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Should Pure Land Practitioners Donate Their Organs & Bodies?

Organ and body donations should perhaps be avoided if there is uncertainty that one’s consciousness can swiftly depart from the body before or upon being pronounced deceased.

Due to lifelong habitual attachment to the body, the average donor’s consciousness is likely to remain within the body for some time, during which there will be cutting of the body for removing of organs, thus naturally experiencing pain magnified by nine times, with possibly corresponding magnified fear and anger, which might obstruct the ability to Niànfó well, and even lead to an unfortunate rebirth.

Regret for an act of generosity destroys any positive karma created from it, while giving rise to the defilements above creates negative karma. Also, dissolution of the elements when dying might already be very disturbing. Thus, even those not easily irritated might become agitated when dying or just deceased.

Only those who have strong positive karma, strong negative karma or strong Niànfó Practice (or the equivalent) can have swift rebirths – in the higher realms, lower realms or Pure Land respectively.

Although organ and body donations are noble, the priority of ensuring one reaches Pure Land for the swiftest training to become an enlightened Bodhisattva to help immeasurably more beings much more effectively and extensively should be considered.

Should attachment to wanting to help with a few organs or one body lead to aversion that results in an unfortunate rebirth, with oneself becoming an unfortunate being who needs others’ help, many other unfortunate beings cannot be helped.

Only if very certain that one can swiftly depart for Pure Land should one go for organ or body donation. When well now, one can also donate with one’s wealth, goods, time, energy, knowledge, blood, bone marrow, kidney, liver (partially), hair and such with less or no risks.

In the Singapore context, HOTA (Human Organ Transplant Act) should perhaps be opted out, with MTERA (Medical Therapy, Educational and Research Act for body donation) not opted in if one is not yet a very confident Niànfó practitioner. Note that one who had opted out of HOTA will be given lower priority should one need a donated organ, although good Niànfó Practice can prevent and/or cure serious illnesses. (For updates and details on opting out, please see moh.gov.sg)

Related Articles
Some Buddhist FAQs On Organ & Body Donation
https://purelanders.com/2015/09/01/some-buddhist-faqs-on-organ-body-donation/
HOTA (Human Organ Transplant Act): Opt-In Or Opt-Out?
https://purelanders.com/2015/09/01/hota-human-organ-transplant-act-opt-in-or-opt-out

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2 Comments

  • Q: If by donating can help to benefit another living being, why not?
    A: The article above does NOT say there should not be donation of organs. It states the practical considerations to be considered. The possible worst case scenario is as described. Do consider well after re-reading. Amituofo

    Q: Why bother with keeping mortal body?
    A: There is no mention of wanting to keep the mortal body, but to consider the great potential harm to the consciousness as in the article above.

    Q: If people needs them, just donate then.
    A: It is alright, after considering the considerations in the article above, thus ensuring one’s rebirth is not jeopardised. Jeopardising one’s future also jeopardises the future of helping many more.

    Q: The chosen ones have already attained nirvana, those who still live just give them a chance for more time to learn the world and the Way.
    A: It is not the case that organ donation leads to Nirvana straightaway. There is no mention of this anywhere. Also, great pain magnified by 9 times upon being cut open can create great hatred that sends one to the lower realms. The article does not speak against organ donation, but asks that the considerations be considered for the welfare of all beings in the long run. Amituofo

    Q: When the brain function has ceased there is no more physical pain.
    A: In the Buddhist teachings, pain is felt by the consciousness being attached to the body, which can be experienced even after physical death.

    Q: Additional factor is to apply anaesthetic like what is done during an operation even though that person is already dead just to ensure no pain.
    A: As above, anaesthetic will not work if the consciousness is attached to the body, feeling the pain directly. Also, in the act of organ donation, NO anaesthetic will be administered at all as the doctors assume the person’s consciousness to have vacated when it might not be the case.

    Q: If one thinks oneself is at a low spiritual level, all the more one should do it as the final virtuous and noble deed.
    A: As above in the article, the more one is unready, the more should one abstain, lest the deed is one of being penny wise and pound foolish, forgetting the big picture of ensuring a good rebirth to train well to better save even more beings, while oneself possibly having an unfortunate rebirth. Amituofo

  • Q: When a person passed away, the first 12 hours, beginning from the time the deceased stopped breathing is very crucial.

    A: Hi, Sam, Alfred, Karma, Benny (who are the same person), we already mentioned teachings along this line, as can be seen at https://purelanders.com/2015/12/30/the-second-great-essential-%E7%AC%AC%E4%BA%8C%E5%A4%A7%E8%A6%81-pure-land-passport-section-3c Glad to know you have realised your mistake in commenting carelessly earlier. (3 hours should be minimum, with the more time as the buffer the safer.)

    Q: Once the deceased stopped breathing, we should not touch the body because touching the body is like skinning a live turtle. Even the blowing of fan against the body should be avoided. Everyone should stay at least 2 feet away from the body. Sound and noise should be kept low because loud noise is like tidal waves. During this 12 hours, movement and noise should be kept to the minimum and the best option is to chant Amituofo non stop for 12 hours to encourage the deceased to gain rebirth in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss. The consciousness of the deceased is still around and it can still feel pain, pain is felt through the consciousness and not the body as wrongly believed.

    A: Do learn fully at https://www.purelanders.com/passport Amituofo

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!