Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

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Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby ChangYuan » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:05 pm

Our 6 month old puppy has come down with a disease called Parvo. It is an extremely virulent digestive system disease, that kills on an almost 80% basis in young dogs. She has been hospitalized since saturday, but has not gotten any better, if anything, a bit worse. If she takes a turn farther downhill, I am wondering what is said out there regarding killing to end suffering. I really don't want her to die, but if it looks like she will anyway, I don't want her to suffer along the way. This disease kills by shutting down the major organs, so painkillers will only alleviate so much. Does anyone have any advice on this?
_/\_ Amituofo

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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby BFS » Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:29 pm

Dear ChangYuan,
I am sorry to hear, :heart:

I hope you find advice that you find helpful, I am attaching a link to some teachings that may help.
There is a section at the bottom of the link - Caring for Pets in Everyday Life and at Their Death

much love to you and your puppy

http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=333

Two more links:

http://www.buddhasvillage.com/teachings/lz_euthanasia.htm

http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=322

I hope you find something helpful.



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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby catmoon » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:45 pm

The only way I have found to deal with such a situation is to go ahead with euthanasia when then animal is in terminal pain. In doing so, I recognize the karma may be very bad, but I willingly accept it as necessary. Sometimes, I think, life traps us in situations where the karma is lousy in all directions.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Potato » Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:06 pm

A few years ago, one of my cats developed feline diabetes and kidney disease simultaneously. The vet and I spoke at length about the options. One of the options was treatment, which would have required daily shots and pills for the cat, but was only prolonging the inevitable and would have resulted in a very poor quality of life for the cat, especially since he was not one who was co-operative when it came to taking medicine. I think that there is a point at which treatment becomes torture, and the treatment the vet described would have reached that point in very short order. So I chose euthanasia. They ran the needle into my cat's leg, and he died with me stroking his head and knowing he was loved. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but the vet agreed that I made the right decision.

I have been taken to task for this by other Buddhists, who have told me that my decision was an intolerable interference in my cat's karma and that I should have just let him continue to lose weight, be miserable, and die in pain in order to let him work out all his karma for that life. I disagree with those who criticize my decision. One of the most precious things about human birth is that we have the intellectual capacity to understand and cope with our suffering. Animals do not have the same intellectual capacity. We have a responsibility not to inflict suffering on any sentient being, but especially not on beings who cannot understand it. We also have far more medical knowledge for both people and animals than was available in Buddha's time.

I hope this helps you in making your decision.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby KeithBC » Fri Dec 25, 2009 1:14 am

I am sorry that your dog is suffering. And that you are, too. There is no right answer, and there is no wrong answer. It is wrong to criticize a person for making any decision that is based on compassion.

The Buddhist answer of course is that there is no refuge from suffering except the Triple Gem. So euthanasia does not end a being's suffering. It may end the suffering of this lifetime, but accelerate its entry into a new life of more suffering. Or less.

Yet, it does end the suffering of this life. And perhaps, if the being was exposed to the Dharma in this or another life, it will be reborn into a more fortunate realm. You don't know its future either way.

So, no right answers. Act with compassion, and do the best you can.

Traps to avoid:
- Assuming euthanasia ends all suffering.
- Assuming the being's next life will be worse (or better).
- Being heartless.
- Superficial ("idiot") compassion.
- Mistaking your own aversion to suffering for compassion.
- Thinking you can "interfere" with another being's karma.

Bearing all this in mind, look into your puppy's eyes and ask her what she wants. You will know the answer in your heart. If you do that, I cannot criticize you either way.

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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby ChangYuan » Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:04 am

Thankfully, the rough time has come and gone, and she has a 90% chance of survival now. She had to have surgery on thursday, so they are watching out for a secondary infection. Barring that, she should recover completely within the next 2 weeks.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby ground » Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:22 am

Patience

:namaste:
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:52 pm

There is absolutely no wrong or right answer.

As a child I had a sick dog of about 9 months of age who had Parvil. At that time I was able to attend to him exclusively and with much care, and the dog survived to live quite happily, and in fact became a excellent specimem of dog, very strong and muscular.

So I will give a personal answer on ethunasia...as in what I do, and not to state it is wrong or right or Buddhist or nonBuddhist.

