Suicide and rebirth

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:45 am

A living puthujjana actually and in truth is to be found but not an arahant.


It sounds to me as though you think that an in the case of an unenlightened person there is some "actual in truth" soul / person / being, but not for an arahant. Do you think that becoming an arahant entails the destruction of this "actual in truth" soul / person / being?

Whereas "actual in truth" even a puthujjana is not to be found. That is what is meant by "not self", etc.

The difference between the puthujjana and the arahanat is not viz whether or not "actual in truth" there is a being to be found, but whether or not the defilements are present. Between a puthujjana and a sotapanna, the difference is whether or not the "identity view" is present.

It seems to me that you are conflating "actual in truth being" with "identity view". Whether or not some so-called being has an identity view or defilements is irrelevant to whether or not the term "killing" is applicable.

Although if an arahant were killed, they would not think "I (actually and truly) am being killed", this is irrelevant to the act of "killing". If the killer did not think that the arahant were "actually and truly" a living being, then they wouldn't have the intention to kill the arahant in the first place. Because such a person would be at least a sotapanna, thus incapable of committing any act which would lead to hellish rebirth, and thus incapable of killing an arahant.
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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:55 pm

Paññāsikhara wrote:
A living puthujjana actually and in truth is to be found but not an arahant.


It sounds to me as though you think that an in the case of an unenlightened person there is some "actual in truth" soul / person / being, but not for an arahant.

No, there isn't some "actual in truth" soul/person/being but there is some "actual in truth" illusion of a soul/person/being in case of an unenlightended person, but not for an arahant.
Paññāsikhara wrote:Do you think that becoming an arahant entails the destruction of this "actual in truth" soul / person / being?

No, it entails the destruction of the illusion.
Paññāsikhara wrote:The difference between the puthujjana and the arahanat is not viz whether or not "actual in truth" there is a being to be found, but whether or not the defilements are present. Between a puthujjana and a sotapanna, the difference is whether or not the "identity view" is present.
It seems to me that you are conflating "actual in truth being" with "identity view". Whether or not some so-called being has an identity view or defilements is irrelevant to whether or not the term "killing" is applicable.

A definiton from a dictionary for "to kill":
a. To put to death.
b. To deprive of life

No "identity view" means no "person" existing, no "person" existing means no conceit "I am", no conceit "I am" means there is no "being", no "being" means terms like "birth", "life", "death" aren't applicable.
According to the dictionary definition "killing" is not applicable in case of an arahant.
Paññāsikhara wrote:Although if an arahant were killed, they would not think "I (actually and truly) am being killed", this is irrelevant to the act of "killing".

Absolutely! In case of an unenlightened person it is even irrelevant who is going to be killed, it doesn't matter (very much) whether it is an arahant or not. The intentions matter and would lead to hellish rebirth for the one who's acting.
Paññāsikhara wrote:If the killer did not think that the arahant were "actually and truly" a living being, then they wouldn't have the intention to kill the arahant in the first place. Because such a person would be at least a sotapanna, thus incapable of committing any act which would lead to hellish rebirth, and thus incapable of killing an arahant.

Sure! I already said something like this here. But not equally detailed like you.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby Prasadachitta » Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:04 pm

Hello acinteyyo,

It sounds a little like you have a Theravada equivalent of "emptiness sickness". You seem to associate "life" with "illusion". Try thinking outside the box. I wish I knew how to say that in a better way but right now but alas I am at a loss.

Metta

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:38 pm

Hi acinteyyo,

I, too, don't see how you think there is "something" to be found in a non-Arahant.

Admittedly the following is attributed to Ven Vajira, not the Buddha, but I take this as the canonical position:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html
Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word 'chariot' is used,
So, when the aggregates are present,
There's the convention 'a being.'

Metta
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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:43 pm

Hi Acinteyyo,
acinteyyo wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Do you think that becoming an arahant entails the destruction of this "actual in truth" soul / person / being?

No, it entails the destruction of the illusion.

