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A Mosaic of Traditions - One Virtual Sangha => The Dharma Express => Topic started by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 03:54:28 pm

Title: suicide
Post by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 03:54:28 pm
I was recently involved in a discussion about suicide and wanted to get some other view points. There are times when (IMO) suicide is Karmically skilled like when the Vietnamese monks self immolated in protest of the war. But what happens when a person commits suicide to escape suffering ? Do they simply defer the karmic cost they could have paid by continuing the suffering or do they acquire new karmic debt by the killing ?

Personal opinions are certainly welcome but please note whether your input is based on personal experience or if its based on a text or teaching.

Thanks
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: ground on June 19, 2013, 07:17:12 pm
... There are times when (IMO) suicide is Karmically skilled like when the Vietnamese monks self immolated in protest of the war.
Nonsense. What should be skillled as to self immolation due to not being able to stand perception of war?

But what happens when a person commits suicide to escape suffering ?
May be the end of suffering. May be not. Who knows?


Personal opinions are certainly welcome but please note whether your input is based on personal experience or if its based on a text or teaching
No experience with suicide so far.  :fu:
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: former monk john on June 19, 2013, 07:21:51 pm
My impression is that suicide makes things worse in the future life, as instead of resolveing your problems in this life you've put them off till another life.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 07:27:52 pm
Very enlightening Ground, thank you for expanding the conversation.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: Optimus Prime on June 19, 2013, 07:29:13 pm
Consider the mind state of a person when they are just about to fall asleep:
- If they fall asleep with an unwholesome mind state - they will likely have an unfitful sleep and bad dreams
- If they fall asleep with a wholesome mind state - they will likely have a fitful sleep and good dreams

Now consider the mind state of a person just about to commit suicide - is it wholesome or unwholesome?  If there is a next life, then similar principles may apply to how wholesome or unwholesome their next life will be.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: Optimus Prime on June 19, 2013, 07:32:04 pm
I refer you to my post in the other suicide thread where Ajahn Amaro talks about how suicide is not painless - it's quite detailed:
http://www.freesangha.com/forums/beginner%27s-buddhism/assisted-suicide/ (http://www.freesangha.com/forums/beginner%27s-buddhism/assisted-suicide/)
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 07:41:06 pm
Thank you optimus. That looks like an informative post.

Ground , please go away.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: ground on June 19, 2013, 07:51:00 pm
Ground , please go away.
tomaquar, please practice. To want someone away is the first step in direction of killing.

The truth expressed in latest post about the suttapitaka and suicide has been deleted by "big brother" anyway. So you can be sure that only agreeable and edifying posts survive. Others are killed (since posts don't commit suicide) :fu:
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: BlueSky on June 19, 2013, 08:00:33 pm
There is an evidence from the sutra, that killing your own self will not give a problem as long as you have reached minimum arhat state, because once you reach that state, you are already beyond birth and death.

The Pali sutra for this is in the case of Godhika. Another one is Channa.

When we truly experience the unborn and undeath, suicide is actually not a valid word anymore.

This is also the case for high bodhisattvas who has completed the realization of emptiness and bodhicitta. If they give their body to the tiger for example to save that dying tiger, and the tiger eat him, he will dead. And will you say he is doing suicide?

One is killed by knife purposely. One is killed by tiger purposely. So, it is more or less same. You lead yourself being killed.

But, there is a difference in term of effect whether when you do it you have realize no birth, no death.

For those who just ordinary beings, suicide is very harmful for them because they destroy their chance to train. As it is very rare to find this opportunity anymore.

Title: Re: suicide
Post by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 08:08:03 pm
Thank you Blue Sky, I had not considered the loss of opportunity to practice dharma .
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: Monkey Mind on June 19, 2013, 08:09:02 pm
Thank you, BlueSky, for the academic diligence that was missing in the previous [now deleted] post. I think for the purposes of this discussion, we have to admit that the two sutta references to arahants who committed suicide are 1) substantially different than people who have not achieved arahantship; 2) discrepant from the many sutta references that suicide is unwholesome with serious kammic consequences.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 08:11:29 pm
Monkey mind, is it your opinion that suicide  generates detrimental karma ?
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: ground on June 19, 2013, 08:12:54 pm
...that the two sutta references to arahants who committed suicide are 1) substantially different than people who have not achieved arahantship; 2) discrepant from the many sutta references that suicide is unwholesome with serious kammic consequences.
It is said that they achieved arhatship upon committing suicide. It is not said that they first have achieved arhatship some time before and then commit suicide.

