Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:04 am

I think that one perspective is that while we may believe that we're acting out of compassion when we use euthanasia, it requires a deeper look. All beings want form, and they want to exist.

I have a daughter and I gave her life. Even if she became very ill and was in terrible pain, I can't give her death. Life, but not death. Dixie, my sweet furry friend, could not be given death by me either. Her pain during her last days broke my heart, literally. It was so terrible and hurtful. But compassion to me meant trying to help her tolerate the pain medicine and providing her as much comfort and love as humanly possible.

But her death was not up to me. It would have ended my suffering to give her a trip to the bardo. But I'm I don't have the wisdom of a Buddha, I don't know Dixie the dog's mind. I don't know how she felt about her own impending death. I feel certain she knew. All I could do was love her.

My furry little one was a member of the family. I treated her as such.

Sometimes we think we're helping others with suffering but if we step back, we may be addressing our own pain and suffering when we see loved ones in pain. And dying. We need to sort that out, and figure out what's us and what's them.

Beings want to live as long as they can, it's what all samsaric beings crave. Existence. It just wasn't up to me to make the choice about her ceasing to exist in that form.

Whether it's a human, a cat, a dog, or a beetle, I can't intentionally take life. It's not for me anymore, no matter the circumstances. That's why the Buddha kindly gave us the first precept, because we're ordinary still, without the wisdom of an enlightened being.

People still need to do what they need to do. I know this. I'm just offering a perspective :)

Kindly,
Laura
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:22 am

LJ
Your story on your furry friend and daughter is quite touching. Though it was few words it spoke of a great compassion. It is my privilage to thusly enter into conversations with ones such as you who through their words unwittingly attest to great compassions posession. Though those peoples never would(rightly so) know or admit to such posessions.

That aside I think few really consider killing. A few thoughts on the lack of consistancy....

If we as Buddhists do indeed know that animals are exactly like us but in a more ignorant form(a common Buddhist view) why exactly as the previous post mentions are not we engageing in euthanasia of our eldest?

A answer...
Well they are knowledgeable and animals are not and thusly cannot understand their pain....well those thinking such things have never ever seen the conclusion of long term alzheimers care patients. They are by no means still as intellectually there as your common animal. The disease process eats the brain. But we do not euthanize such peoples as we don't euthanize even those who are maxed out on pain meds(like morphine) but still feel pain(which happens rarely but it happens).

And why exactly if death is thought to remove pain do even the theists consider the most heineous of sufferings due the most heinous of killers....not life but the death penalty.

A answer
Well once killed they go to hell and burn forever. Well anyone who has worked a burn ward knows those with the most amount of tissues burnt in fact feel the least pain, some not at all...the nerve endings burning off and becoming inoperable. By some miracle then they continue to feel the pain from the burning....well if this goes on for say a year or two would not all of us get....used to it. Twenty years or so(this goes on for eternity supposedly)....would not the burning be so commonplace it was like a walk in the park, just like a breath...would not that be the case. Would not then this human life of suffering for such peoples in solitary confinement be worse than a summary execution and then life in hell?
Why then the death penalty and why do bereaved peoples whose loved ones are killed by these killer call not for life imprisonment and not the death penalty if death eases suffering and pain?

But theists suppose animals have no soul and just die....Well would anyone of us not make the choice of one more minute living than complete nothingness. Certainly all of us would hope with one more minute perhaps one chance in a million perhaps the pain may end....would not that be the hope. And would we thusly not opt for life as opposed for nothingness? Certainly we would.

NOw show me these beings that have been to the bardo and have seen the death states and have returned back to report to us....death ends suffering. The beings that I have heard speak that maybe just maybe may have such knowledge now or in the past....they report no such thing on the bardo. For most a horrible place it is they report.

Now if death ends suffering and is thusly a compassionate act do not all Buddhist know this life is suffering? A basic fundamental precept. Now if that is so and death ends suffering(as we suppose it does with animals) would not all Buddhists in the interest of compassion go about killing as many beings as they could....putting all out of their suffering? Would not that be the most compassionate action?

No no no....this is all absurd and the idea we presuppose we can act as a god could and end suffering by incurring death...delusional totally completely delusional. We absolutely do not know what happens after death and none of us can state unequivocally death produces end of pain or suffering. No evidence is present to support that. It may it may not we simply do not know.

So on the basis of nothing we determine we may end a animals pain by killing it and yet not end a criminals pain by killing him and consider death the thing to be most prevented for a terminally ill human.... but not a animal. Oh no...not a animal.

Consistancy....is not a city in China. Euthanasia....my dear friends makes no logical sense.

YOur postion, dear friends of euthanasia, is inconsistant. It holds no logical basis, and cannot be defended.

