Post on “Persistent Vegetative State – Buddhist View”

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    • #32085
      cubibobi
      Participant

      In terms of Abhidhamma, can we make the below analysis.

      — The “vegetative state” under #4:
      If we disconnect life support here we are terminating the jivitindriya rupa, but it may be ethically acceptable since we are not terminating a flow of citta vithi.

      — The “vegetative state” under #5:
      Here we’re terminating the jivitindriya rupa AND the flow of citta vithi. This is considered taking a life (panatipata).

      Thank you!
      Lang

    • #32086
      Lal
      Keymaster

      The post in question: “Persistent Vegetative State – Buddhist View

      Good observations, Lang!

      In #4, the gandhabba is alive but is TOTALLY unaware of what is going on.
      – Since there are no arammana (thought objects) coming in, the mind is totally INACTIVE. It is similar to being unconscious or in deep sleep. If the brain is totally damaged, even thoughts of past memories cannot come in, as we will discuss in the next post.
      – Since there is no hope of repairing the brain, it seems taking such a patient off of the life-support should be fine.
      – In a way, it is sort of like releasing that gandhabba from a prison. Once the physical body is dead, the gandhabba can come out and be “eligible” to get into another womb.

      In #5, the gandhabba is fully aware of what is going on. As those videos show, some of them can fully recover.
      – If there is only minor damage to certain areas of the brain, the brain can “repair itself.” This is called “brain plasticity.” One can Google “brain plasticity” and read about it. That is how some of them recover with time.
      – So, it is correct to say that disconnecting life-support would count as taking a life in this case.
      – In this case, physicians can use the brain scan technique of #7 to ask and get a “yes” or “no” answer from the patient whether he/she wants to continue on life-support (if the family wants to pursue that path). But as we can see, in some cases, patients may recover even after many years!

    • #32087
      cubibobi
      Participant

      If there’s a way to get a response from one in a coma about whether or not they want to be on life support, it’ll help with the decision making of family members; maybe Elon Musk’s brain chip can help in the future.

      If a coma patient is able to communicate to be taken off of life support, is it a form of suicide? If it is, I suppose the kammic consequences are not big since it’s an understandable circumstance?

    • #32088
      Lal
      Keymaster

      “If there’s a way to get a response from one in a coma about whether or not they want to be on life support..”

      Yes. There is.
      – The video in #7 explains that process.
      – They ask the patient to visualize “playing tennis” if the answer is yes. If the answer is “no” the patient is asked to visualize walking to the kitchen. Different parts of the brain “light-up” in the brain scan for those two responses.
      – Watch the video carefully.

      “If a coma patient is able to communicate to be taken off of life support, is it a form of suicide?”

      Yes. But I rather not get into kammic consequences. Those are complex issues.

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