Donating one's organs at death

Pema Rigdzin
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Donating one's organs at death

Post by Pema Rigdzin » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:02 pm

In my state, Oregon, USA, one agrees by default to be an organ donor at death when one gets a driver's license; one can, of course, opt out of this if one wants. In general, I'm extremely attracted to participating in this life-saving generosity toward others. But on the other hand, there's the thought that such a disturbance to the body might be too much for one's newly disembodied consciousness to bear in that time of loss & bewilderment, which could badly alter one's trajectory... Have any one you guys talked with your lamas about this? Has ChNN spoken on this? What are your thoughts?

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:29 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:02 pm
In my state, Oregon, USA, one agrees by default to be an organ donor at death when one gets a driver's license; one can, of course, opt out of this if one wants. In general, I'm extremely attracted to participating in this life-saving generosity toward others. But on the other hand, there's the thought that such a disturbance to the body might be too much for one's newly disembodied consciousness to bear in that time of loss & bewilderment, which could badly alter one's trajectory... Have any one you guys talked with your lamas about this? Has ChNN spoken on this? What are your thoughts?
have not heard. maybe there is some directions on the bardo thodol The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Awakening Upon Dying.

i have read a bit another translation of BT, and as far a i know we need 3 days -aprox.- after outer breath stops (what we know as oxygen inhalation-CO2 exhalation), otherwise we can have difficulties. then our body can be thrown away, as we have nothing to do with it.

if someone could correct this 3 days gap, i would appreciate also.

MiphamFan
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by MiphamFan » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:09 am

I think if you were to die in an accident, that alone would be enough trauma for the consciousness that removing your organs wouldn't matter that much. Just my 2c.

shaunc
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by shaunc » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:11 am

I'm no expert but surely donating organs after death would have to generate a certain amount of good karma.

jmlee369
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by jmlee369 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:53 am

At least in my country, the only way for your organs to be donated is if an accident leaves you brain dead. To keep the organs as fresh as possible, the body is left functioning when the organs are removed. So while the person is declared dead by certain criteria, organs other than certain parts of the brain are still functioning, even if merely through the work of ventilator. For us Buddhists who believe that mind is separate from the brain, it can be a very tricky question. This recent New Yorker article also raises some disturbing questions about the definition of death.

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Aryjna
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Aryjna » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:46 am

jmlee369 wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:53 am
This recent New Yorker article also raises some disturbing questions about the definition of death.
The story is disturbing, but not because it raises any questions, in my opinion.

Simon E.
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Simon E. » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:34 pm

jmlee369 wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:53 am
At least in my country, the only way for your organs to be donated is if an accident leaves you brain dead. To keep the organs as fresh as possible, the body is left functioning when the organs are removed. So while the person is declared dead by certain criteria, organs other than certain parts of the brain are still functioning, even if merely through the work of ventilator. For us Buddhists who believe that mind is separate from the brain, it can be a very tricky question. This recent New Yorker article also raises some disturbing questions about the definition of death.
Well as a Buddhist I would like to see your definition of 'mind' before discussing whether it is separate from the brain.
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

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Mantrik
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Mantrik » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:37 pm

I do remember discussing it with a Lama but not which one.
In essence I think he said that the merit of donating the organs outweighed any disturbance to the consciousness.
I assume he meant that the consciousness would carry the vipaka of that act, in which the deceased would have agreed to be a donor.
Feeding yourself to a starving lion would count as a donation of organs, but personally I'd rather wait until death for that one.
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Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

Motova
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Motova » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:44 pm

I think I remember Ayang Rinpoche advising against this in his phowa course, and also avoiding dying in a hospital.
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Simon E. » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:46 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:37 pm
I do remember discussing it with a Lama but not which one.
In essence I think he said that the merit of donating the organs outweighed any disturbance to the consciousness.
I assume he meant that the consciousness would carry the vipaka of that act, in which the deceased would have agreed to be a donor.
Feeding yourself to a starving lion would count as a donation of organs, but personally I'd rather wait until death for that one.
Was it Chime Rinpoche ? I just ask because he talked about the subject a lot at one point.
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

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Mantrik
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Mantrik » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:48 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:46 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:37 pm
I do remember discussing it with a Lama but not which one.
In essence I think he said that the merit of donating the organs outweighed any disturbance to the consciousness.
I assume he meant that the consciousness would carry the vipaka of that act, in which the deceased would have agreed to be a donor.
Feeding yourself to a starving lion would count as a donation of organs, but personally I'd rather wait until death for that one.
Was it Chime Rinpoche ? I just ask because he talked about the subject a lot at one point.

No, I don't know him. I think it was one of the Lam Rim organisation Geshes, maybe (the late) Geshe Damcho or Geshe Thinley.
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

Motova
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Motova » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:49 pm

They have to get the organs when they are warm and fresh, maybe you won't even be fully dead when they take them.... :shrug:
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

Simon E.
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Simon E. » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:06 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:48 pm
Simon E. wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:46 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:37 pm
I do remember discussing it with a Lama but not which one.
In essence I think he said that the merit of donating the organs outweighed any disturbance to the consciousness.
I assume he meant that the consciousness would carry the vipaka of that act, in which the deceased would have agreed to be a donor.
Feeding yourself to a starving lion would count as a donation of organs, but personally I'd rather wait until death for that one.
Was it Chime Rinpoche ? I just ask because he talked about the subject a lot at one point.