I think you are confusing two things:
1. The Arahant going beyond self-view.
2. The view of a non-Arahant perceiving another being who may or may not be an Arahant.
In the second case whether the being is an Arahant or not makes no difference to whether the non-Arahant perceives a self in him/her.

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:58 am

gabrielbranbury wrote:Hello acinteyyo,
It sounds a little like you have a Theravada equivalent of "emptiness sickness". You seem to associate "life" with "illusion". Try thinking outside the box. I wish I knew how to say that in a better way but right now but alas I am at a loss.
Metta
Gabe

Hi Gabe,
this is right, more or less. I associate "living being" with "belief in self" and the "belief in self" is a delusion. Because the puthujjana thinks: "I am" this "living being". This "living being" is just the five aggregates of grasping and the puthujjana regards the five aggregates of grasping as himself. But as we know, the five aggregates are not-self. It is difficult for me to explain myself better. Maybe you could show me the mistakes I made in your opinion. This would make things easier for me to argue with.
mikenz66 wrote:Hi acinteyyo,
I, too, don't see how you think there is "something" to be found in a non-Arahant.
Admittedly the following is attributed to Ven Vajira, not the Buddha, but I take this as the canonical position:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bodh.html
Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word 'chariot' is used,
So, when the aggregates are present,
There's the convention 'a being.'

Metta
Mike

Hi Mike,
I think you misunderstood me. When we say "non-arahant" (we don't mind sotapanna or anagami and so on here...) what we mean is "a being". "A being" means the five aggregates of grasping (pañc'upādānakkhandhā), this is also meant by "a person". So what is found in "a being" or rather what is "a being"? - the five aggregates of grasping. What is not to be found is "a self". "A being" clings to the five aggregates of grasping and takes what appears to be his 'self' at face value. This is the delusion. "A being" regards himself as a "self" (because of attavāda). The fundamental clinging (upādāna) in the five aggregates of grasping (pañc'upādānakkhandhā) is the "belief in self" (attavāda). To regard the five aggregates of grasping as "self" is the "personality view" (sakkāyaditthi). The five aggregates of grasping are regarded as the "person" (sakkāya). (Meaning that the pañc'upādānakkhandhā are regarded as sakkāya.)
The "person" (pañc'upādānakkhandhā) which "I am", which is "mine", which is "my self". This delusion can be found in a "non-arahant" but cannot be found in an arahant. It is the fundamental clinging to the "belief in self" which can be found in a "non-arahant" but not in an arahant. That is the reason why the five aggregates "of an arahant" are called "pañcakkhandhā". There is no clinging (upādāna) to "belief in self" (attavāda).
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Acinteyyo,
acinteyyo wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:Do you think that becoming an arahant entails the destruction of this "actual in truth" soul / person / being?

No, it entails the destruction of the illusion.

I think you are confusing two things:
1. The Arahant going beyond self-view.
2. The view of a non-Arahant perceiving another being who may or may not be an Arahant.
In the second case whether the being is an Arahant or not makes no difference to whether the non-Arahant perceives a self in him/her.

Metta
Mike

You have to read the whole reply.
Ven. Paññāsikhara said:
Paññāsikhara wrote:It sounds to me as though you think that an in the case of an unenlightened person there is some "actual in truth" soul / person / being, but not for an arahant.

And I answered:
acinteyyo wrote:No, there isn't some "actual in truth" soul/person/being but there is some "actual in truth" illusion of a soul/person/being in case of an unenlightended person, but not for an arahant.

The illusion I meant is the "belief in self" (attavāda), which is the fundamental clinging (upādāna).
The Ven. Paññāsikhara asked what you quoted above.
I'm not talking about the things you think I'm confusing. I'm only talking about "belief in self" (attavāda). Which is to be found in the puthujjana and not in an arahant.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby Prasadachitta » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:07 pm

Hello acinteyyo,

Can a self view "actually" be found? I would say that the nature of such a fundamental misunderstanding is that when we imagine it will disappear we cant help but couch it in terms of self view. If we hold to the "no self view" rigidly without leaving some room for a non conceptual understanding we will miss how this understanding is being skewed by our self view. Our misunderstanding does not exist nor is it non existent.



