Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:38 pm

Ben wrote:
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).


The orthodox Dhamma teaches us that there is rebirth. One is not "off the hook" when this body dies.

The Dhamma is to make rebirth cease by cessation of all craving & ignorance.


[Mara:]
Why don't you approve of birth? Once born, one enjoys sensual pleasures. Who now has persuaded you of this: 'Bhikkhuni, don't approve of birth'?

[Cala:]
For one who is born there is death; Once born, one encounters sufferings — Bondage, murder, affliction — Hence one shouldn't approve of birth. The Buddha has taught the Dhamma, The transcendence of birth; For the abandoning of all suffering He has settled me in the truth. [133] As to those beings who fare amidst form, And those who abide in the formless — Not having understood cessation, They come again to re-becoming.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html



It's only suffering that comes to be, Suffering that stands and falls away. Nothing but suffering comes to be, Nothing but suffering ceases.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html



With metta,

Alex
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:50 pm

Ben wrote:
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!

He couldn't have picked a better passage. :D
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:28 pm

Alex123 wrote:Buddhism isn't Christianity where, as I've heard, suicide is considered to be a serious sin.

Hi, Alex,
Buddhism isn't Christianity but both religions consider suicide to be a very bad thing, for very nearly everyone, in very nearly all circumstances.
Alex123 wrote: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.

Any Arahant knows enough to make good choices. Those choices do not usually include suicide. You focus on the exceptional cases amongst a tiny fraction of the Buddha's followers and don't seem to see that such cases are really unrepresentative of the dhamma.
You're like the person who discovers one white crow and goes around saying, 'Crows really are white - I've seen one!' Please widen your focus, for your own sake as well as for the sake of a reasonable discussion here.
:namaste:
Kim

(tiny edit for clarity - K.)
Last edited by Kim OHara on Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:29 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Ben wrote:
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).


The orthodox Dhamma teaches us that there is rebirth. One is not "off the hook" when this body dies.

The Dhamma is to make rebirth cease by cessation of all craving & ignorance.


[Mara:]
Why don't you approve of birth? Once born, one enjoys sensual pleasures. Who now has persuaded you of this: 'Bhikkhuni, don't approve of birth'?

[Cala:]
For one who is born there is death; Once born, one encounters sufferings — Bondage, murder, affliction — Hence one shouldn't approve of birth. The Buddha has taught the Dhamma, The transcendence of birth; For the abandoning of all suffering He has settled me in the truth. [133] As to those beings who fare amidst form, And those who abide in the formless — Not having understood cessation, They come again to re-becoming.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html



It's only suffering that comes to be, Suffering that stands and falls away. Nothing but suffering comes to be, Nothing but suffering ceases.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html



With metta,

Alex

It's possible that one can be very intelligent and fully understand the words of the Tipitaka, and very diligent in following all the moral and meditative practices of the Tipitaka, but still, everywhere they go, they are trouble!

Nothing that they say is necessarily false, in another context, it might be useful: but wherever they share it, it is trouble. Instead of creating faith and joy in Buddhism, it creates doubt & despair. Instead of creating harmony, it creates unnecessary sectarian divisions. Instead of generating insights, only arguments ensue, which draw other people away from their "real" practice... You certainly may know the Tipitaka very well and might practice all the precepts, and might meditate regularly.

But you are missing the point.

"And the point is?"

Freedom from troublesome mental states, for oneself and others, without being attached to particular symbolic designations of that freedom. :)
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:37 pm

Good posts, Kim and Induvidial.



The thread was "Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada" so I did share some sutta quotes about it.


I wonder, what is so wrong with suicide if one is an Arahant, especially if one experiences discomfort?

Even the Buddha, experienced mental 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 Individual » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:57 pm

Alex123 wrote:Good posts, Kim and Induvidial.



The thread was "Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada" so I did share some sutta quotes about it.


I wonder, what is so wrong with suicide if one is an Arahant, especially if one experiences discomfort?

Even the Buddha, experienced mental 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

"Ākiṇṇo dukkhaṃ. Na phāsu viharati."

Looks like the word for discomfort there is dukkha.

Mental discomfort from craving and attachment is real. The mental discomfort from being reborn in woeful realms is real. The Buddha was only pretending. :)

And if he wasn't, then what? The Noble One who taught us how to be free from dukhka was himself subject to dukkha? He had to commit ritual suicide, in order to be free from dukkha?
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:05 am

Alex123 wrote:I wonder, what is so wrong with suicide if one is an Arahant, especially if one experiences discomfort?

IF one is an arahant, one will presumably know what is wrong with suicide and know when suicide is the best course of action.
UNLESS one is an arahant (and that leaves out 99.999999% of us) one should simply accept the bulk of the teachings and accept that suicide is a BAD THING.
I will say again, Alex, that I think you need to get away from thinking about exceptional circumstances and return to the real world.
:namaste:
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:16 am

It's wrong for an Arahant to commit suicide too -- in a certain sense of the word. Beause what's called an "Arahant" isn't necessarily a true Arahant.

If countless people in the world declare a certain being to be a saint, and this "saint" demonstrates amazing supernatural powers, and recites the dharma like an angel...

...if he still practices and encourages immorality, which includes suicide, that alone is reason enough to doubt his sainthood.

Otherwise, again, you end up with Jonestown or you end up following phony gurus who you think it's OK for them to engage in lying, adultery, pedophilia, sexual abuse, drug-use, tax evasion, fraud, etc., all because, "He's a holy man!" :lol:

But if he does all these things, why call him holy? The "holy life" is abstaining from these types of things. :)
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby alan » Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:48 am

Excuse me, but I'm just going off to commit suicide now. Reading through these posts leave me no alternative.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:10 am

Individual wrote:If countless people in the world declare a certain being to be a saint, ...

