Voluntary Euthanasia

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
Sanjay PS
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby Sanjay PS » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:03 am

tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:The pain experience d in the human realm is mild compared to that in lower realms
And few after death will be reborn as human according to the pali
That is assuming that such realms really exist and that the hell realms business is not the typical scare the begeesus out people tactic to ensure good behavior.


Its never a good advice to use the heaven and hell , carrot and chilly , gifts . A person is bound to go wrong sooner or later when bound or freed by such notions , its but a matter of time .

The Buddhas teaching went beyond; during the time of the Buddha , there were others contemporary to the Buddha who strictly adhered to moral conduct and jhannas. Here , heaven and hell were always considered to be outside . The Buddha exhorted us to delve deeper ,and understand for ourselves , that heaven , hell and the interim are within us and completely mind made . They exist because such and such thoughts and actions give rise to such and such states ; if we keep on being with the truth of change , moment to moment , skillfully avoiding any clinging , it becomes that much more clearer that these are just mirages of our own making , just as we ourselves are the same .

When studying in college and before coming in touch with the profound teachings of the Buddhas , i used to write at the back of my note pads " do what you feel , but feel what you do " . The more we let go , that much more happier we become in life . Letting go superficially is so easy , the letting go from the heart is that what makes all the difference.It is a very long journey , where the traveller comes to learn that the traveller is the journey, and the journey , the traveller itself . There are no full stops.

Its nice to learn bit by bit , i am so grateful .

sanjay
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby robertk » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:43 am

that heaven , hell and the interim are within us and completely mind made .

Thnks you for your profound explanation and your patience with those of us who are still at the stage where we take such ideas literally.
This poor monk also seemd to have a literal view:
http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh171-p.html
They do not appear to compare the suffering occasioned by thirty years’ effort now with the suffering they will encounter if, in the interim before they attain release, they are cast in the hell regions for a hundred thousand years. They do not appear to remember that the suffering occasioned by thirty years’ effort is not as bad as the suffering caused by just three hours in the hell regions.

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby Sanjay PS » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:56 pm

robertk wrote:
that heaven , hell and the interim are within us and completely mind made .

Thnks you for your profound explanation and your patience with those of us who are still at the stage where we take such ideas literally.
This poor monk also seemd to have a literal view:
http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh171-p.html
They do not appear to compare the suffering occasioned by thirty years’ effort now with the suffering they will encounter if, in the interim before they attain release, they are cast in the hell regions for a hundred thousand years. They do not appear to remember that the suffering occasioned by thirty years’ effort is not as bad as the suffering caused by just three hours in the hell regions.


Hello Robert ,

This does not contradict the fact stated by the Venerable Monk , all worlds exist of our own making .

In this world there are laws of various countries ,most of them having a common law that if one does wrong, harming others , depending upon the degree of offense, one has to undergo a consequence of being punished . Yet in spite , crime remains unabated , and people commit follies over and over again.

Say for a moment , if all of us were to get a divine eye , and see for ourselves the various consequences that one undergoes in the lower worlds , and the various benefits that is enjoyed in the upper worlds, still things would not change as much . After this sighting , yet many of us will continue to do acts which would land ourselves in trouble . Although as the adage goes , "seeing is believing" , yet for us to change our habit patterns, more than seeing , it is a clear feeling of experiencing the hell fire of agitation within us , by doing unwholesome actions , and feeling the peace , goodwill , content of doing wholesome actions that slowly makes us to understand this unbiased conditionality of living, that cuts across caste , creed , religion , country , the poor or the high and mighty .

However , to begin with, if we have a highly agitated mind , then although we may do an unwholesome action, we may not feel the heat being added . Its like putting another burning log into a pile of furnace . Similarly with such a nature of a mind should we do a wholesome action , we would not be sensitive to the slight abating of the fire , and would just shrug our shoulders , saying no difference or not much of a difference .Its only when the fire is sufficiently calmed , and we start leading a wholesome life for a good period , do we get to realize that every thought and action of ours are just but germinating seeds of change , we suffer here and now , and are bound to suffer more in the future . Similarly , doing a nice deed , impregnates the seed of well being now, which can be clearly felt , bound to become a tree in the future providing its shade of protection .

i think none of us can deny a tear rolling down our cheek , when we get to realize that however beatific or horrific be our experience while meditating , we remain unmoved , in just dispassionately letting it all go .

i am just learner in the kindergarten of knowledge , its a very long way ahead , but is most inspiring.........

sanjay
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The path of Dhamma is no picnic . It is a strenuous march steeply up the hill . If all the comrades desert you , Walk alone ! Walk alone ! with all the Thrill !!

