Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:01 am

Dear Matheesha,
rowyourboat wrote:Each time we take a shower we kill millions of little creatures. Each time we take some strong medicine we kill. Each time we take a step to walk, we kill. Each time we use detergent, soap, cleaning powder we kill. So it makes sense to kill to relieve suffering in my opinion. (yes, it is killing, -we must face the facts).

To me, the above appears to be the Jaina approach to kamma, not the Buddha's.
"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & mind
- AN 6.63

kind regards

Ben
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:17 am

Hi Ben

I think we all know at some level that we are giving rise to the destruction of beings. If we are honest with ourselves our practice can deepen.

with metta

Matheesha
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 31, 2010 12:26 am

Hi Matheesha

rowyourboat wrote:I think we all know at some level that we are giving rise to the destruction of beings.

I agree. But there is a world of difference between intentional and non-intentional killing.

rowyourboat wrote:If we are honest with ourselves our practice can deepen.

Absolutely, no argument with you there.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:54 am

Hi Ben

I think we are on the same page, slightly different emphasis. Yes, of course, intention is king. But aren't there those few times when you knew that taking those antibiotics is going to kill, in the back of your mind, but nevertheless took them?

It is inspiring to see how precepts are being held up in this thread. It is something be encouraged.

It is also interesting to consider how much of our attitudes towards suicide may be influence by Christian value systems still remaining unchanged deeply buried in our minds. -we attempt to bend the Buddha's words accordingly.

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 31, 2010 9:14 am

Hi RYB,
rowyourboat wrote:I think we are on the same page, slightly different emphasis.

Yes, I believe so too. I hope you don't mind me exploring at the edges...

rowyourboat wrote:Yes, of course, intention is king. But aren't there those few times when you knew that taking those antibiotics is going to kill, in the back of your mind, but nevertheless took them?
Is a bacterium sentient? If i were to hazard an opinion, i would say that bacterium were simple, non-sentient life.

rowyourboat wrote:It is inspiring to see how precepts are being held up in this thread. It is something be encouraged.
I agree. Personally, purity of sila is essential. Having said that, we live complicated lives and sometimes have to make very difficult decisions or be faced with very uncomfortable dilemmas.

rowyourboat wrote:It is also interesting to consider how much of our attitudes towards suicide may be influence by Christian value systems still remaining unchanged deeply buried in our minds. -we attempt to bend the Buddha's words accordingly.
Do you think so? I am the first person to call someone out for interpreting the teachings according to their own personal predelictions. But here I think many people on this thread are attempting to approach the issue of suicide from the viewpoint of the teachings rather than the matrices of their own internal conditionings. But, I could be wrong.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Popo » Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:48 pm

[Speculative alert]

Could Channa's suicide also have been blameless because his physical pain made him un-useful to the non-awakened?
I mean, from what little I understand, an arahant lives as a field of merit and to lead other people as an example. They don't live for personal enjoyment.
Seeing a bhikku writhing might have disturbed worldly people or made them think that Nibbana doesn't exist ("Look at that arahant writhe and moan! What's the point in liberation if we'll still suffer?")..
His death could have been consistent with compassion (since he didn't want to harm the faithful and possibly wouldn't be in a position to teach with his illness) and it could have been consistent with a lack of aversion (since he didn't suffer while in pain even if he appeared to from the outside).

[/idle speculation]
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:11 am

This thread will be reopened after off-topic stuff is moved to a new thread and the original thread moved back to it original place.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:24 am

Please stay on open topic. If you are uncertain as what that is, please review OP. Questions of whether or not the Buddha committed suicide can be discussed at the following thread: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6162
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:16 am

Ben wrote:... we live complicated lives and sometimes have to make very difficult decisions or be faced with very uncomfortable dilemmas.

Hi, everyone,
This brings up something that often seems to be forgotten - or just plain not known? - here on DW, that is, that kamma is very often mixed rather purely good or bad.
If we forget it, we have to force ambivalent situations into some kind of black/white scheme and then rationalise our choice. That is always going to be wrong in some way, because we have to either deny part of the reality or defend an equivocal decision as if it were unequivocal.
Better to admit the difficulty, make the best decision we can in the light of the dhamma, and be prepared to admit that an alternative choice may not have been totally wrong.
:namaste:
Kim

(P.S. Thanks, Tilt, for splitting off the off-topic posts. :thumbsup: )
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:33 pm

Hello all,

It seems to me that some consider Suicide to be wrong. Why? There is another classic case of suicide (this time involving super powers) that was NOT criticized by the Buddha (perhaps because the monk who did this was an Arahant according to Comy).


In Ud8.9 we have another wonderful story. An Arahant came to the Buddha, told him that basically "Now is the time for my total Unbinding, O One-Well-Gone!" used superpowers to levitate into the air and with superpowers cremated himself. This was not a natural death, in modern terms, for all intents and purposes it would be called suicide. People do not naturally die by levitating into the air, and cremating themselves.


I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then Ven. Dabba Mallaputta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Now is the time for my total Unbinding, O One-Well-Gone!"

"Then do, Dabba, what you think it is now time to do."

