Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Dan74 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:43 pm

It could've been, although as a recluse, he could've easily done it so that no one would have found out.

All very speculative.

We are here because great teachers chose to share their wisdom rather than focus all their energies on attaining cessation. There is a lot to be said for not rushing to save the world and "blessing" it with our ignorance but seeing our actions only in terms of what they are not, is going too far, in my view.
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2626
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:36 pm

Dan74 wrote:I guess with the same logic, if Parinibbana is nibbana with no effluents, the ultimate nibbana, which is the great goal, the Buddha should've killed himself the moment he attained liberation.


Hi Dan,

Yes, I see. That seems to point to altruism and compassion as a consideration, since the Buddha not only remained but set about the difficult task of teaching others.

It occurs to me though that buddhas and arahants would have no reason to kill themselves because they would be free of all the factors that would motivate taking such action. They might not have a desire for continued existence, but they would also have no need to bring existence forcibly to an end.

I wonder if it makes sense to think of nibbana with remainder as the immediate goal and nibbana without remainder as the subsequent goal. Because in order to really embrace cessation, it seems to me, one has to reach a place where the drawbacks of all attachment are clearly discerned. And that essentially means breaking the last fetters.

reflection wrote: And these are two situations, nr 1 being what you state classical Therevadan Buddhism teaches.
1. There is rebirth. The end of rebirth is nirvana, the cessation of aggregates A. This is the highest happiness.
2. There is no rebirth. The death is the cessation of aggregates B.

I renamed the aggregates A & B, because in situation 2, they wouldn't be the same kind of aggregates as in situation 1, as they aren't sensitive to rebirth. You see, in the statements there would otherwise be an inconsistency. It's like saying, I've got here two red apples, but one is green. But that can't be. Actually, both aggregates are apples, but not the same kind of apples, so renamed A & B to indicate their colors. Are you with me me so far?

So far, with this correction of renaming the aggregates, we're fine. But than comes the dangerous assumption you make: that in situation nr 2, the cessation of aggregates B is also the highest happiness, as situation 1 says about aggregates A. But who'se going to say that that's true? You can't just equate the two if the aggregates are different. A red apple doesn't taste like a green apple.So we also can't follow the "overall Buddhist perspective" anymore. In other words, in situation 2 you would invariably take along an assumption hidden in situation 1, an approach that is not valid. And thus, the question can't be answered.

I could have said it shorter by saying a view of non-rebirth doesn't apply to the Buddhist perspective (at least the perspective as you sort of defined it), but I hope this makes something clear or at least gets you thinking that it may not be so easy to equate nirvana to something.


Thanks, R. I tend to agree that essentially different and incompatible perspectives are being compared here.

It seems to me the act of suicide is based on various "givens" which would clearly be under question from a Buddhist point of view -- one being annihilationism, and another being a view of self ("sui" means self). Also, identification of that self with the body. Perhaps this would be an answer to give my (hypothetical) friend.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 808
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby paarsurrey » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:09 pm

I don't think Buddha believed in physical multiple rebirths of man; it is primarily a Hindu concept got mixed up with Buddhism.

Buddha meant, in my opinion, spiritual forms one resembles while treading on the middle path till one attains salvation; it is all in one span of life not in multiple rebirths physically.
I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim

http://paarsurrey.wordpress.com/
paarsurrey
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:24 pm

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Mothra » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:33 am

I don't think one can separate belief in rebirth from Theravada Buddhism. If one rejects the idea of rebirth then so too does the concept of nirvana no longer make sense. Death by itself is not cessation of the aggregates. Only if enlightenment is realized during the lifetime is death going to be the final one, and only then do the aggregates cease.
Mothra
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:01 am

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:23 am

Greetings,

Mothra wrote:If one rejects the idea of rebirth then so too does the concept of nirvana no longer make sense.

This makes no sense to me.

To paraphrase what Aloka said elsewhere recently... nirvana is for the enlightened, not the dead.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14650
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Mothra » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:36 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Mothra wrote:If one rejects the idea of rebirth then so too does the concept of nirvana no longer make sense.

This makes no sense to me.

