Suicide is not Buddhist

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
coconut
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Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by coconut »

Lately there's been a few Buddhist practitioners committing suicide, I feel like I should quote this sutta.
“Even though Master Kassapa says this, still I think that there’s no afterlife.”

“Can you prove it?”

“I can.”

“How, exactly, chieftain?”

“Well, I see ascetics and brahmins who are ethical, of good character, who want to live and don’t want to die, who want to be happy and recoil from pain. I think to myself, ‘If those ascetics and brahmins knew that things were going to be better for them after death, they’d drink poison, slit their wrists, hang themselves, or throw themselves off a cliff. They mustn’t know that things are going to be better for them after death. That’s why they are ethical, of good character, wanting to live and not wanting to die, wanting to be happy and recoiling from pain.’ This is the method by which I prove that there’s no afterlife.”

“Well then, chieftain, I shall give you a simile. For by means of a simile some sensible people understand the meaning of what is said.

Once upon a time, a certain brahmin had two wives. One had a son ten or twelve years of age, while the other was pregnant and nearing her time. Then the brahmin passed away.

So the youth said to his mother’s co-wife, ‘Madam, all the wealth, grain, silver, and gold is mine, and you get nothing. Transfer to me my father’s inheritance.’

But the brahmin lady said, ‘Wait, my dear, until I give birth. If it’s a boy, one portion shall be his. If it’s a girl, she will be your reward.’

But for a second time, and a third time, the youth insisted that the entire inheritance must be his.

So the brahmin lady took a knife, went to her bedroom, and sliced open her belly, thinking, ‘Until I give birth, whether it’s a boy or a girl!’ She destroyed her own life and that of the fetus, as well as any wealth.

Being foolish and incompetent, she sought an inheritance irrationally and fell to ruin and disaster. In the same way, chieftain, being foolish and incompetent, you’re seeking the other world irrationally and will fall to ruin and disaster, just like that brahmin lady. Good ascetics and brahmins don’t force what is unripe to ripen; rather, they wait for it to ripen. For the life of clever ascetics and brahmins is beneficial. So long as they remain, good ascetics and brahmins make much merit, and act for the welfare and happiness of the people, for the benefit, welfare, and happiness of gods and humans. By this method, too, it ought to be proven that there is an afterlife.”
- DN 23

I repeat this important line in bold and large font.

Good ascetics and brahmins don’t force what is unripe to ripen; rather, they wait for it to ripen.

The only exception is that you're an Arahant (you're blameless) and thus do not generate karma,and cannot live anymore for whatever reason, perhaps very poor health. Aside from that, if you are not an Arahant, then committing suicide is throwing away a very very rare rebirth. If you're not an arahant and you're near death already, perhaps from a disease, then I can understand suicide, but otherwise I would say that the suttas agree that suicide is a waste of human life.

I realize this may stir up controversy or drama, but that's what the suttas say.
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Mahabrahma
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by Mahabrahma »

Suicide breaks the Buddhist precept of not killing. Buddha put that precept there because He has uncompromising compassion towards you and Loves you. The Dhamma cares about you. And the Sangha would feel a great loss if you departed from this world too soon before your acquired lifespan were to send you to your next life.
Inedible
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by Inedible »

Most people aren't casual about suicide. It is a one shot deal and the consequences of getting it wrong are awful. The ones who do it and get it right don't tend to tell other people about it. Once they are committed to the course of action they usually appear calmer and happier. Just a little longer now and they know it. Often they give away possessions. You never really hear them say gosh I shouldn't do this because some person I don't really know on the internet was talking about how bad it is to choose suicide. There are stories about people who ended up not doing it because someone gave them hope in an unexpected way at just the right time. Often those people never know they saved a life.
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by JamesTheGiant »

coconut wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:08 pm ... the suttas agree that suicide is a waste of human life.

I realize this may stir up controversy or drama, but that's what the suttas say.
Thankyou, it is good to be reminded of these things.
And studies have shown that religious rules against suicide do actually stop a significant percentage of religious people killing themselves. Interesting!
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DooDoot
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by DooDoot »

coconut wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:08 pm
- DN 23

I repeat this important line in bold and large font.
I always considered the monk lost the debate in DN 23; which is why I personally regard DN 23 as fake. The excerpt provided appears illogical to me. For example, generally people don't commit suicide "seeking the other world".

