Voluntary Euthanasia

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby greenthumb » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:36 am

Thank you Ben, I did go and read legislation here (http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/__data/as ... l_2013.pdf). It is not very complicated and seems to cover many areas where people and institutions may be sued because of all sorts of issues/abuse that come up when someone helps someone else kill themselves. I agree with @dagon regarding our advances in life extending sciences and legislature being at odds. Also I agree strongly with @Bhikkhu Pesala and @SarathW regarding the teachings. Here in the States we are going through a great upheaval regarding centralization of our health insurance and medical system. It was a mess before and now the whole house of cards has fallen and most of us will go into debt, left penniless paying our insurance and if we get sick we will have little say in the Doctors we want or the treatment we seek. Many folk of faith who are against any kind of killing are being forced to pay taxes for abortions and boards of insurance analysts will decide who gets end of life care or expensive surgery and care. Affordable Health Care act is impossible to read it is so convoluted and full of legalese. This makes your small document regarding Voluntary Assisted Dying look very simple and straightforward. The individual choice has been removed regarding our health care choices, I over reacted, I apologize. I am afraid what is happening to us over here in the States will happen to all of us across the globe including your Island. I believe groups of people should not decide what the individual needs are regarding how they live their life and the choices they make. Abuse, greed, ignorance always take over and the system is corrupted, people suffer, and a few will make great profits from our individual and social suffering.

Also there is a great deal of evidence regarding the introduction of suicide education in our Federalized schools, our children learned how suicide is done and why, suicide went up along with the education and introduction of antidepressant medication (which a side effect from this medication is an increased tendency to commit suicide and other kinds of violence, like school shootings). I fear this also will happen with this kind of legislation, those who may have not thought of suicide will now be given an option. Again I am sorry if I hurt feelings by flapping my jaws without thinking.
Form is like a glob of foam; feeling, a bubble; perception, a mirage; fabrications, a banana tree; consciousness, a magic trick this has been taught by the Kinsman of the Sun. Phena Sutta: Foam
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby dagon » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:26 am

This article provides some real life discussion on the subject of end of life and i consider that it is useful to read when contemplating some of the end of life issues from a practice stance. I guess that what we need to do is to understand the subject and find a way of reconciling the situation with the Dhamma so that we can find our individual answers.

She slept in her own bed until the night before she died. She was lucid and conscious to the end. She avoided what most fear and many ultimately suffer: dying mute, unconscious and "plugged into machines" in intensive care; or feeling the electric jolt of a cardiac defibrillator during a futile cardiopulmonary resuscitation; or dying demented in a nursing home. She died well because she was willing to die too soon rather than too late.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1 ... 0302791624

This article provides some good advice on Advanced planning as well as an interesting discusion on Euthanasia fo both the pro and against sides of the debate

The general reluctance in our society to discuss end-of-life issues translates into a failure by many to prepare properly for the end of life. This includes not making wills, expressing wishes about funeral arrangements, considering the need to make powers of attorney or give directions for care through advance directives. The consequence is that the failure to think in advance about end-of-life issues will impact not only on the quality of life of the individual in their final years and months, but also on those around them. End-of-life issues are, by their nature, complex, personal and sensitive, but they are made all the harder if the wishes of the person concerned are not properly understood or set out.


http://www.fightdementia.org.au/service ... urces.aspx

edited to provide an additional source

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:24 am

daverupa wrote:Abstract

Two decades of research on euthanasia in the Netherlands have resulted into clear insights in the frequency and characteristics of euthanasia and other medical end-of-life decisions in the Netherlands. These empirical studies have contributed to the quality of the public debate, and to the regulating and public control of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. No slippery slope seems to have occurred.


John Keown (brother of Damien Keown, the writer on Buddhist ethics) devotes six chapters of his book Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy: An Argument against Legalisation to the Dutch experience, showing in meticulous detail that a slippery slide from VAE to NVAE is exactly what has happened in the Netherlands. The Dutch authorities have exhibited masterful ingenuity in the statistical concealment of the slide (“...the Dutch situation is a regulatory Potemkin village, a great facade hiding non-enforcement”)., but there's no doubt at all that it's happened. Moreover, an additional side-effect has been the decline in palliative care for the terminally ill in the Netherlands: why bother when you can just snuff 'em?


    [The Dutch Ambassador to Britain] continued that patients in Dutch hospitals were provided with ‘excellent palliative or terminal care’ and that ‘In medical student training, much attention is focussed on sedatives and palliative care’. The Ambassador cited no evidence to support either of these assertions. They sit uneasily with Dutch research indicating that the pain of a high proportion of cancer patients is inadequately treated, with the recognition by the Remmelink Commission that Dutch doctors lacked expertise in palliative care, and with the views of the leading Dutch hospice doctor, Dr Zylic.

