Willed Self Combustion & Suicide

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Willed Self Combustion & Suicide

Postby danieLion » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:12 am

In BB's translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, at MN 124.41, his note to the sentence, "Then, seated in the midst of the Sangha of bhikkhus, the venerable Bakkula attained final NIbbana" (p. 988), says, "[The] Majjhima Nikaya Attakatha [commentary says]: Ven. Bakkula entered into meditation on the heat element and attained final Nibbana by causing his entire body to be consumed by that blaze. Only the relics remained" (p. 1338).

1. Does this relate to what we moderns call "spontaneous combustion"?

2. Did Reverend Bakkula commit suicide?
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Re: Willed Self Combustion & Suicide

Postby robertk » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:59 am

1. No.
2. No.
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Re: Willed Self Combustion & Suicide

Postby contemplating » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:58 pm

What is "meditation on the heat element" ? And why did he start meditating on the heat element?
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Re: Willed Self Combustion & Suicide

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:09 pm

That sutta is quite interesting; it's the only one I can recollect just now which includes chorus refrains as well as the text proper. Because of this, I'm inclined to see this as something of an early hagiographical piece, and with that the commentarial choice to give the event some bells and whistles seems par for the course.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Willed Self Combustion & Suicide

Postby santa100 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:33 pm

2 important background facts that could help explain what Ven. Bakkula did. He was around 160 years old at the time the sutta takes place (Bodhi's note [1167]), and he attained Arahanship on the 8th day of his going forth (Bodhi's note [1170]). So an arahant at 160 years of age would easily know the exact timing of his death and all he did was simply to save his fellow monks the heavy tasks of cleaning up a dead corpse as noted in [1172] by Daniel above:

[1172]MA. he had considered that all his life he had never made himself a burden to the other bhikkhus, and he did not want his body to be a burden after his death. THus he entered into meditation on the heat element and attained final Nibbana by causing his entire body to be consumed by the blaze. Only the relics remained.


Details on the Elements Kasina meditation could be found at Vsm V.5 ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... on2011.pdf )
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Re: Willed Self Combustion & Suicide

Postby contemplating » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:16 pm

Thank you santa, for additional details and the link.
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Re: Willed Self Combustion & Suicide

Postby danieLion » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:36 am

Thanks EVERYONE. :broke:
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Re: Willed Self Combustion & Suicide

Postby danieLion » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:43 am

robertk wrote:1. No.
2. No.

Hi Robert,
Not looking for a fight this time, and will likely simply accept your answer as sufficient, but can't help asking:

1. Why is this not related to what we call spontaneous combustion?

2. Why can't we classify it as suicide?
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