Certain codes of Buddhist monastic law explicitly forbid it. The reference refers to any life, not just human life. Phone: (206) 285-1086 — Fax: (916) 634-7701. Buddhist views, although varying on a series of canons within the three branches of Buddhism, observe the concept of euthanasia, or "mercy killing", in a denunciatory manner. Most religions disapprove of euthanasia, while many, such as Catholicism, outright forbid it. An important value of Buddhism teaching is compassion. That being said, it is no surprise that all have faiths have strong opinions on euthanasia. Buddhists are not unanimous in their view of euthanasia, and the teachings of the Buddha don't explicitly deal with it. Such actions are not real compassion, but what I would call sentimental compassion. The following article was written in the hope that they would not pass this terrible law and allow such degeneration. password? Certainly monastics have strict rules that govern their behavior, and violation of certain cardinal Precepts is of grave concern because it can harm the credibility of an entire organization that depends upon community support. Since voluntary euthanasia often amounts to So at first glance you would think euthanasia is wrong within Buddhism. The teachings of almost every faith focus on attempting to explain death and dying and how it fits in within the human experience. What these stories suggest is that suicide is only acceptable for the enlightened ones. Morality BBC - Religions - Buddhism: Euthanasia … However, a review of the religion’s philosophy can provide some insight. Such methods of euthanasia include voluntary, involuntary, and non-voluntary. There follows a discussion of the Buddhist view of illness and its causes. In the Diamond Sutra, the Buddha clearly states that the Teaching he has shared is no teaching. Opinion polls in many Western democracies would appear to show increasing support for euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, and a Many of the Buddhist teachings emphasize the importance of living a peaceful and harm-free existence. We should think of the Buddha's Teaching as more like a suggestion, or friendly advice. Another difficulty comes if we look at voluntary euthanasia as a form of suicide. Brahmali affirms that Buddhism mortality is pragmatic when stating that the Buddhist beliefs on euthanasia are “…based on the idea that all beings want to be at ease and happy, and that no one want to suffer”, and that making “…anyone suffer you are acting immorally.”. But there are Buddhist traditions sympathetic to both voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia, under certain conditions. Personally, I did not want to be responsible for making the decision to end another being's life. The relative level is the false level that comes from identifying with the contents of our mind – our thoughts and emotions. Buddhism places great stress on non-harm, and on avoiding the ending of life. The second problem is that shortening life interferes with the working out of karma, and alters the karmic balance resulting from the shortened life. BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. The fact that courts often take an opposite view gives us reason to question this conclusion. Reb Anderson said, "'Mercy killing' temporarily reduces a being's level of misery, but it might interfere with his or her spiritual evolution toward enlightenment. buddhist view on suicide and euthanasia The concept of Euthanasia and Suicide are located within the moral, legal, medical dimensions of life. You can help your cat resolve its karmic issues (that caused the accident) by looking after the animal the best you can. The intentional ending of one’s life, even if done to end agony and suffering, seems to go against Buddhist beliefs. Buddhists might also argue that helping to end someone's life is likely to put the helper into a bad mental state, and this too should be avoided. If the next life is going to be even worse than the life that the sick person is presently enduring it would clearly be wrong on a utilitarian basis to permit euthanasia, as that shortens the present bad state of affairs in favour of an even worse one. I believe the main reason Buddhism is against euthanizing is because they think the animal will have less negative kharma in the next life if they deal with all their natural suffering on their own. Karma is the theory that when a person is reborn, his or her new life is the result of the karma accrued in the past life. The Japanese Buddhist tradition includes many stories of suicide by monks, and suicide was used as a political weapon by Buddhist monks during the Vietnam war. This bibliography was generated on Cite This For Me on Sunday, May 17, 2015. So if someone is dying … Buddhism places great emphasise on not killing living beings, in fact, it is the first of the five precepts. The taking of a life, even if it’s one’s own, interferes with the karmic balance and may prevent karma from working itself out before it’s time. Damien and John Keown claim that there is important common ground between Buddhism and Christianity on the issue of euthanasia and that both traditions oppose it for similar reasons in order