    Dr Zylic recently wrote that ‘Palliative care is virtually unknown in Holland’. He added: ‘Almost seventy percent of physicians in the Netherlands have been involved in euthanasia of some sort. Yet there is virtually no training in treating dying patients and coping with the impending death. None of the medical schools offer any thorough training for their young students. It is unbelievable how we deny the importance of such training.’ He continued: ‘we see poor symptom control among physicians’, and ‘we see cases frequently enough of ignorance about palliative care that are causes of profound concern’. ‘Euthanasia’, he argued, ‘should never be seen as an alternative to good care. It was never meant to be this in Holland. It originated at the end of such care, when all else failed. But today it is growing to be seen as an alternative to the more difficult task of caring for the dying.’

Attached is the last of the six chapters:

Chapter 13: The Dutch in Denial?
Keown.pdf
(95.31 KiB) Downloaded 20 times
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby Ben » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:11 pm

Dear all,
Please remember that Dhamma Wheel is actively moderated. Posts that are off topic are routinely removed from view without warning.
Kind regards,
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:20 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
daverupa wrote:Abstract

Two decades of research on euthanasia in the Netherlands have resulted into clear insights in the frequency and characteristics of euthanasia and other medical end-of-life decisions in the Netherlands. These empirical studies have contributed to the quality of the public debate, and to the regulating and public control of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. No slippery slope seems to have occurred.


John Keown (brother of Damien Keown, the writer on Buddhist ethics) devotes six chapters of his book Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy: An Argument against Legalisation to the Dutch experience, showing in meticulous detail that a slippery slide from VAE to NVAE is exactly what has happened in the Netherlands.


That book is well-reviewed here, for those who would like a snapshot of the contents.

The citation I originally provided post-dates the book by about 7 years, which may or may not matter.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby SarathW » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:48 am

:cry:
"Pain and suffering is not that bad after all!"
:cry:
==================
Buddha once explained the entire chain of causes leading to Nibbana:
Ignorance is the proximate cause of mental construction.
Mental construction is the proximate cause of consciousness.
Consciousness is the proximate cause of name-&-form.
Name-&-form is the proximate cause of the 6 senses.
The 6 senses is the proximate cause of contact.
Contact is the proximate cause of feeling.
Feeling is the proximate cause of craving.
Craving is the proximate cause of clinging.
Clinging is the proximate cause of becoming.
Becoming is the proximate cause of birth.
Birth is the proximate cause of ageing, decay and death.
Ageing, decay and death is the proximate cause suffering.
Suffering is the proximate cause of faith.
Faith is the proximate cause of elation.
Elation is the proximate cause of joy.
Joy is the proximate cause of calmness.
Calmness is the proximate cause of happiness.
Happiness is the proximate cause of concentration.
Concentration is the proximate cause of seeing and knowing reality.
Seeing and knowing reality is the proximate cause of disgust.
Disgust is the proximate cause of disillusion.
Disillusion is the proximate cause of mental release.
Mental release is the proximate cause of ending all mental fermentation
linked with ignorance, associated with becoming, and caused by sensing.
Ending all mental fermentation is the proximate cause of Freedom..
Ending all mental fermentation is the proximate cause of Peace..
Ending all mental fermentation is the proximate cause of Bliss..
This - only this - is Nibbana ...

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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby greenjuice » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:49 am

Go to the rule 3 here on this page, and there is a somewhat comprehensive explanation of the Tipitaka's view that all euthanasia is wrong:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .ch04.html
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:08 am

greenjuice wrote:Go to the rule 3 here on this page, and there is a somewhat comprehensive explanation of the Tipitaka's view that all euthanasia is wrong:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .ch04.html


Not necessarily. That is the list of pārājikas, defeats from the monkhood. Monks are not physicians. That explanation does not apply to lay people. There are other arguments against euthanasia, but the pārājika are not one of them.
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby greenjuice » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:37 am

Parajika rule 3 is the same as the first precept, is it not? Also, the Commentary on Pj 3 mentions medical-care and life-support, look on the link.
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:58 am

That section appears to be saying for the bhikkhu to not be responsible for the medical treatment of the patient. The bhikkhu is a samaṇa, ascetic, sometimes a teacher, not a physician.

The Great Section on Virtue in the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (DN 2) lists the types of wrong livelihood from which a bhikkhu should abstain. Among them is the practice of medicine, or in the words of the sutta:

"administering emetics, purges, purges from above, purges from below, head-purges; ear-oil, eye-drops, treatments through the nose, ointments, and counter-ointments; practicing eye-surgery (or: extractive surgery), general surgery, pediatrics; administering root-medicines and binding medicinal herbs — he abstains from wrong livelihood, from lowly arts such as these. This, too, is part of his virtue."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .ch05.html
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Re: Voluntary Euthanasia

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:04 am

greenjuice wrote:Parajika rule 3 is the same as the first precept, is it not? Also, the Commentary on Pj 3 mentions medical-care and life-support, look on the link.

You are correct. The reason why aiding and abetting suicide is an offence of defeat for a monk is because it violates the precept of killing a human being. In four ways one violates the precept:
  1. One kills with one's own hand
  2. One urges another to kill
  3. One condones it,
  4. One speaks in praise of it.
A monk is allowed to provide medical treatment, just as a physician can do, but only for his fellow monastics. It is a violation of Right Livelihood to provide medical treatment or medicines for lay people. There are ways and means to let lay people know how to treat a certain disease without violating the training rule.
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