Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
LXNDR
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by LXNDR » Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:27 am

a good angle to ponder on this moral problem from would be the question of the Buddha or an arahant ability to kill out of compassion and 'humanism'

and on this account the Buddha says the following
Sutava Sutta (AN 9.7) wrote:
It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to intentionally deprive a living being of life.
which i think pretty much sums it up

intentional conscious deprivation of life is always defiled and thus cannot be right
Last edited by LXNDR on Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:45 am

LXNDR wrote:a good angle to ponder on this moral problem from would be the question of the Buddha or an arahant ability to kill out of compassion and 'humanism'

and on this account the Buddha says the following
Sutava Sutta (AN 9.7) wrote:
It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to intentionally deprive a living being of life.
which i think pretty much sums it up

intentional conscious deprivation of life is always defiled
Except for Ven Channa.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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piotr
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by piotr » Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:24 pm

Hi,
tiltbillings wrote:Except for Ven Channa.
And Venerable Vakkali.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

LXNDR
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by LXNDR » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:00 pm

piotr wrote:Hi,
tiltbillings wrote:Except for Ven Channa.
And Venerable Vakkali.
and Venerable Godhika

so maybe the 1st precept doesn't cover suicide? or an arahant cannot intentionally deprive of life another living being but not him/herself?
neither Channa nor Vakkali must have mastered jhana, otherwise they could have mitigated their suffering without suicide

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Virgo
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Virgo » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:10 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:A few months ago I brought my dog to the vet to be put down, given that her physical condition was no longer sustainable for her. You can moralize, pontificate all you want, but you have no idea -- none whatsoever -- what my intentions, my feelings, my motivations were at that time.
One can know, however, how such a scenario would be evaluated in Buddhist moral doctrine.

Firstly, one can know what is stated about the root causes of the ten akusala kammapathas. Three akusala kammapathas (intentional killing, harsh speech and malice) can be generated only by the the volition that accompanies a hate-rooted consciousness; another three (sexual misconduct, covetousness and wrong view) only by the the volition that accompanies a greed-rooted consciousness. The remaining four (stealing, and false, divisive & frivolous speech) vary with respect to which of the three unwholesome roots generates them.
  • Of these [ten], killing a living creature, harsh speech and malice are generated by the root of aversion.
    (Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha, Vīthimuttapariccheda 58)

    “They are generated by the root of hate” — they are generated by the root known as hate by way of the conditions known as conascence, etc., or by a consciousness rooted in hate, but not by the roots of greed, etc., for even when a laughing king orders an execution it is with a hate-rooted consciousness.”
    (Abhidhammatthavibhāvinī 58)
[I've quoted an Abhidhamma text here because I'm travelling now and it's all I have with me. However the position presented can be supported also on the basis of the Vinaya Piṭaka]

Secondly, one can know what is stated about the factors that tend to mitigate or aggravate an akusala kammapatha. A compassionate pre-volition (pubbacetanā) to end a sick animal's pain would no doubt be mitigatory. It wouldn't however change the subsequent volition into a non-hate-rooted one nor the subsequent action into a kusala kamma. It would only serve to make the intentional killing less akusala.
David N. Snyder wrote:That rhetoric could easily be spun the other way around:
Those who are against euthanasia are doing so not for the moral high ground, but rather for the selfish reason that they don't want to take the kammic hit of being responsible for the killing even if it would alleviate excruciating pain to an animal.

imo, both (points above) are spinning the issue, not addressing the real issue of whether if sometimes killing might be necessary in the name of compassion or not.
I think the heat that’s typically generated when this matter comes up for discussion comes in large part from partisans on both sides trying to defend stronger positions than the Pali texts will reasonably support and failing to properly distinguish intention and motive. And so we see Buddhist critics of euthanasia denying the very possibility of a kusala motive and Buddhist defenders of euthanasia falling into the Mahayana-like error of treating a motive that is merely mitigatory as if it were exonerative.
Well stated, Bhante!

