Last updated on: 12/1/2009 | Author:

Dhammavihari Biography

Director of the International Buddhist Research and Information Center (Sri Lanka)
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"

“Here alone [with legalized voluntary euthanasia] the patient claims full responsibility for the termination of his life. It is equally well ascertained that the patient does it with a full awareness of what he is doing. As far as basic Buddhist teachings of the Theravada are concerned this has to be viewed as an error of judgement. This is certainly in violation of the pledge by every Buddhist to abstain from destruction of life…

At the level of the full-fledged monk, considerations regarding destruction of human life, whether one’s own or that of another, acquire legal status with the necessary provision for prosecution and punishment. It involves a disciplinary rule of the highest grade [Pàràjikà No.3], requiring total expulsion from monastic life. In the case of voluntary euthanasia, legalized or otherwise, the doctor’s share lies only in setting up the involuntary process of execution of getting the lethal dose into the patient’s body at his request. In compliance with a patient’s request, the doctor is only ‘aiding and abetting’ a patient who, for whatever reason, chooses to terminate his life. As far as a monk is concerned, this is as serious an offense as murder or man slaughter.”

“Euthanasia: A Study in Relation to Original Theravada Buddhist Thinking,” Y2000 Global Conference on Buddhism: In the Face of the Third Millennium, Oct. 20, 1996

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Director, International Buddhist Research and Information Center (Sri Lanka)
  • Former Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopaedia of Buddhism
  • Former Director, Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddist Studies
  • Former teacher, Graduate School, University of Kelaniya
  • Former teacher, Graduate School, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
  • Professor of Buddhist Studies, University of Toronto, 1969-1972
  • Taught Buddhism and Pali at Colombo University and Peradeniya University, 1946-1969
  • None found
  • Also known as Jotiya Dhirasekaera
  • Ordained as a member of the Buddhist Sangha, May 18, 1990