Metta

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:27 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:Hello acinteyyo,
Can a self view "actually" be found?

Hi Gabe,
certainly yes, a self view "actually" can be found.
It seems to me that some people here may belief that "emptiness" means that everything is absolutely void of content. It is not. "Emptiness" means that everything is void of "self" (sabbe dhamma anatta). But there is some "content" (there are dhammā to be found) naturally, otherwise there would be merely nothing and everything would just be an illusion.
gabrielbranbury wrote:I would say that the nature of such a fundamental misunderstanding is that when we imagine it will disappear we cant help but couch it in terms of self view. If we hold to the "no self view" rigidly without leaving some room for a non conceptual understanding we will miss how this understanding is being skewed by our self view. Our misunderstanding does not exist nor is it non existent.
Metta Gabe

Sorry, but I don't get your point.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:22 pm

Hi Acinteyyo,
acinteyyo wrote:You have to read the whole reply.
Ven. Paññāsikhara said:
Paññāsikhara wrote:It sounds to me as though you think that an in the case of an unenlightened person there is some "actual in truth" soul / person / being, but not for an arahant.

And I answered:
acinteyyo wrote:No, there isn't some "actual in truth" soul/person/being but there is some "actual in truth" illusion of a soul/person/being in case of an unenlightended person, but not for an arahant.

The illusion I meant is the "belief in self" (attavāda), which is the fundamental clinging (upādāna).
The Ven. Paññāsikhara asked what you quoted above.
I'm not talking about the things you think I'm confusing. I'm only talking about "belief in self" (attavāda). Which is to be found in the puthujjana and not in an arahant.

I don't believe I'm misunderstanding. What I meant was that a puthujjana will find the illusion of a self in him/herself, and assume a self in a fellow puthujjana or an arahant. I think you agree that it's all illusion, so no self is actually to be found.

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:46 pm

mikenz66 wrote:I don't believe I'm misunderstanding. What I meant was that a puthujjana will find the illusion of a self in him/herself, and assume a self in a fellow puthujjana or an arahant. I think you agree that it's all illusion, so no self is actually to be found.
Exactly! But the puthujjana doesn't know that the self in which he believes is actually an illusion. The puthujjana takes the illusion at face value and assumes a true self in himself and a fellow puthujjana or an arahant. So I agree, that actually a self is not to be found in both, puthujjana or arahant. But the illusion of a true self, the "belief in self" is to be found in a puthujjana.
I wonder what you then meant with:
mikenz66 wrote:I think you are confusing two things:
1. The Arahant going beyond self-view.
2. The view of a non-Arahant perceiving another being who may or may not be an Arahant.
In the second case whether the being is an Arahant or not makes no difference to whether the non-Arahant perceives a self in him/her.


best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:33 pm

Hi acinteyyo,

I think we agree. The list I gave was a repetition of the point I explained.

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby nowheat » Sat Feb 06, 2010 12:38 pm

The debate over whether Channa was an arahant or not seems to come from the translation of the Buddha's comment about Channa's blamelessness, which the Buddha pointed out was true on two accounts, the first about supporters we dismiss, but the second, about using the knife is the one the debate focuses on. The way this is translated in Nanamoli/Bodhi's version is:

MN144.13 p 1116

Sariputta, when one lays down the body and takes up a new body, then I say one is blameworthy. This did not happen in this case of the bhikkhu Channa; the bhikkhu Channa used the knife blamelessly.


This translation leads us to the conclusion that the placing of, or freedom from blame hinges on whether Channa was going to take up a new body or not -- in other words, was he an arahant? -- and thus the debate over what he said in answer to Sariputta's questions about his understanding of "This is mine, this I am..."

But the above wording depends on an unusual translation of the word "upadiyati" which in the instances I've found in suttas means "clinging" (a mental clinging) not "taking up" (a physical process). So my inelegant translation comes out:

Indeed, Sariputta, whomever lays aside his body, because he clings to another body, I say he is blameworthy. That is not present in the monk Channa. Blamelessly, Channa ate the knife.

