Euthanasia


Euthanasia [1]

Euthanasia is another challenging topic. Is it okay to pull the plug?

Motivation

The first issue is our motivation. If we are the one helping to euthanise a sentient being, why are we doing it? Are we doing it to remove their suffering, or to remove our anxiety around witnessing that suffering? Who are we trying to benefit, and why do we think it brings benefit? These kinds of questions help to reveal hidden motivations that can guide us through this complex issue. It’s also imperative to realize that people rarely ask for euthanasia when their needs are met. If someone is feeling loved and valued, and has their physical symptoms managed, they generally won’t ask to be euthanised.

Active euthanasia

There is a difference between active and passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia is actively ending a life, and the tradition is clear on this: Don’t do it. Even though the motivation may be to end suffering, and that does soften the karmic consequences, active euthanasia still has significant karmic repercussions (The Tibetan Book of the Dead, translated by Francesca Fremantle and Chogyam Trungpa, page 78).

Read more on Euthanasia by Andrew Holocek

[1] Extracts selected by Len Warren of The Pure Land of the Indestructible Buddha, Inc., Hayagriva Buddhist Centre, 64 Banksia Terrace, Kensington 6151 Western Australia from Preparing to Die by Andrew Holocek, Snow Lion: Boston, 2013 Page 262.