For example, the following is also illogical: "The moon and sun...are in the other world...By this method it ought to be proven that there is an afterlife...” :roll:
coconut wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:08 pmThe only exception is that you're an Arahant (you're blameless) and thus do not generate karma,and cannot live anymore for whatever reason, perhaps very poor health.
There appears no evidence the notable suicides in the suttas were Arahants.
coconut wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:08 pmAside from that, if you are not an Arahant, then committing suicide is throwing away a very very rare rebirth.
Obviously what you personally imagine "rebirth" to be is not anything "rare".
coconut wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:08 pmI realize this may stir up controversy or drama, but that's what the suttas say
Sorry but what you posted appears mostly your own ideas about the suttas. The suttas appear to never say Channa in MN 144, for example, was an Arahant. Also, the suttas appear to never say life as a homo sapien is rare. Suttas, such as SN 56.47, appear to say a "human birth" is rare and a human birth is living ethically & wisely according to the Dhamma. Many suttas (AN 3.114, AN 5.60, AN 5.143, AN 6.96, AN 10.73) say what is "rare" in the world and it appears not what you are suggesting.
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SarathW
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by SarathW »

Good ascetics and brahmins don’t force what is unripe to ripen; rather, they wait for it to ripen.
Irrespective of the OP question I agree with this statement.
There is a gradual process for everything and we should have the patient.
Passing an exam, accumulating wealth, getting your promotion, becoming an Arahant, or anything in your life.

============
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SarathW
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by SarathW »

In my opinion, people commit suicide due to unbearable physical or mental pain.
There is also the ignorance that they think they can end the pain by committing suicide not realising that you still experience the pain in the next birth.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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DooDoot
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by DooDoot »

SarathW wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:28 am still experience the pain in the next birth.
evidence? :shrug:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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SarathW
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by SarathW »

DooDoot wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:26 am
SarathW wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:28 am still experience the pain in the next birth.
evidence? :shrug:
Faith. :D
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

DooDoot wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:26 am
SarathW wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:28 am still experience the pain in the next birth.
evidence? :shrug:


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thepea
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by thepea »

Suicide is Buddhist, but not dhamma.
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Bundokji
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by Bundokji »

I think whether there is an afterlife or not is not the best argument for or against suicide. If rebirth completely negates the meaning of death, then contemplating death would be an act of foolishness. If death completely negates the meaning of an afterlife, then monks who take their own lives wont be blamed for taking another body.

From that perspective, to die to something is to give birth to something else, and whatever is subject to birth has to be subject to death.

Usually, the arguments go as to speculate about the destination after suicide, which is often associated with lower realms. However, there is no evidence that this will be the case. Many of our choices are driven by knowing what we do not want. We are always heading towards an unknown future. Even if one ends up in a lower realm, this is also subject to change. If things are too linear, then we would all end up in hell for eternity as "aversion" is the natural feeling for those who live in hell. Of course, unless one believes in suffering and punishment as a way to purification, then those who end up in hell would go straight up to heavenly realms, so its not too bad after all.

To sum up: the confusion about suicide is yet another example of samsaric thinking. It say nothing meaningful of whats going to happen after we die.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta »

coconut wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:08 pm Lately there's been a few Buddhist practitioners committing suicide, I feel like I should quote this sutta.

...

:thanks:
.


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Mahabrahma
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by Mahabrahma »

thepea wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:13 am Suicide is Buddhist, but not dhamma.
My friend, Buddhism comes from the Dhamma. A compassionate Buddhist may be overcome with grief and choose to take their own life in desperation, but the influences that led them to do that do not come from Buddhism, or from their compassion, such influences come from the hurt of this world. It may not be their fault, and I am reluctant to blame anyone who commits suicide, but such an action does not come from Buddhism which is inseparable from the Dhamma. :candle:
thepea
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Re: Suicide is not Buddhist

Post by thepea »

Mahabrahma wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:04 pm
thepea wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:13 am Suicide is Buddhist, but not dhamma.
My friend, Buddhism comes from the Dhamma. A compassionate Buddhist may be overcome with grief and choose to take their own life in desperation, but the influences that led them to do that do not come from Buddhism, or from their compassion, such influences come from the hurt of this world. It may not be their fault, and I am reluctant to blame anyone who commits suicide, but such an action does not come from Buddhism which is inseparable from the Dhamma. :candle:
Buddhism is a belief structure.
Dhamma is the buddhas teachings.
A Buddhist with belief can kill them self.
One immersed in dhamma cannot.
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