to get all the spinal cord injury centers in the United States to work together, getting everybody to agree to test therapies together, and setting the standards of the field. That is what we have done in China over the past year. A lot of people didn't think and may still think that it is not possible. I hope that it opens a lot of eyes in the United States.

    Wise.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young
    While the Buddhists are avid savers of life and are absolutely opposed to the taking of lives under any circumstance, they strongly support all forms of stem cell research.
    Wise, do you have any further details on how/why Buddhists think this way? I subscribe to similar beliefs, albeit Christian instead of Buddhist, but it's an awfully sticky topic to try and discuss even with others who share the same faith. I feel a big reason for the "controversy" is lack of public education on the research and letting a cloud of unsubstantiated opinions from the media or from those with significant influence in religious circles permeate into the public line of thought. Just the mention of stem cells sets off red flags with some people & honestly it's driving me nuts b/c 9 times out of 10 they can't explain it beyond the same old argument of equating the research with destruction of life... which is why I'm curious about the Buddhist opinion.

    thanks..

  6. #6
    I dont know about Budhism which actually originated from Hinduism, but here is an interesting excerpt re stem cells and Hinduism

    The ancient system of Indian medicine known as Ayurveda assumes that fetuses are alive and conscious when it prescribes a particular mental and spiritual regimen to pregnant women. This same assumption is implicit in "The Mahabharata," the Hindu epic about a fratricidal war apparently fought in the first millennium B.C. In one of its famous stories, the warrior Arjuna describes to his pregnant wife a seven-stage military strategy. His yet-to-born son Abhimanyu is listening, too. But as Arjuna describes the seventh and last stage, his wife falls asleep, presumably out of boredom. Years later, while fighting his father's cousins, the hundred Kaurava brothers, Abhimanyu uses well the military training he has learned in his mother's womb, until the seventh stage, where he falters and is killed.

    But the religions and traditions we know as Hinduism are less monolithic and more diverse than Islam and Christianity; they can yield contradictory arguments. Early in "The Mahabharata," there is a story about how the hundred Kaurava brothers came into being. Their mother had produced a mass of flesh after two years of pregnancy. But then a sage divided the flesh into 100 parts, which were treated with herbs and ghee, and kept in pots for two years - from which the Kaurava brothers emerged.

    Indian proponents of stem-cell research often offer this story as an early instance of human cloning through stem cells extracted from human embryos

  7. #7
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    thanks KBK, not sure I understand the point there, but okay.

    BTT for Wise.

  8. #8
    Scott, I was trying to say that we can work around religion and interpret it in different ways if these politicians really want to help people who suffer from Paralysis.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Pruett
    Wise, do you have any further details on how/why Buddhists think this way? I subscribe to similar beliefs, albeit Christian instead of Buddhist, but it's an awfully sticky topic to try and discuss even with others who share the same faith. I feel a big reason for the "controversy" is lack of public education on the research and letting a cloud of unsubstantiated opinions from the media or from those with significant influence in religious circles permeate into the public line of thought. Just the mention of stem cells sets off red flags with some people & honestly it's driving me nuts b/c 9 times out of 10 they can't explain it beyond the same old argument of equating the research with destruction of life... which is why I'm curious about the Buddhist opinion.

    thanks..
    Scott,

    I don't know so much about the Buddhist religion and therefore cannot comment authoritatively. From what I have read and seen, however, much of Buddhism is about redemption, the retrieval of the fallen. Many Buddhist sects emphasize atonement for one's sins, people impose incredible hardships and penance on themselves. While there are certain Christian sects that do believe in self-flagellation and the like, the element of self-punishment is much stronger in everyday Buddhism.

    My experience with Buddhism is from a distance. I grew up in Japan where many people practice both Buddhism and Shintoism. They used the former for issues relating to death and Shintoism for issues relating to life. Most Christians probably cannot understand this tolerance for other religions. Buddhists do not have a "jealous" god. As a child, I use to visit Buddhist temples as a tourist and climbed up and down the big buddhas. There was not the same sense of fear that Christian cathedrals tend to instill.

    Buddhism is a very tolerant religion. Unlike Christianity where sin is regarded as dirty and to be stopped at all costs, Buddhists not only believe in but practice tolerance of sinners. Sinners redeem themselves by choice, not by force. Everybody goes through the process of birth and rebirth until they reach the state of nirvana. What one becomes in the next life depends on what one does in the present life. And, unlike Hinduism, it does not matter what class one is born in. Ultimately, it is a religion of personal responsibility. You are responsible for what you are and will be.

    The concept of birth-rebirth cycle trivializes the concept of an individual personality or ego. Birth and death are merely transitions rather than life-beginning or life-ending experiences. During life, the rules are simple. Hurting others is bad. Alleviating suffering of others is good. Giving up worldly goods is good. Working hard is good. Being good gives you access to a better life. From this perspective, the question of when life begins is not so important.

    When a man such as Woo-Suk Hwang chooses to redeem himself by dedicating his life to alleviating the suffering of others, it is natural that it would be embraced and supported by the Buddhists.

    Wise.

    P.S. According to the following web site, the following are ethical principles of Buddhism http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/budethics.htm
    Last edited by Wise Young; 05-10-2006 at 03:23 PM.

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