But why would a never returner commit suicide due to illness?

 :fu:
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: BlueSky on June 19, 2013, 08:17:29 pm
...that the two sutta references to arahants who committed suicide are 1) substantially different than people who have not achieved arahantship; 2) discrepant from the many sutta references that suicide is unwholesome with serious kammic consequences.
It is said that they achieved arhatship upon committing suicide. It is not said that they first have achieved arhatship some time before and then commit suicide.
 :fu:

That is impossible.

You cannot reach arhat by killing yourself.

You must realize the unborn first. Because if not, your fear of losing your self, will become the main source for your attachment, and this is the main reason you will have the astral body in the body, where this astral body form due to the power of your mind. On that basis, that astral body will become your basis for I, and you will surely go to the next rebirth.

Only unless, within a split second you can realize unborn in that bardo, rebirth cycle is impossible.

And for those who do not realize unborn BY EXPERIENCE during their life time, that chance is practically impossible.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: ground on June 19, 2013, 08:20:07 pm
...that the two sutta references to arahants who committed suicide are 1) substantially different than people who have not achieved arahantship; 2) discrepant from the many sutta references that suicide is unwholesome with serious kammic consequences.
It is said that they achieved arhatship upon committing suicide. It is not said that they first have achieved arhatship some time before and then commit suicide.
 :fu:

That is impossible.

You cannot reach arhat by killing yourself.
It was reference to sutta, not reference to ideas "you" or "I".  :fu:
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 08:20:34 pm
Blue sky, may I ask which form of Buddhism you practice ?
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: BlueSky on June 19, 2013, 08:20:57 pm
Thank you, BlueSky, for the academic diligence that was missing in the previous post. I think for the purposes of this discussion, we have to admit that the two sutta references to arahants who committed suicide are 1) substantially different than people who have not achieved arahantship; 2) discrepant from the many sutta references that suicide is unwholesome with serious kammic consequences.

Yes, we have to separate the case.

Because for arhat and ordinary beings, it is completely different story.

It is like if you are willing to give your kidney, after your kidney is given, you won't feel any issue.

But, if your kidney is stolen, and you don't want to give it, you will feel extreme anguish.

Same thing, same event, no kidney, but your realization turn the whole table upside down.

Realization of unborn turn the whole perspective of suicide upside down.

So, we cannot generalize the case.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: BlueSky on June 19, 2013, 08:22:32 pm
...that the two sutta references to arahants who committed suicide are 1) substantially different than people who have not achieved arahantship; 2) discrepant from the many sutta references that suicide is unwholesome with serious kammic consequences.
It is said that they achieved arhatship upon committing suicide. It is not said that they first have achieved arhatship some time before and then commit suicide.
 :fu:

That is impossible.

You cannot reach arhat by killing yourself.
It was reference to sutta, not reference to ideas "you" or "I".  :fu:

THen you shall be able to show that sutta to the public.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: BlueSky on June 19, 2013, 08:23:54 pm
Blue sky, may I ask which form of Buddhism you practice ?

I follow all.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: Optimus Prime on June 19, 2013, 08:24:05 pm
In the The Brahma Net Sutra, which outlines the precepts that Bodhisattvas follow, the Buddha is extremely clear that we should not get involved in the causes, conditions, methods or karma of killing.  It goes through a list, one by one of types of killing that we shouldn't be doing.

This is the first Major precept of Bodhisattvas - so it is the most important one.  Notice, it is extremely clear that we should be discouraging others to kill.  We should NOT be praising killing either.  We shouldn't even be rejoicing at watching killing happening.  Instead, we should be trying to rescue and protect life.

Quote
1. First Major Precept On Killing

A disciple of the Buddha shall not himself kill, encourage others to kill, kill by expedient means, praise killing, rejoice at witnessing killing, or kill through incantation or deviant mantras. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of killing, and shall not intentionally kill any living creature.

As a Buddha's disciple, he ought to nurture a mind of compassion and filial piety, always devising expedient means to rescue and protect all beings. If instead, he fails to restrain himself and kills sentient beings without mercy, he commits a Parajika (major) offense.

