Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

A forum for discussing aspects of dying and death. Please be mindful when posting in this section.
mbf
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:27 am

Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by mbf »

Hello,

In the UK at the moment a disabled man is trying to gain the right to have a doctor administer an injection that would allow him to die. His case is not a unique, he is unable to take his own life because of the severity of his disability so would need assistance to die.

From a Buddhist view should he be given the right to die or left to suffer in his current condition....?

Thank you

MIke
Jesse
Posts: 1764
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 6:54 am
Location: Virginia, USA

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by Jesse »

If you were in his situation, would you think it'd be kind if someone did the same for you?
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau
mbf
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:27 am

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by mbf »

I think I would be happy for a doctor to have that decision. There would need to be stages to reach with counselling, reports, paper work etc....... I feel that everyone has that human right to take their own life then it should be available to all.
It's not for everyone but it is for some.

It would be nice to hear others opinions.

Thank you

Mike
User avatar
ClearblueSky
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:27 am

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by ClearblueSky »

I definitely think he should be given the right. Though suicide is said to lead to bad rebirths, I feel a situation like this is a bit different. He is suffering badly, and I think the most compassionate thing would be to give him the option to go if he really needs it.
User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 21462
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by Grigoris »

mbf wrote:From a Buddhist view should he be given the right to die or left to suffer in his current condition....?
From a Buddhist point of view he will suffering for an infinite period of time if he does not achieve liberation. He will suffer now, he will suffer in the bardo of death, he will suffer birth again, etc...

Frame your question differently. Like do you mean: is it ethically viable in Buddhism... ?
:namaste:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
Huseng
Former staff member
Posts: 6336
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by Huseng »

I've wondered about this before.

In the old days if you were in such a condition, you'd simply die for lack of adequate care and medications. Even if people tried to keep you alive, it would be of little help.

Nowadays we have machines and medications which keep people ticking long past their expiration date. It is quite unnatural.

Nevertheless, the preciousness of a human rebirth is to be cherished and we should use our pain as a means to fostering our compassion and tolerance. That being said, such practices are ultimately only going to be successful for a small number of people. The average person, Buddhist or not, in need of 24/7 healthcare is probably not going to be able to practice as such.

In some situations cutting people off life support means they die from dehydration, rather than falling unconscious right away. That would be easy enough to go through, but after several long days dying from dehydration and organ failure will not prove pleasant, unless the patient is completely sedated.

I suppose if the doctors and staff assisting in the suicide are motivated purely by compassion and not desire for gain, reputation or pleasure, then the deed might not be that unwholesome. The Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra suggests that someone motivated by compassion who slays another person who is about to slay an arhat will actually gain merit. Not all acts are black and white. There is a lot of grey area between.

Assisted suicide is actually a similar case. Normally, taking the life of someone is unwholesome, but if motivated by compassion and both parties consent with full knowledge of the situation, it may not actually be an unwholesome act.
vajrahorizon
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:04 am

Euthanasia

Post by vajrahorizon »

What's the Buddhist view on Euthasia. I was reading a article about a man in Britain who was effectively trapped in his body and the British legal system would not allow a doctor to assist him dying. Does Buddhism have a view on this?
A Ah Sha Sa Ma Ha
Posts: 1488
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:01 am

Re: Euthanasia

Post by A Ah Sha Sa Ma Ha »

http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.answe ... nID=000158" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If I was suffering horribly,
euthanasia would be the compassionate end of that intolerable existence.
I would choose to die peacefully and painlessly.
If I had a choice.
:namaste:
User avatar
yan kong
Posts: 292
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:01 am

Re: Euthanasia

Post by yan kong »

All at the same time if we were turely compassionate we would examine each case and not make generlizations.
"Meditation is a spiritual exercise, not a therapeutic regime... Our intention is to enter Nirvana, not to make life in Samsara more tolerable." Chan Master Hsu Yun
Nicholas Weeks
Posts: 4124
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Location: California

