Euthanesia

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Euthanesia

Postby Nilasarasvati » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:31 pm

My dog has been going apeshit ALL day like Lassie-knows-theres-a-child-who-fell-down-the-well and she wasn't happy until I followed her outside...where she led me to a rabbit nest dug up and three baby rabbits scattered through the bushes. I'm uncertain as to whether my dog actually dug them up or not--I'm fairly certain from her anxiety about all of it that she actually didn't and her Border-Collie (or Bodhisattva?) instincts were making her freak out until she could get help from the grownups.

Anyway two were still okay and I put them back in the hole and covered it with the upturned bedding again. The third seemed dead, was covered in maggots and flies, however, when I went to bury it it was moving.

I was pretty disturbed and to be totally blunt it was really gross and upsetting. Anyway, I mustered the best aspiration I could that I would prevent it from suffering anymore in this life and by this action may we be bound together and both realize enlightenment. Although I felt pretty cowardly about my hesitation in doing so, I mustered the resolve to do what I thought was the only realistic choice available to me at that moment...and I buried it in a hole full of water while repeating the 100 syllable mantra and then prayed it would be reborn in a pure land and that all its ill karma would ripen solely in me.

I wanted to confess whatever aspect of this was deluded or harmful, to the general sangha here...and I also wanted ask what people think about euthanesia in general? I haven't had to deal with it since we put our dog down in 2008. Personally if I were really suffering a lot of pain with no chance of survival, I'd want to just go forth into the bardo rather than agonize for hours/days...but then I would never want make that choice for others who didn't feel the same. Nevertheless, I feel like Buddhism puts way more emphasis on "taking life" than "causing pain..." and I personally think that torture, for example, should be seen as a much heavier Karmic act than murder.

I've also been taught that, other than the 3 negative actions of mind, the Bodhisattva must not be afraid to break the 7 other precepts in order to benefit beings--in fact we must. However, I realize there were other options I could have taken in this situation--they just would have been much more difficult and complicated. Also, I realize fully that much of my urge to end the poor thing's suffering was tainted by my own discomfort with seeing it, not wanting to see it suffer, etc.







There is an older thread, I read it: viewtopic.php?f=101&t=6682&hilit=mercy+killing
I felt justified in starting a different one mainly because...I already did the deed as opposed to the OP by Inge, who was querying Dharmawheel about their recommendations.
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Re: Euthanesia

Postby dude » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:48 pm

I don't think you really had any better options.
If you had tried to save its life, you would have had to go to a lot of trouble, and even if you had, it probably would have died no matter what was done to try to help it.
You would have only prolonged its suffering.
I say you not only acted blamelessly, but with loving kindness, and made a good cause, not a bad one.
You offered prayers for a living being, so the rabbit has a better future to look forward to had it never got hurt that day and died some other time. Yes I believe all that stuff about nexti lives and animals being able to advance thru the stages of enlightenment.
I salute your compassion, and empathize with your distresss at having had to see a living being suffer.
Namaste.
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Re: Euthanesia

Postby Jesse » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:53 pm

The third seemed dead, was covered in maggots and flies, however, when I went to bury it it was moving.


It was likely maggots moving inside the animal. Either way your intent was to help the animal not suffer, I don't think there is a right or wrong here.. It's impossible to know the animals wishes.. so you did what you thought was appropriate.

Can't do much more than that. Personally I would try to look at it from the animals perspective, at the time of death perhaps there is pain, but perhaps there is also peace. Would I want someone to come along and end it quickly if I were in pain? Maybe. Hard question!
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Euthanesia

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:15 am

Especially with animals it's a very hard choice to make as they cannot tell you what they wish, I would have done the same as you though, not sure that's any consolation, but there ya go.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
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Re: Euthanesia

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:41 am

Seems good to me
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Euthanesia

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:59 am

They are always really hard choices. I think the fact that you are conscious of that and conscientious about it is the important thing.

Years ago I was out running and came across a young bird that had been hit by a car. It was lying on the footpath covered in black ants. It was still alive, but barely, and in a pitiable state. A couple of school kids were standing next to it, giggling about it. It was a type of bird that I have a lot of affection for, an Australian Magpie, that are very plucky and independent birds. It was a juvenile,one of that year's hatchlings.

I found a way to dispatch it as painlessly as possible. It was the right thing to do, but I didn't like having to do it. But it's always the intent that is important - the intent to relieve or prevent suffering. Sometimes that is the only way it can be done.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Euthanesia

Postby wisdom » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:18 am

Personally I would not have done that, but I don't judge you for doing it because I've certainly done that and worse in the past. At this time I would perform tonglen and pray for the animal to be reborn in a pure land if I knew death was immanent. If I knew methods of chod I would do that for the animal too. Finally if I thought I could save it I would try by calling a local animal care shelter, there are non-profits that will come and try to revive even something as common as a injured seagull, although all cities probably don't have that.

If death was not immanent and it was apparent that I could not save it, in other words that for whatever reason it might lay around and suffer for days and then die, I would simply leave it at tonglen and prayer and then wish it well, praying for it to be reborn as a human or in a pure land. I would let it suffer so that its karma could be more fully extinguished, since life as an animal is typically dull, confusing, and full of fear and various sufferings anyways, better that it use its already difficult life for further difficulty so that it can more fully achieve its purpose as rebirth as an animal.
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Re: Euthanesia

Postby Jesse » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:46 am

I would let it suffer so that its karma could be more fully extinguished


I don't think that's how it works..
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Euthanesia

Postby lobster » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:24 am

You took the compassionate and kind understanding according to present understanding. Hopefully we all do the same to the best of our ability. :twothumbsup:
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Re: Euthanesia

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:36 am

I have rescued animals too. A few years back we found a baby possum (Australian) in the middle of the road. We think that it's mother had been hit and injured and run off. I only just saw it. I took it home and kept it warm that night and placed it with one of the wonderful Wildlife Rescue volunteers who said it would be fine.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Euthanesia

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:05 am

jeeprs wrote:I have rescued animals too. A few years back we found a baby possum (Australian) in the middle of the road. We think that it's mother had been hit and injured and run off. I only just saw it. I took it home and kept it warm that night and placed it with one of the wonderful Wildlife Rescue volunteers who said it would be fine.

I've done that, too, with birds. I think the Wildlife Rescue volunteers do a great job ... I would be very tempted to sign up myself, except that we have a cat :shock: which would make life too difficult for us or for any animals or birds in our care.

But as regards the OP - yes, I think you did the best you could in the circumstances, Nilasarasvati.

:namaste:
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Re: Euthanesia

Postby KeithBC » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:30 pm

You acted with (fairly) pure motivation to end the animal's suffering. You willinlg accepted, and are now experiencing, negative cosequences of that action in order to reduce its suffering. You did well. :anjali: :bow:

Om mani padme hum
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