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The Invisible Truth: Euthanasia

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Sunday, February 05, 2006



This blog is a little more personal than most of my previous ones, but I will try to link it to current political issues as well. My partner's cat, Lily, has shared his life for nineteen years, and mine for a year and a half. She is a very sweet tempered tabby, who often seeks to be beside us. She has her own chair, and she often sits with us during dinner. One night, he was at a party and a friend of his brought him the cat as he was leaving and told him that it was being abused. He took her home, and Lily found a loving home.

Yesterday, she had 4 incidences of diarrhea and 3 of vomiting. She is loosing weight and looking increasingly frail and fragile; she gets comfortable with difficulty. We are considering the difficult possibility of euthanasia. I bring this up because I support euthanasia in both pets and humans. Sometimes pain and chronic discomfort is too much of a cross to bear for the afflicted, and it hurts loved ones to watch the steady decline. Life is not a value in itself; it must be accompanied by a modicum of pleasure, happiness, and comfort. The erosion of these things and the ascendancy of agony and trouble leach the dignity from life.

I sympathize with the buddhist's mission to eliminate suffering from life. The interconnectedness of phenomena means that the enlightened person cannot enter Nirvana for the simple reason that it is a selfish act to leave behind the unenlightened in the province of suffering. You cannot become enlightened without shedding your attachment to the self, such that the self-interest necessarily accompanying the act of choosing to enter Nirvana disqualifies you from enlightenment. Therefore, the bodhisattva, or enlightened one, chooses to remain outside of Nirvana to help others achieve enlightenment. In other words, no individual can enter Nirvana in good faith until we all can.

Lily has been an angel in our lives, and I wish her well whatever happens to her after she leaves us.

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