to espouse a "sanctity of life" position. Buddhists also believe in karma. Buddhists are not unanimous in their view of euthanasia, and the teachings of the Buddha don't explicitly deal with it. BBC - Religions - Buddhism: Euthanasia and suicide 2015. Read more. This page looks at the complex issues of euthanasia and suicide from a Buddhist viewpoint. Buddhists see it as someone allowing their physical suffering to cause them mental suffering. So a person's state of mind at the time of death is important - their thoughts should be selfless and enlightened, free of anger, hate or fear. They were full of selflessness. The debate surrounding the so-called “right to die” has commanded increasing public attention over the last decade. Compassionis used by some Buddhists as a justification for euthanasia because the person suffering is relieved of pain. But that type of kharma is still controversial with many. Buddhists (like most bioethicists, secular and religious) probably generally oppose involuntary euthanasia. Buddhism places great emphasise on not killing living beings, in fact, it is the first of the five precepts. It is your karmic connection that has brought you together. Using these introductory concepts, the Buddhist view on euthanasia is explored and contrasted with the views of Marvin Kohl, a leading proponent of euthanasia. In 1986, the Buddhist Hospice Trust was founded in the UK. This all goes against what Buddhists believe. In terms of the view, one way to look at suicide from a Buddhist perspective, and help us relate to it more skillfully, is to understand that suicide comes from a wild case of mistaken identity. However, it has to be noted that the precepts are not hard and fast rules, and were giving as training rules and not commandments. 2015. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. Euthanasia: A Buddhist view on life and death Euthanasia has now been made law by the Victorian parliament. Euthanasia is a process of intentional killing of a person suffering from a disease which is incurable with permission of the person concerned and his family whereas Suicide is a process of killing oneself. Euthanasia: A Buddhist Perspective PHILLIP A. LECSO ABSTRACT: This paper introduces basic Buddhist cosmology and ethical teachings, empha sizing the concepts of rebirth and Karma. Generally, Buddhism does not support euthanasia. This perspective can be interpreted in many ways, and those varying viewpoints will be examined individually. In general, however, all who practice Buddhism endeavor to keep the Precepts as best we can. The Clear Vision Trust Meditation and the proper use of pain killing drugs should enable a person to attain a state where they are not in mental pain, and so no longer contemplate euthanasia or suicide. We do our best at all times to be mindful of how we live our lives, recognizing that keeping one Precept may require breaking another. Therefore, I would suggest that Euthanasia is not a violation of the Precepts if by so doing one has looked deeply and realized through this insight that such action would transform ill-being (Duhkha) into well-being (Sukha) for themselves and for others. Euthanasia can be defined as the termination of the life of a sick person in order to relieve their suffering. So at first glance you would think euthanasia is wrong within Buddhism. In Buddhism, the way life ends … forgot Practicing Buddhists may insist that the use of painkillers is preferable over euthanasia, as pain medications allow suffers to attain a mental state in which they longer live with men… I was very conflicted, as the Buddhist and secular opinions seemed to be at loggerheads. a husband kills his wife and then himself so they will not be separated. It strives to provide understanding and comfort for those who face death and, more importantly, hopes to use death as a vital concept for helping individuals find meaning in their lives. Buddhist component of this assertion, which as a general claim is surely false. But these were monks, and that makes a difference. If it is the cat's karma to lose a limb, so be it. Buddhism is all about achieving a calmer and better state of mind. Website. One of the central themes of almost all religions is death or, more specifically, what becomes of us when we die. Some reasons for the general disapproval of euthanasia include “God has forbidden it,” “all lives are sacred,” “the principle of ahimsa (no harm)” and “human life is special.” Most religions take the stance that if someone is vulnerable because of disability or illness, he or she deserves superior care and protection, and that euthanasia should not be an alternative to proper end of life care. The only "sin" in the practice of Buddhism is not acknowledging ones own mindlessness. Buddhism. BBC Religion & Ethics summarizes Buddhist views of euthanasia as follows: The Buddha himself showed tolerance of suicide by monks in two cases. The reference is to life - any life - so the intentional ending of life seems against Buddhist teaching and voluntary euthanasia should be forbidden. The Buddhist views on euthanasia are not unanimous. That is, the Teaching is not his alone. 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