That is about half-way to what it seems to me is actually being said. "Clings to" still sounds physical when we know that "clinging to" in the Buddha's parlance is mental. "Desires" would be a better word here, and I guess that though "eating the knife" makes clearer what he did with the knife (put it into his throat?) the traditional "used the knife" might be less gory, so:

Indeed, Sariputta, whomever lays aside his body, because he desires another body, I say he is blameworthy. That is not present in the monk Channa. Blamelessly, Channa used the knife.

What Sariputta was asking Channa when he visited him was not "are you an arahant?" but "Are you going to kill yourself to get a new body?" Channa answered in the Buddha's own style of speaking that he was not clinging to ideas of "This I am" -- he recognized that there was no guarantee of a new body. In other words, his intentions in killing himself were quite pure.

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:34 pm

acinteyyo wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:
A living puthujjana actually and in truth is to be found but not an arahant.


It sounds to me as though you think that an in the case of an unenlightened person there is some "actual in truth" soul / person / being, but not for an arahant.

No, there isn't some "actual in truth" soul/person/being but there is some "actual in truth" illusion of a soul/person/being in case of an unenlightended person, but not for an arahant.
Paññāsikhara wrote:Do you think that becoming an arahant entails the destruction of this "actual in truth" soul / person / being?

No, it entails the destruction of the illusion.
Paññāsikhara wrote:The difference between the puthujjana and the arahanat is not viz whether or not "actual in truth" there is a being to be found, but whether or not the defilements are present. Between a puthujjana and a sotapanna, the difference is whether or not the "identity view" is present.
It seems to me that you are conflating "actual in truth being" with "identity view". Whether or not some so-called being has an identity view or defilements is irrelevant to whether or not the term "killing" is applicable.

A definiton from a dictionary for "to kill":
a. To put to death.
b. To deprive of life

No "identity view" means no "person" existing, no "person" existing means no conceit "I am", no conceit "I am" means there is no "being", no "being" means terms like "birth", "life", "death" aren't applicable.
According to the dictionary definition "killing" is not applicable in case of an arahant.
Paññāsikhara wrote:Although if an arahant were killed, they would not think "I (actually and truly) am being killed", this is irrelevant to the act of "killing".

Absolutely! In case of an unenlightened person it is even irrelevant who is going to be killed, it doesn't matter (very much) whether it is an arahant or not. The intentions matter and would lead to hellish rebirth for the one who's acting.
Paññāsikhara wrote:If the killer did not think that the arahant were "actually and truly" a living being, then they wouldn't have the intention to kill the arahant in the first place. Because such a person would be at least a sotapanna, thus incapable of committing any act which would lead to hellish rebirth, and thus incapable of killing an arahant.

Sure! I already said something like this here. But not equally detailed like you.

best wishes, acinteyyo


Okay, I see what you are saying now.

Because you used the term "kill" to describe the "suicide", I applied it elsewhere, and the confusion set in. I still think you would have been better to indicate "suicide" in your examples, because we would know the difference between an arahant killing themselves and others killing an arahant. By using the term "kill" alone, rather than "suicide", it was easy to confuse your position and think that what you were saying was applicable to any killing of an arahant, when it was not. You wanted to mean an arahant killing an arahant as suicide. But using "killing" is open.

I don't know if you get my drift, but anyway, I understand your point now, and we are agreeing in a sense. I hope you can also see where and why I misunderstood you, because, if I may be direct and to the point, the way you worded it could be improved upon a bit! This is just a note, if, like me, you like to improve on clear expression of Dharma to share with others in the future.

:)
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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:36 pm

:goodpost:
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby Prasadachitta » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:31 pm

acinteyyo wrote:
gabrielbranbury wrote:Hello acinteyyo,
Can a self view "actually" be found?

Hi Gabe,
certainly yes, a self view "actually" can be found.
It seems to me that some people here may belief that "emptiness" means that everything is absolutely void of content. It is not. "Emptiness" means that everything is void of "self" (sabbe dhamma anatta). But there is some "content" (there are dhammā to be found) naturally, otherwise there would be merely nothing and everything would just be an illusion.


