DFFA Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby clw_uk » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:40 pm

Why all this argument over what the Buddha did or didn't do when he was dying. If we are being honest its not 100% that the guy even lived. Its the teaching that matters



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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby BlackBird » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:51 pm

clw_uk wrote:If we are being honest its not 100% that the guy even lived. Its the teaching that matters


I don't think the teaching is very credible if we make the assumption he didn't, or to a lesser extent entertain doubts.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby clw_uk » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:55 pm

BlackBird wrote:
clw_uk wrote:If we are being honest its not 100% that the guy even lived. Its the teaching that matters


I don't think the teaching is very credible if we make the assumption he didn't, or to a lesser extent entertain doubts.



Why not. Arent the four noble truths accurate regardless of if the Buddha really existed or not. I see it the same way as I see Plato. It doesnt matter if they really lived or not its what they had to say. The four noble truths are relevant to my life regardless of if the Buddha lived or not. And I have seen their effect on others, such as monks/nuns and the laity.


Its not like we need Buddha to have lived like the Christians need Jesus to have
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:57 pm

Alex123 wrote:Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:The difference between “points 1-7” and “point 8” is that point 8 makes a point related to the ehipassiko Dhamma: "if someone gives up this body and seizes another, I say it is a fault. In the bhikkhu that fault is not apparent. Bhikkhu Channa took his life faultlessly."


How can you "come and see" that "Bhikkhu Channa took his life faultlessly"? Isn't this all history? And the existence of Buddha and his awakening, maybe that is history that cannot be verified?
It does not matter if the story about Ven Channa is literally true; it is used to illustate a point that could have simply been stated without the story. What is the point of "points 1-7" other than to show that the Buddha had as great powers as those likely claimed of other teachers of the time?

All the stuff of the “points 1-7” has to do with aggrandizing the Buddha in terms of his “power,” which is what hagiographies do.


So maybe He didn't become Awakened on that day. Maybe that is unverifiable hagiography? Maybe Mahavira (Jain leader) was more awakened than the Buddha, and the pali canon is simply biased...
Huh? The Buddha was awakened 45 years before the supposed events of DN 16.

There is not a thing in the “points 1-7” that is necessary for practice or the attainment of liberation. The redactors of this text, DN 16, are casting the Buddha in a super-human light, something that does find its way into the suttas despite evidence that the Buddha resisted such deification.


There are much more superhuman feats in other suttas than in DN16... Maybe the Buddha wasn't Awakened....
"Superhuman" feats of power, the iddhis, have nothing to do with awakening. What did the Buddha say about such things?

Before “points 1-7” we find this rather human expression:

I am old worn out, one who has traversed life's path, I have reached the term of life, which is eighty. Just as an old cart is made to go on by being held together with straps, so the Tathagata's body is kept going by being strapped up." DN ii 101.


And even though He could prolong his existence, He actually shortened it. But as long as you pick and chose what to believe and what to reject, your opinion will not change.
That is the story, which is that he could proolong his life, but obviously Ananda was conveirently portayed as being a bit thick to get the hint. As for shortening his life, not in any significant way. The Buddha had come to end of his life as the text makes clear.

See: It invites everybody to come and see (ehipassiko). The Dhamma invites us to "come and see". In other words, it invites all people to verify for themselves, that it really leads to the goal, that by practicing it, one can reach the Nirvana. It can not be forced on anybody, nobody can reach the goal just by blind faith. One must "come and see" - and make an effort on the Way to the goal. The Dhamma is not only Ehipassiko, but it is: akāliko: It is immediate (akāliko). The results of our practice will come to us immediately, we do not have to wait for them to some distant future. As we become to practice the Dhamma, the fruit will come right away. Gradually, step by step we will be able to verify that the Way truly leads to the goal. And faith, saddha, in the Dhamma does not require that we believe, without question, as being literally true, what has no possibility of ever being directly known.