Kevin

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tiltbillings
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:17 pm

Re: Ven Channa. What I said earlier about him:
    • I wonder about Ven Channa, who became an arahant and after he became an arahant did what he wanted to do before he became an arahant because of the pain of his disease was so great, he wanted to end it -- so he killed himself. While he will not be reborn, being an arahant and all, it would seem that becoming an arahant did not change that he did not like his pain very much.


To kill oneself -- that is, killing a human being -- takes a considerable effort driven by a very strong set of motivations of not liking, of not wanting -- all stuff that looks like aversion.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by dhamma follower » Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:04 pm

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:Re: Ven Channa. What I said earlier about him:
    • I wonder about Ven Channa, who became an arahant and after he became an arahant did what he wanted to do before he became an arahant because of the pain of his disease was so great, he wanted to end it -- so he killed himself. While he will not be reborn, being an arahant and all, it would seem that becoming an arahant did not change that he did not like his pain very much.


To kill oneself -- that is, killing a human being -- takes a considerable effort driven by a very strong set of motivations of not liking, of not wanting -- all stuff that looks like aversion.
According to the commentary to this sutta, Ven Channa was still a worldling when he used the knife. His attainment of arahantship happened within the short time from his using the knife & his subsequent death.

Brgrds,

D.F

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tiltbillings
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:10 pm

dhamma follower wrote:Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:Re: Ven Channa. What I said earlier about him:
    • I wonder about Ven Channa, who became an arahant and after he became an arahant did what he wanted to do before he became an arahant because of the pain of his disease was so great, he wanted to end it -- so he killed himself. While he will not be reborn, being an arahant and all, it would seem that becoming an arahant did not change that he did not like his pain very much.


To kill oneself -- that is, killing a human being -- takes a considerable effort driven by a very strong set of motivations of not liking, of not wanting -- all stuff that looks like aversion.
According to the commentary to this sutta, Ven Channa was still a worldling when he used the knife. His attainment of arahantship happened within the short time from his using the knife & his subsequent death.

Brgrds,

D.F
If one wants to believe the commentary, but that nifty little distinction is not at all evident in the sutta.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:17 pm

tiltbillings wrote:What exactly is a "life-faculty" and how does one become aware/conscious of it?
In the Vinaya (e.g., Vin. iii. 73) and in the Suttas (e.g., D. ii. 305), the life-faculty is that which when it is cut off makes you dead. In the Abhidhamma more precise and technical descriptions are given, but as these are descriptions concerned with fostering insight development, an examination of them for our present purposes would be overkill.

As to the would-be killer’s awareness of his victim’s life-faculty, except in the unlikely event that he has discerned it through bhāvanā, his knowledge of it will be no more than inferential. That is, he will know of it through its effects: the continuance of vitality in the living being, as manifested in its appearance and behaviour, or else detectable via the medical monitoring devices.

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by clw_uk » Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:22 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:What exactly is a "life-faculty" and how does one become aware/conscious of it?
In the Vinaya (e.g., Vin. iii. 73) and in the Suttas (e.g., D. ii. 305), the life-faculty is that which when it is cut off makes you dead. In the Abhidhamma more precise and technical descriptions are given, but as these are descriptions concerned with fostering insight development, an examination of them for our present purposes would be overkill.

As to the would-be killer’s awareness of his victim’s life-faculty, except in the unlikely event that he has discerned it through bhāvanā, his knowledge of it will be no more than inferential. That is, he will know of it through its effects: the continuance of vitality in the living being, as manifested in its appearance and behaviour, or else detectable via the medical monitoring devices.

So it's form of the vitalist theory?
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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:24 pm

LXNDR wrote:so maybe the 1st precept doesn't cover suicide? or an arahant cannot intentionally deprive of life another living being but not him/herself?
In all of the Suttas’ arahant suicide narratives, the commentarial understanding is that the monks in question cut their throats as worldlings and then attained a “betwixt the stirrup and the ground” arahantship in the short space of life that remained to them.