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby dagon » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:49 pm

To focus back to the OP - does anyone believe that there is an ethical issue for Buddhist in the existing position in Australian jurisdiction?

(T)he Australian Medical Association’s (AMA) position statement on end-of-life care which explains that:
… if a medical practitioner acts in accordance with good medical practice, the following forms of management at the end of life do not constitute euthanasia or physician assisted suicide:
 not initiating life-prolonging measures
 not continuing life-prolonging measures
 the administration of treatment or other action intended to relieve symptoms which may have a secondary consequence of hastening death.


http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/__data/as ... smania.pdf at page 12

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:11 pm

I think the way that is written sounds very reasonable and okay with Buddhist ethics. It is mostly about not using extra-ordinary measures, letting nature take its course. And then relieving the patient's pain is in line with the Buddha's approval of medicine.

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby kmath » Thu Oct 17, 2013 5:36 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:I think the way that is written sounds very reasonable and okay with Buddhist ethics. It is mostly about not using extra-ordinary measures, letting nature take its course. And then relieving the patient's pain is in line with the Buddha's approval of medicine.



Agree :thumbsup:

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby nibbuti » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:38 pm

manas wrote:My main concern, is that old people who are very ill and close to dying, but not in pain nor wishing to end their lives before the natural term, might feel pressured into doing it, to ease the financial and other burdens on their families. That kind of pressure would be no doubt be legislated against, but in practice, I'll bet it will be exerted (or perceived) nonetheless, in some cases.

That can be expected, manas.

:anjali:

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby dagon » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:09 pm

nibbuti wrote:
manas wrote:My main concern, is that old people who are very ill and close to dying, but not in pain nor wishing to end their lives before the natural term, might feel pressured into doing it, to ease the financial and other burdens on their families. That kind of pressure would be no doubt be legislated against, but in practice, I'll bet it will be exerted (or perceived) nonetheless, in some cases.

That can be expected, manas.

:anjali:


There is also the opposite pressures where people extend their own suffering to reduce their suffering on their family. There is one case that i am thinking of where one of the people i was looking after was allergic to almost every painkiller. He stayed around for his wife, when she died he had his pacemaker switch off and got the release from his suffering in a couple of days.

I know in my wife's case she went through 9 series of chemotherapy, 4 operations, 4 series of radiotherapy, 6 different endocrine treatments and over 10 years of cancer effects just to be there for the kids until they grew up.

you can not legislate for human differences - unfortunatly

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby Anagarika » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:59 am

[/quote]

I know in my wife's case she went through 9 series of chemotherapy, 4 operations, 4 series of radiotherapy, 6 different endocrine treatments and over 10 years of cancer effects just to be there for the kids until they grew up.

metta
paul[/quote]

Paul, what a strong and noble person she must be.

"Just as with her own life
A mother shields from hurt
Her only child,
Let all-embracing thoughts
For all beings be yours. "

Karaniya Metta Sutta

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby dagon » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:06 am

Buddhasoup said
Paul, what a strong and noble person she must be
.

She was, I was very lucky to spend 20 years with her and i learnt a lot through the experience. The reality of life is that there is birth, sickness, old age and death - in her case she did not get the old age part. There are many unsung hero's in this world, some are sat back quietly reading this.

But the point of what i was trying to get through was that there are all sorts of pressures on people who are terminally ill their families and careers. The issues with provision of care are very complex and differ with each individual situation. We need to be mindful of the issues and skillful of the actions we undertake. If we lose sight of compassion then we lose sight of The Buddhas teachings no matter what we quote.

To illustrate some of the issues that people face when knowingly facing in these situations - not for any other reason.

When she was told that she was too sick for any more treatment (medication or surgery and she need both) she was sent to see a palliative care specialist. the question that she asked of the doctor was "will you help me end it when i decide the time is right"

The doctors response was "No, but i will ensure that you revive whatever treatment is need to ensure that you do not suffer while you are dying". Later my wife told me that this gave her the courage that she needed to face the situation - without that assurance she would have ended her life herself while she was still capable.

This is the reality of many people who do take their own lives, they are forced to act before they would want to act because they do not have the belief in getting the "help" when they need it. experiences that i have had since confirm my belief that where people know that they will get help they suffer less and are less likely to take their own lives. So access to palliative and terminal care is paramount in balancing compassion and "what is right".

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paul

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby Sanjay PS » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:42 am

Suffering is universal .

