To opt out of organ donation or not?

We know that the moment before death is extremely crucial in determining the realm that we go to in our next life. For me personally, given my lack of 修行, it is almost inevitable that I will experience excruciating pain which thus lends itself to extreme anger if someone were to cut me up when my consciousness still resides in my body. This thus means that if I were to agree to organ donation, I will most likely go to the miserable realms in my next life as a result of the intense anger that would arise in me before my consciousness leaves my body. No doubt organ donation is a noble act, I am not sagely enough to accomplish it with the confidence that my mind will be peaceful and calm and my thoughts will be completely virtuous when someone cuts me up. Thus, it will be better to opt out. For the worry on ‘dying young because of not receiving an organ donation once you opt out of the scheme’, my personal opinion is that a life led well but short is better than a long-lived life led badly. If one has been engaging in virtues throughout the short lifespan that one has lived, he/she will not fear death. On the contrary, one who has been living a long life engaging in non-virtues has every reason to fear death. Thus, to allay the fear of dying, cherish your days as a human being to engage in virtues and avoid non-virtues. Also, instead of worrying that you may one day fall intensely ill and require an organ transplant, take better care of your health and engage in life liberation (放生) to plant the right causes of good health and longevity :slight_smile:


When we can’t decide on what to do, we can list out the pros and cons of each option. To opt out of organ donation means there is no pain from the removal of organs, thus you can avoid the fear of dropping to lower realms due to pain from removal of organs. HOWEVER, there might be pain from other sources eg from medical personnel or when there is contact with your body. So unless your body is left untouched for at least a few days, it seems you can’t avoid physical contact.
To go for organ donation means there is going to be pain when the organs are removed, so if you can’t avoid the pain, then it means you will drop to lower realms. HOWEVER, with the kindness of the donation of the organ, maybe your stay in the lower realms could be shorter or maybe not so much lower in the lower realms.
Basically both your options has something in common, which all of us have in common too – the fear of suffering. There is fear that after death, you will drop to the lower realms when your anger arises from the pain of removing your organs, and then there is fear that before death you don’t get an organ. This is actually no longer about donating your organs anymore but finding the solution to overcome the fear of suffering, which is what the Buddha awakened to after sitting in meditation under the Bodhi tree – the 4 Noble Truths. Perhaps a further understanding along the lines of these 4 truths can help you seek your answer further.

1 Like

If you have second doubts about donating your organs now, it means you are not ready for such a choice, so you should feel free to opt out. As for in the future whether you will need an organ donation yourself, you won’t know for sure so why worry now? Who knows, one day you might be ready to donate everything in the future?

1 Like

When a normal person die , the soul or karmic energy is in a state of suffering if we going to touch them ! A minimum of 8 to 12 hours is needed before touching or moving the body . For those who is confident that Amithaba will bring you to Pureland is ok to donate. Because there is three types of swift departing of the body .

  1. hell
  2. heaven
  3. Pureland

It is a personal choice. How ready or prepared are you to donate your organs? If you are not ready to do so, you should opt out of organ donation till you are ready for it.

this is a very complicated and personal question. as for me, i am still not ready to make any decision and will have to continue to study Lamrim and spend more time to consider once i have sufficient knowledge on this matter.

Sharing Master Sheng Yen’s discourse - quite relevant (comes with English subtitles)

In this video, in relation to donating one’s organs, Master Sheng Yen addresses a belief of Buddhists that after a person dies, it is best not to touch the body for 8 to 12 hours to avoid adding to their suffering.

Master Ri-Chang commented on this topic in his Lamrim Commentary Track 113a


反过来,如果我们不懂得道理,判断别人是错;反过来我们自己说:“哎哟,我们现 (p15) 在也要学菩萨行了。”那么这个时候,也要衡量衡量自己。如果说没有达到足够的量,那个时候啊,你不实际上的行动,对的!反过来,你如果说,自己心里拿这个做为藉口,而实际上,根本没有修这个舍心,只是说:欸,菩萨嘛主要的修那个心里的意乐,我心可舍啦!而那个时候啊,实际上东西舍不得,乃至于根本没有修这个心,那就错啦!这个辨得非常清楚、非常清楚。所以本论从开头到现在,一直下去,一直说,到那个时候你只要观察自心哪,非常清楚。更说,假定你听懂了这个道理,不在实际的行相上去努力的话,那都是空话,没有意思。