Indian Arts and Culture Buddhism Hot-Button Issues and Buddhism Share Flipboard Email Print Peter Adams / Getty Images Buddhism Becoming A Buddhist Origins and Developments Figures and Texts Tibetan and Vajrayana Buddhism By Barbara O'Brien Zen Buddhism Expert B.J., Journalism, University of Missouri Barbara O'Brien is a Zen Buddhist practitioner who studied at Zen Mountain Monastery. She is the author of "Rethinking Religion" and has covered religion for The Guardian, Tricycle.org, and other outlets. our editorial process Barbara O'Brien Updated December 29, 2017 Global warming, Wall Street, and embryonic stem cells were not concerns during the Buddha's life. On the other hand, there was war, sexism, and abortion 25 centuries ago. What does Buddhism have to teach about these and other contentious issues? Sex and Buddhism What does Buddhism teach about issues such as homosexuality and sex outside of marriage? Most religions have rigid, elaborate rules about sexual conduct. Buddhists have the Third Precept -- in Pali, Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami -- which is most commonly translated "Do not indulge in sexual misconduct." However, for laypeople, the early scriptures are hazy about what constitutes "sexual misconduct." Buddhism and Abortion The U.S. has struggled with the issue of abortion for many years without coming to a consensus. We need a fresh perspective, and the Buddhist view of the abortion issue may provide one. Buddhism does consider abortion to be the taking of a human life. At the same time, Buddhists generally are reluctant to intervene in a woman's personal decision to terminate a pregnancy. Buddhism may discourage abortion, but it also discourages imposing rigid moral absolutes. Buddhism and Sexism Buddhist women, including nuns, have faced harsh discrimination by Buddhist institutions in Asia for centuries. There is gender inequality in most of the world's religions, of course, but that's no excuse. Is sexism intrinsic to Buddhism, or did Buddhist institutions absorb sexism from Asian culture? Can Buddhism treat women as equals, and remain Buddhism? Buddhism and the Environment Care of the earth and all living creatures has always been an essential part of Buddhist practice. Which teachings connect directly to environmental issues? Economic Policies and Buddhism We don't normally link issues like banking, finance and the stock market to Buddhism. But current events show us the wisdom of the middle way. Church-State Issues and Buddhism "Wall of separation of church and state" is a metaphor coined by Thomas Jefferson to explain the religion clauses of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The concept behind the phrase has been controversial for more than two centuries. Many religious people argue that it is hostile to religion. But many argue that separation of church and state is good for religion. Morality, Ethics and Buddhism The Buddhist Approach to morality avoids absolutes and rigid commandments. Instead, Buddhists are encouraged to weigh and analyze situations to come to their own decisions about what is moral. War and Buddhism Is war ever justified in Buddhism? It's a simple question with a complex answer regarding Buddhist views on war.