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Vinaya and the responsibility of another's end of life plan...

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  • Vinaya and the responsibility of another's end of life plan...

    Hi Bhante,

    I hope you have had a brilliant month of deep and blissful sits!

    My mum has requested that I sign an 'advanced care directive - end of life plan' document. Which basically means that she has formally decided if and when she desires to be taken off life support in case there comes a time when she cannot communicate her desires. (she is healthy now! it's just a precaution for the future)

    Someone needs to be responsible for that decision, if she is incapable of communicating at the time. She has asked me and although I feel strange about it, I would like to sign it. However as I intend to ordain in the near future, I would like to ascertain first whether or not there would be any difficulties with this regarding the vinaya?

    If it comes down to me not being able to sign it for monastic reasons, my sister can, so it's not the end of the world but I'd like to know.

    Thanks again, I really love being able to ask you questions lol.

    With metta

  • #2
    Dear Dylan,

    I am Ven Upekkha, and I am (slowly) taking over the job as moderator from Ven Sunyo. Hope you are happy with my responding to your email.

    With regard to your mother's 'advanced care directive - end of life plan', the way I understand Parajika 3 (a defeat offence, entailing disrobing), is that it is not YOUR intention, but rather your MOTHER'S wishes, which you are simply communicating.

    However, the fact is, that at the final moment, it is the family that decides exactly WHEN it happens - today, tomorrow, next week? And this could possibly mean that someone's life could be saved. So I have read the fine print of Parajika 3, regarding this. It appears that it still not a parajika - because if a monk 'discontinues treatment that might conceivably extend the patient's life, it does not fulfill the factor of 'effort', for such acts do not cut off the life faculty. At most it simply allows it to end on its own.' (From the Buddhist Monastic Code).

    Perhaps you can also discuss this with the senior monks at the monastery you want to ordain at. This is my understanding.

    Also I feel that it is important that you have sincerely discuss this with your mum and sister. Then you will have a clear understanding of how she feels and she also understands your concerns, especially if you may be a monk at that time. Also review later - her decision might have changed with changing circumstances.

    Wishing you all the best in your monastic career!

    With metta,
    Ven Upekkha


    • #3
      Hi Venerable Upekkha,

      Thank you so much for both your reply and your well-wishes

      Your response will certainly aid my decision and I'll definitely discuss this further with my mum and sister.

      I hope you are well!

      With metta,




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