The controversy over physician-assisted suicide has popped up again—this time in Canada where the Canadian Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling “establishing that the ‘sanctity of life’ also includes the ‘passage into death’”—effectively legalizing the practice. Read more…
In addition, the California State Senate Judiciary Committee has passed SB 128, “End of Life Option Act.” The Ventura County Star reported that the bill “seems likely to be passed by the Senate in early June. For the first time, there appears to be a realistic chance that an aid-in-dying bill will advance to the governor’s desk.” Read more…
The piece in the Star also noted that “as advocates [for physician-assisted suicide] have become more energized, some traditional sources of opposition have been muted.”
“Traditional sources of opposition” include, of course, the Catholic Church.
In The Art of Living & Dying, Osho teaches that “God is not really the center of religious inquiry, death is.” When I first read these words, they startled and challenged me. As a practicing Catholic, I know that my church teaches that the euthanasia movement is wrong-headed and immoral. And yet I very much appreciate what I take to be Osho’s stance—which cares nothing for the moral arguments on either side and everything for the attitude we have toward our lives and our mortality. You might even say—it’s the quality of our being that determines the morality of our death.
In North America, we seem to never tire of making every issue into something black and white, with good guys in all white and bad guys in all black. By contrast, Osho teaches us to trust our disbelief. By that, I believe he means that life itself is our great Teacher—and death is a natural part of life.
The goal of organizations like Osho Sammasati is to assist all people—those in health and those in the process of dying—to live more consciously; to live “one breath at a time.” It is unclear to me whether living consciously allows for a morphine drip during Hospice care or for physician-assisted suicide. This is a different, and perhaps more important question than whether a democratic, pluralistic society should prosecute those who administer these drugs.
We would love to hear your thoughts on this.
By John Tintera, New York City, April 2015