Related to this thought provoking clip, here some reflections about costly medical treatments and therapies for laity and monastics alike:
While leaving aside the efficacy of a particular Western vs. traditional treatment itself, I wonder about the utility of spending a family’s (or a monastery’s) accumulative savings (and more) on extending a person’s life, just that he/she can live a few months longer; or a meagre one or two more years.
From a Buddhist perspective, what is the problem with dying in grace and moving on to another birth with a fresh and healthy body (rūpakkhandha)? In this light, death is the cheapest and most effective treatment for all diseases.
Needless to say, I am not recommending suicide, but a mature and accepting attitude to the final stage of life, without grasping at fantasies of miracle cures, regardless whether they are coming from traditional or Western medicine.
I agree with the doctor’s advice for living a healthy life, which will safe a lot of money later on, which I recently highlighted to the monks at SBS during my uposatha talk on the topic on “A monk’s healthy attitude towards food”. Eating healthy food not only supports one’s Dhamma and meditation practice, but also makes one easy to support in old age, and prevents one from prematurely becoming a burden to the Saṅgha and laity alike.
Among monastics, this is often overlooked under considerations of asceticism or making oneself easy to support, which of course are also important points to consider; but not the only thing to take into account.
As so often in life, it’s a matter of finding the right balance between extremes.