Hi, Individual,
You're right, except that there is a world of difference between someone that 'countless people in the world declare a saint' and someone who *is* a saint/arahant.
I wasn't talking about the first kind and I'm disappointed that you could think I was. Please don't confuse popular opinion with the truth - or next thing you'll be saying Sarah Palin is fit to run the USA :tongue:
:namaste:
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:47 pm

Individual wrote:
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

"Ākiṇṇo dukkhaṃ. Na phāsu viharati."

Looks like the word for discomfort there is dukkha.

Mental discomfort from craving and attachment is real. The mental discomfort from being reborn in woeful realms is real. The Buddha was only pretending. :)

And if he wasn't, then what? The Noble One who taught us how to be free from dukhka was himself subject to dukkha? He had to commit ritual suicide, in order to be free from dukkha?



First of all, I don't know the answer. But the sutta does state what it states.


What may have happened is that perhaps we misinterpret and over-idealize what being Arhat means, and maybe headaches can occur as well.

With metta,

Alex
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:04 pm

Alex123 wrote:First of all, I don't know the answer. But the sutta does state what it states.


What may have happened is that perhaps we misinterpret and over-idealize what being Arhat means, and maybe headaches can occur as well.

With metta,

Alex

It's good to hear you say "don't know". By saying that I don't feel like "I won" or "I'm right and you're wrong," but rather, I appreciate the sincerity. It's good to hear people say what they know when they know it and what they don't know when they don't know. I don't know a lot of things either! :)

What you said is true, but if we regard Arhats as indistinguishable from ordinary people, what's the basis for regarding suicide as possible for Arahants without bad result and impossible for ordinary people without bad result?

The answer: It's an imponderable! :)

The range of Arahants, what it means to "really" be an Arahant, "what it's like" to be an Arahant, how Arahants act without karmic cause & effect.

So, I'd say this is a question that's irrelevant to our daily practice and should be set aside. Pondering it will only lead to the headache you mentioned. :)

But in response to the original OP, we can both agree, right: Suicide is wrong for average people, even stream-enterers. Perhaps there is some greater wisdom by which some unique cases, like Channa and Vakkali, can be understood as something like exceptions, but conventional truth, conventional expressions, are meant for the average person. For the average person, it is beneficial and noble to have the belief that suicide is wrong. Do you agree? :)
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:52 pm

Individual wrote:But in response to the original OP, we can both agree, right: Suicide is wrong for average people, even stream-enterers. Perhaps there is some greater wisdom by which some unique cases, like Channa and Vakkali, can be understood as something like exceptions, but conventional truth, conventional expressions, are meant for the average person. For the average person, it is beneficial and noble to have the belief that suicide is wrong. Do you agree? :)


Well, the Buddha didn't condemn suicide of certain bhikkhus, some of which may have been sekhas and even Arhat.

But of course, it is better not to commit suicide. Too much risk. This is why I am not considering it that much, at least when I still have some hope of progress.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:59 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Individual wrote:But in response to the original OP, we can both agree, right: Suicide is wrong for average people, even stream-enterers. Perhaps there is some greater wisdom by which some unique cases, like Channa and Vakkali, can be understood as something like exceptions, but conventional truth, conventional expressions, are meant for the average person. For the average person, it is beneficial and noble to have the belief that suicide is wrong. Do you agree? :)


Well, the Buddha didn't condemn suicide of certain bhikkhus, some of which may have been sekhas and even Arhat.

But of course, it is better not to commit suicide. Too much risk. This is why I am not considering it that much, at least when I still have some hope of progress.

You ALWAYS have hope of progress!
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:00 pm

Individual wrote:You ALWAYS have hope of progress!


Thank you very much for kind words.


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:29 pm

Arahants shouldn't be equated to 'Saints.' They are those who are no longer deluded by the sense of self, and will no longer be reborn. If he commits suicide, it's of little consequence and thus not immoral. Only an arahat can know whether or not it is truly justified to commit suicide.

A 'saint' is a guy who's impressed enough people with miracles and charisma to be declared a saint.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:33 pm

Viscid wrote:Arahats shouldn't be equated to 'Saints.' They are those who are no longer deluded by the sense of self, and will no longer be reborn. If he commits suicide, it's of little consequence and thus not immoral. Only an arahat can know whether or not it is truly justified to commit suicide.

A 'saint' is a guy who's impressed enough people with miracles and charisma to be declared a saint.
Why would an arahant khimself? What motivation would there be? Dukkha? That is the underlying motivation of most worldy suicides.
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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 Viscid » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:44 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Why would an arahant khimself? What motivation would there be? Dukkha? That is the underlying motivation of most worldy suicides.

The only reason that could rationally justify their suicide is that they see their existence as being burdensome to the Sangha, especially during times where food or medical support is scarse. If they killed themselves for any aversion, then they are no arahant.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:12 pm

tiltbillings wrote: Why would an arahant khimself? What motivation would there be? Dukkha? That is the underlying motivation of most worldy suicides.


Why not? Why couldn't Arahant kill himself to stop painful bodily feelings? 5 aggregates are anicca, dukkha and anatta - regardless of whethere one has craving for them or not.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Viscid » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:36 pm

Alex123 wrote:Why not? Why couldn't Arahant kill himself to stop painful bodily feelings?

If I understand correctly, they'd see pain as equal to any other sensation.

Just pain, just pleasure: neither aversion nor attraction to either.
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