Author Topic: Suicide - Buddhism  (Read 4823 times)

ramelec

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Suicide - Buddhism
« on: February 04, 2016, 02:26:07 AM »
Something curious comes up:
- In Buddhism, suicide is a big no....
- but what about the cases of Buddhist monk sacrificing their life (Vietnam, Myanmar..)

I believe doing this is benefit for other beings..?

Matthew

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2016, 06:06:07 PM »
Hi ramelec,

A thorny question. The traditional reasons suicide is seen as a big no-no may relate to ideas of karma and rebirth. I'm agnostic about rebirth so have nothing to say about this. What I would say is that Buddhist/meditation practice is about seeing things as they really are - and suicide is usually about feeling trapped in a reality where there is no escape from one's perceived problems. I don't suspect it is the best resolution in most, if any, cases.

The reality the suicidal person feels trapped in is usually a trap of their own mind. For example, just in the last two years I took a friend slowly, step by step, from a state of being fully suicidal (trying more than once and talking of it, and only it, daily) to a place where he has developed his awareness of the way he created a trap in his own mind, took time out to unpick this trap and see things more clearly, dropped expectations of life and started living more in the present, and now is happy about his more simple life - without many of the former habits. He's back from two months in Thailand next week - first time travelling as an independent/backpacker at the age of 58 years young :)

Now you are talking about suicide by monks supposedly in a state of knowing that their suicide will be for the greater good ... well, this is also very difficult: unless that monk is fully enlightened he cannot know the Karma he will create by suiciding ... and if he is fully enlightened then he would surely find a more skilful means of achieving whatever goal there is or need to be filled, would he not?

Having said this, in a sense, if the stories are true, the Buddha effectively suicided: there were many attempts on his life yet his last meal was poisoned: he ate the food but forbade other monks from eating it. I do not know if that is true but it is one understanding.

I have seen many dark times in my life. Suicide has never looked like the right way forward. Chogyam Trungpa was asked, "do you think Jesus Christ was enlightened" ..... his reply, "I do not think it is very enlightened to get yourself killed".

Just some personal reflections.

Kindly,

Matthew
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ramelec

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2016, 09:04:49 AM »
In continuation of this topic, if someone you know has committed suicide, in Theravada Buddhism, the believe is they may be reborn in States of Deprivation (Apaya).
Is there a way to help them by doing dana / giving merit so that they are not continuously live in samsara?

Matthew

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2016, 09:19:48 AM »
Forget the beliefs and you will be more help.

Be in the present moment with people who are feeling suicidal, see them without judgement, hear them without making a story in your own mind: bear witness to the suffering and grief that drags them towards this ugly goal; and then, quite surely, your bearing witness, in and of itself, will be a help towards dissolving the conditioned state they are in.

This I know from personal experience.
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Quardamon

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2016, 11:36:34 AM »
Over the last two years, I grow more impressed with how little I know, and how little I understand. That is not because I understand less than two years ago, but because I see that there is very very little that I have any predictable effect on.
A complicating thing that I see, is that the things that one wishes for and the things that one can accomplish, change with one's frame of reference. I am a person that loves not to get caught up in one frame of reference. For instance, a brother of mine is with the Pentecostal Movement. That gives him a security, and it gives him friendships - good things that this frame of reference bring him. When a brother of us died recently, he had serious questions about where that brother would go - heaven or hell. In my view, that was a harsh thing that this frame of reference brought him. A few others form his parish came to the funeral to support him. I loved that. That is an elegant way of being together as humans. Being together as humans, also if being together seems so little compared to what is at stake.

Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2016, 01:46:25 PM »
If you can suicide as the happiest man in the world with absolutely no negativity in mind then I think its allowed in Buddhism. Problem desire to suicide n happiness don't exist simultaneously.

Laurent

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2016, 03:06:14 PM »
Hello,

The fact that some buddhists practice it does not mean that it is conform to the Path.
Beware all the "buddhist" practices and philosophy. There are lots of deviances.
Suicide is craving for becoming or non-becoming.

Frightful

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2016, 06:42:53 PM »
@Matthew: "....*see them without judgement*, hear them without making a story in your own mind: bear witness to the suffering and grief that drags them towards this ugly goal; and then, quite surely, your bearing witness, in and of itself, will be a help towards dissolving the conditioned state they are in." (asterisks added for emphasis)

That's an interesting insight on part of the root of suicidal ideation, Matthew, and one I think would be good to be better known.  In contemplating that approach, I was reminded of a passage from an author mentioned in the forum before, Dan Everett, from his book "Don't Sleep, There are Snakes", about his Christian missionary attempts to convert the Piraha natives of South America.  He recounts a story with perhaps some relevance to this thread:

"...I built up gradually the ability to translate parts of the bible, and I read to them my translation of part of the Gospel of John one night, and I gave them my testimony. And as you know — anybody who’s got the remotest connection with the Christian church — giving a testimony is supposed to be a powerful thing. You talk about how once I was blind and now I see, how I went from this very bad background to this very good person that I am today.