Source:  [url]http://www2.fodian.net/world/1484.html[/url] ([url]http://www2.fodian.net/world/1484.html[/url])


So these are the precepts, the standards that enlightened beings hold themselves accountable towards.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 08:25:35 pm
I ask because I was wondering how the term Bardo is seen in other systems. I have only seen it in Tibetan teaching.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: ground on June 19, 2013, 08:28:07 pm
SN 22.87

But be warned. Most Thervada sites have this sutta censored. Best you take Bikkhu Bodhi's translation of SN.  :fu:

Other example is SN4.23  :fu:

Title: Re: suicide
Post by: BlueSky on June 19, 2013, 08:31:53 pm
I ask because I was wondering how the term Bardo is seen in other systems. I have only seen it in Tibetan teaching.

This term is seen anywhere actually, only it is not obvious.

The meaning of bardo is a period between two event.

This life cycle can be divided into 6 periods:
The period of life
The period of sleep
THe period of meditation
THe period of the time approaching death.
The period of the time after death.
The period of the time approaching rebirth.

In Theravada, the main emphasize is in the period of life, sleep, and meditation.

But for the period approaching death, after death, and approacing rebirth, the explanation is very very minimum. And from my knowledge, there is no method how to reach enlightenment during these 3 last periods.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 08:41:41 pm
Blue sky, are you familiar with Tulku Thondup ? I believe he suggests that in the Bardo one can achieve enlightenment if they are able to keep their mind stable during the turmoil.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: BlueSky on June 19, 2013, 08:42:34 pm
SN 22.87

But be warned. Most Thervada sites have this sutta censored. Best you take Bikkhu Bodhi's translation of SN.  :fu:

Other example is SN4.23  :fu:

THat Sn 22.87 doesn't show any statement of you kill yourself, and after killing you realize arhat. Same with 4.23.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: BlueSky on June 19, 2013, 08:48:54 pm
Blue sky, are you familiar with Tulku Thondup ? I believe he suggests that in the Bardo one can achieve enlightenment if they are able to keep their mind stable during the turmoil.

I am not familiar with him, but the teaching is very common within Vajrayana.

During this life, even you realize unborn, you still have this body that cage you. But, in bardo of death, everything is immaterial. And if you can stay at that nonduality, everything is instaneous, within a split second.

Just like it is said that now if you think about paris, you must take flight. Your mind doesn't need flight to reach Paris, but your body needs.

Same thing in the bardo of death, if your mind think about paris, you will be instaneously there. You don't need an aeroplane anymore, because you don't have that material body anymore.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: Monkey Mind on June 19, 2013, 09:47:28 pm
I want to talk about ethics for a moment. FreeSangha is a forum for discussion about Buddhism; many of our visitors are beginners.
1) For monks and nuns, if they encourage someone to commit suicide, this is an offense against their code of ethics that can result in being banned from the monastic Sangha.
2) Searching within the Pali tradition, within a few minutes I found over two dozen suttas that spoke out against suicide. I am not as experienced with searches in other traditions, but searching Chinese sutras I had a similar outcome.
----------------------------------------------------
3) Two sutta references about Godhika and Channa do not seem to apply to this discussion, because they were arahants. Scholars have debated the meaning of these suttas for centuries, I don't think anyone with a popcorn understanding of Buddhism is prepared to take on the task of understanding these references.
4) I personally lack adequate training to understand the Vietnamese monks who engaged in self-immolation. However, I do know this: if you watch the videos of those acts (and I strongly discourage anyone from doing that), the monks do not even flinch while their bodies are burning. I cannot imagine the level of samadhi required to face such intense pain without reaction. So again, I do not think those actions apply to this discussion, I doubt many people on the Earth today are capable of such a feat.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 10:12:01 pm
Thanks for the input Monkey mind. I was originally wondering whether suicide makes new detrimental karma of if avoiding current suffering just pushes the karmic debt into the next incarnation. The comment about suicide wasting practice opportunity makes sense. It seems like wasting practice time would make it more difficult to find another practice opportunity.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: Optimus Prime on June 19, 2013, 10:29:49 pm
I was originally wondering whether suicide makes new detrimental karma of if avoiding current suffering just pushes the karmic debt into the next incarnation.
Yes and yes.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: former monk john on June 19, 2013, 10:35:47 pm
I hope to "god" you're not thinking about suicide and if you are get some professional help, Are you suffering from depression or is this just a rhetorical question??
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 10:48:03 pm
Thank you for the concern John but it is purely rhetorical. Someone had said "suicide is always a 'sin'". I said I thought there were exceptions like the monks I mentioned. I was looking for a text that might speak to the topic. The Shantideva/tiger thing is way to dense.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: former monk john on June 19, 2013, 11:13:22 pm
That's a relief, we don't want to do anything to encourage suicide, or fail to help someone contemplating suicide.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: tomaquar on June 19, 2013, 11:19:37 pm
Sorry for any confusion. Based on your reply and Monkey mind's Im guessing there is some history of discussions I didn't know about.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: former monk john on June 19, 2013, 11:45:58 pm
Well its been my experience that a good percent of the time when someone brings up the topic of suicide, they are at least vaguely considering it, so I wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing, monkey mind too, I'm sure.

