Author Topic: Mercy Killing  (Read 19919 times)

RedLantern

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Mercy Killing
« on: March 17, 2012, 09:37:48 AM »
Mercy and killing can never go together according to Buddhism.Some people try to justify mercy killing with the misconception that if the motive or reason is good,then the act is good.No doubt their original intention or motive is good but the evil act of killing which occurs through a later thought,will certainly bring about unwhole
some results.
Nevertheless,the Buddhist religion cannot justify mercy killing as completely free from bad reaction.To kill out of necessity and without anger or hatred has less bad reaction than to kill out of intense anger or jealousy.
As a Buddhist,all we can do is to help to reduce the pain of suffering in others.
What is your view on Euthanasia?

Ensapa

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2012, 01:43:02 PM »
Mercy killing does not work in Buddhism because it does not go in accordance with the law of karma. Mercy killing is killing based on the belief that ending the life of someone will help end their suffering as well. It is usually done on people or animals that are suffering with the belief that they won't have to suffer anymore. Therefore the better decision is to end the life since he or she is in pain. This is the basis of mercy killing.

According to the law of Karma, all sufferings arise from a previous action that we have done in the past. Karma cannot be erased or avoided once it has start taking effect. Things can be done to it before it takes effect, but not after. Once karma is activated, it cannot be stopped and the individual needs to undergo the karma unless there is an intervening karma that is strong enough to go against it.

Mercy killing does not work because 1) it does nothing to mitigate the effects of the karma that has opened up and 2) it is just hiding behind the fact that the people is suffering and we need to get it out of our sight. We are just escaping from the suffering that we or them are facing. People who die from mercy killing will have to be reborn with the same problems and pain that they have since the karma has not ended yet.

Personally for some cases, in my own opinion mercy killing can be done to people with serious injury where even if they survive they will not be able to recover much or they will end up being in a coma. If I were in that situation, I would prefer to be killed so that I can take a rebirth and have a chance to do Dharma again….


dondrup

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2012, 07:52:06 PM »
If we accept the workings of the Law of Karma completely, we would have to reject Mercy Killing or Euthanasia completely.  This is logical.

Killing someone who is suffering (as a result of his karma ripening) does stop or eradicate his suffering.  The suffering has to take its own course until the karma has exhausted.  If we perform euthanasia on someone who is suffering, that person will definitely experience the similar suffering again in the future lives.  This is because the karma of his suffering has not yet exhausted.  In fact the person who wanted euthanasia performed on him, is adding another suffering for himself in the future lives!

We may think that perhaps a second chance in the future life to start all over again without the similar suffering prior to Euthanasia justifies our action.  No, in reality that is not the case.  Killing own-self or requesting others to perform euthanasia on us is a negative karma!  If we perform euthanasia for a willing person, we are also committing a negative karma of killing!  Karma is never wasted.  Every action leads to an effect.  Hence no matter how compassionate we are in performing Euthanasia, we will still experience the effect of Killing.

Q

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2012, 01:52:18 AM »
Killing that involves: plotting, doing the action, and later rejoicing over it... Is the worst thing a person can do. Mercy killing however, does not involves these 3 actions.

Euthanasia is a definite NO in Buddhism. We all know that whatever it is that's being experienced by the person is all due to the negative karma that has opened and even by killing/dying, he/she will continue to experience the similar karma in another rebirth until it is spent.

However, at the sametime... I believe euthanasia too can be done in a Buddhist context. When we have tried all possible ways to help the person/animal... and prolonging his/her existance in the world is practically unethical, as all the person feels is pain, there is no way he/she will be able to practice the Dharma. For this, i believe it is okay to conduct euthanasia. Do blessings for the person, and pujas, try our best to give the person as much merits as possible to obtain a good rebirth. By doing this, we also help the family members... we save them the trauma they could have experienced. Seeing a loved one in so much pain, is a very traumatic experience and can even ruin some people's lives.

Manjushri

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2012, 08:18:52 AM »
This is an interesting topic..is euthanasia acceptable in Buddhism.

Why we have to suffer in the first place is due to our negative karma..if we meet in an accident, or are in very critical states, where our body itself cannot heal, but our consciousness is still within our body, it would be a result of us having created the causes for ourselves to receive the same in this life. Therefore, karma wise, euthanasia would not be acceptable, because one would have to live out the extent of their karma, and experience it, before that karma is exhausted. If the person is euthanized, then in their next life, they would have to experience it again.

Also, for the family members, the pain and suffering they are going through, would also be a direct result of karma. Therefore they themselves would have to exhaust this karma by experiencing the effects of what is happening rather than avoid and cut it because it does come back.