So I gave them my testimony and I told them about my stepmother committing suicide. When I got done telling them, they all burst out laughing, and I said, “What are you laughing about?” I was really hurt. “Why are you laughing?” They said, “We don’t kill ourselves. You people kill yourselves? What is this?”

I realized they don’t have a word for worry, they don’t have any concept of depression, they don’t have any schizophrenia or a lot of the mental health problems, and they treat people very well. If someone does have any sort of handicap, and the only ones I’m aware of are physical, they take very good care of them. When people get old, they feed them."

(from a transcript of a lecture:  https://ffrf.org/outreach/item/13492-the-pirahae-people-who-define-happiness-without-god  )

So maybe I'm wrong, but I think the Pirahan would be considered a people who generally "hear....without making a story in (their) own mind".

Middleway

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2016, 12:34:44 AM »
In continuation of this topic, if someone you know has committed suicide, in Theravada Buddhism, the believe is they may be reborn in States of Deprivation (Apaya).
Is there a way to help them by doing dana / giving merit so that they are not continuously live in sam sara?

Sure, you can try and help by doing dana/giving merit but there is no way you can verify that the individual in question benefited by your gesture. So, if you feel like it, you should go ahead and do it, but do so without any expectations. The dana will most likely will help someone else who may desperately need it. And that is a good thing.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Matthew

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2016, 05:46:20 PM »
Giving merit is mind training for your mind. It has no "at a distance" effect on the other. Same as Metta  practices. They are all mind trainings not magick-potions.
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Jay-Eye

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2016, 07:33:12 AM »
Chogyam Trungpa was asked, "do you think Jesus Christ was enlightened" ..... his reply, "I do not think it is very enlightened to get yourself killed".



I like that, Matthew.

Middleway

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2016, 01:04:43 PM »
Jesus did not get himself killed. He was arrested and likely crucified for rebelling against the state. Jesus showed compassion to those who tortured and eventually killed him.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Matthew

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2016, 03:11:37 PM »
Jesus did not get himself killed. He was arrested and likely crucified for rebelling against the state. Jesus showed compassion to those who tortured and eventually killed him.

I didn't say I agreed with Trungpa. There is evidence Jesus was a political rebel and betrayed by the Jewish elites. There is also evidence that his crucifixion was something of a fake, as he was of a Royal bloodline.
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Middleway

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2016, 01:25:19 AM »
Jesus did not get himself killed. He was arrested and likely crucified for rebelling against the state. Jesus showed compassion to those who tortured and eventually killed him.

I didn't say I agreed with Trungpa. There is evidence Jesus was a political rebel and betrayed by the Jewish elites. There is also evidence that his crucifixion was something of a fake, as he was of a Royal bloodline.
Not sure what he was trying to say. If Jesus were enlightened, would he have acted differently?
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Nicky

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2016, 02:05:51 AM »
Jesus did not get himself killed. He was arrested and likely crucified for rebelling against the state. Jesus showed compassion to those who tortured and eventually killed him.

The whole point of the Jesus story is he voluntarily sacrificed his life. In other words, he set the whole thing up himself.  :angel:

Nicky

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2016, 02:21:46 AM »
Having said this, in a sense, if the stories are true, the Buddha effectively suicided: there were many attempts on his life yet his last meal was poisoned: he ate the food but forbade other monks from eating it. I do not know if that is true but it is one understanding.

The Maha-parinibbana Sutta reports the Buddha was already on the way out & had relinquished his will to live prior to that meal. Therefore, there was no suicide because the Buddha was already using his supernormal mental power to keep himself alive. The Buddha extended his life rather than committed suicide.

Quote
Quote
28. But when the Blessed One had entered upon the rainy season, there arose in him a severe illness, and sharp and deadly pains came upon him. And the Blessed One endured them mindfully, clearly comprehending and unperturbed.

29. Then it occurred to the Blessed One: "It would not be fitting if I came to my final passing away without addressing those who attended on me, without taking leave of the community of bhikkhus. Then let me suppress this illness by strength of will, resolve to maintain the life process, and live on."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.16.1-6.vaji.html




Middleway

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2016, 03:40:44 PM »
Jesus did not get himself killed. He was arrested and likely crucified for rebelling against the state. Jesus showed compassion to those who tortured and eventually killed him.