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

As far as doctors are concerned, I would hope they would always follow the First Do No Harm oath. Here is a group that still adheres to that oath: https://www.acpeds.org/physicians-are-h ... -killers-2
May all seek, find or follow the Path of Buddhas.
Nicholas Weeks
Posts: 4124
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Location: California

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Other considerations regarding euthanasia:

http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca
May all seek, find or follow the Path of Buddhas.
User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 21462
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by Grigoris »

Nicholas Weeks wrote:As far as doctors are concerned, I would hope they would always follow the First Do No Harm oath. Here is a group that still adheres to that oath: https://www.acpeds.org/physicians-are-h ... -killers-2
From the site:
Core Values of the College
The American College of Pediatricians:

Recognizes that there are absolutes and scientific truths that transcend relative social considerations of the day.
Recognizes that good medical science cannot exist in a moral vacuum and pledges to promote such science.
Recognizes the fundamental mother-father family unit, within the context of marriage, to be the optimal setting for the development and nurturing of children and pledges to promote this unit.
Recognizes the physical and emotional benefits of sexual abstinence until marriage and pledges to promote this behavior as the ideal for adolescence.
:shock: :shrug: :?

Completely objective...

The fundamentalist Christians really make you hard, huh?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
User avatar
TharpaChodron
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:13 am
Location: California

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by TharpaChodron »

Assisted suicide has been legal in California since 2016 and it looks like it will be staying. 111 people died with assisted suicide in the fist 6 months of it being legal in the state.

I've personally wondered about this issue. I'm for euthanasia being legal and available, but I've wondered how it's viewed from a Buddhist standpoint. I'm pretty sure it's a no-no. But, is this an issue which, as modern Buddhists, we need to balance modern day reality etc. with view? How do end of life practices come into play when one is choosing to die? :shrug:
User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 21462
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by Grigoris »

TharpaChodron wrote:Assisted suicide has been legal in California since 2016 and it looks like it will be staying. 111 people died with assisted suicide in the fist 6 months of it being legal in the state.

I've personally wondered about this issue. I'm for euthanasia being legal and available, but I've wondered how it's viewed from a Buddhist standpoint. I'm pretty sure it's a no-no. But, is this an issue which, as modern Buddhists, we need to balance modern day reality etc. with view? How do end of life practices come into play when one is choosing to die? :shrug:
From a Buddhist point of view: You reap what you sow.

Value judgements of good and bad really don't play that much of a role.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
Nicholas Weeks
Posts: 4124
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:21 am
Location: California

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

TharpaChodron wrote: I've wondered how it's viewed from a Buddhist standpoint. I'm pretty sure it's a no-no...
Correct - as Buddha in the Sutta-Nipata put it:
Laying aside violence toward all living creatures, both the firm & unfirm in the world, one should not kill a living being, nor have it killed, nor condone killing by others.
May all seek, find or follow the Path of Buddhas.
Malcolm
Posts: 32184
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by Malcolm »

TharpaChodron wrote:Assisted suicide has been legal in California since 2016 and it looks like it will be staying. 111 people died with assisted suicide in the fist 6 months of it being legal in the state.

I've personally wondered about this issue. I'm for euthanasia being legal and available, but I've wondered how it's viewed from a Buddhist standpoint. I'm pretty sure it's a no-no. But, is this an issue which, as modern Buddhists, we need to balance modern day reality etc. with view? How do end of life practices come into play when one is choosing to die? :shrug:
The problem is that one should be aware when they die. These days, they use a sedative cocktail. However, if people used drugs like sublimaze (a curare derivative), which merely stops the heart, painlessly, one can be fully present during the death process. If one is a practitioner and is relatively free from afflictions, there is no problem with such a death. There are for example arhats of whom it is recorded that they ended their lives when faced with a lot of pain.
User avatar
TharpaChodron
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:13 am
Location: California

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by TharpaChodron »

Malcolm wrote:
TharpaChodron wrote:Assisted suicide has been legal in California since 2016 and it looks like it will be staying. 111 people died with assisted suicide in the fist 6 months of it being legal in the state.