I have manic depressive illness that for many sufferers can lead to thoughts of suicide, attempts and even death, its the most horrible result of my illness, fortunately I'm part of almost a minority that are not plagued by those thoughts, and I consider myself blessed that I've never attempted suicide and only considered it briefly in my youth, when my illness was much worse.

Consider if a delusional person who thought they were an arahat came on to this forum and asked the same question, they could actually be dead by now, this is not the sort of topic to joke around about, and bring up obsure, almost unreal, practically unexplainable situations from scripture.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: pudgala2 on June 29, 2013, 12:16:47 pm
First it was Zen or suicide
Then it was Zen and suicide
Finally it was Zen is suicide
Cutting off the suffering self

N(http://i1138.photobucket.com/albums/n530/leo9lives/radiO.png)W—Zen—the end of time
Compassion

    (http://i1138.photobucket.com/albums/n530/leo9lives/tinyface.png) 
pudgala2
 
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: namumahaparinirvanasvaha on June 29, 2013, 01:13:46 pm
Well its been my experience that a good percent of the time when someone brings up the topic of suicide, they are at least vaguely considering it, so I wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing, monkey mind too, I'm sure.

I have manic depressive illness that for many sufferers can lead to thoughts of suicide, attempts and even death, its the most horrible result of my illness, fortunately I'm part of almost a minority that are not plagued by those thoughts, and I consider myself blessed that I've never attempted suicide and only considered it briefly in my youth, when my illness was much worse.

Consider if a delusional person who thought they were an arahat came on to this forum and asked the same question, they could actually be dead by now, this is not the sort of topic to joke around about, and bring up obsure, almost unreal, practically unexplainable situations from scripture.

anytime you have any bad thoughts chant this mantra and focus on it .

     namu maha parinirvana svaha
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: ground on June 29, 2013, 08:37:49 pm
I want to talk about ethics for a moment.
That is good. However it raises the question why certain posts have been deleted if ethics is a topic of openminded discussion.

Specific suttas are being censored on buddhist websites. Let's regards this to be caused by fear that suttas may lead to conclusions detrimental for health and life, a fact which certainly is not according to preferred public image of religion but which cannot be neglected by openminded investigation.

3) Two sutta references about Godhika and Channa do not seem to apply to this discussion, because they were arahants. Scholars have debated the meaning of these suttas for centuries, I don't think anyone with a popcorn understanding of Buddhism is prepared to take on the task of understanding these references.
Neither Sn 22.87 nor SN 4.23 referred to above refer to persons named Godhika or Channa .

As to your "because they were arahants" in the context of persons Godhika and Channa:
If what is traditionallly said about arahants is true, why would an arhant commit suicide? Or is the idea "arahant" a completely exaggerated idea(l) as it is characteristic for religious idea(l)s? Just think of flying lamas in other buddhist traditions.


 :fu:
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: Hanzze on June 30, 2013, 03:14:04 am
I was recently involved in a discussion about suicide and wanted to get some other view points. There are times when (IMO) suicide is Karmically skilled like when the Vietnamese monks self immolated in protest of the war. But what happens when a person commits suicide to escape suffering ? Do they simply defer the karmic cost they could have paid by continuing the suffering or do they acquire new karmic debt by the killing ?

Personal opinions are certainly welcome but please note whether your input is based on personal experience or if its based on a text or teaching.

Thanks

Hopefully you are able to overcome your philosophical irritations. I just like to tell you that wise would not be expressed if you scarify your self. That is a significant sign of total delusion and outstanding selfishness.

Maybe you like to "Get the message (http://zugangzureinsicht.org/html/lib/authors/thanissaro/gettingmessage_en.html)"
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: daimond on June 30, 2013, 04:44:41 am
if you friend tried help them to stay a life regular people who think suiced are in weak or unstable phase, in worst condition there add in the stiuation some blast emotion from other who could made push trigger suiced.