Once while driving , i saw a kitten spasming and rolling around in the middle of heavy traffic being run over by a vehicle . There was nothing that anybody could do........all i could feel was intense compassion for the kitten , for myself and for all beings . We all sail in the same boat .

The pleasant , the tranquil , the blissful are also equally, if not, more capable of giving rise to great suffering . Its good to be guarded at all times .

sanjay
The Path of Dhamma

The path of Dhamma is no picnic . It is a strenuous march steeply up the hill . If all the comrades desert you , Walk alone ! Walk alone ! with all the Thrill !!

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby Sanjay PS » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:10 am

dagon wrote:
nibbuti wrote:
manas wrote:My main concern, is that old people who are very ill and close to dying, but not in pain nor wishing to end their lives before the natural term, might feel pressured into doing it, to ease the financial and other burdens on their families. That kind of pressure would be no doubt be legislated against, but in practice, I'll bet it will be exerted (or perceived) nonetheless, in some cases.

That can be expected, manas.

:anjali:


There is also the opposite pressures where people extend their own suffering to reduce their suffering on their family. There is one case that i am thinking of where one of the people i was looking after was allergic to almost every painkiller. He stayed around for his wife, when she died he had his pacemaker switch off and got the release from his suffering in a couple of days.

I know in my wife's case she went through 9 series of chemotherapy, 4 operations, 4 series of radiotherapy, 6 different endocrine treatments and over 10 years of cancer effects just to be there for the kids until they grew up.

you can not legislate for human differences - unfortunatly

metta
paul



My deep respects to the Noble Lady Paul .

Life anyway that we see , mirrors the noble truth of suffering . Unfortunately some of our near and dear, do not accept this even though they have undergone intense suffering of all kinds . Call it steely guts or whatever .

My Father , being a specialist himself , and undergoing the trauma of secondary stage malignant growth on the tongue , battled the ordeal , and to the surprise of other doctors who gave him 5 years , lives on well into his 14th year . Then came the ordeal of a bypass surgery , replacing heart valves , hypertension, diabetes , loss of vision ( he painstakingly uses a 5X lens in reading through the full news paper, daily , and going through his ipad ) . He says every nerve of his jangles with knife like pain due to nuero-pathy and canal stenosis , yet he carries on regardless . He lost his wife in a difficult ordeal , a son who had a difficult childhood , committing suicide in the ripe age of his youth . A daughter who went insane .

Once while playing golf , a misplaced drive from a tee off from another golfer hit his nose , all he did was to objectively know the damage and pain , and returned home . All he says is that a general never gives up....

sanjay
The Path of Dhamma

The path of Dhamma is no picnic . It is a strenuous march steeply up the hill . If all the comrades desert you , Walk alone ! Walk alone ! with all the Thrill !!

U S.N. Goenka

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby SarathW » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:36 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:If there is no ill-will or aversion (dosa), i.e. if one is a Non-returner or an Arahant, then the pain won't be unbearable.

21. And soon after the Blessed One had eaten the meal provided by Cunda the metalworker, a dire sickness fell upon him, even dysentery, and he suffered sharp and deadly pains. But the Blessed One endured them mindfully, clearly comprehending and unperturbed.


Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu ven. sir.
I am glad that a person like you is in this forum to guide us in the right direction.
I can write a book about why I do not support euthanasia.
In short the support for euthanasia is a result of attachment , aversion and ignorance.
Pain and suffering (Dukkaha) is a characteristic of our existence. Euthanasia (Suicide) is not the answer for it.
Pain is the rocket fuel which will help you to move from painful reality to no pain reality (Nirvana)
Pain and suffering lead you to faith (Saddha) and faith lead you to Nirvana.
The rocket should be aim towards the moon if you want to go to moon. The same way pain and suffering should be aim towards faith and hence to attain Nirvana.
If pain and suffering aims towards suicide that will lead to a rebirth in a woeful state.
May all beings free from suffering!
:meditate:

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby greenthumb » Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:08 am