On another thinking, if one would not have Dharma, euthanasia would be an option that would be frequently considered, because it is choosing to end misery, for both parties, to avoid having to go through suffering any longer, which is what samsara would always teach us, because ultimately, it is easier for ourselves..

Positive Change

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2012, 10:18:29 AM »
Mercy killing as in euthanasia is to me a selfish way to end someone else's life. Whichever way you look at it, it is to stop the person's pain as well as our pain and that is selfish. Because we created that pain ourselves and who are us to take the "easy way" out by snuffing out a life.

That said, if one was in a scenerio whereby one has to kill one or more in order to save many more, what would one do? Would this be "mercy" killing as in the lesser of two evils? How would one choose in this case. Is it the same as euthanasia or is this any different. The motivation is somewhat the same, we want to lessen the pain of one or more. But is it?

Tammy

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2012, 10:28:39 AM »
Great topic for debate and discussion, I am sure many people would love to participate in this discussion..

I would like to share some basic information about Euthanasia, information from BBC website:

Active and passive euthanasia

(1) Active euthanasia
Active euthanasia occurs when the medical professionals, or another person, deliberately do something that causes the patient to die.

(2) Passive euthanasia
Passive euthanasia occurs when the patient dies because the medical professionals either don't do something necessary to keep the patient alive, or when they stop doing something that is keeping the patient alive.

switch off life-support machines
disconnect a feeding tube
don't carry out a life-extending operation
don't give life-extending drugs
The moral difference between killing and letting die

Many people make a moral distinction between active and passive euthanasia.

They think that it is acceptable to withhold treatment and allow a patient to die, but that it is never acceptable to kill a patient by a deliberate act.

Some medical people like this idea. They think it allows them to provide a patient with the death they want without having to deal with the difficult moral problems they would face if they deliberately killed that person.


Personally, I think active euthanasia is a big NO NO from karmic point of view - it is plain killing !

On the other hand, passive euthanasia is letting the person's karma takes it course, without medical aids, if he lives, it is meant to be and vice versa.. Some people will definitely think I am taking this 'karma' theory a bit too far and not providing medical aids to any living beings is wrong.. Well, you can put forth your argument and let's debate!!

Down with the BAN!!!

hope rainbow

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2012, 10:38:42 AM »
I think it is very good that we can discuss this between buddhists, it proves that buddhists are not dogmatic.
A DOGMA would be to say that killing is bad, that killing is absolutly unacceptable, and a DOGMA would posit this as a rule without explanation nor debate, nor possibility to question it.

What buddhism says is that killing is an act that is motivated and that has consequences.
So we must look at the motivation and at the consequences very carefully before deciding to engage or not to engage in the act.
On top of this, as buddhists, we must look at our vows carefully, are we braking our vows? Or are we holding our vows at the expense of somebody suffering a great deal?

To do mercy killing holds a specific motivation, but we should really make sure what motivation is there... Is it based on wisdom and compassion or is it based on something else?
Would this act of mercy killing benefit the person?
Would it benefit me on my spiritual journey, short-term and long-term?

Not a simple topic, because the answer is not applicable to every case.
It shows that every case is different.
But am I glad that we don't have a definite answer to this question and that we are able to recognize that every being, every situation is specific...

sonamdhargey

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2012, 10:39:06 AM »
Killing is killing. The act of killing is negative already. How can one be the judge of another one' s life ?
Mercy and killing does not go and in hand. It does not make any sense. Some people kill their pets on the grounds that they do not like to see their pets suffer therefore killing them to relieve thier suffering. It is a misconception. There will be a karma reaction no matter how you kill be it merciful or not. By mercifully killing, we are just preventing the working of one's karma, the debt Will have to pe paid in another existence. The Buddhist way is to reduce the pain and suffering of other's as much as we can.

hope rainbow

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2012, 11:39:35 AM »
Killing is killing. The act of killing is negative already. How can one be the judge of another one' s life ?
Mercy and killing does not go and in hand. It does not make any sense. Some people kill their pets on the grounds that they do not like to see their pets suffer therefore killing them to relieve thier suffering. It is a misconception. There will be a karma reaction no matter how you kill be it merciful or not. By mercifully killing, we are just preventing the working of one's karma, the debt Will have to pe paid in another existence. The Buddhist way is to reduce the pain and suffering of other's as much as we can.

Dear SD, I agree with you, the karmic consequences of the act of killing are very serious, and even more so when a vow is broken.
I agree with that.

Yet, you also say: " The Buddhist way is to reduce the pain and suffering of other's as much as we can. ", and for some people this might mean "to kill our horse when he is down, injured and slowly dying in pain".
How do we debate with them?
Do we explain them that it is better for the horse to experience this painful agony in order to exhaust the karma so he does not have to go through that again?
What would you say?

vajratruth

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2012, 06:08:18 PM »
This is a tricky one and it is easy to see why some people feel that Euthanasia is justified as an act of mercy. I used to subscribe to mercy killing until a relative explained to me the karmic significance of mercy killing.

