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)
Some Buddhist FAQs On Organ & Body Donation
HOTA (Human Organ Transplant Act): Opt-In Or Opt-Out?