Buddhist Response to Euthanasia & Abortion by Ajahn Brahm


4 comments posted
Euthanasia bill and Ajahn Brahm's response

Looking into this a bit further it seems Ajahn Brahm is not advocating euthanasia.

Rather he is opposing the state punishing it.

That's a different proposition - wanting not to heap more misery on those who are probably already in a painful position and may have been motivated by compassion to end the suffering of their loved ones.

It's a conundrum. I'm still uncomfortable - I fear the legislation might result in more deaths - but it's not inherently counter to the Buddha's teachings.

There's no easy right answer to this one. Again I don't want to see euthanasia legalised but I can understand the point-of-view of those who do.

Posted by Robin Kay (not verified) on August 27, 2010 - 1:06am
As Buddhists we do have an

As Buddhists we do have an easy and straight forward answer to Euthanasia. tt is a capital NO.

- Euthanasia is a coined up word for 'killing oneself' nothing different from a more civilised word 'suicide' and according to the laws of the land if one tries to commit suicideis a punishable act of crime.

- one who wants to kill oneself is full of hatred towards oneself and anybody who helps is also not a compassionate person or persons. Doing everythings possible to make the person comfortable is what a Buddhist would d,o NOT aiding and abetting killing!.One of the factors of one's viscisitudes of life[ 8 of them] is due to one's own kamma. If one kills oneself the driving force at that time being hatred doesn't definitely put an end to one's 'suffering.

- the one who wants to kill oneself and the ones who help such a one are all breaking the 1st Precept.- 'paanaati paata' and if the ones who help happen to be the children of the person who wants to kill oneself then they are committing the most grievous of bad kamma namely ' aanantariya paapakamma' which is killing a mother or father.

- the countries where it is legal, commit all kinds of atrocious crimes against the sick and the feeble and the elderly.

Posted by anonymous (not verified) on January 11, 2013 - 12:37am

 There was an article on this in Shambhala Sun a few months back.   The author added some troubles that could come up if we euthanize as a practise.  First, an already burdened medical system may see euthanasia as a convenient way to free up beds.  While I believe most doctors to have taken the Hippocratic oath and vow to do whatever possible to save lives, utilitarianism may win out in some cases.  Second, who gets to decide?  If family members who have power of attorney have less than noble intentions and want to 'get rid' of ailing members of the family who may be seen as a burden, well, ... you see the point.  

Life is suffering.  I hope that I have the courage to face the incredible suffering that may come in the form of terminal illness.  I believe that it would be a great test to our equanimity, and I am so thankful for my practice to help me through what may come.  I don't mean to sound callous ... I do wish those suffering to have their burden lifted.  This is a very contentious issue!   Gives us lots to think about.  

Posted by brendala on July 23, 2010 - 10:50am
Euthanasia bill and Ajahn Brahm's response

Venerable Ajahn Brahmavamso has written to MPs urging them to support the euthanasia bill.

While the Ajahn is entitled to his opinion, as we all are, and is certainly motivated by compassion, I respectfully submit that this is not in line with the Buddha's teachings.

The Lord Buddha spoke for 55 years about suffering and means to end suffering without ever recommending euthanasia.

The first precept for all Buddhists is to refrain from killing. Unlike the biblical first commandment, this one is consistently and unconditionally supported throughout the scriptures.

In the scriptures, we are told that a monk saw a man about to be executed and urged the executioner to make sure the death was swift and painless. The Buddha admonished him and made it a very serious offence for a monk to ever condone killing.

The only time the Buddha accepted a request for permission to commit suicide was when it came from an Arahant, and he allowed it because the monk had completed the holy life.

In short, I think promoting euthanasia clearly contradicts the position the Lord Buddha took.

Posted by Robin Kay (not verified) on July 4, 2010 - 9:38pm