David Thomas on Buddhism and Looking Death Straight in the Eye (part 1)

David needs a new lung!

 “I stopped breathing for awhile.
But it’s OK, I started again.”

It’s difficult to believe David’s talking about himself here ~ he’s looking at you with that cheeky grin… is he joking?
Sadly no, with a fraction of normal lung capacity, breathing has become increasingly problematic for David.
But listening to him is a humbling and positive experience.
He’s a genuinely decent person, and my discussion partner in scripture class.
I’ll truly miss him if he doesn’t get a new lung soon.

 .¸☽

David Thomas

¸   . • 

David has pulmonary fibrosis

“Which means my lungs are packing up.
I’m increasingly unable to process oxygen.”
He’s got this nifty little rucksack for carrying a mini oxygen tank, which he uses on trips out. Like a travel bag which gives him that much needed air to breathe.
“My only hope of survival is a lung transplant.
But shortage of donors means that 3 people die each day waiting for a donor. 
The NHS Organ Donor Register needs more people to sign up.
Most people are into it, but…”
David feels this is terribly sad.
“It causes huge unnecessary suffering of patients and their  family.”
David’s outlook is scientifically quite bleak. He was diagnosed 21 months ago.
“I lasted longer than expected, but it’s an unpredictable condition. I’ll be happy to last another few months.”

If it was me we were talking about, it’d have to be from under the duvet where I was hiding. But David’s surprisingly positive and cheerful.
I ask him why.

“We normally live our lives against a background of fear. So many things in our lives frighten us. People avoid thinking about death, but a lucky few of us are forced to face and acknowledge it. The conclusion you have to come to is “is that it?!
Our big unspoken fear – the bogeyman – just vanishes.”

* •.  

See also David on Buddhism and Looking Death Straight in the Eye (part 2)  –
Interview with the Bristol Evening Post, looks at how Dharma has enabled David to be that brave.
Also Beauty is to be Found in the Moment  – images.

Bio
David Thomas was a national newspaper editor and journalist. He’s now a semi retired director of a media company.
Married with 3 kids and a fat chocolate labrador.
Organ Donation
Click here for more details on the  NHS Organ Donor Register
Or you can just sign online here.
Please share this! let others know, use the share buttons below ⤵ 
Send prayers and loving energy to David

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Luna Kadampa
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 01:10:26

    Wow. What a quote: “We normally live our lives against a background of fear. So many things in our lives frighten us. People avoid thinking about death, but a lucky few of us are forced to face and acknowledge it. The conclusion you have to come to is “is that it?!“ Thank you David.

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  2. Jas Baku
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 05:12:21

    via Facebook:
    Amitabha Buddhist Centre – Please make prayers for a kind Bristol Bodhisattva to have good health.
    CHERYL B – (♥) Tayatha Om Bekhadze Bekhadze Randzaya Samugate Soha…….
    Om Mani Padme Hum…….
    JUDY A – He is a decent chap, isn’t he.
    CHERYL J – He’s a bright star

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  3. Trackback: David Thomas on Buddhism and Looking Death Straight in the Eye (part 2) « Cosmic Loti
  4. Jinxy
    Oct 03, 2012 @ 09:03:24

    What’s the Buddhist view on organ donation?

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    • Jas Baku
      Oct 03, 2012 @ 11:10:21

      Good question. I’d like to do an article on the NKT’s and Triratna’s take on it one day, (as with most things, all the Buddhist schools seem to be a bit different.)
      It’s individual choice. Basically though, giving organs means the gift of life, or an improvement in the quality of someone’s life.
      That is such an amazing gift and it’s not like the organs are going to be needed by the previous owner anymore.
      If however we have reached a level of concentration such that we can direct the mind towards a fortunate rebirth; then we’re not going to want our body disturbed as soon as it’s medically dead. This can happen a lot sooner than actual death, as defined in Buddhism, especially for a trained practitioner. Medical staff have to act pretty quickly if any of our major organs were to be donated as well. so there’s a lot to consider.

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