Q&A

Is Support-Chanting Before, During And After Removing Life Support Alright? 终止生命维持系统之前、之中、之后有助念对吗?

Question: Is it alright to have support-chanting [1] BEFORE, [2] DURING and [3] AFTER taking one off life support?

Answer: To remove life support is to kill. If one is already on life support, one should NOT be taken off it as this might disrupt the consciousness, abruptly forcing it to leave the body, to enter the bardo state, to be possibly swiftly born in an unfortunate realm due to agitation, pain, fear, confusion and lack of readiness. The only right thing to do is to keep offering guidance and support-chanting sincerely, to encourage the person to be mindful of Buddha (in the mind), to be reborn in Pure Land naturally. Merits from mindfulness of Buddha should also be shared to expedite this smoothly and swiftly.

[1] If support-chanting is offered only BEFORE removing life support, when it is removed, this will still disrupt the consciousness, abruptly forcing it to leave the body, to enter the bardo state, to be possibly swiftly born in an unfortunate realm due to agitation, pain, fear, confusion and lack of readiness. (Of course, it is better than having no support-chanting at all, although there should NOT be removing of life support in the first place.) 

[2] If support-chanting is offered only DURING removing life support, if yet to connect to the Buddha, this will still disrupt the consciousness, abruptly forcing it to leave the body, to enter the bardo state, to be possibly swiftly born in an unfortunate realm due to agitation, pain, fear, confusion and lack of readiness. (Of course, it is better than having no support-chanting at all, although there should NOT be removing of life support in the first place.) 

[3] If support-chanting is offered only AFTER removing life support, without the support-chanting earlier, this will still disrupt the consciousness, abruptly forcing it to leave the body, to enter the bardo state, to be possibly swiftly born in an unfortunate realm due to agitation, pain, fear, confusion and lack of readiness. (Of course, it is better than having no support-chanting at all, although there should NOT be removing of life support in the first place.)

Conclusion: Therefore, the only right thing to do is as above, to keep offering guidance and support-chanting sincerely, to encourage the person to be mindful of Buddha (in the mind), to be reborn in Pure Land naturally. Merits from mindfulness of Buddha should also be shared to expedite this smoothly and swiftly.

With blessings of the Buddha, do not imagine that it will take much time, effort and money (for medical facilities) to offer guidance and support-chanting before departure. Do not break the First Precept, what more with ‘care’ for indebted loved ones. Do not let the patient possibly hatefully associate the Buddha’s name with his or her murder. With any strong negative emotion active, it will be difficult to connect to the Buddha sincerely. With paced taking of shifts, with reasonable rest for the patient and support-chanters, have utmost sincere offering of guidance and support-chanting until there is natural departure, followed by another round, of three to eight or more hours, with post-death guidance and support-chanting.

Related Articles:

What To Recite For The Dying
https://purelanders.com/2020/03/15/support-chanting-notice

What To Recite For The Deceased
purelanders.com/wake

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