To paraphrase what Aloka said elsewhere recently... nirvana is for the enlightened, not the dead.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Because as I understand it, nirvana is the breaking out of the cycle of rebirths. If there is no cycle, then doesn't suffering end with the cessation of life? That was what the OP was asking, and to me it seems completely opposed to what the Buddha taught. If that were the case then there would be nothing wrong with a life of hedonism and violence, because both you and your victims would still achieve the cessation of suffering anyway.
Mothra
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:01 am

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:22 am

retrofuturist wrote:To paraphrase what Aloka said elsewhere recently... nirvana is for the enlightened, not the dead.


But what's the difference exactly? I understand of course that arahants don't just drop dead at the moment of awakening, but their continued existence is considered to be a kammic remainder (or so I understand).
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 808
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:36 am

Greetings Lazy,

Once again, I refer you to the topic I referred you to on page 1 of the topic.

Hopefully it challenges your perspective on what "existence" is. :) (clue: it's not "living")

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14650
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:34 am

User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10229
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby paarsurrey » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:16 am

Mothra wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Mothra wrote:If one rejects the idea of rebirth then so too does the concept of nirvana no longer make sense.

This makes no sense to me.

To paraphrase what Aloka said elsewhere recently... nirvana is for the enlightened, not the dead.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Because as I understand it, nirvana is the breaking out of the cycle of rebirths. If there is no cycle, then doesn't suffering end with the cessation of life? That was what the OP was asking, and to me it seems completely opposed to what the Buddha taught. If that were the case then there would be nothing wrong with a life of hedonism and violence, because both you and your victims would still achieve the cessation of suffering anyway.


I think Buddha's view was that suffering is linked with sins when one is under the influence of Mara or evil; hence Buddha's teaching was extinction of the self. When one is still struggling with the self or sins in the self then one could resemble different forms of animals; that is what might be describes as cycle of rebirth, not a physical rebirth; when one comes out of one's self, and sins no more generate in it, one is out of the influence of Mara; that is the stage when one achieves nirvana or salvation or peace and happiness. This all happens in this life and continues when one goes into heaven after death, in the afterlife, in my opinion.
I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim

http://paarsurrey.wordpress.com/
paarsurrey
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:24 pm

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Ben » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:33 am

paarsurrey wrote:I think Buddha's view was that suffering is linked with sins when one is under the influence of Mara or evil; hence Buddha's teaching was extinction of the self. When one is still struggling with the self or sins in the self then one could resemble different forms of animals; that is what might be describes as cycle of rebirth, not a physical rebirth; when one comes out of one's self, and sins no more generate in it, one is out of the influence of Mara; that is the stage when one achieves nirvana or salvation or peace and happiness. This all happens in this life and continues when one goes into heaven after death, in the afterlife, in my opinion.


I think, paarsurrey, you should investigate what the Buddha actually taught and approach it on its own terms rather than attempting to reinterpret it through the prism of Islam.
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."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16046
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:41 pm

paarsurrey wrote:This all happens in this life and continues when one goes into heaven after death, in the afterlife, in my opinion.


That's your opinion, but not at all what the Buddha taught.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
Buckwheat
 
Posts: 927
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby paarsurrey » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:00 pm

Buckwheat wrote:
paarsurrey wrote:This all happens in this life and continues when one goes into heaven after death, in the afterlife, in my opinion.


That's your opinion, but not at all what the Buddha taught.


I think Buddha believed in heaven and hell where one dwells after death. Didn't he?
I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim

http://paarsurrey.wordpress.com/
paarsurrey
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:24 pm

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Ben » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:47 pm

paarsurrey wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:
paarsurrey wrote:This all happens in this life and continues when one goes into heaven after death, in the afterlife, in my opinion.


That's your opinion, but not at all what the Buddha taught.


I think Buddha believed in heaven and hell where one dwells after death. Didn't he?


You may wish to revisit this post:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=12221&view=unread#p185644
"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


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16046
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby santa100 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:27 am

Paarsurrey wrote:
"I think Buddha believed in heaven and hell where one dwells after death. Didn't he?"

