Organ Donation

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Organ Donation

Postby Bankei » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:34 pm

Hi

I would like to read people's opinions on consenting to donate organs on death from a Buddhist point of view. Organ transplants are becoming more common these days so it is an important issue to consider - preferably before you die so you don't leave it up to family etc to decide.

Bankei
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Re: Organ Donation

Postby gavesako » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:24 pm

There is a tradition in Theravada countries like Sri Lankan to donate one's organs while alive in order to gain merit, following the acts of the Bodhisattva (deha-dana or gift of one's body) according to the Jataka tales.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Organ Donation

Postby Stephen » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:03 pm

Donation of your organs to those in need after you no longer need them yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give. It is of course the "Buddhist thing to do".
The "self", which is a construct of the mind, is non-self. It is not us, and we are not it. This self blinds us to reality; it is our Mara, our Satan, our Hades. Cast it out and behold the path to freedom.
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Re: Organ Donation

Postby Bankei » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:32 am

I always thought of as a good thing to do, but I have just read an article by Damian Keown which had some disturbing points in it. see
Buddhism, Brain Death, and Organ Transplantation by Damien Keown
Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Vol 17, http://www.buddhistethics.org/current.html

The problems seem to stem from the definition of death and the need for doctors to take organs as soon as possible, while they are still 'fresh'.

There are some instances where a patient is still breathing, heart beating etc and organs are 'harvested'. The patient may be brain dead but still 'alive' in a sense. Keown briefly mentions the story of a woman who was a few months pregnant and then declared 'brain dead'. She was still able to go full term with the baby and then even produced breast milk - which implies brain activity.

There may be a problem with the definition of 'death'.
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