The whole point of the Jesus story is he voluntarily sacrificed his life. In other words, he set the whole thing up himself.  :angel:

This Jesus story is the construct of organized religion. We will have a take it with a grain of salt.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Nicky

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2016, 05:16:25 AM »
This Jesus story is the construct of organized religion. We will have a take it with a grain of salt.

Which probably also applies to 'Jesus' the person, also.

Buddhism teaches: "He who sees the Dhamma sees the Buddha" thus 'Buddha' is not a person but a state of mind free from suffering.

......

mdr

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2016, 10:36:09 AM »
In contemplating that approach, I was reminded of a passage from an author mentioned in the forum before, Dan Everett, from his book "Don't Sleep, There are Snakes", about his Christian missionary attempts to convert the Piraha natives of South America.  He recounts a story with perhaps some relevance to this thread:
...
So maybe I'm wrong, but I think the Pirahan would be considered a people who generally "hear....without making a story in (their) own mind".

Frightful, we studied this material within the phd course in linguistics, it's too flawed as a research to be considered an evidence. He (Dan Everett) used this argument to oppose Chomsky and his 'universal grammar' theory ( ::)), but it doesn't seem to be valid. (This is not to say that Chomsky's in the right, he's not, his  research is if possible even more flawed than Everette's  ::)
« Last Edit: August 13, 2016, 10:56:07 AM by mdr »

mdr

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2016, 10:41:42 AM »
Jesus did not get himself killed. He was arrested and likely crucified for rebelling against the state. Jesus showed compassion to those who tortured and eventually killed him.

Says who? We don't know anything per fact, just some echoes of the stories told by unreliable narrators, same ones who claimed birth from 'holy spirit' by virgin mother, walking on water, turning water to wine etc... You believe that too? (I mean, more power to you if you do, but it's kinda strange to meet you here  ;))

mdr

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2016, 10:48:24 AM »

This Jesus story is the construct of organized religion. We will have a take it with a grain of salt.

+1

This.

I bet there was such person historically, a Jewish guy whose mom got pregnant while dad was away (big no-no in Judaism).
Here cometh the 'injection' of Greek myths of supernatural beings and virgins been impregnated by them and the rest is history.
Which of course does not mean that Christianity is not a valid religion, of course it is and i deeply respect everyone who confesses it and believes in it premises. It's that the whole story behind it is...  :angel:

mdr

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2016, 10:54:32 AM »
What I would say is that Buddhist/meditation practice is about seeing things as they really are - and suicide is usually about feeling trapped in a reality where there is no escape from one's perceived problems. I don't suspect it is the best resolution in most, if any, cases.

The reality the suicidal person feels trapped in is usually a trap of their own mind. For example, just in the last two years I took a friend slowly, step by step, from a state of being fully suicidal (trying more than once and talking of it, and only it, daily) to a place where he has developed his awareness of the way he created a trap in his own mind, took time out to unpick this trap and see things more clearly, dropped expectations of life and started living more in the present, and now is happy about his more simple life - without many of the former habits. He's back from two months in Thailand next week - first time travelling as an independent/backpacker at the age of 58 years young :)


Thank you for this, Matthew. I think i am in a similar state of mind like your friend had been ... ::) I have strong opinions & expectations on how my life should be AND albeit i know that that fantasy wouldn't make me happy - i feel trapped in the reality that surrounds me (and, honestly, it's fine, my reality, it just doesn't fit the imaginary life i created   :'()
Sometimes, like today, i feel calm and i can laugh about it, other times i feel anxious and on the edge... :(

Middleway

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2016, 02:04:54 PM »
Jesus did not get himself killed. He was arrested and likely crucified for rebelling against the state. Jesus showed compassion to those who tortured and eventually killed him.

Says who? We don't know anything per fact, just some echoes of the stories told by unreliable narrators, same ones who claimed birth from 'holy spirit' by virgin mother, walking on water, turning water to wine etc... You believe that too? (I mean, more power to you if you do, but it's kinda strange to meet you here  ;))

 :) :)
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

mdr

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2016, 02:14:59 PM »
Jesus did not get himself killed. He was arrested and likely crucified for rebelling against the state. Jesus showed compassion to those who tortured and eventually killed him.

Says who? We don't know anything per fact, just some echoes of the stories told by unreliable narrators, same ones who claimed birth from 'holy spirit' by virgin mother, walking on water, turning water to wine etc... You believe that too? (I mean, more power to you if you do, but it's kinda strange to meet you here  ;))

 :) :)

p.s. i should have added you, as in generic you,
as i used your post for free-style musings, i am sorry  :angel:  :) :-*

p.s.s. myself, i believe weirder stuff than that, on the days on which i believe, on other days i am a nihilist  :D

Nicky

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Re: Suicide - Buddhism
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2016, 09:30:32 PM »
Naughty Buddhists not practising metta... ;)

 

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