I conjecture dear friends you do not want to see the pain and suffering of a terminally ill animal as it makes you suffer as well. What you are ending with the euthanasia is not the animals suffering(who knows) but your own suffering at seeing such a thing continually day upon day hour upon hour second upon second. For us it is very painful. So we kill to end our not their suffering...which cannot be a good thing.

So dear friends plese take your euthanasia and shove it somewhere. Preferably far away somewhere someplace where people buy into such things. Euthanasia as compassion...in only one place is that found....la la land. I suspect few here are residents of la la land, where the illogical is logic, up is down and right is wrong.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Clueless Git » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:34 am

ronnewmexico wrote:If we as Buddhists do indeed know that animals are exactly like us but in a more ignorant form(a common Buddhist view) ...

Such would be an inconsistent view for anyone (buddhist or not) who would know it 'wrong' to keep the more ignorant forms of human beings (white van drivers, Sun newspaper readers etc ..) as pets?

My personal understanding is that an inconsistent view cannot be a right view.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:59 pm

LJ
Your story on your furry friend and daughter is quite touching. Though it was few words it spoke of a great compassion. It is my privilage to thusly enter into conversations with ones such as you who through their words unwittingly attest to great compassions posession. Though those peoples never would(rightly so) know or admit to such posessions.


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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby msmedusa » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:37 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:LJ

So dear friends plese take your euthanasia and shove it somewhere. Preferably far away somewhere someplace where people buy into such things. Euthanasia as compassion...in only one place is that found....la la land. I suspect few here are residents of la la land, where the illogical is logic, up is down and right is wrong.


Please understand that for many of us the subject of Euthanasia is a highly charged one. It becomes much more than a question of logic when faced with the physical manifestations of the argument.

As Laura says our perspective on it can be coloured by our personal experience.

My own views on Euthanasia were called sharply into question when faced with the situation where a terminally ill relative was kept alive week after week despite pleading to die. He was in acute pain with no possibility of recovery.

I saw no logic in prolonging his life. I saw no logic in pumping him with medication . The only compassion I saw was in medical staff who reluctantly adhered to rules that insisted that he be kept alive in any condition, no matter what.

I know right from wrong. I know what I saw was wrong.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:49 pm

msmedusa,

So true, so true. Our experiences color our convictions. I had a situation similar but opposite to yours, where someone was taken too soon by a doctor who felt he was being compassionate. I didn't think it was, I was pretty angry.

So you see, we all face this life and death and reach heartfelt conclusions and personal truths. It is our job I think to try to understand each other as best we can.

I'm so sorry for what happened to your loved one. It must have been so painful.

Kindly,
Laura
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:06 pm

Cg.... wether we should keep pets is a issue but not really the issue of euthanasia of animals that are our pets.

Msm....the issue of intentional ending of a humans life due to pain or suffering is really not euthanasia as well even if performed by another at her/his request...it is suicide, or assisted suicide(as per Kavorkian) .
There exist very many rationals for suicide and good arguments on both sides of that issue(though I personally advocate against it)...
That however does not approximate the euthanasia of a animal. We simply have no way of knowing if they desire this killing. I suspect not but can not really say. Attributing human characteristics to animals due to our similarity in nature does not have much application in things of reason as animals are largly unable to reason complex issues such as suicide and mercy killing it appears. They have many attributes some we do not posess but rational thinking is not one of them.

So really on the basis of wanting to be killed a human, due to pain.....we cannot assume animals likewise have such a view. Even amongst humans there is much variance to that circumstance. I'd venture to say the vast majority would rather take what is available in pain meds and if they do not work, to not committ suicide but to continue. That is my antedotal experience. Some do, the vast majority do not. I do have personal experience in this area that attestes to my antedotal experience beyond that of simple family deaths. I have seen enough die to fill a book in all manner of form to include burning. Rarely do even those in extreem pain call for death. Not unheard of, but mainly it is a thing for the movie screen not the real world. I do not deny you had that bad experience but would deny it is the norm for humans by my personal experience.

Thusly we cannot assume animals want that thing when in painful circumstance.
Last edited by ronnewmexico on Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:06 pm

You know, there's someone right here at this forum taking care of a terminal cat. When he tells me the status of the kitty my heart moves. To me there's nothing much more important than that, no amount of objective discussion that overrides what he and his furry friend are going through.

I hope he jumps in.

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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:08 pm

Great post ronnewmexico. We really don't know unless we've entered into some level of realization.

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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:33 pm

Just for clarification, I'm in this discussion not to moderate it or try to direct it. So forget my red colored name for a moment please.

I'm just trying to add a very all-encompassing, gentle aspect to the discussion. This topic always raises lots of strong opinions, and sometimes emotions and sometimes arguments and reactions. I expect that.