Before one get rid of delusion and fetters of wrong view, it is a given that there will be tendency to err. It takes a Buddha to point us the right path. Do you honestly think that ordinary Joe Brown can verify deap and supramundane truths very quickly all on his own guidance? More likely he will see what he wants to see, and understand what he wants to understand. The veil of delusion is so strong, that most of the time, most people don't know that they are deluded. It takes an outside help to show them Awakened perspective.
It is not about verifying "deep and supramundane truths very quickly all on his own guidance." First of all it is about puting the teachings into practice, and one may have an experienced teacher to help, but ultimately is is the teachings - Dhamma which are Dhamma - that are our guide. Once we start with puting the teachings into practice, sila and the cultivation of mindfulness and concentration, we can see the postive things the teachings are talking about step by step we will be able to verify that the Way truly leads to the goal.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:00 pm

clw_uk wrote:Why all this argument over what the Buddha did or didn't do when he was dying. If we are being honest its not 100% that the guy even lived. Its the teaching that matters
:group:


If He didn't really live, and if He wasn't someone extraordinary, and considering dozens of spiritual traditions - then why follow His teachings at all? If one doesn't accept certain things because one knows better (that which I don't believe, is all hagiography!), then why study Buddha's teaching at all?


And How do you know (unless you've had extraordinary, supramundane insights) that 4NT are true? Maybe it was sour-grapes ramblings of someone living in 5th Century BC, India in deep poverty and talking about how desire and material goods are bad...


I hope that you see where skepticism and undue importance given to ones own views & experiences, can lead. I take it as a given that an ordinary person can make incorrect choices and is under delusion.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:02 pm

Alex123 wrote: And How do you know (unless you've had extraordinary, supramundane insights) that 4NT are true?
Do you know if the Four Noble Truths are true?
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 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:05 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote: And How do you know (unless you've had extraordinary, supramundane insights) that 4NT are true?
Do you know if the Four Noble Truths are true?


I'd rather not answer that personal question. Please keep the discussion impersonal.
Last edited by Alex123 on Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby clw_uk » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:06 pm

If He didn't really live, and if He wasn't someone extraordinary, and considering dozens of spiritual traditions - then why follow His teachings at all? If one doesn't accept certain things because one knows better (that which I don't believe, is all hagiography!), then why study Buddha's teaching at all?


I have confirmed confidence (not blind faith). The four noble truths made logical sense to me and answered some deep questions. I then began to practice and steadily I can see the truth of them more and more. I follow the Dhamma because it leads to less dukkha in my life. All this without a bit of worry if the guy actually lived or not and without worrying if his "powers" are real or if he magically killed himself or not


And How do you know (unless you've had extraordinary, supramundane insights) that 4NT are true? Maybe it was sour-grapes ramblings of someone living in 5th Century BC, India in deep poverty and talking about how desire and material goods are bad...


Right View is a continual development until it leads to complete understanding. Its not black and white, not knowing then bang you suddenly know. The Buddha taught a gradual path, a gradual awakening. As I said above, when I first read them they struck me so I began to practice and since then I have had steady (sometimes slow) insights into them, which has lead to less dukkha


Think about it. If the four noble truths had to be taken on faith alone and they weren't centered around a gradual understanding, then we wouldnt know that there is Dukkha. We would just believe there is, yet we all know there is dukkha

I hope that you see where skepticism, and undue importance given to ones own views & experiences, can lead.


Not really skepticism Its just not important if he did live or not. Sure it would be a nice add on as it makes a good story but thats all really.
Last edited by clw_uk on Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby clw_uk » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:10 pm

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote: And How do you know (unless you've had extraordinary, supramundane insights) that 4NT are true?
Do you know if the Four Noble Truths are true?


I'd rather not answer that personal question. Please keep the discussion impersonal.



Why is it ok for you to ask others but not for them to ask you?
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:18 pm

Alex123 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote: And How do you know (unless you've had extraordinary, supramundane insights) that 4NT are true?
Do you know if the Four Noble Truths are true?