Title: Re: suicide
Post by: Hanzze on June 30, 2013, 04:57:48 am
Sure and they will even say "...you are guilty that I am a fool!" or "you brought me to make my foolish selfish decision" or "Even it is silly I seek refuge in my stupid-ness" and as long as he get's some attention or maybe the hope that somebody would praise him later on, there are all door open for self-expressions in the hope that foolishness could be conquered by further foolishness.

Of cause such is only possible for believers in nihilism or materialism, since they believe that after on might be an end. Like the child quitting the school rather then to put some effort into learning and practicing.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: Transition on July 05, 2013, 03:03:30 pm
I am an administrator of a pro-life, suicide prevention forum, so I deal with these issues everyday...I think one has to take into account the state of someone's mind and the quality of the health care services available when making such judgments...the great majority of the members are in severe pain...if the pain could be relieved, I feel most would not contemplate such an action...I wish more practitioners would volunteer their time to assisting these members
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: Will on July 05, 2013, 03:31:18 pm
Thank you optimus. That looks like an informative post.

Ground , please go away.

On the lower right of every post is an Ignore button - very useful at times.

Peter Harvey has an entire chapter on suicide in his Introduction to Buddhist Ethics.  This is a snip from that chapter:

Quote
One of the three forms of craving is craving for annihilation (vibhava
tanha): to get rid of unpleasant situations. Where one’s whole life-situation
is perceived to be so unbearable that one says ‘no!’ to it, it may
culminate in suicide. However, as it is craving which impels one through
the round of rebirths, the state of mind which prompts suicide will be a
crucial cause of yet another rebirth, along with its problems. So as an
attempted escape from the sufferings of life, suicide is, according to
Buddhist principles, totally ineffective. It will only be followed by a
further rebirth, probably lower than a human one, in which the
sufferings will probably continue unabated – if due to karma – and
perhaps be intensified. As dying in an agitated state of mind is seen as
leading to a bad transition into the next life, suicide is seen as
likely to lead to a bad rebirth next time. In the Tibetan tradition, the consciousness
of one who commits suicide is seen as anguished and weighed
down with negative karma, so as to need rituals to aid it.

That craving for annihilation was taught by Buddha in his very first sutta.
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: Optimus Prime on July 05, 2013, 05:07:42 pm
Peter Harvey has an entire chapter on suicide in his Introduction to Buddhist Ethics.  This is a snip from that chapter:

Quote
One of the three forms of craving is craving for annihilation (vibhavatan
tanha): to get rid of unpleasant situations. Where one’s whole life-situation
is perceived to be so unbearable that one says ‘no!’ to it, it may
culminate in suicide. However, as it is craving which impels one through
the round of rebirths, the state of mind which prompts suicide will be a
crucial cause of yet another rebirth, along with its problems. So as an
attempted escape from the sufferings of life, suicide is, according to
Buddhist principles, totally ineffective. It will only be followed by a
further rebirth, probably lower than a human one, in which the
sufferings will probably continue unabated – if due to karma – and
perhaps be intensified. As dying in an agitated state of mind is seen as
leading to a bad transition into the next life, suicide is seen as
likely to lead to a bad rebirth next time. In the Tibetan tradition, the consciousness
of one who commits suicide is seen as anguished and weighed
down with negative karma, so as to need rituals to aid it.

That craving for annihilation was taught by Buddha in his very first sutta.

Excellent post, Skull.

In the 4 Noble Truths, the 2nd Noble Truth outlines that the cause of suffering is desire/craving, which can be divided into 3 types:
1.  Desire to get (bhava tanha) - usually trying to get more of pleasant things
2.  Desire to get rid of (vibhava tanha) - usually trying to get rid or get away from unpleasant things
3.  Desire for sense pleasure (kama tanha)
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: ground on July 06, 2013, 08:35:01 pm
I am an administrator of a pro-life, suicide prevention forum, ...
So you better advise people to stay away from the sutta pitaka.  :fu:
Title: Re: suicide
Post by: ground on June 24, 2017, 10:58:41 am
Don't you have a doctor you can attend in periods of emergency?
Maybe that wouldn't help because you wouldn't have the will to seek help. So from my outside perspective you should not live alone because there should be somone who at least ties you up in cases of emergency - physically or medically -  to prevent you from doing harm to yourself.
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