I think that if everyone were to, just for a moment, stick yourself in the shoes of another, you might find that various perceptions are understandable. I know it's not easy to do.

But remember, people are at all different stages with the lay precepts and bodhisattva vows, and people's life experiences are so vastly unique. If we can see where someone is coming from, we can talk to them in a way that might resonate in the interest of meaningful and sensible communication. This helps to keep us away from accusatory speech.

Hard feelings may arise. Of course. This subject can be so personal, and even painful.
But we are here to talk, and hash things out :)

Kindly,
Laura
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby catmoon » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:23 pm

Missy update:

Today I visited and she was herself again. She was purring, responding to grooming and ate and drank small amounts. She has one hind leg working enough to move herself, and one dragging with little circulation.
Prognosis is still poor, but the plan is to bring her home tomorrow and see how things go.

Many thanks to those who have offered mantras and Medicine Buddha practices. Continuance would be greatly appreciated.

My current take on euthanasia is that I simply do not know if death is The End or not. However much faith I muster in the teachings of any religion, I must deal with the situation while not knowing. So death may end her suffering or it may simply ensure her suffering continues unabated in a new life. Or maybe neither for all I know. What I do know is, that wonderful things will never occur if they are not given the opportunity. Against vet's advice I have given Missy some time. Good things are happening, so clearly this is no time to pull the plug, no matter what one believes. I don't know how this will go, it is the first time I have faced this since adopting Buddhist teachings.

We shall see.

ps it was SO nice to look in her eyes and see Missy looking back out again. Okay, a bit stoned, but very recognizably Missy.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby catmoon » Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:49 pm

I went in to pick up Missy today. Right now she is curled up in the front hall imitating a throw rug. She seems content.

However, she still has a dragging leg. Her toes are pinking up a bit.

But, as will happen, life has thrown another curve ball. The vets found a little blood in her fur and shaved to investigate. Underneath they found advanced mammary tumours. Really ugly stuff.

My budget is blown. Today I bought groceries - two boxes of macaroni dinner and a tub of peanut butter.

We are at the wall, I think. If I buy more treatment I don't eat.
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Clueless Git » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:30 am

catmoon wrote:We are at the wall, I think. If I buy more treatment I don't eat.

For what it's worth Catmoon, I know how much it hurts when that one comes around.

All I can offer is this: When that happened with my last pet who fell terminaly sick I kinda pondered on waht would have happened to her without me. Like if she were living wild or with someone even poorer or someone who just didn't give a damn ..

I kinda felt that the last act of compassion I could show her was to put my hand in my pocket one last time and buy her some peace.

My kindest thoughts are with you. It's a terribly hard thing to have to do.

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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:46 am

catmoon wrote:I went in to pick up Missy today. Right now she is curled up in the front hall imitating a throw rug. She seems content.

However, she still has a dragging leg. Her toes are pinking up a bit.

But, as will happen, life has thrown another curve ball. The vets found a little blood in her fur and shaved to investigate. Underneath they found advanced mammary tumours. Really ugly stuff.

My budget is blown. Today I bought groceries - two boxes of macaroni dinner and a tub of peanut butter.

We are at the wall, I think. If I buy more treatment I don't eat.


:hug: :hug:
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby msmedusa » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:49 pm

[quote="ronnewmexico"]Cg....
. I do have personal experience in this area that attestes to my antedotal experience beyond that of simple family deaths. I have seen enough die to fill a book in all manner of form to include burning. Rarely do even those in extreem pain call for death. Not unheard of, but mainly it is a thing for the movie screen not the real world. I do not deny you had that bad experience but would deny it is the norm for humans by my personal experience.

quote]


Hi :smile:

I take your point and accept that this is your experience.. however, my post was not based solely on my experience of my fathers death , but also on numerous cases I have seen in my professional life. I work with the terminally ill on a daily basis and have heard the wish to end life echoed many times .So, interestingly our experience on the matter varies greatly. I dont know why this should be. :thinking:

One answer might be that the elderly clients I work with have often endured years of agonising pain with other related, or unrelated health issues previous to their diagnosis.They are often exhausted with the effort of getting through each day anyway. Their situation may be further compounded by their loneliness and isolation. They feel they have 'nothing to live for'.

Sorry! :focus:
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby msmedusa » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:55 pm

catmoon wrote:I went in to pick up Missy today. Right now she is curled up in the front hall imitating a throw rug. She seems content.

However, she still has a dragging leg. Her toes are pinking up a bit.

But, as will happen, life has thrown another curve ball. The vets found a little blood in her fur and shaved to investigate. Underneath they found advanced mammary tumours. Really ugly stuff.