I do not want the taxes I pay going to kill any person even if they want to die. I feel there should be help for those who want to end their life, counseling, support....wanting to end one's life should NOT be a crime, like in the Netherlands. As someone mentioned in past remarks this could be taken advantage of by people who want to make a profit. From what I've read in scripture and what I've seen personally, taking one's life is a personal choice, the state should not be involved in this kind of legislature. The medical model we have here in America is based on profit and that makes everything much more complicated regarding end of life care. Most folk just don't have the money or insurance to swing this on their own and that's just wrong. Medicine is so expensive now it's frightening. I'm getting older, way past 50s and experienced chronic pain for years and thought about how easy it would be to take a pill and go to sleep for good. I can't work, I am a burden and so on.... Because of my training in meditation and scripture I can't do it no matter how easy it would be. I don't want to do this over again. When I do get sick enough to die, I don't want a ton of money spent on life saving actions, I want to go as cheaply as possible and quietly at home. But that is me, my personal view and I don't want to burden others with my view. I watched my Dad die in his late twenties of cancer, he didn't want to go because of his young family, it was an awful death. This left a lasting mark on me, I am not afraid to die, but the pain and struggle is scary. I have seen many others struggle as well with horrible pain and disease, I would never force my views on anyone in this condition, it is their path to walk.
Form is like a glob of foam; feeling, a bubble; perception, a mirage; fabrications, a banana tree; consciousness, a magic trick this has been taught by the Kinsman of the Sun. Phena Sutta: Foam

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby Ben » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:06 am

Hi Greenthumb,
The proposed legislation was defeated by a narrow majority a few weeks ago. The legislation was a robust set of requirements to safeguard the interests of the patient. Under the legislation, people could not be involuntary euthanised nor could they rush into euthanasia.
I remain deeply torn over the issue but I still believe that people should have the opportunity to expedite their death if their lives are intolerable and it is their sincere wish.
Kind regards,
Ben.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby greenthumb » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:30 pm

@Ben I have read, the ultimate implication of the Buddha's teaching on kamma and rebirth is that human beings are the final masters of their own destiny (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_46.html). The State, no authority has a right to tell any human being what to do with their body. We are treated as slaves, or babbling idiots unable to rule our own lives by governments. That's how I dropped my conflict regarding this issue.

Watching the state and other authority tell us how to live our lives when they cannot manage their own or do their job correctly is scary. Especially since the state has such a horrible record of killing people. From Wiki: Democide is a term revived and redefined by the political scientist R. J. Rummel as "the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder." Rummel created the term as an extended concept to include forms of government murder that are not covered by the term genocide, and it has become accepted among other scholars. Rummel presents his definition without referencing any previous uses, but the term democide was defined and used in English more than 40 years earlier by Theodore Abel. In the 20th century, democide passed war as the leading cause of non-natural death (according to Rummel).

Why would anyone in their right mind want the State involved in their lives on such a personal level? Governments are monsters that hide behind rules and regulations that make profit for large corporations. I think no matter what, people will decide on their own what to do when they face the end of their life or intolerable pain based on their conditioning. Here in America end of life care, cancer and other diseases like cancer are huge money makers. People are kept alive until they are completely drained of money and insurance by a horribly broken medical system that is in bed with our government and big transnational corporations.

I don't know how we are going to fix this broken system that uses our life and death for profit except to withdraw our consent and go our own way. It's up to each one of us to figure out how we will live our lives and how we will face death.
Form is like a glob of foam; feeling, a bubble; perception, a mirage; fabrications, a banana tree; consciousness, a magic trick this has been taught by the Kinsman of the Sun. Phena Sutta: Foam

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby Ben » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:55 pm

greenthumb wrote:@Ben I have read, the ultimate implication of the Buddha's teaching on kamma and rebirth is that human beings are the final masters of their own destiny (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_46.html). The State, no authority has a right to tell any human being what to do with their body. We are treated as slaves, or babbling idiots unable to rule our own lives by governments. That's how I dropped my conflict regarding this issue.

Watching the state and other authority tell us how to live our lives when they cannot manage their own or do their job correctly is scary. Especially since the state has such a horrible record of killing people. From Wiki: Democide is a term revived and redefined by the political scientist R. J. Rummel as "the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder." Rummel created the term as an extended concept to include forms of government murder that are not covered by the term genocide, and it has become accepted among other scholars. Rummel presents his definition without referencing any previous uses, but the term democide was defined and used in English more than 40 years earlier by Theodore Abel. In the 20th century, democide passed war as the leading cause of non-natural death (according to Rummel).

Why would anyone in their right mind want the State involved in their lives on such a personal level? Governments are monsters that hide behind rules and regulations that make profit for large corporations. I think no matter what, people will decide on their own what to do when they face the end of their life or intolerable pain based on their conditioning. Here in America end of life care, cancer and other diseases like cancer are huge money makers. People are kept alive until they are completely drained of money and insurance by a horribly broken medical system that is in bed with our government and big transnational corporations.

I don't know how we are going to fix this broken system that uses our life and death for profit except to withdraw our consent and go our own way. It's up to each one of us to figure out how we will live our lives and how we will face death.