I never willingly kill another animal for other than self or other human protective reason. I don't know their particular karma and when or if I may be interfering with their suffering of necessity. Of course we always interfere to stop sufferng if we may but to kill to stop suffering is by my take not the same. I just do not know enough to say that killing will ultimately end their suffering. End it perhaps in this life but if it to be born it will be born in another life.

One may say....well that applies to all ending of suffering and by that view we should never end others suffering.

But I reply....we are part of a living creatures suffering and to not end that suffering denies our existance and relationship to end that suffering if we may. If we may not.....no such relationship exists nor can we create one. WE are not ending the suffeing we are ending the life.

I caN reasonable expect to end suffeing by giving a drink to a thirsty animal or food to a hungry one. I cannot affirm that I know I will end the suffering of another animal by ending its life.

I suspect not. I suspect it will be born in another life.

To contrast I will spend as much time as time allows and give care and nutureing if possible when they are dying, which may take years days months or seconds. Usually animals in their later days do not even know you are there but some do. For those that do I try to be there as much as I may.

So that's what I do and why. I would never have such performed by another in any event. The karmic consequences of having another do such would not be good by my take to another and to me. So if I did such(which I would not) I would do it myself.

I live near a cliff...if they want to die they may throw themselves off it. Dogs to my experience if they want to die do occasionally go out to the forest and die. Rarely but it happens. I would not stop one from doing so.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Karma Sonam » Tue Dec 29, 2009 10:46 pm

My husband is a vet, the one thing he always tells people is that they will know when the time has come. As buddhists this is always a difficult one as it is for christians as well, we are not unique in this area. It is a difficult one to find peace with as it very much depends on how deep your OWN personal faith is and maybe it is part of your own journey.

I hope you find peace and clarity.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:30 pm

Greetings,

Our friends have a dog who suffered from Parvo early on, and then recovered... so it is good to hear your puppy seems to be following a similar path to recovery.

Metta,
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Clueless Git » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:06 am

I am glad to hear that your pooch is on the mend too ChangYuan :smile:

For what its worth ...

I had to have a pet put down because of throat tumours last year. Didn't take too long to fathom that the choices of killing and allowing suffering within my power to end were both imperfect ones.

Can't remember exactly when the penny dropped but I came to the realisation that one cannot expect perfect choices to follow imperfect ones. The primary imperfect choice being to have taken ownership of another living being in the first place.

Probably, when my current pet dies, I will knowingly make the imperfect choice of taking on another animal again. If that happens and I face the intentional killing -V- allowing unnecesary suffering decision again at least I will know the reason why.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:12 am

CG

I don't know how it is where you are but in the US one may get animals that are due to be killed from the pound or get abused animals from the humane society. I do not agree that having one of these animals from these places can normally be considered a faulted choice. Certainly we obtain comradship and other things from animals as companions but I see that as a mutual benefit.

I personally accumulate abandoned animals of late. People come to the mountains and abandon them. So I feed or take them in if possible. I find no harm in that. If I report them, they will be killed.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Clueless Git » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:01 pm

ronnewmexico wrote: I do not agree that having one of these animals from these places can normally be considered a faulted choice.

'Lo Ron :)

The fault (flaw more accurately?), I reason, is this:

The root problem is that animals for pets, same as animals for food, is a purely 'supply and demand' driven thing.

No matter how 'demand' manifests itself it will only ever result in an increase of production at the 'supply' end of the chain.

Unfortunately, due entirely to the infiniteness of human stupidity, there are infinite humans who confuse the taking in of abandoned animals with a demand for abandoned animals.

In accordance with the infinitely stupid logic of infinitely stupid people the abandoning of animals thus becomes totaly justifiable in the animal abandoners mind.

From direct personal experience with a number of serial animal abandoners I learned this: The mind of the terminally stupid is perfectly capable of reasoning that for so long as there is a 'demand' for chucked out pets then they are actualy performing a service of 'supply' by 'selflessly' buying new pets in and chucking their old pets out.


