Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

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Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Postby mbf » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:48 pm


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....?

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Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Postby Jesse » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:12 pm

If you were in his situation, would you think it'd be kind if someone did the same for you?
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Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Postby mbf » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:24 pm

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.

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Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Postby ClearblueSky » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:33 am

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.

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Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Postby Grigoris » Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:13 pm

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... ?
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Re: Assisted Suicide/ euthanasia

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:01 pm

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.
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