While the Buddha certainly did teach about heaven and hell, there're more to His teaching: that there are different kinds of heavens and if one was reborn there, none of those places would be his/her "permanent" dwelling. The best thing that one should do is to practice until one nice day, one'd no longer have a "self" that needs to seek residency anywhere else. This is Nibbana, the unconditioned, unbinding, utmost bliss, etc...
santa100
 
Posts: 1516
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Yana » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:47 am

Lazy_eye wrote:This question comes out of some recent discussions here and elsewhere. I know the topic's a bit heavy so bear with me..

Suppose, though, that there is no rebirth. Following the overall Buddhist perspective on things, would suicide be a desirable and logical choice?



No.Why committ suicide?your guaranteed to die anyways.

Lazy_eye wrote:
After all, isn't the goal cessation of the aggregates? And if suicide actually worked, wouldn't cessation of the aggregates occur? We are encouraged to cultivate zeal and desire in pursuit of the goal -- so were one to become convinced that there is no rebirth, what would be a reason for sticking around?


People commiting suicide or dying of natural causes...both means the same thing death.They are both using death to be free from the aggregates.If suicide actually worked,this mean death actually works.If death actually works,this mean people who die without commiting suicide also works.A 90 year old man dying of old age will no longer worry when he dies he will experience the cessation of aggregates.If this is the case then one might argue it's better all babies died before they were born.That way we'll all be free from cessation.

Lazy_eye wrote:
Besides fear of rebirth, are there any other good arguments (from a Theravada Buddhist perspective) against suicide?



Yes.I have thought of committing suicide many times in the past.But i realized something one night..that people commit suicide for the same reason people study the dhamma.They both want to be free from suffering.This was my logic,taking into consideration of "no rebirth"...If i commit suicide and die i won't feel anything,i will just stop.If i study and practice the dhamma,develop equnimity i too will just stop.Except The difference is one is a corpse and the other is still breathing.I think studying and practicing the dhamma is like committing suicide.But it's not killing the body or the mind.It's killing craving.And THAT's REALLY What Causes our sufferings!

All i can say is if your prepared to commit suicide then You of all people should have no trouble leading a life of renunciation here with the living.
Life is preparing for Death
Yana
 
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:45 am

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Alex123 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:51 am

Yana wrote:No.Why committ suicide?your guaranteed to die anyways.


If a person has incurable and painful disease, why suffer for many decades?
If person has a lot of suffering and its ending prior to death is uncertain, why suffer for many decades?
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2840
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:44 am

Alex123 wrote:If a person has incurable and painful disease, why suffer for many decades?
If person has a lot of suffering and its ending prior to death is uncertain, why suffer for many decades?


For most people such suffering would be pointless if that suffering means they cannot live a meaningful life.

However for a Buddhist practitioner who is interested in wisdom leading to freedom from greed, aversion, and delusion such a painful existence could be a brilliant teacher. One doesn't find freedom from Dukkha without experiencing pain and suffering and sometimes intense pain and suffering is what someone may need to wake up.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Aloka » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:20 am

Goofaholix wrote:
For most people such suffering would be pointless if that suffering means they cannot live a meaningful life.

However for a Buddhist practitioner who is interested in wisdom leading to freedom from greed, aversion, and delusion such a painful existence could be a brilliant teacher. One doesn't find freedom from Dukkha without experiencing pain and suffering and sometimes intense pain and suffering is what someone may need to wake up.


Intense pain and suffering would be the result of having one's arms and legs blown off as well as being blinded in a bomb explosion.

If that happened to me, even though I'm a practitioner, I wonder if it would be such a brilliant teacher and what I needed to wake up and lead a meaningful life ? Somehow I doubt it if I was without limbs and blind. I think its easy to say that intense pain and suffering is what someone may need to wake up if we're in good health and have never experienced extreme pain and suffering ourselves, but probably not quite so easy when in the middle of a situation like that. People usually have to be heavily drugged to cope with such extremes.
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3572
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:14 am

Aloka wrote:
Goofaholix wrote:Intense pain and suffering would be the result of having one's arms and legs blown off as well as being blinded in a bomb exposion.If that happened to me, even though I'm a practitioner, I wonder if it would be such a brilliant teacher and what I needed to wake up and lead a meaningful life ? Somehow I doubt it.


I don't know if I could do it either, but some people can and do.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 5 guests