It's kinda like that the seemingly faultless act of taking abandoned animals can be a flawed one if, in the thinking through of it, the factor of how the idiots who dump animals in the first place will percieve such acts has not been taken fully into account?
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:34 pm

CG

You are absolutely correct and peoples do do those things, they rationalize them.

On the other hand however criminals do exactly the same thing quite often. They justify/rationalize their behavior by stateing....well if they did not expect that this thing would be stolen they would not have it so easy to steal.

But we do not stop possessing necessary things because they utilize faulted rational to justify illegal acts.
We continue in our behavior because it is necessary to alievate our suffering(which is why we generally own things at a base level).

So yes people do abandon such animals and justify that. But likewise I see not that it should affect our actions. If we were to purchase a animal, that would be propogating the trade in animals in a direct fashion. And I agree that should not be done in the interest of compassion.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby KeithBC » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:14 am

Clueless Git wrote:It's kinda like that the seemingly faultless act of taking abandoned animals can be a flawed one if, in the thinking through of it, the factor of how the idiots who dump animals in the first place will percieve such acts has not been taken fully into account?

Hi, CG. I follow your reasoning, and I do not think you are wrong in your assessment of the level of people's stupidity.

Nevertheless, I think you may be overthinking the situation. An action motivated by compassion is not wrong. It may be skillful or unskillful, but it cannot be called wrong.

Karma is individual. My responsibility begins and ends with my own actions. If someone sees my actions and makes poor choices based on his (mis-)interpretation of my actions, that is his karma and his responsibility. If I encounter him, I will treat him as another suffering sentient being, that is all.

If I take in a puppy that is suffering because it needs a home, that action, whether skillful or not, is my action and my responsibility. If some wacko interprets my action as my creating "demand" for abandoned puppies, that is his error. Any action he takes as a result of his error is his karma. He is going to make his mistake whether it is I or someone else who takes in that puppy, so it is in no way related to my action.

I think the best approach is to deal with animals as suffering sentient beings, and wackos as suffering sentient beings, and not try to invent economic systems,devoid of inherent existence, around them.

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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Clueless Git » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:15 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:CG

But likewise I see not that it should affect our actions. If we were to purchase a animal, that would be propogating the trade in animals in a direct fashion. And I agree that should not be done in the interest of compassion.

'Lo again Ron :)

Using a motor industry analogy ...

Most of us will never propogate the trade in motor cars directly by buying a brand new car directly from the manufacturer or from a main dealer. That would mean that most of us can say that we have no direct involvement in the motor car industry?

Thing is this: The direct trade is directly dependant on the indirect trade. The guy who buys a brand new car every year is dependant on the guy (or 'gal', just to keep the ladies happy) who will buy his one year old motor. The guy who buys a one year old motor is dependant on the guy who buys a one year old motor every two years. The guy who buys a two year old motor every three years is dependant on the guy who buys a five year old motor every however many years .. and so on and so forth ...

Ultimately at the bottom of the chain is the guy who will pay nothing for a motor. The scrap dealer, for instance, who is no more involved in the chain than to make space for the guy in the chain above to get rid of his old motor to make room for his next one.


Remove any link in that chain though, right down to the scrap guy, and the whole chain above it gets immediately into difficulties at best and at worst collapses.

Questions:

1. How is the scrap guy less essential in maintaining the out put from the manufacturer than is the guy who every year makes a direct purchase?

2. How is the 'scrap guy' any less essential, ultimately, in any other supply and demand chain, including the trading in of animals, any less essential in ensuring that the source of supply can always keep producing?
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Clueless Git » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:50 pm

'Lo Keith :smile:
KeithBC wrote:
Nevertheless, I think you may be overthinking the situation.

I must now ponder upon the difference twix 'over thinking' and 'looking deeply' ..

:meditate:
An action motivated by compassion is not wrong. It may be skillful or unskillful, but it cannot be called wrong. Keith

There is such a thing as 'idiot compassion' though?

I agree with much of what your most estimable self and the entirely estimable Ron said though.

Just for chit-chat ...

My personal politics are totaly anarchist. People look at me like I just stepped off a space craft when I explain what anarchy actualy is (total personal responsibility, basicaly) and usualy say something like "Are you mad? That is totaly unworkable!"