Hi acinteyyo,

Given that there is content and that it does not come from a self or go to a self, where is the self view?

It sounds as if you are saying that an Arahat is devoid of life because he is devoid of illusion. Is this not equating life with illusion? How does this differ from saying everything is an illusion?

Metta

Gaber
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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:14 pm

Hi Gabe,
gabrielbranbury wrote:Given that there is content and that it does not come from a self or go to a self, where is the self view?

"self-view" means to regard things as self, wich are actually not-self. There is a particular group of khanda to be found where "clinging" is also to be found. There is the "self-view".
gabrielbranbury wrote:It sounds as if you are saying that an Arahat is devoid of life because he is devoid of illusion. Is this not equating life with illusion?
No. I say an arahant is devoid of a certain illusion and therefore an arahant is totally freed. An arahant cannot be conceived in terms like "life" or "death", they simply do not apply. I don't say the arahant is devoid of life because he is devoid of illusion. I say the arahant is devoid of illusion, thus terms like "life" or "death" aren't applicable anymore. I don't say an arahant is alive nor do I say an arahant is not alive, because the terms do not apply. I hope this makes it easier to understand.
gabrielbranbury wrote:How does this differ from saying everything is an illusion?

As I explained above, you can see, that I don't equate "illusion" with "life".

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby Prasadachitta » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:57 pm

acinteyyo wrote:Hi Gabe,
gabrielbranbury wrote:Given that there is content and that it does not come from a self or go to a self, where is the self view?

"self-view" means to regard things as self, wich are actually not-self. There is a particular group of khanda to be found where "clinging" is also to be found. There is the "self-view".
gabrielbranbury wrote:It sounds as if you are saying that an arahat is devoid of life because he is devoid of illusion. Is this not equating life with illusion?
No. I say an arahant is devoid of a certain illusion and therefore an arahant is totally freed. An arahant cannot be conceived in terms like "life" or "death", they simply do not apply. I don't say the arahant is devoid of life because he is devoid of illusion. I say the arahant is devoid of illusion, thus terms like "life" or "death" aren't applicable anymore. I don't say an arahant is alive nor do I say an arahant is not alive, because the terms do not apply. I hope this makes it easier to understand.
gabrielbranbury wrote:How does this differ from saying everything is an illusion?

As I explained above, you can see, that I don't equate "illusion" with "life".

best wishes, acinteyyo


Thank you acinteyyo,

This makes it very clear. The way I see it an Arahat cannot be said to depend on life but only Dhamma which is beyond arising or passing away. I think we both see things in this way. Never the less we see life in the body of an Arahat. It must be that even though the Arahat sees no self in that life he understands the way in which we perceive it. The Arahat understands that there is life in the body through which the Dhamma is communicated. The harm of killing is not confined to the individual life form destroyed. If a person is killed the harmful effects ripple out into family and community. Even if we see a life snuffed out which we do not associate with, it can still be harmful for us. I guess I just dont see any benefit whatsoever in discussing such a topic when those of us who go for refuge will tend to have a tender heart for such beautiful and venerable beings. Traditionally speaking killing is not even about the self anyway. The self continues on into another life which will be killed or die again. Just because there is no perception of a self there is still life and suicide is still the snuffing out of life which is by definition killing. There is no way around that unless you change the definition of words. You could just simply say that an Arahat cannot break any precept no matter what we see the body doing because he does not perceive a self in it.

Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Suicide and rebirth

Postby baratgab » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:03 pm

Apologies if this was already discussed, or if this is inappropriate for this topic, but what is your stance on public self-immolation, for noble causes? I always found the following photo quite inspirational. According to the reports, the monk remained perfectly still during the self-immolation. When there is a bodily feeling that I consider painful, I often contemplate on his act; I found it helpful. :smile:

Image

Thích Quảng Đức: Thích Quảng Đức was protesting against the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam's Ngô Đình Diệm administration. Photos of his self-immolation were circulated widely across the world and brought attention to the policies of the Diệm regime.
"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline there is but one taste — the taste of freedom"
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