Home » Excerpts » Does Cutting Out The Organs Disturb The Mind?

Helping our loved ones at the time of death is the best service we can offer them, our greatest gift. Why? Because death is the most important time of life: it’s at death that the next rebirth is determined.

— Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Some people decide to offer their organs to others after they have died. Does this disturb the mind? It seems that when the person is considered brain-dead, the doctors keep the body breathing artificially, and they continue to keep the body breathing when they actually cut the organs.

I question this. The brain may no longer be functioning, but if the person has the karma to breathe, even if artificially, this means they have the karma to be alive, which means the mind — the subtle consciousness – is still there… [E]ven when the breath has stopped and someone has been declared brain-dead, people have been known to come back to life. This means that the usual definition of death is wrong.

How To Face Death Without Fear:
A Handbook By Lama Zopa Rinpoche
(Compiled and Edited by Robina Courtin)

[Note: Due to lifelong habitual attachment to the body, the average donor’s consciousness is likely to remain within the body for some time, during which there will be cutting of the body for removing of organs, thus naturally experiencing pain magnified by nine times, with possibly corresponding magnified fear and anger, which might obstruct the ability to practise the Dharma well, and even lead to an unfortunate rebirth.

Regret for an act of generosity destroys any positive karma created from it, while giving rise to the defilements above creates negative karma. Also, dissolution of the elements when dying might already be very disturbing. Thus, even those not easily irritated might become agitated when dying or just deceased.]

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