Author Topic: Can I allow my children to let me die?  (Read 20119 times)

hope rainbow

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Can I allow my children to let me die?
« on: November 22, 2011, 01:59:26 PM »
I am talking about euthanasia.

I take an example: I could tell my children that if, after an accident for example, I ever was in a situation of no more brain activity, yet with a body still functioning and reduced to a bed hospital until natural death occurs, I would prefer for them to let me go.
By informing my children of such and even signing papers about it, is it then all right (in karmic terms) for them to sign my "release" papers from the hospital so that I may end a life (mine) that was no more capable of actions nor had any more conscience?

What do think of this as a Buddhist?
Would you give such guidance to your children?
How would you react if your mother or father made such a request to you?

Tammy

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2011, 04:03:26 PM »
I had always tell my family this same statement - if I ever be reduced to a 'vegetable' and the only thing that is keeping me physically alive is the live-support equipment, please pull the plug!! I dont want to be a burden to anyone.

I always thought I am doing my family a flavor by letting them 'pull the lug' - but i have never look at this from your point of view! This is definitely scary!

Anyone wants to contribute ?

I will tell my kids to hold that thought until I am clear on this! :D
Down with the BAN!!!

kurava

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2011, 03:18:47 PM »
Now I might ask my children to let me go when I'm brain dead. However, there is no guarantee that even in the "vegetable" stage, my sub conscience might want to live on. My point is we always change our mind. What we decide now might change in the next year, month or even the next moment.

From a Buddhist view point, stopping the life supporting system will not stop the suffering. We will experience the unexhausted  karma in the next life.

It is also unfair to put the burden of carrying out the life terminating instruction on the children. Who would like to stop the machine that sustains one's Mom /Dad even if the parent is unconscious?

hope rainbow

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2011, 05:44:27 PM »
Maybe this would help us debate:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rom_Houben

dondrup

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2011, 08:30:44 PM »
I am talking about euthanasia.

I take an example: I could tell my children that if, after an accident for example, I ever was in a situation of no more brain activity, yet with a body still functioning and reduced to a bed hospital until natural death occurs, I would prefer for them to let me go.
By informing my children of such and even signing papers about it, is it then all right (in karmic terms) for them to sign my "release" papers from the hospital so that I may end a life (mine) that was no more capable of actions nor had any more conscience?

What do think of this as a Buddhist?
Would you give such guidance to your children?
How would you react if your mother or father made such a request to you?

Killing is the heaviest negative action a sentient being could perform.  Killing one’s father or one’s mother is one of the five actions of immediate retribution. Someone who commits such an action will go straight to hell at the end of that life, which is why it is called an action of ‘immediate retribution’.

Our human lives are so precious because: 

1) It is the best realm of existence in samsara where human can experience both suffering and temporary happiness.  With these experiences, humans can develop the minds of renunciation and subsequently to gain liberation from samsara and full enlightenment

2) The human body is a vehicle that can be used to accomplish enlightenment in one lifetime through the practice of Highest Yoga Tantra.

No matter what motivation we might have to end the life of another being, it is a severe negative action because the action abuses the preciousness of the human life.

Lord Buddha once killed a ship pilot to save 500 others.  The consequence was Buddha has to be born in hell.  However Buddha immediately took rebirth in the God realm after the hell realm because of His bodhicitta intention of saving 500 lives of others.

We may be in situation of no more brain activity and our body supported by life sustaining equipments, however our minds are still intact assuming our life span is not yet over!  We still have feelings!  If we have not trained or transformed our minds prior to our ‘death’, we will not be in the position to face death confidently! 

Hence the questions to ask prior to consenting to euthanasia are:

1) Is euthanasia causing more harm to others and oneself?

2) Is the person requesting euthanasia not causing more sufferings to others (in this case his or her children) if they were requested to end their parent’s life? The children are already suffering from the pain of separation, why add salt to the wound by asking them to kill the parents?

3) Is the person requesting euthanasia confident enough to face death?

4) Is euthanasia legal?  If it is not legal, then the person requesting euthanasia is committing a negative action by breaking the law of the country.

5) Is euthanasia ethical?
 

kurava

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2011, 10:56:01 AM »
Dear all,
Just to share :

Years ago my friend's only brother met with a fatal accident. Since his mother was greatly saddened by the tragedy, my friend was given the heart breaking task of turning off the life supporting system to his brother after doctors certified that the poor man was brain dead.

He refused to talk about it for a long time and had nightmares till recently after he got connected with Buddhism and had better understanding of life from a Buddhist perspective. He finally let go of the guilt he had burried deep within himself.

Klein

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2011, 04:14:30 PM »
Euthanasia is a very sensitive topic. As a Buddhist, any form of killing is bad karma. Furthermore, if we stop the person from going through the karma this lifetime, the person will still need to go through the karma in his or her future lives but with greater sufferings. It would be better to relief the person from pain by administering pain killers.

Galen

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2011, 04:46:18 PM »
Euthanasia is illegal in most countries and it need laws to be passed in order for someone to have the right to take their won life, including authorizing someone to pull the plug.

In a Buddhist point of view, we should not simply take a life just because it reduces the suffering and makes it easier for the people around to move on. The reason is because a person would have to karmically live their life until the karma is ends. And taking your own life would mean taking rebirth in the lower realms. It is their karma that the incident occurs to them as they have not done anything like doing good deeds, making offerings or prayers to alleviate the karma. If you end the life early without exhausting the karma, then it will follow them like a shadow to their next rebirth and next rebirth. This is something we cannot avoid.

