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Into the Jaws of Yama, Lord of Death: Buddhism, Bioethics, and Death (review)

Into the Jaws of Yama, Lord of Death: Buddhism, Bioethics, and Death (review) BOOK REVIEWS INTO THE JAWS OF YAMA, LORD OF DEATH: BUDDHISM, BIOETHICS, AND DEATH. By Karma Lekshe Tsomo. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006. Pp. 270. An anecdote recounted in this work gives an insight into the present state of Buddhist bioethics. The author relates how she asked the spiritual director of a Tibetan centre in Honolulu whether he thought it was a good idea to donate one's organs at the time of death. He immediately replied in the affirmative. When asked if the removal of the organs would disturb the dying process, he responded that it would be okay since the doctors could "wait for a few days." On being informed that the organs had to be removed immediately to save the life of the recipient he "expressed alarm" and changed his mind, advising that for an ordinary Buddhist practitioner organ donation might not be advisable after all (p. 160). The fact that Tibetan lamas are giving ethical advice on organ donation without even a layman's knowledge of the medical procedures involved suggests that Buddhist teachers have a lot to learn about adapting traditional teachings to modern contexts. If the problem were simply that many http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Buddhist-Christian Studies University of Hawai'I Press

Into the Jaws of Yama, Lord of Death: Buddhism, Bioethics, and Death (review)

Buddhist-Christian Studies , Volume 28 (1) – Nov 14, 2008

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 University of Hawai'i Press
ISSN
1527-9472
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Abstract

BOOK REVIEWS INTO THE JAWS OF YAMA, LORD OF DEATH: BUDDHISM, BIOETHICS, AND DEATH. By Karma Lekshe Tsomo. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006. Pp. 270. An anecdote recounted in this work gives an insight into the present state of Buddhist bioethics. The author relates how she asked the spiritual director of a Tibetan centre in Honolulu whether he thought it was a good idea to donate one's organs at the time of death. He immediately replied in the affirmative. When asked if the removal of the organs would disturb the dying process, he responded that it would be okay since the doctors could "wait for a few days." On being informed that the organs had to be removed immediately to save the life of the recipient he "expressed alarm" and changed his mind, advising that for an ordinary Buddhist practitioner organ donation might not be advisable after all (p. 160). The fact that Tibetan lamas are giving ethical advice on organ donation without even a layman's knowledge of the medical procedures involved suggests that Buddhist teachers have a lot to learn about adapting traditional teachings to modern contexts. If the problem were simply that many

Journal

Buddhist-Christian StudiesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Nov 14, 2008

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