No, I don't know him. I think it was one of the Lam Rim organisation Geshes, maybe (the late) Geshe Damcho or Geshe Thinley.
It was a long shot. :smile:
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:33 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:37 pm
I do remember discussing it with a Lama but not which one.
In essence I think he said that the merit of donating the organs outweighed any disturbance to the consciousness.
I assume he meant that the consciousness would carry the vipaka of that act, in which the deceased would have agreed to be a donor.
Feeding yourself to a starving lion would count as a donation of organs, but personally I'd rather wait until death for that one.
We can't tolerate a headache in contemplation ¿how could could we tolerate such strong sensation, such pain? We need some stability to do so. I found it's even more difficult for people who do not prepare for dying.

This moment of death is the real hope of we dzogchen practitioners. It is in deed very interesting!

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Aryjna
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Aryjna » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:47 pm

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:33 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:37 pm
I do remember discussing it with a Lama but not which one.
In essence I think he said that the merit of donating the organs outweighed any disturbance to the consciousness.
I assume he meant that the consciousness would carry the vipaka of that act, in which the deceased would have agreed to be a donor.
Feeding yourself to a starving lion would count as a donation of organs, but personally I'd rather wait until death for that one.
We can't tolerate a headache in contemplation ¿how could could we tolerate such strong sensation, such pain? We need some stability to do so. I found it's even more difficult for people who do not prepare for dying.

This moment of death is the real hope of we dzogchen practitioners. It is in deed very interesting!
The question is regarding someone who is brain dead, not about butchering someone who is alive and kicking.

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Mantrik
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Mantrik » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:23 pm

Aryjna wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:47 pm
javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:33 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:37 pm
I do remember discussing it with a Lama but not which one.
In essence I think he said that the merit of donating the organs outweighed any disturbance to the consciousness.
I assume he meant that the consciousness would carry the vipaka of that act, in which the deceased would have agreed to be a donor.
Feeding yourself to a starving lion would count as a donation of organs, but personally I'd rather wait until death for that one.
We can't tolerate a headache in contemplation ¿how could could we tolerate such strong sensation, such pain? We need some stability to do so. I found it's even more difficult for people who do not prepare for dying.

This moment of death is the real hope of we dzogchen practitioners. It is in deed very interesting!
The question is regarding someone who is brain dead, not about butchering someone who is alive and kicking.
Is 'brain death' really the death of the mind, or even of the person?

I am wary of medical definitions of death. In the past it was the absence of breathing, then heartbeat/pulse, then brain activity. We may soon discover that this too is not accurate, and that the mind is still functioning beyond what we are now able to measure. These crude measurements are really just our 'best guess' and change with time, hopefully for the better.

I'm not sure how many Mahayana practitioners are aware of P(h)owa practice, or the process of rebirth according to the Bardo Thodol etc., but it raises the question of experience of suffering attached to the body before there is complete separation from it.

Amongst other reasons, this is why some prefer for there not to be a post mortem examination or organ removal immediately after brain death, as they do not believe there is yet that complete separation.
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Aryjna
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Aryjna » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:43 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:23 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:47 pm
javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:33 pm


We can't tolerate a headache in contemplation ¿how could could we tolerate such strong sensation, such pain? We need some stability to do so. I found it's even more difficult for people who do not prepare for dying.

This moment of death is the real hope of we dzogchen practitioners. It is in deed very interesting!
The question is regarding someone who is brain dead, not about butchering someone who is alive and kicking.
Is 'brain death' really the death of the mind, or even of the person?

I am wary of medical definitions of death. In the past it was the absence of breathing, then heartbeat/pulse, then brain activity. We may soon discover that this too is not accurate, and that the mind is still functioning beyond what we are now able to measure. These crude measurements are really just our 'best guess' and change with time, hopefully for the better.

I'm not sure how many Mahayana practitioners are aware of P(h)owa practice, or the process of rebirth according to the Bardo Thodol etc., but it raises the question of experience of suffering attached to the body before there is complete separation from it.

Amongst other reasons, this is why some prefer for there not to be a post mortem examination or organ removal immediately after brain death, as they do not believe there is yet that complete separation.
It is not necessarily death, but I don't think it makes sense to take for granted that someone who is brain dead can actually feel bodily sensations. Unless there is a reason to think that, which no one has presented so far.

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Grigoris
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Grigoris » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:47 pm

My current personal experience has verified for me that brain death=bodily death.
"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."
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The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Mantrik
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Mantrik » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:01 pm

Aryjna wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:43 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:23 pm
Aryjna wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:47 pm


The question is regarding someone who is brain dead, not about butchering someone who is alive and kicking.
Is 'brain death' really the death of the mind, or even of the person?

I am wary of medical definitions of death. In the past it was the absence of breathing, then heartbeat/pulse, then brain activity. We may soon discover that this too is not accurate, and that the mind is still functioning beyond what we are now able to measure. These crude measurements are really just our 'best guess' and change with time, hopefully for the better.

I'm not sure how many Mahayana practitioners are aware of P(h)owa practice, or the process of rebirth according to the Bardo Thodol etc., but it raises the question of experience of suffering attached to the body before there is complete separation from it.

Amongst other reasons, this is why some prefer for there not to be a post mortem examination or organ removal immediately after brain death, as they do not believe there is yet that complete separation.
It is not necessarily death, but I don't think it makes sense to take for granted that someone who is brain dead can actually feel bodily sensations. Unless there is a reason to think that, which no one has presented so far.
We can choose what to believe thereafter, of course. The body may be dead but the consciousness still able to be affected by it until it departs - hence the act of performing Phowa for the deceased.
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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Mantrik
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Re: Donating one's organs at death

Post by Mantrik » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:03 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:47 pm
My current personal experience has verified for me that brain death=bodily death.
Man, so sorry for your loss, and I hope your brother has a fortunate rebirth.

When I have lost close family members I have felt that too, but after Phowa it was different again, a feeling of final 'departure' hard to explain.
http://www.khyung.com

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

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