Even my father has told us, his children, that if he is diagnosed with a terminal disease, he would not want us to persuade him to go for treatment as he sees that treatment is more suffering for him. I don't think I can allow that to happen as I would like him to go for medical treatment and for him to live long, let alone taking his life.

 

thor

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2011, 05:41:19 PM »
The most important thing in life is to be of benefit to others. I would like to examine the topic of euthanasia based on this statement.

As a vegetable/comatose/brain-dead person, there isnt much the person's mind can do, I suppose. However, they are not suffering per se, as they dont feel pain or hurt etc. So there is no need to perform euthanasia on them, so that you do not collect the negative karma of killing someone, even though you have their consent. If it is your parents, I am pretty sure the karma is even heavier.

Instead, let's benefit them in the best possible way - collect merit for them while they are still alive. How many times have we heard that as long as our loved ones are alive, we can collect more merit for them than if they are dead. So lets do that - dedicate our merits to them, do pujas for them, liberate animals for them, make a Buddha image dedicated to them and make offerings daily etc

Wouldnt that be better than all this negative talk about euthanasia?


Galen

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2011, 05:52:38 PM »
Yes, we should always dedicate our merits gain on doing Dharma to our parents so that their bad karma would be lessened and that they would not have the cause to even think of euthanasia. They may not even need to know that you are doing Dharma for them. And it will definitely give us peace of mind that their after life would be better.


hope rainbow

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2011, 04:13:35 AM »
The most important thing in life is to be of benefit to others. I would like to examine the topic of euthanasia based on this statement.

As a vegetable/comatose/brain-dead person, there isnt much the person's mind can do, I suppose. However, they are not suffering per se, as they dont feel pain or hurt etc. So there is no need to perform euthanasia on them, so that you do not collect the negative karma of killing someone, even though you have their consent. If it is your parents, I am pretty sure the karma is even heavier.

Instead, let's benefit them in the best possible way - collect merit for them while they are still alive. How many times have we heard that as long as our loved ones are alive, we can collect more merit for them than if they are dead. So lets do that - dedicate our merits to them, do pujas for them, liberate animals for them, make a Buddha image dedicated to them and make offerings daily etc

Wouldnt that be better than all this negative talk about euthanasia?

Dear Thor,
Thank you very much for your post, I like it a lot.
Thank you.

bambi

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2012, 06:45:54 PM »
I don't think it is right to put that responsibility on our kids nor anyone. Imagine the guilt and pain they have to go through. I don't think I can do that if I was asked to. I have no right to say who gets to live or not. It is still killing. None of us are at the level of a Buddha to think that we can kill someone out of compassion.
While they are still alive and although brain dead, we can still do other methods to help them in the after life instead. We can do prayers or liberate animals on behalf of them. Even after they die, we can still continue doing so in the next 49 days.

sonamdhargey

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2012, 08:53:18 AM »
Well putting your children in this position will be very hard on them. They would have a hard time accepting it in the first place. Maybe the following will be interesting from a Buddhist point of view:


The Dalai Lama, PhD, Tibetan head of state and spiritual leader, was cited by Agence-France Presse in a Sep. 18, 1996 article titled "Dalai Lama Backs Euthanasia in Exceptional Circumstances":
"The Dalai Lama boosted the spirits of supporters of legalised euthanasia here Wednesday [Sep. 18, 2009], saying mercy killing was permissable in certain exceptional circumstances under Buddhist philosophy...

Asked his view on euthanasia, the Dalai Lama said Buddhists believed every life was precious and none more so than human life, adding: 'I think it's better to avoid it...

'But at the same time I think with abortion, (which) Buddhism considers an act of killing... the Buddhist way is to judge the right and wrong or the pros and cons'...

He cited the case of a person in a coma with no possibility of recovery or a woman whose pregnancy threatened her life or that of the child or both where the harm caused by not taking action might be greater.

'These are, I think from the Buddhist viewpoint, exceptional cases,' he said. So it's best to be judged on a case by case basis."

Sep. 18, 1996    - Dalai Lama, PhD 

Source: http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000158

jessicajameson

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2012, 10:21:38 AM »
I don't think it is right to put that responsibility on our kids nor anyone. Imagine the guilt and pain they have to go through. I don't think I can do that if I was asked to. I have no right to say who gets to live or not. It is still killing. None of us are at the level of a Buddha to think that we can kill someone out of compassion.
While they are still alive and although brain dead, we can still do other methods to help them in the after life instead. We can do prayers or liberate animals on behalf of them. Even after they die, we can still continue doing so in the next 49 days.

I agree with bambi on this... It's a horrible position to put your kids in. Not only to kill someone, but to kill your own parents.

You indirectly teach them that it's ok to end a life, and this should never be the case. If your parents go into a vegetative state, they have the karma to cause them to be in a vegetative state. So by ending their life, you indirectly stop them from experiencing through the karma.

Karma doesn't start on a clean slate when we enter into another bodily (or formless) vehicle. Your parents will have to experience through the karma of being in a vegetative state.

It's best to do lots and lots of mantras, and dedicate the merits accumulated from your Dharma work to them while they are in a vegetative state than to pull the plug.

So, sorry mum and dad, but if anything happens... I'll keep you in the vegetative state!!

RedLantern

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Re: Can I allow my children to let me die?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2012, 12:49:07 PM »
Euthanasia is the deliberate ending of life of a person suffering from an incurable disease.In recent years the concept has been broadened to include the practice of withholding extraordinary means or ''heroic measures and thus allowing the patient to die.There are many different views among Buddhist on this issue but many are critical of the procedure.It is immoral to embark on any course of action whose aim is to destroy human life,irrespective of the quality of the individual motive.Therefore,I wouldn't want my children to bear the guilt of making this decision.