Then Ven. Dabba Mallaputta, rising from his seat, bowed down to the Blessed One and, circling him on the right, rose up into the air and sat cross-legged in the sky, in space. Entering the fire property and emerging from it, he was totally unbound. Now, when Dabba Mallaputta rose up into the air and, sitting cross-legged in the sky, in space, entered the fire property and then emerged from it and was totally unbound, his body burned and was consumed so that neither ashes nor soot could be discerned. Just as when ghee or oil is burned and consumed, neither ashes nor soot can be discerned, in the same way, when Dabba Mallaputta rose up into the air and, sitting cross-legged in the sky, in space, entered the fire property and then emerged from it and was totally unbound, his body burned and was consumed so that neither ashes nor soot could be discerned.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html




With metta,

Alex
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Viscid » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:36 pm

Alex123 wrote:In Ud8.9 we have another wonderful story.
when Dabba Mallaputta rose up into the air and, sitting cross-legged in the sky, in space, entered the fire property and then emerged from it and was totally unbound, his body burned and was consumed so that neither ashes nor soot could be discerned.

What a badass!
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:07 pm

Viscid wrote:
Alex123 wrote:In Ud8.9 we have another wonderful story.
when Dabba Mallaputta rose up into the air and, sitting cross-legged in the sky, in space, entered the fire property and then emerged from it and was totally unbound, his body burned and was consumed so that neither ashes nor soot could be discerned.

What a badass!

Yeah that's how I want to do it too, hahahahaha
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:09 pm

I just happened to be going through the Theragatha and noticed this great poem / composition by the Arahant Sappadasa:

Twenty five years since my going forth, and no peace of awareness — not a finger-snap's worth — attained. Having gained no oneness of mind, I was wracked with lust. Wailing, with my arms upheld, I ran amok from my dwelling — "Or... or shall I take the knife? What's the use of life to me? If I were to renounce the training, what sort of death would I have?" So, taking a razor, I sat down on a bed. And there was the razor, placed ready to cut my own vein, when apt attention arose in me, the drawbacks appeared, disenchantment stood at an even keel: With that, my heart was released. See the Dhamma's true rightness! The three knowledges have been attained; the Awakened One's bidding, done.


Th 6.6

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Ben » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:13 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:I just happened to be going through the Theragatha and noticed this great poem / composition by the Arahant Sappadasa:

Twenty five years since my going forth, and no peace of awareness — not a finger-snap's worth — attained. Having gained no oneness of mind, I was wracked with lust. Wailing, with my arms upheld, I ran amok from my dwelling — "Or... or shall I take the knife? What's the use of life to me? If I were to renounce the training, what sort of death would I have?" So, taking a razor, I sat down on a bed. And there was the razor, placed ready to cut my own vein, when apt attention arose in me, the drawbacks appeared, disenchantment stood at an even keel: With that, my heart was released. See the Dhamma's true rightness! The three knowledges have been attained; the Awakened One's bidding, done.


Th 6.6

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


That is beautiful, thank you David!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Kenshou » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:16 pm

Viscid wrote:
Alex123 wrote:In Ud8.9 we have another wonderful story.
when Dabba Mallaputta rose up into the air and, sitting cross-legged in the sky, in space, entered the fire property and then emerged from it and was totally unbound, his body burned and was consumed so that neither ashes nor soot could be discerned.

What a badass!


I remember when I first read this sutta I thought to myself, dayum, he's got style.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:18 pm

The point is that the Buddha did not condemn suicide, as long as one either becomes an Arahant or already is an Arahant when that act happens.

Buddhism isn't Christianity where, as I've heard, suicide is considered to be a serious sin. I guess it questions the "God's perfect world". But as any good Buddhist knows, there is 1st NT. There is Dukkha.


Furthermore the whole Buddhist path, in a certain way could be called "suicide" (and there is nothing wrong with that). An Arahant is not going to be reborn, and all mind & body will cease without any remainder. Of course nothing nicca-sukkha-atta that ceases. Only dukkha ceases, and 100% of it ceases. Absence of dukkha = ease.


Within life, even Buddha can experience discomfort
At that time the Lord was living hemmed in by bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, by male and female lay followers, by kings and royal ministers, by sectarian teachers and their disciples, and he lived in discomfort and not at ease. Then the Lord thought: "At present I am living hemmed in by bhikkhus and bhikkhunis... by sectarian teachers and their disciples, and I live in discomfort and not at ease. Suppose I were to live alone, secluded from the crowd?"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:24 pm

Alex123 wrote:Furthermore the whole Buddhist path, in a certain way could be called "suicide" (and there is nothing wrong with that). An Arahant is not going to be reborn, and all mind & body will cease without any remainder. Of course nothing nicca-sukkha-atta that ceases. Only dukkha ceases, and 100% of it ceases. Absence of dukkha = ease.
Actually, calling the Buddhist path suicide run quite counter to the Buddha's teachings. It assumes there is some thing that is killed.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:26 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Actually, calling the Buddhist path suicide run quite counter to the Buddha's teachings. It assumes there is some thing that is killed.


This is why I've said "in a certain way could be called "suicide". No trully existing being exists or dies. Just aggregates appear, and just aggregates cease. All aggregates are anicca-dukkha-anatta.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:28 pm

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Actually, calling the Buddhist path suicide run quite counter to the Buddha's teachings. It assumes there is some thing that is killed.


This is why I've said "in a certain way could be called "suicide". No trully existing being exists or dies. Just aggregates appear, and just aggregates cease. All aggregates are anicca-dukkha-anatta.
That in a certain way it would be rather unintelligent to use a word loaded with such negative connotations to apply to the Buddha's teachings.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Ben » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:30 pm

Alex123 wrote:Furthermore the whole Buddhist path, in a certain way could be called "suicide"

This appear to be a very strange assessment and is contradiction to the Dhamma (as I understand it).
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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