To Donate Or Not To Donate Organs?

The wish to donate one’s organs upon death is noble in intention. However, we should note the possibility of the consciousness still being in the body after one has been pronounced deceased, and while the body is being cut up. This is the case for those who have strong attachment to the body(or to the life that has just transpired), strong aversion (or fear) of death, and delusion about rebirth (or confusion about the death process, that one had already died).

Even for those with a usually high threshold for pain, the consciousness when in essence not bound to the body, though being in it, will feel all sensual feelings to be magnified. This is why we should try our best to not touch or move the body of the deceased for as long as possible, up to around 8 hours, in case the consciousness is still within. The fact that the facial expression of the deceased might change obviously even after being pronounced dead is proof that the deceased might still be ‘in’.

The intensified pain from surgery can be an obstacle in securing a good rebirth, the best of which in Amituofo’s Pure Land. Though it is possible to nianfo (be mindful of Amituofo) to overcome or ignore the pain, one might not be well practised enough to do so in time, before actual rebirth happens, which will be a plane of existence that corresponds to one’s last positive or negative thought moment. If one connects to Amituofo in time, one will feel only great bliss and no pain, which is why those born in Pure Land always depart with blissful smiles.

Thus, organ donation can be a risky gamble not worth taking. If rebirth in Pure Land is secured instead, one can surely return to Samsara after training well, to donate all the organs one wishes – again and again. This is versus the possibility of donating only once, and thereupon having a less fortunate rebirth, even if for a short period. Anger and regret can deplete the merits of donation too. For the longer term bigger picture, if one is doubtful of whether one is ready to donate one’s organs, it is safer to opt out of the organ donation act (for kidney, liver, heart, cornea). One can instead donate a kidney or part of the liver when alive, with the use of anaesthesia.If one is however confident of being able to swiftly take rebirth in Pure Land before meeting the knife on the deathbed, there is no need to opt out. The onus of the decision to opt out or not depends on ourselves. Though there is no definite need to decide quickly, time is always running out as the moment of departure approaches. A way to realistically gauge if we are ready for organ donation is to reflect on whether we can easily lose attachment to the entire body (e.g. not feel distracted by the body) when practising nianfo. If one can easily let go of the body in everyday nianfo, and can easily connect to Amituofo’s blessings, one might be ready.

A clause to note, which seems fairly aligned with karma, is that ‘A person who objects to HOTA (Human Organ Transplants Act) will not receive any priority should they require an organ transplant.’ If you wish to opt out of HOTA, you can fill in the form below, which requires your basic details, along with a witness’, before sending it to the address stated with a photocopy of your NRIC. This is only applicable to Singapore citizens and PRs aged 21 and above. If there is no acknowledgement letter within 3 weeks, please call the registry to enquire.

Related Articles:
Should I Donate My Organs Upon Death?
Response to ‘Should I Donate My Organs Upon Death?’
Clause in HOTA Opt-Out Form
Should Buddhists Endorse Euthanasia?
Four Responses to ‘Should Buddhists Endorse Euthanasia?’
Of Euthanasia, AMD and HOTA
What’s Useful on My Deathbed?
How Mental States Affect Rebirth
Dynamics of Karma in Pure Land Practice When Dying (While Sleeping)
The Spiritual Obstacles of Extreme Suffering & Complacency
Would You Prefer to Know When You’ll Die?
Always Living in the End of Days

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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