0 votes
by (260 points)
I recently came across a discussion amongst Christians that said that Buddhism (and Jainism) are actually not as compassionate as they make out to be. The main writer, a Christian scholar with considerable familiarity with "Dharmic religions" (his term), said that Buddhists, when confronted with a person or animal in the last stages of agony, one that cannot be saved, must in the end simply walk away, doing nothing to relieve the person's, or animal's, suffering.

How do we respond to this without sounding terribly callous? Thank you for any help!

2 Answers

+2 votes
by (17.6k points)
Wishing to relieve others' suffering is called Karuna(compassion). But compassion is not the only wholesome mind state. There are may others. Ex: Upekkha(equanimity), Panna(wisdom). Buddhists cultivate all wholesome mental qualities, not just one.

When a person's compassion is not directed by wisdom, it can easily turn into it's near enemy: sadness/disliking. Such a person may think to take a life based on that deceptive aversion appearing as compassion. Killing an animal does not guarantee that it's next life would be less painful. Ex: if it's next moment is in one of the great hells, the suffering would be even worse. If one wishes to alleviate the pain, one can comfort the animal with food, water, medicine etc. or give painkillers without breaking the first precept.
by (260 points)
This helps very much, Sankha. Thank you!
by (17.6k points)
You're welcome!
0 votes
ago by (1.6k points)
In case of Euthanasia, stopping artificial life support is not so bad. But in other cases when you yourself decide ( for example your pet suffering from diesease) to kill , that is not permissible anyhow...
ago by (260 points)
Thank you for your added input, Ratul Roy!
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