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Our Demand for The Abolition of The Death Penalty

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Writer admin Date28 Mar 2006 Read15,659 Comment0


We, the members of The Central Council of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, following the decision to take up the position against the capital punishment, strongly demand that the prompt revision of the existing law should be made by the National Assembly. This decision is to be in accordance with the Buddha’s teaching which puts emphasis on the value of all life forms and to protect the dignity of human beings.

Law, a man-made device for the social security, may guarantee the minimum safety for the general members of the society. However, it should be remembered that it is not infallible. The death penalty is based on the law which allows taking someone’s life for the sake of the others’ safety. It is, in the actual fact, murder. In this respect it has been defined as ‘institutional homicide’ in many countries.

The basis of Buddhism is compassion. Buddhist compassion means the realization of universal love for all living beings, be they ever so humble, not only for the love for humans.

To a Buddhist, death is not an end but a process of life, a stage to the later life. So death is a starting point of newly beginning life. From this view point, we believe that the death penalty deprives the excuted person of the chance to repent his or her misconducts through his or her life and consequently causes unblessed birth into the life to come.

In Buddhist philosophy, as there is no doer, all things are therefore said to be unborn as well as unceasing. Based on this, we do not agree to the capital punishment which is the product of the annihilistic denial of continuity. We are aware that an individual’s conduct is the result of our joint actions of sentient beings, so feel acutely the responsibility for our part of their misconducts.

Here again we urge the abolition of the death penalty. We also express our sincere hope that the society will not permit any more institutional murder under the name of social safety. We would like to make it clear that we will take every effort to put an end to this inhumane punishment system.

March 22, Buddhist year 2550(C.E.2006)


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