I've personally wondered about this issue. I'm for euthanasia being legal and available, but I've wondered how it's viewed from a Buddhist standpoint. I'm pretty sure it's a no-no. But, is this an issue which, as modern Buddhists, we need to balance modern day reality etc. with view? How do end of life practices come into play when one is choosing to die? :shrug:
The problem is that one should be aware when they die. These days, they use a sedative cocktail. However, if people used drugs like sublimaze (a curare derivative), which merely stops the heart, painlessly, one can be fully present during the death process. If one is a practitioner and is relatively free from afflictions, there is no problem with such a death. There are for example arhats of whom it is recorded that they ended their lives when faced with a lot of pain.
That's the problem I was concerned about. It would be great to be given the option of taking fentanyl, but I have no idea how that works. consciousness at the time of death is important, yet there's many times when I'm sure people die unconscious due to various reasons.

As I have a hard time with all or nothing thinking, the Arhat story is nice. Okay, maybe not "nice," but you get what I'm saying.
Malcolm
Posts: 32184
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by Malcolm »

TharpaChodron wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
TharpaChodron wrote:Assisted suicide has been legal in California since 2016 and it looks like it will be staying. 111 people died with assisted suicide in the fist 6 months of it being legal in the state.

I've personally wondered about this issue. I'm for euthanasia being legal and available, but I've wondered how it's viewed from a Buddhist standpoint. I'm pretty sure it's a no-no. But, is this an issue which, as modern Buddhists, we need to balance modern day reality etc. with view? How do end of life practices come into play when one is choosing to die? :shrug:
The problem is that one should be aware when they die. These days, they use a sedative cocktail. However, if people used drugs like sublimaze (a curare derivative), which merely stops the heart, painlessly, one can be fully present during the death process. If one is a practitioner and is relatively free from afflictions, there is no problem with such a death. There are for example arhats of whom it is recorded that they ended their lives when faced with a lot of pain.
That's the problem I was concerned about. It would be great to be given the option of taking fentanyl, but I have no idea how that works. consciousness at the time of death is important, yet there's many times when I'm sure people die unconscious due to various reasons.

As I have a hard time with all or nothing thinking, the Arhat story is nice. Okay, maybe not "nice," but you get what I'm saying.
Fentanyl is not a good way to die.
User avatar
TharpaChodron
Posts: 746
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:13 am
Location: California

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by TharpaChodron »

Malcolm wrote:
TharpaChodron wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
The problem is that one should be aware when they die. These days, they use a sedative cocktail. However, if people used drugs like sublimaze (a curare derivative), which merely stops the heart, painlessly, one can be fully present during the death process. If one is a practitioner and is relatively free from afflictions, there is no problem with such a death. There are for example arhats of whom it is recorded that they ended their lives when faced with a lot of pain.
That's the problem I was concerned about. It would be great to be given the option of taking fentanyl, but I have no idea how that works. consciousness at the time of death is important, yet there's many times when I'm sure people die unconscious due to various reasons.

As I have a hard time with all or nothing thinking, the Arhat story is nice. Okay, maybe not "nice," but you get what I'm saying.
Fentanyl is not a good way to die.
I wouldn't know, but it was Michael Jackson's drug of choice. which is very strange imo.
User avatar
Meido
Global Moderator
Posts: 556
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:50 am
Contact:

Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Post by Meido »

Malcolm wrote:However, if people used drugs like sublimaze (a curare derivative), which merely stops the heart, painlessly, one can be fully present during the death process.
Malcolm wrote:Fentanyl is not a good way to die.
Malcolm, I read your reference to sublimaze with interest. But then the follow-up confused me: I'm seeing sublimaze described as a brand name for fentanyl, itself described as an opioid (no reference to curare).

Did I miss something?

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Hidden Zen: Practices for Sudden Awakening and Embodied Realization

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Post Reply

Return to “Dying and Death”