My budget is blown. Today I bought groceries - two boxes of macaroni dinner and a tub of peanut butter.

We are at the wall, I think. If I buy more treatment I don't eat.




So sorry Catmoon. :hug:
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby catmoon » Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:20 pm

msmedusa wrote:

So sorry Catmoon. :hug:


It's not so bad. I came into this willingly. Kitty is quite comfy and happy. Her toes are all nice and pink again, she has managed to get in and out of her litterbox, and I am busily reconstructing my finances. I feel my duties, if you call them that, are well taken care of. Or as well as I can anyhow.

Kitty has gained a few extra days of life, and probably more.

I am well supported by my online friends. Thank you all so much. Now, if I were to take half as much care for myself as this kitty...
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby ronnewmexico » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:22 pm

MSM

Your experience with this is in a hospice or equilivent facility or to those receiving care as a outreach from those facilities or similiar of environment to those facilities. This is a experience limited in being of very specific criteria and perameters. To my experience of peoples in those environments, this is usually a experience limited to peoples in various states of cognitive depression, if not due to drug effects for pain management, but due perhaps to depressive states caused by actual physical processes of dying spoecific to the particulars of the affliction they are victim to.

My specific medical experience was multiple and involved the occasion to watch the dying and death of very many in very many circumstances of cause to include hospice on occasion.

On that basis of antedotal experience I cannot not make a statement that infers that anything close to the majority of the humans dying even those in extream pain perfers death. Wether a dying animal should be euthanized is the question, and equating human antedeotal experience of one specific human environment(that found in a hospice environment), to a animals condition of pain or old age is simply not viable nor equilivent, to my opinion.

Keep in mind depending on country and nationality, very many peoples dying do not even have access to hospice/end of life medical care, and very many do not desire to be in such care when their life is ending. Your representation population is limited indeed and in no manner represents a sampleing that is showing a majority reaction. What you are experienceing is just a particular country with a particular population of dying within that country and of those dying, within that specific, those that prefer to do it in that particular manner. In all probability significant limitation of other nature do also exist making that specific not applicable enough to make blanket assumptions on universal characteristics of human dying nevertheless animals.

This explains your dillema...."So, interestingly our experience on the matter varies greatly. I dont know why this should be"
That is why it should be....our ground from which we draw our experience, varies greatly. I claim and contend my experience is more general and thus serves generally as a more valid basis if antedotal experience is to be drawn into this matter.

Actually this deviates from my main point, that being....we simply cannot know animals is such states of pain and suffering desire death. The human and animal equilivency is perposterous and absurd due to the differing levels of cognitive ability. Nevertheless even on a antedotal experience human level....I can attest to no majority view in that regard, nothing that even comes close to approximating a majority view. It actually deviates from a thesist view of such things and would be a "sin" to those holding such view in western nations that derive their religious beliefs in the vast vast majority from such sources(I am no theist but this is their belief in this matter it is part of gods plan). So I suggest you may care to examine your population sampleing in this specific and see if its limitations that I mention qualify it to such a degree, that it is not actually a representative sampleing at all.

IN any event....human do not equate with animals in issues of cognitive natures requireing analysis and insight. They do not posess those characteristics to the extent we do as humans. We cannot assume they want to die. I have a cliff where I live. I have had and cared for many dying of old age animals over the years and not a one has jumped off that cliff though it be readily accessible and it is quite clear to me what would be that result. .
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:39 pm

catmoon wrote:
msmedusa wrote:

So sorry Catmoon. :hug:


It's not so bad. I came into this willingly. Kitty is quite comfy and happy. Her toes are all nice and pink again, she has managed to get in and out of her litterbox, and I am busily reconstructing my finances. I feel my duties, if you call them that, are well taken care of. Or as well as I can anyhow.

Kitty has gained a few extra days of life, and probably more.

I am well supported by my online friends. Thank you all so much. Now, if I were to take half as much care for myself as this kitty...


Very good news :namaste:
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Re: Euthanasia and the 1st Precept

Postby Potato » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:18 pm

Catmoon, I'm glad your cat is better and that you are rebuilding your finances.

Ronnewmexico, you are making some extraordinarily sweeping generalizations and speaking for vast groups of people I suspect you are either not a member of or have very little experience with. Not all theists favor the death penalty for criminals. In fact, consistent opposition to the death penalty is an admirable policy position of more than one flavor of Christianity, in direct contradiction of your claims about theists.

Besides, aren't you the guy who slips meat to unsuspecting vegetarians? If you are not, I apologize for bringing it up.

But if you are that guy, why should we give any weight to your moral arguments, knowing that you deliberately engage in, and at one point seemed rather proud of, deceiving people into violating their own ethics?
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