DFFA Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:13 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote:I think that there is a huge irony here.
One of the characteristics of fundamentalism where ever it is found is that the faith of a fundamentalist is actually on shaky ground. They HAVE to take everything literally and at face value because they fear that the whole edifice of their faith will crumble otherwise. They are then defensive towards the views of any who take a less literalist approach...
Its a common phenomenon. Just slightly unusual in a Dhamma context until recently.



And on the other hand we have people who reject what they don't like or understand. Some think they know better than the Buddha. If someone thinks that they know, how will they learn from the Buddha?

Some people believe themselves too much.
It is not a matter of believing in oneself too much, whatever that is supposed to mean. The Dhamma, that liberates, is ehipassiko. The problem is, Alex, you have not addressed anything I have said. Basically, you are arguing for a literalist, fundamentalist reading of the suttas, not at all unlike the Xtian's reading of the Bible.

The Buddha never demanded that we believe what cannot be directly known through our 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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:42 pm

Where could Alex123 have gotten this misunderstanding of faith from? :)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el065.html

Generally speaking, faith is, however, regarded as only a preliminary step, as a merely provisional state. In due course direct spiritual awareness will know that which faith took on trust, and longed to know: "Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face." Much time must usually elapse before the virtue of wisdom has become strong enough to support a vigorous insight into the true nature of reality. Until then quite a number of doctrinal points must be taken on faith.

"Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face" is from 1 Corinthians 13:12.

I must object to applying the word "fundamentalist" to Alex123's views. I think what you mean is "traditionalist". :rofl:

What's that sutta I've seen quoted so many times before, where the Buddha said that if something causes harm, but you don't have the wisdom to avoid it, that the practice of avoiding it must be taken on conviction? :)
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:43 pm

Au contraire..I think fundamentalist will do just fine.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Kenshou » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:06 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Kenshou wrote:Why do you assume that the sutta pitaka is the precise and unaltered word of the Buddha?

It is the best we have, and there are some historical reasons why it is so (comparison with chinese agamas and other things).

I don't disagree that they're the best we have. But your conclusion doesn't really follow very logically from that. Comparison of the suttas and sutras and agamas and whatever other versions doesn't do anything to prove that the suttas are the literal word of the Buddha, and though it reveals a pretty darn coherent doctrine it also reveals some inconsistencies and raises some questions, and doesn't prove that the body of texts we have is the literal word of the Buddha.

What we've got at best is a condensed, repackaged, translated and summarized version of the Buddha's dhamma. All things considered we've inherited a pretty well put together bundle of teachings but there is no good reason to pretend it is absolutely perfect.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:24 pm

Quite so.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:45 pm

Hello Induvidial, Sanghamitta, all interested,

In DN16 there are these points:

1) The Buddha clearly said that he could extend his life to an Aeon or a little bit longer
2) He would do it if Ananda would ask him to.
3) Ananda didn't get the hint on many times
4) The Buddha has renounced his life/vitality fabrication, (āyusaṅkhāraṃ ossaji).
5) The Buddha knew the time of death due to the above action be in 3 month
6) When Ananda realized this, He tried to beg the Buddha to remain longer.
7) The Buddha didn't.
[I can provide quotes for those points)
There is entire chapter in DN16 (Āyusaṅkhāraossajjanaṃ) PTS D 2.105 (CST 4.0 program) called "Giving up life fabrication".

Āyusaṅkhāraossajjanaṃ= giving up life fabrication.

Doesn't sound like letting the life naturally run its full course.


8) Regarding Ven. Channa's suicide the Buddha has said
"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." - MN144



Of course you can disagree with and reject what the suttas say. But they say what they say.
"dust to dust...."
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:52 pm

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
Those who go by names, who go by concepts,
Making their abode in names and concepts,
Failing to discern the naming-process,
These are subject to the reign of death
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Ben » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:52 pm

Repeating yourself, Alex, doesn't make you any more convincing.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:56 pm

That's true, Ben, but criticizing him also doesn't free his or your mind from attachment. :)
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:56 pm

Hi Ben, all,

Ben wrote:Repeating yourself, Alex, doesn't make you any more convincing.



But those points that I've raised were NOT answered (From DN16 sutta and MN144 to name a few). Rather than directly addressing the statements point by point, some people have cleverly moved the discussion to the side, or they denied the suttas. It seems (I hope that this is not the case) that some cannot or do not want to logically discuss things - and prefer to dismiss them or me. I understand the disagreement with the suttas, but they DO state less than absolutely condemning words about suicide. "...Bhikkhu Channa took his life faultlessly." - MN144

And even Buddha's actions were for all intents and purposes, prolonged suicide. Not that there is anything wrong with suicide as long as one is awakened, or becomes awakened. "if someone gives up this body and seizes another, I say it is a fault" - MN144. . There is entire chapter in DN16 called Āyusaṅkhāraossajjanaṃ , "Giving up life fabrication". PTS D 2.105 (CST 4.0 program)

You can disagree with what the suttas say, but they do say it.

