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Harada Roshi


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In Germany there's a new law that every man has to be asked by their health insurance company if in case of death he is willing to donate his organs for other people. People are proposed to make a statement an wear an organ donation pass. What is the Buddhist spiritual view on this complicated theme?


I agree on the level that it is good to do something for other. Yet I don´t agree on the level where modern medicine decides that a person is clinically dead. When the brain is dead, the person is considered dead, yet there are many cases where people returned from that state. Thus it is hard to decide when a human being actually can be called dead. The organs carry history. You cannot see them simply as object, they are filled with the persons´s life experience, not seen as life energy. These organs when implanted in another person give often trouble, even if they are of the same blood type, the body might try to reject the foreign organ, which might also depend upon the personal history stored in the organ of the former owner. In Asian medicine, as long as the heart beats, even if there is no activity in the brain, a person is seen as being alive. Like the story of the Belgian patient how was in awake coma yet the doctors believed that there was no activity in the brain. Only after 30 years this was noticed. This is something which should be decided by God, having received life, which we did not ask for, which we did not create ourselves. And now humans decide on something that should also be decided by God. In that case we do not need God anymore. I am not saying to return to the Middle Ages, but the question when death occurs can actually not be answered. I would say that rather medicine should develop ways that these organs can be treated in a better way, or artificial organs can be used. Only because medicine is not developed enough, that is why this question of organ transplants occurs. And who then receives these organs? Is it the rich who can pay for this high object? Buying it from the poor in Africa? In this way the human´s  moral becomes weakened to only serve a few. So the thankfulness for our life energy is turned into business. Often humans are influenced by the media, especially someone who is not a specialist in medicine, so it has to be seen clearly whether the person giving their organs really is doing that out of their own clear will. Buddhism would say that we are humans and not objects.


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