Voluntary Euthanasia

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
Sanjay PS
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by 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 !!

U S.N. Goenka

Sanjay PS
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by 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

SarathW
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by 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:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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greenthumb
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by 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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Ben
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by 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.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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greenthumb
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by 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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Ben
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by 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
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

dagon
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by 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.

metta
paul

SarathW
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by 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:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by 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.
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greenthumb
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by greenthumb » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:36 am

Thank you Ben, I did go and read legislation here (http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/__data/as ... l_2013.pdf). It is not very complicated and seems to cover many areas where people and institutions may be sued because of all sorts of issues/abuse that come up when someone helps someone else kill themselves. I agree with @dagon regarding our advances in life extending sciences and legislature being at odds. Also I agree strongly with @Bhikkhu Pesala and @SarathW regarding the teachings. Here in the States we are going through a great upheaval regarding centralization of our health insurance and medical system. It was a mess before and now the whole house of cards has fallen and most of us will go into debt, left penniless paying our insurance and if we get sick we will have little say in the Doctors we want or the treatment we seek. Many folk of faith who are against any kind of killing are being forced to pay taxes for abortions and boards of insurance analysts will decide who gets end of life care or expensive surgery and care. Affordable Health Care act is impossible to read it is so convoluted and full of legalese. This makes your small document regarding Voluntary Assisted Dying look very simple and straightforward. The individual choice has been removed regarding our health care choices, I over reacted, I apologize. I am afraid what is happening to us over here in the States will happen to all of us across the globe including your Island. I believe groups of people should not decide what the individual needs are regarding how they live their life and the choices they make. Abuse, greed, ignorance always take over and the system is corrupted, people suffer, and a few will make great profits from our individual and social suffering.

Also there is a great deal of evidence regarding the introduction of suicide education in our Federalized schools, our children learned how suicide is done and why, suicide went up along with the education and introduction of antidepressant medication (which a side effect from this medication is an increased tendency to commit suicide and other kinds of violence, like school shootings). I fear this also will happen with this kind of legislation, those who may have not thought of suicide will now be given an option. Again I am sorry if I hurt feelings by flapping my jaws without thinking.
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

dagon
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by dagon » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:26 am

This article provides some real life discussion on the subject of end of life and i consider that it is useful to read when contemplating some of the end of life issues from a practice stance. I guess that what we need to do is to understand the subject and find a way of reconciling the situation with the Dhamma so that we can find our individual answers.
She slept in her own bed until the night before she died. She was lucid and conscious to the end. She avoided what most fear and many ultimately suffer: dying mute, unconscious and "plugged into machines" in intensive care; or feeling the electric jolt of a cardiac defibrillator during a futile cardiopulmonary resuscitation; or dying demented in a nursing home. She died well because she was willing to die too soon rather than too late.
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1 ... 0302791624

This article provides some good advice on Advanced planning as well as an interesting discusion on Euthanasia fo both the pro and against sides of the debate
The general reluctance in our society to discuss end-of-life issues translates into a failure by many to prepare properly for the end of life. This includes not making wills, expressing wishes about funeral arrangements, considering the need to make powers of attorney or give directions for care through advance directives. The consequence is that the failure to think in advance about end-of-life issues will impact not only on the quality of life of the individual in their final years and months, but also on those around them. End-of-life issues are, by their nature, complex, personal and sensitive, but they are made all the harder if the wishes of the person concerned are not properly understood or set out.
http://www.fightdementia.org.au/service ... urces.aspx

edited to provide an additional source

metta
paul

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Dhammanando
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by Dhammanando » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:24 am

daverupa wrote:Abstract

Two decades of research on euthanasia in the Netherlands have resulted into clear insights in the frequency and characteristics of euthanasia and other medical end-of-life decisions in the Netherlands. These empirical studies have contributed to the quality of the public debate, and to the regulating and public control of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. No slippery slope seems to have occurred.
John Keown (brother of Damien Keown, the writer on Buddhist ethics) devotes six chapters of his book Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy: An Argument against Legalisation to the Dutch experience, showing in meticulous detail that a slippery slide from VAE to NVAE is exactly what has happened in the Netherlands. The Dutch authorities have exhibited masterful ingenuity in the statistical concealment of the slide (“...the Dutch situation is a regulatory Potemkin village, a great facade hiding non-enforcement”)., but there's no doubt at all that it's happened. Moreover, an additional side-effect has been the decline in palliative care for the terminally ill in the Netherlands: why bother when you can just snuff 'em?

  • [The Dutch Ambassador to Britain] continued that patients in Dutch hospitals were provided with ‘excellent palliative or terminal care’ and that ‘In medical student training, much attention is focussed on sedatives and palliative care’. The Ambassador cited no evidence to support either of these assertions. They sit uneasily with Dutch research indicating that the pain of a high proportion of cancer patients is inadequately treated, with the recognition by the Remmelink Commission that Dutch doctors lacked expertise in palliative care, and with the views of the leading Dutch hospice doctor, Dr Zylic.

    Dr Zylic recently wrote that ‘Palliative care is virtually unknown in Holland’. He added: ‘Almost seventy percent of physicians in the Netherlands have been involved in euthanasia of some sort. Yet there is virtually no training in treating dying patients and coping with the impending death. None of the medical schools offer any thorough training for their young students. It is unbelievable how we deny the importance of such training.’ He continued: ‘we see poor symptom control among physicians’, and ‘we see cases frequently enough of ignorance about palliative care that are causes of profound concern’. ‘Euthanasia’, he argued, ‘should never be seen as an alternative to good care. It was never meant to be this in Holland. It originated at the end of such care, when all else failed. But today it is growing to be seen as an alternative to the more difficult task of caring for the dying.’
Attached is the last of the six chapters:

Chapter 13: The Dutch in Denial?
Keown.pdf
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Ben
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by Ben » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:11 pm

Dear all,
Please remember that Dhamma Wheel is actively moderated. Posts that are off topic are routinely removed from view without warning.
Kind regards,
Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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daverupa
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Post by daverupa » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:20 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
daverupa wrote:Abstract

Two decades of research on euthanasia in the Netherlands have resulted into clear insights in the frequency and characteristics of euthanasia and other medical end-of-life decisions in the Netherlands. These empirical studies have contributed to the quality of the public debate, and to the regulating and public control of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. No slippery slope seems to have occurred.
John Keown (brother of Damien Keown, the writer on Buddhist ethics) devotes six chapters of his book Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy: An Argument against Legalisation to the Dutch experience, showing in meticulous detail that a slippery slide from VAE to NVAE is exactly what has happened in the Netherlands.
That book is well-reviewed here, for those who would like a snapshot of the contents.

The citation I originally provided post-dates the book by about 7 years, which may or may not matter.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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