It is clear from your post that you have not read the draft legislation. Because if you had, you would have realized that it has nothing to do with the state imposing its will on the people nor about large corporations sucking people dry.
Kind regards,
Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby dagon » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:23 pm

greenthumb wrote:@Ben I have read, the ultimate implication of the Buddha's teaching on kamma and rebirth is that human beings are the final masters of their own destiny (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_46.html). The State, no authority has a right to tell any human being what to do with their body. We are treated as slaves, or babbling idiots unable to rule our own lives by governments. That's how I dropped my conflict regarding this issue.

Watching the state and other authority tell us how to live our lives when they cannot manage their own or do their job correctly is scary. Especially since the state has such a horrible record of killing people. From Wiki: Democide is a term revived and redefined by the political scientist R. J. Rummel as "the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder." Rummel created the term as an extended concept to include forms of government murder that are not covered by the term genocide, and it has become accepted among other scholars. Rummel presents his definition without referencing any previous uses, but the term democide was defined and used in English more than 40 years earlier by Theodore Abel. In the 20th century, democide passed war as the leading cause of non-natural death (according to Rummel).

Why would anyone in their right mind want the State involved in their lives on such a personal level? Governments are monsters that hide behind rules and regulations that make profit for large corporations. I think no matter what, people will decide on their own what to do when they face the end of their life or intolerable pain based on their conditioning. Here in America end of life care, cancer and other diseases like cancer are huge money makers. People are kept alive until they are completely drained of money and insurance by a horribly broken medical system that is in bed with our government and big transnational corporations.

I don't know how we are going to fix this broken system that uses our life and death for profit except to withdraw our consent and go our own way. It's up to each one of us to figure out how we will live our lives and how we will face death.


The reality for many people is that they have no control over their lives, minds and bodies as they approach their deaths. In the absence of changes the dying person is often the one with the least say in their own deaths and treatment that they receive up to that point.

The last 50 years has seen massive changes both in the ability to treat diseases, extend life and manage the trauma of dying. The rate of medical change has not been matched by legislative changes and for this reason people have lost the ability to make decision. It is the case with most people that we live beyond the time that we would live without medical intervention and these days it is often possible to extend life past the point of zero quality of life by many years.

The existing legislative framework in most jurisdictions passes the decision making rights to the family. Needless to say for reasons of aversion to death and craving for the continuation of relationships; metta, compassion and equinity go out of the window in decision making processes. Where changes in legislation are needed is to ensure that the wishes of the individual can be respected through legally binding instruments. This takes the responsibly for the decisions back from the family who under existing legal structures are left to deal with guilt and other emotion to add to the grief that they suffer from the loss of loved ones.

To me it would appear obvious that suicide has negative karmic consequences but end of life decisions in light of medical advances are less clear cut. If a decision was made to not extend life where spiritual development was possible then this would appear to be a waste of the opportunity that our existing human life presents. The reality for many is that life can be extended beyond that point by medical intervention; so the question needs to be asked is there any point or ethical obligation to do this.

I believe that the proposed Tasmanian legislation was at least trying to provide some kind of a framework while providing legal checks and balances to a system the at one end gives a tacit consent to euthanasia and at the other end see disadvantaged people suffer through unnecessary pain. The legislation was far from perfect – but there can never be perfect legislation in this area as we are all individuals and subject to individual differences.

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby SarathW » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:50 pm

I am looking at this problem only in the point view of Buddha’s teaching.
Impermanence and stress are two characteristics of existence.
Suicide is the answer for people who do not have a solution to a problem. (Impermanence and stress)
Buddha has provided a solution to these two problems. Ending their life without attaining nirvana is an utter waste.
There are enough Buddhist stories to support that people are able to attain Nirvana in the last breath.
I have my kind thoughts for all those who are suffering.
:console:

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:05 pm

This is what the Mahāsi Sayādaw says in his Reply to Dr Myint Swe

Note the last paragraph especially:
Some children may request a doctor to practise euthanasia for their mother or father. If the doctor does as requested, the children are guilty of one of the five heinous crimes (ānantariya kamma). How dreadful this is! Everyone should be extremely careful to avoid such heinous crimes. This is the answer to Dr. Myint Swe’s first question.

If Euthanasia is legalised, it may well be the children of dying parents who sign the form giving the doctor the permission to do the evil deed of killing their mother or father. They would then fulfil the factors for the heinous crime of killing their own parent. Aiding and abetting suicide, if the patient is able to do it themselves, is no different, as the Vinaya rule shows.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)


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