If the commentaries are right then the suicides were acts of men whose kilesas were still intact. If the commentaries are wrong then we must treat death by one’s own hand as being something other than pāṇātipāta, given that the Suttas unqualifiedly declare an arahant to be incapable of the latter. (There is in fact a strong Vinaya case to be made for this, quite independently of any conclusions one might draw from these alleged suicides by arahants). Either way the episodes don't provide any support for the notion that intentional killing of a living being might on occasion be an undefiled act.

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:50 pm

clw_uk wrote:So it's form of the vitalist theory?
Only in the sense that the disjunction between inanimate (aviññāṇaka) rūpa, such as that of a stone or a rotting corpse, and animate (saviññāṇaka) rūpa, such as that of living humans and animals, is conceived as absolute and not merely a matter of degree.

Other than that the description's not a very comfortable fit. In vitalist theories...

1. The animating principle is usually an immaterial one. Buddhist doctrine posits both a material and a non-material jīvitindriya.

2. The animating principle is usually unitary. In Buddhist doctrine, besides the twofold distinction mentioned above, an instance of the material jīvitindriya is present in every single materiality-cluster (rūpakalāpa) in one’s body, so in effect there are billions of them.

3. The animating principle is either everlasting or at least lasts for the duration of a being’s life. In Buddhist doctrine the jīvitindriya is as ephemeral as any other dhamma.

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by seeker242 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:02 pm

LXNDR wrote:a good angle to ponder on this moral problem from would be the question of the Buddha or an arahant ability to kill out of compassion and 'humanism'

and on this account the Buddha says the following
Sutava Sutta (AN 9.7) wrote:
It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to intentionally deprive a living being of life.
which i think pretty much sums it up

intentional conscious deprivation of life is always defiled and thus cannot be right
The thing about this is that's not how it's perceived by the people doing the euthanasia. Not with the veterinarians I worked with anyway. The perception from them was that this being has already been deprived of it's life. The euthanasia not considered "destroying or deprivation of life" to begin with. The animals life is considered to already be destroyed. Their perception was that the car that hit the animal, who broke all it's legs, it's back in numerous places, it's jaw and pelvis, is what deprived it of it's life. Because there is 0% chance, no matter what you do, that can save the animal. According to this perception, there is no "'intentional conscious deprivation of life" because the life has already been destroyed.

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:30 am

Any person who support killing (euthanasia) should have a hard look at the following Sutta.

Regardless of how Arittha actually arrived at his position, the Commentary's suggestion makes an important point: that just because an idea can be logically inferred from the Dhamma does not mean that the idea is valid or useful. The Buddha himself makes the same point in AN 2.25:


"Monks, these two slander the Tathagata. Which two? He who explains a discourse whose meaning needs to be inferred as one whose meaning has already been fully drawn out. And he who explains a discourse whose meaning has already been fully drawn out as one whose meaning needs to be inferred..."

Having established this point, the discourse illustrates it with the simile of the water-snake, which in turn is an introduction to the simile of the raft


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Is animal euthenasia 'humane'?

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jun 25, 2015 2:54 am

SarathW wrote:Any person who support killing (euthanasia) should have a hard look at the following Sutta.

Regardless of how Arittha actually arrived at his position, the Commentary's suggestion makes an important point: that just because an idea can be logically inferred from the Dhamma does not mean that the idea is valid or useful. The Buddha himself makes the same point in AN 2.25:


"Monks, these two slander the Tathagata. Which two? He who explains a discourse whose meaning needs to be inferred as one whose meaning has already been fully drawn out. And he who explains a discourse whose meaning has already been fully drawn out as one whose meaning needs to be inferred..."

Having established this point, the discourse illustrates it with the simile of the water-snake, which in turn is an introduction to the simile of the raft


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
So, if I disagree with your interpretation I am slandering the Buddha.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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