Buddhist views on euthanasia essay - …

Buddhist and christian views on euthanasia essay

Buddhist Views on Euthanasia - Best Essay Services

Recently there has been widespread discussion in Singapore about the pros and cons of euthanasia. The government originally broached the subject, probably in response to rising health costs, and various medical and religious bodies have given their opinions on the matter. On Nov. 4th the reported that Christian, Muslim and Buddhist religious authorities were opposed to any form of euthanasia and that Hindus were (on going to press) unable to give an opinion one way or the other. I suspect this means that they were simply unable to find anyone who could speak authoritatively on the matter, a sad reflection on the state of Hinduism in Singapore. Venerable Kwang Phing of the Singapore Buddhist Federation was asked for the Buddhist position and said that Buddhism would consider euthanasia to be unacceptable. I do not know exactly what Ven. Kwang Phing said but I would like to give some of my own thoughts on the issue.

Buddhists are not unanimous in their view of euthanasia, and the teachings of the Buddha don't explicitly deal with it.

Buddhism and Euthanasia – Bhante Dhammika

As a Buddhist, I have a few problems with this perspective. All monotheistic religions, the Catholic Church and most Protestant churches, have long upheld capital punishment, which seems to contradict the idea that only the deity has the right to take a life. A friend who knows the Bible much better than I informs me that there are 87 offences mentioned in the Bible which God says a person can and should be executed for, some of them extraordinarily minor. One could also ask this question: “If it is acceptable to prevent life coming into being (using birth control), to artificially prolong life (using life-support machines), to require people to endanger their lives and take the lives of others (sending soldiers into battle), then why is it wrong to shorten life?” It seems that the reproach: “You’re playing God!” is only used when the question of euthanasia comes up. I find this contradictory.

Larue, Euthanasia and Religion: A Survey of the Attitudes of World Religions to the Right-to-Die (Los Angeles: The Hemlock Society, 1985).

When the President of the Society published a book on world attitudes on euthanasia the following year, only 2 percent (2.5 out of 150 pages) was about Buddhist attitudes, and those ideas were gained from California Buddhists, not from Japanese Buddhists at Nice.

Most Buddhists (like almost everyone else) are against involuntary euthanasia. Their position on voluntary euthanasia is less clear.

Buddhist Views of Suicide and Euthanasia

These are exactly the sorts of situations when euthanasia is desired today: (1) to avoid an inevitable death at the hands of others (including disease, cancer, or bacteria), (2) to escape a longer period of pain or misery without being a fruitful, active member of society.

Buddhist Views of Suicide and Euthanasia, ..

To their credit, however, there were a few Japanese scholars who boldly attempted to establish some more-Japanese views on the topics in bioethics, particularly euthanasia and death with dignity.

to the West's understanding of Buddhist views of euthanasia

Japanese Buddhists may respect this decision more than Western cultures, and lead humanitarian bioethics in a different perspective towards dignified death.

Theravada buddhist views on euthanasia essay

The theistic faiths’ objection to any type of euthanasia is based on the belief in a life-giving, life-taking deity. Speaking with Buddhists on this issue, it seems that their objections to it (when they do object to it and by no means all do) are derived from the idea that killing is wrong because it is wrong in itself, it is intrinsically wrong. But my understanding is that this is not what the Buddha taught. For example to unintentionally and unknowingly kill something has no kammic consequences () because it is not intentional. It is intention that makes an act moral or immoral. It is this point that needs to be kept in mind when thinking about euthanasia. I am undecided on the pros and cons of euthanasia but I do think the issue is much more complex and nuanced that the usual ‘it’s wrong’ stance. What do you think?

the topic of euthanasia while the Buddhist religion applies ..

Now, to return to the question of euthanasia – could someone kill themselves or asked to be killed and do so without negative intentions? Let’s say that a woman has terminal liver cancer, she has been in terrible pain for the last month and it gets worst every day, the stench coming from her body is sickening, her veins have collapsed so that the nurses have to stab her six or seven times with the needle before they can administer morphine and the doctor has said that she has a week, perhaps two or three left. Let’s say she decides she has endured enough and asks the doctor to (1) give her a lethal dose of morphine, or (2) give her an injection containing a lethal done of morphine so she can administer it herself. What would be going through her mind at this time? The dominant ones would probably be (a) resentment and fear of the present pain, and others would be (b) desire to avoid the future pain, (c) revolution with the body. Now I maintain that a and b would have to be classed as kammicly negative but also that they will both continue and almost certainly increase if this patient decides not to end her life. As for c, it is exactly this outlook that the Buddha hoped to evoke when he encouraged his disciples to do the meditation on the unpleasant aspects of the body. So while a terminal patient who desires to end their life may have some negative intentions (and thus some negative ) they are likely to have them anyway. Perhaps a highly developed meditator may be able to free themselves from such thoughts and intentions, but not the average person. And if the care-giver decided to leave a lethal injection besides her bed so that she can administer it to herself, what could their intentions be? Respect for the patients wishes, sympathy and compassion, desire to see them free from pain? Quite possibly.