I would like if some people would counter each of my 8 points. Answer to #1 is this because of X,Y,Z... Answer to #2 is that because of X,Y,Z... etc.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:46 pm

The suttas are all blank pages. It is sankharas that cause them to be filled in.
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby BlackBird » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:56 pm

I don't think it's our place to arbitrarily decide whether the Buddha was being metaphorical. Usually the Buddha gives advance notice if he's employing a device, such as a simile. I don't see why it would be any different with a metaphor. Furthermore, I think it's probably prudent to take the Buddha at his literal word rather than trying to interpret what he has said to fit our own biases and views. When we do that we neglect the fact that from the ariyan's point of view we have nothing worthwhile to say on the matter, because we're blinded by an ignorance of what the Buddha actually taught. It's very easy to forget that and get up on our high horses with all our scholarly reading and years of experience - And think we've actually got a handle on this. The years go by, we're still not enlightened and we forget the actual purpose of why we were doing this in the first place - perhaps it's a wrong grasp of the snake...
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby clw_uk » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:04 pm

BlackBird wrote:I don't think it's our place to arbitrarily decide whether the Buddha was being metaphorical. Usually the Buddha gives advance notice if he's employing a device, such as a simile. I don't see why it would be any different with a metaphor. Furthermore, I think it's probably prudent to take the Buddha at his literal word rather than trying to interpret what he has said to fit our own biases and views. When we do that we neglect the fact that from the ariyan's point of view we have nothing worthwhile to say on the matter, because we're blinded by an ignorance of what the Buddha actually taught. It's very easy to forget that and get up on our high horses with all our scholarly reading and years of experience - And think we've actually got a handle on this. The years go by, we're still not enlightened and we forget the actual purpose of why we were doing this in the first place - perhaps it's a wrong grasp of the snake...



How do you take passages where it is said that Buddha flew up and stroked the sun?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby BlackBird » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:17 pm

clw_uk wrote:How do you take passages where it is said that Buddha flew up and stroked the sun?


I would say there are probably exceptions and this is quite possibly one of them. But having never seen that passage I'm not really fit to pass judgement. I guess the question is where do you draw the line? For me, if the Buddha has said something on a doctrinal matter which has an obvious literal meaning, I'll take the literal approach, there doesn't seem to be much a priori reason to do otherwise. Touching the sun and other colourful descriptions of actions can be left a side.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby clw_uk » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:21 pm

BlackBird wrote:
clw_uk wrote:How do you take passages where it is said that Buddha flew up and stroked the sun?


I would say there are probably exceptions and this is quite possibly one of them. But having never seen that passage I'm not really fit to pass judgement. I guess the question is where do you draw the line? For me, if the Buddha has said something on a doctrinal matter which has an obvious literal meaning, I'll take the literal approach, there doesn't seem to be much a priori reason to do otherwise. Touching the sun and other colourful descriptions of actions can be left a side.




Its in this sutta


"And what is the miracle of psychic power? There is the case where a monk wields manifold psychic powers. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting cross-legged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds.



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


If you read it literally then you have to believe in some form of magical power, since the Buddha is not stating that he is using metaphor


However I think he is. The metaphor being that each state is corresponding to mental events that happen during meditation, not actual floating in space stuff

However you wouldn't get this from a literalistic reading


Note that if you take it a metaphor, then "Brahma worlds" are metaphorical as well and are not physical realms


metta
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:32 pm

clw_uk wrote:
BlackBird wrote:I don't think it's our place to arbitrarily decide whether the Buddha was being metaphorical. Usually the Buddha gives advance notice if he's employing a device, such as a simile. I don't see why it would be any different with a metaphor. Furthermore, I think it's probably prudent to take the Buddha at his literal word rather than trying to interpret what he has said to fit our own biases and views. When we do that we neglect the fact that from the ariyan's point of view we have nothing worthwhile to say on the matter, because we're blinded by an ignorance of what the Buddha actually taught. It's very easy to forget that and get up on our high horses with all our scholarly reading and years of experience - And think we've actually got a handle on this. The years go by, we're still not enlightened and we forget the actual purpose of why we were doing this in the first place - perhaps it's a wrong grasp of the snake...



How do you take passages where it is said that Buddha flew up and stroked the sun?

You don't take them. You leave them alone, for someone else to take, because you don't need them.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby clw_uk » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:35 pm

You don't take them. You leave them alone, for someone else to take, because you don't need them.



Cryptic response
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:50 pm

Alex123 wrote:Of course you can disagree with and reject what the suttas say. But they say what they say.
Sure. This text, written well after the Buddha's death, contains mythic aspects which are not verifiable and are not ehipassiko Dhamma, which puts it outside experience, which means it is not needed for awakening. Now, if wish to believe that what the sutta says is literal fact, you have no way of verifying it,
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:10 pm

clw_uk wrote:
You don't take them. You leave them alone, for someone else to take, because you don't need them.



Cryptic response

But efficient and concise! :)

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Of course you can disagree with and reject what the suttas say. But they say what they say.
Sure. This text, written well after the Buddha's death, contains mythic aspects which are not verifiable and are not ehipassiko Dhamma, which puts it outside experience, which means it is not needed for awakening. Now, if wish to believe that what the sutta says is literal fact, you have no way of verifying it,

I agree with you, Tiltbillings.

Now, on that basis, I reject the teaching of rebirth as a mythic aspect which is not verifiable :lol:

(Sarcasm!)
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Suicide and Euthanasia according to Theravada

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:38 pm

Individual wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:Of course you can disagree with and reject what the suttas say. But they say what they say.
Sure. This text, written well after the Buddha's death, contains mythic aspects which are not verifiable and are not ehipassiko Dhamma, which puts it outside experience, which means it is not needed for awakening. Now, if wish to believe that what the sutta says is literal fact, you have no way of verifying it,

I agree with you, Tiltbillings.

Now, on that basis, I reject the teaching of rebirth as a mythic aspect which is not verifiable :lol:

(Sarcasm!)
Not very good sarcasm. I would prefer it with a bit more wit, not less.

Unlike supposed "historical" events, rebirth, according to the tradition has the potential of being verified via one's practice.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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