[Buddha-l] Buddhist Bioethics
halc at xprt.net
Fri Sep 16 14:36:09 MDT 2005
A Time For ?????
These pictures are from a book, A Time for Dying, about depression and
suicide. What is the difference between a nursing home and assisted
living? The old people call it a nursing home and the kids call it assisted
living. It's true what the Diamond Sutra says regarding this life being so
short, like a drop of dew on the morning grass or a flicker of lightning.
Self, others, marks... Got to do the important stuff first.
> That brings to mind a photographic documentary entitled "Gramps,"
> published many years ago in Life magazine, if memory serves.
> An elderly man, living at home with his family, had become very
> debilitated. He decided it was time to go, and quit eating. He of
> course discussed this with the family first.
> Closer to home, one of my aunts (age 93) apparently willed herself into
> a coma. She also was debilitated, requiring daily attendance by my
> mother. She would have had to go to a nursing home, which many times
> she swore she'd never do.
> My mother found her one morning, alive but unresponsive. Took her to
> the hospital. The doctor and staffed offered the hospice, where she
> could go in peace. And that's how it happened. She was only there a few
> Interestingly enough, she passed away alone. My mother was with her
> most of the day and early evening, but one afternoon she had errands to
> run, and came back to find her gone.
> My father passed away in the cardiac care unit. His heart simply
> failed. He'd already had two bypasses, but there was no life left in
> his ticker. So he died in his sleep with my mother and me nearby. We
> were sad, but happy for him. At home he could barely get to the
> bathroom without getting exhausted. No quality of life left.
> Seems to me that ending suffering encompasses much more than so-called
> "enlightenment." Seems to me that enlightenment is much more than
> having some sort of mystical experience. Much, much more; or perhaps
> much, much less.
> --- jkirk <jkirk at spro.net> wrote:
> > I have in mind here the practice being resorted to by some elderly
> people who have incurable disease, with death as the predicted end,
> who decide to begin fasting with the aim of eventually ceasing to eat
> and drink altogether. The reasons they give for this procedure are not
> singular, but usually include compassion for others--usually kinfolk,
> usually only one person in many cases, usually a daughter not a
> son--who would be forced by circumstances to stand by and care for
> such patients, often for unknown durations. They also include
> compassion for themselves, in that by pursuing self-euthanasia they can
> maintain dignity and awareness until the end, unlike what would happen
> if they sink into a vegetative state or develop full-blown brain
> disease with senility.
> > Under such circumstances, to insist on ethical grounds on the medical
> intervention of keeping the dying body alive as long as possible, or to
> ethically condemn its dying other than by leaving it to its own
> devices, strikes me as social torture.
> > Joanna
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