I was listening to a discussion with David Benatar, and the point that Buddhism seems to be antinatalist was raised. It seems that people argue this both ways. Can Buddhism be said to be antinatalist? Or some strands but not others? If it is, what consequences does this have?

I have always kind of dismissed Benatar's ideas as being a kind of Larkin-esque pose, and making a mistake in hierarchy that puts pleasure above meaning, like utilitarians. But if the charge of antinatalism sticks, it seems I am going to have look more carefully at which of his points also apply to Buddhism.

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    This is nearly a duplicate of various previous questions about having children. – ChrisW Jul 12 '18 at 16:58
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    Can you provide any link for the context....as far as the Canon and scriptures are concerned Buddhism has no attitude , for or against making babies. – user13135 Jul 12 '18 at 18:33
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    I understand "Larkin-esque pose" as a reference to the poem, This Be The Verse. – ChrisW Jul 12 '18 at 20:24

Antinatalists argue that people should refrain from procreation because it is morally bad

According to the third precept, it's not procreation that is morally bad, it's sexual misconduct. So it's perfectly fine for a Buddhist layman to have a family and make kids. Buddhism doesn't really care if you have kids or not. Although the Buddha once said "Putta wattu manussanam"- son is an asset to man. But that's about it.

For monks, it's out of the question as they are not allowed to have any kind of sexual activity with anyone. But it's not because of women getting pregnant. It's because the lust that is involved is detrimental to their spiritual progress.

Birth is indeed part of suffering, but Buddhism never says that the solution to it is to stop people from making children. Even if you ban women from getting pregnant by law, beings will still be born elsewhere. The only way to end it is to cut off craving. So to call Buddhism antinatalist shows a weak understanding of the teachings of the Buddha.

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On the contrary, I think Bodhisattvas might view providing sentient beings with the opportunity for perfect human rebirths as a profound way of helping them. Indeed, this could be one way in which a Bodhisattva might give his/her body away for the benefit of others!

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