A person or animal may suffer tremendously but we need to remember that this is their karma in action. No one can suffer until they have the karma to suffer. And that karma has to be totally exhausted for the sufferer to be free from the negative effects of their past actions.

In our belief that killing a person or an animal to put them out of their misery, we in fact commit 2 wrong acts: (i) we commit a grave sin by killing or causing a life to be killed and (ii) in ending their life prematurely we actually deny them the opportunity to fully exhaust that negative karma that is causing them to suffer. They have to take rebirth to suffer yet again. How cruel is that?

The Law Of Karma is very logical but we human beings try to assert our interpretation on it, interpretations which sadly are corrupted with the 8 Worldly Concerns.

We also need to be careful that we are not mixing up wanting to end someone else's apparent suffering, from not wanting ourselves to suffer vicariously from another's pain.

yontenjamyang

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2012, 07:59:35 AM »
It is not an easy question.

The term "mercy killing" itself use the adjective "mercy" to the act "killing". The best description to mercy in this case is the word kind. So "mercy killing" is "kind killing". So how can one be kind and yet kill. The only answer is that killing the particular being is a kind act for that being. Better kill that being than let that being go on living. Usually, that being is suffering greatly and there is no hope for recovery and more importantly in great pain or living for that being will bring much more sufferings then killing that being.

I find that it is all in the motivation. If one is truly compassionate, investigated and has all the facts right, then with compassion it is "mercy killing". The dangers lies with the question of how do we get all the facts right? Do we really know? People from the "outside" cannot really judge and there are laws against it as applied to humans but allowed in some cases for animals.

I am not prepared to condemn this act and my feelings is that if I am faced with it and I am sure the act is kinder  I will do it.  Om Mani Peme Hum!

vajraD

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2012, 08:46:31 AM »
Thank you for sharing this topic.

While writing this, my family is currently facing with this situation. The person keep asking and like begging us to take her home and ask us to let go. The doctor told us that without the supporting equipment she might go anytime. While I was with her one of the most crucial time is that she wanted to pull all the needles and oxygen host. She was so strong that it takes 3 to 4 people to pull her down that very moment. I was there with other 3 nurses… At that very moment I calm her down while she scolded me. Here I don’t want to see her suffer there I cant just stand there without doing anything. The last 1 day is been difficult as her both her hands are swollen and they can find any of her vain and have to now jab trough her neck area. Today she has water in her lungs, which they have successfully, drain away.

Question:

If we decide to take her home upon request is this still consider killing?

If Dr says that there is no other way to treat her and ask us to take her home? Izit still consider killing?


pgdharma

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2012, 02:44:12 PM »
If we believe in karma and reincarnation, then it is logical to say that mercy killing or Euthanasia is not acceptable. It is very difficult and unbearable to see our love ones suffering and in pain and we think that if we can pull out all the life support so that the person can go off than we are wrong. Who are we to determine or take away a person's life? The pain and the negative karma that the person experience if not purified before death will accumulate and continue in the next life. So in my opinion, though hard it may be, it is better for that person to exhaust the negative karma so he/she does not have to go through that in the next life.

Positive Change

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Re: Mercy Killing
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2012, 04:04:44 PM »
Thank you for sharing this topic.

While writing this, my family is currently facing with this situation. The person keep asking and like begging us to take her home and ask us to let go. The doctor told us that without the supporting equipment she might go anytime. While I was with her one of the most crucial time is that she wanted to pull all the needles and oxygen host. She was so strong that it takes 3 to 4 people to pull her down that very moment. I was there with other 3 nurses… At that very moment I calm her down while she scolded me. Here I don’t want to see her suffer there I cant just stand there without doing anything. The last 1 day is been difficult as her both her hands are swollen and they can find any of her vain and have to now jab trough her neck area. Today she has water in her lungs, which they have successfully, drain away.

Question:

If we decide to take her home upon request is this still consider killing?

If Dr says that there is no other way to treat her and ask us to take her home? Izit still consider killing?

Am sorry to hear about your family member VajraD. It must be a difficult time however do take comfort in the fact you have Dharma to guide you. I believe when a person is close to death, it is important for them to have peace of mind and not worry.

Perhaps if the doctors say there really is nothing else they can do and the member of your family wants to be home... I say let the person go home. It is giving them a sense of peace. I personally hate hospitals. To have to pass on in a hospital is truly miserable and I would not want to stay in a hospital too.

I do not think it is "killing" if there is nothing else one can do for her medically... In fact I think it would be the best thing to do. The key is to be at peace and when death comes we are not afraid.