I laugh because I totally agree with them. There are many things that would be ideal but people, on the whole, are simply far too far away from being ready for them to make them owt but whistfull fantasy.

Linking that back to the topic in hand ...

I have no problem with the fact that my views on animal ownership are totaly unrealistic at this point in time.

A 'prophecy' made by Leonardo Da Vinci will have to come true first ...

"I have from a very early age abjured the use of meat, and the day will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of an animals as they now look upon the murder of men."


That day is not here yet.

One day it will be.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby catmoon » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:15 pm

Man that motor industry analogy is seriously flawed. First off, it assumes that the scrap guy is essential, that there is no place else old cars could go. Rather than recycle them, we could just bury them. Or make lawn ornaments out of them for that matter.
Second, it fails to recognize the service the scrap dealer provides in tidying up other people's mess.
Third, it fails to recognize the moral difference between scrapping a car and adopting an animal - namely the reduction of that animal's suffering.

One thing this line of reasoning does do, though, is it conveniently absolves non-adopters of guilt. It's quite similar to the idea that we should not help African nations, because if we send them food they will just make more Africans. I fear it's just a nice rationalization for abandoning the bodhisattva path.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby KeithBC » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:49 pm

The problem with the automobile analogy is that it assumes that all the people have the same motivations: to make money and/or drive cars. That is likely to be accurate for the trade in vehicles.

The assumption of uniform motivation is not accurate for the "trade" in companion animals. The motivation of someone who wants a pet as a toy to keep the kids entertained is quite different from the motivation of someone who rescues a feral cat, and both are vastly different from the motivation of a "puppy mill" breeder.

That is the problem with economic analyses in general. Economics is amoral: it does not recognize the existence of a moral dimension and is therefore incapable of taking it into account.

That is why I suggested that you were "overthinking". Perhaps that was the wrong term for it. You were using an economic model to evaluate a moral dilemma. That never works.

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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:59 pm

Well to my opinion CG is logically entirely correct.

Scrap dealers and such are part of and do enable the auto industry to a degree. To extend that logical to a illogical conclusion of practice however....... what enables all auto transactions and all transactions of a negative manner to occur is the use of money. Taken to its furthur extent to totally dissolve us from the auto industry we must stop useing money. This form of interaction(money form) is resultant of and enableing of in far greater part the auto industry than is the scrap dealer.

But that is seemingly not possible. Pure actions being as being human currently is(in some would say this degenerate age)...impossible.

So we do what we can to express compassion.

Now I am a member of PETA but do not hold their views in entirety. A PETA member usually holds that any personal involvement or useage of animals in other than their natural state is a ethical no no.
NOw as a comic mentioned in a movie on atheism recently, we have the boobie bird. A wonderful delightful bird of blue color, entirely cute and cuddly. Now the biggest infant boobie bird invariably pushed the smaller boobie bird infant from the nest(they are not always but occasionally born in twos) to its immediate death. In the interest of survival thusly only the strongest survive. Now I as a human may feel ethically quite alright to intercede and establish a home of my own(temporarily) for the smaller boobie bird before it is pushed to its death. It is violating the survival of the strongest edict of species but boobie birds I know despite this action of killing are not all the get go as regards survival anyway. They exist only in certain areas and are not a predominate species. They are surviving but only in a so so manner.

So as to keeping animals dogs cats and such as a singluar issue I have no problem with it and in fact do believe dogs and cats and such are benefited by our companionship as we are theirs. How it is done in the modern society and most of the third world....it is very faulted. But to my opinion not by the nature of the practice(ownership of animal) but by the way it is done. Some would equate ownership of animals to ownership of peoples as in slavery but I make no such comparison. Some animals live quite fine lives exposed to intellectual stimulation and compassionate example they simply would not find in their natural environment. So I find it can be superior for them. How it is currently done...of course inferior and detrimental to them.

So I again would not purchase a animal of any sort in this current environment, but take in a abandoned dog or cat that would be murdered if I did not....I think it is OK.

So ethically I may act suchly, but to many a PeTA members view it is not natural and thusly wrong morally. NOt to slander PETA (I am a member) but this is simply the majority view in that organization. Carriage riding per example is a no no.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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