I'd rather not answer that personal question. Please keep the discussion impersonal.
The question follows from your statement. And how do you know if I or Craig haven't had extraordinary insights? But the nice things about the ehipassiko-akāliko Dhamma is that in studying the Four Noble Truths and putting the Buddha's teachings into practice we can start to see the truth of the Buddha's and see the effects of practicing the Buddha's teachings right away. It is what the Buddha taught and I have no reason to doubt him based upon my own experience.
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 Individual » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:22 pm

You all are way off-topic. Let's get back to the nature of the Buddha's death and how it might be related to "suicide and euthanasia according to Theravada," and not get into silly debates over who really has discernment, over who has the correct faith, that is well-placed and based on reason & observation rather than blindness. I think we can all agree on the meaning of faith and it's really irrelevant here. :)

Each can put a Buddha behind his view and we can only judge eachother on our own relative terms, in terms of our own perceptions. Otherwise, there is no real communication going on here.

Alex123 wrote:
Individual wrote:You said that sometimes old people relinquish the will to live -- without necessarily asking for death, without necessarily telling anyone. Do you see this as being the same or different from the behavior of the Jonestown suicide cult?


What Jonestown suicide cult was wrong. But I really don't think that it is appropriate to compare it to the Buddha. No one can be compared to the Buddha, and while the Buddha was awakened - they weren't.

If what the Jonesdown suicide cult did was wrong,
And what they did is called suicide,
And it is inappropriate to compare to the Buddha...

then logically, is it not therefore inappropriate to say the Buddha "commit suicide"? :)
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Vepacitta » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:54 pm

:goodpost:

Right on Individual.



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Re: DFFA Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:27 am

Given the contentious nature of the notion that the Buddha committed suicide, this topic has been separated out from this thread: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=6087 The Buddha's supposed suicide and what it might mean can be discussed here.
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: DFFA Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:32 am

Alex123 there are at least two logical fallacies in your position.
The first is the False Dilemma Fallacy. You are positing a solution to a non problem.
The second is the Negative Proof Fallacy. You are assuming that the Buddha had an intention which parallels a modern concept of suicide. And that in the absence of any proof that he held that intention you are assuming that absence as proof that he did.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby appicchato » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:22 pm

I can't believe I'm weighing in on this...

The Buddha has relinquished his will to live...

What's wrong with that?...

...this would be called suicide today.

You might call it suicide, although that doesn't mean everyone else looks at it the same way...
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:27 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:Alex123 there are at least two logical fallacies in your position.
The first is the False Dilemma Fallacy. You are positing a solution to a non problem.
The second is the Negative Proof Fallacy. You are assuming that the Buddha had an intention which parallels a modern concept of suicide. And that in the absence of any proof that he held that intention you are assuming that absence as proof that he did.

:|

appicchato wrote:I can't believe I'm weighing in on this...

The Buddha has relinquished his will to live...

What's wrong with that?...

...this would be called suicide today.

You might call it suicide, although that doesn't mean everyone else looks at it the same way...

:goodpost:
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Re: DFFA Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:29 pm

Hello Tilt, all,

lets imagine this scenario. An arahant is walking barefoot and sees broken glass in front of him. Would he continue walking in that direction and cut his feet, or would he walk around that place? What would you do?

When it comes to the Buddha, he may have compared continuing existence of 5 aggregates, vs reaching Parinibbana. Obviously there was no comparison, parinibbana is much better than remaining in the old body that is getting sick.

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


So an Arahant can be living in discomfort (bad company that perhaps asks too many questions and annoys Him)!

There is also a sutta somewhere where the Buddha asked Ananda to teach the gathered people, while the Buddha would lie down and rest his sore back. So the Buddha was NOT invulnerable to physical pain, and neither was he invulnerable to discomfort of being hemmed in by bhikkhus and bhikkhunis.


So there is nothing strange in desire to end physical pain by relinquishing vitality/life formations as He did in DN16.



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.
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