Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:46 pm

Nicolas wrote:Indeed, you are correct regarding the Godhika sutta, and it is obvious Godhika wasn't an arahant. Apologies for the oversight.

What about the other two suttas, though? Regarding Channa, "didn’t the bhikkhu Channa declare his blameless-ness right in your presence?" seems pretty clear-cut, implying that Channa was indeed blameless when talking to Sariputta.
The Commentary explains that he was mistaken about his attainment, that is why these great elders questioned and cross-questioned him. These eminent elders were able to know the minds of others, and therefore would have known that Channa was still not liberated.
DPPN wrote:Mahā-Cunda was evidently a disciple of great eminence, and is mentioned by the Buddha (A.iii.299; see also M.iii.78; Ud.i.5) in company with the Two Chief Disciples, Mahā-Kassapa, Mahā Kotthita, Mahā-Kaccāna and other very eminent Elders.
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Nicolas
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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by Nicolas » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:50 pm

(Indeed, "oversight"--thank you.)

The commentary makes sense, but I still can't reconcile it with "didn’t the bhikkhu Channa declare his blameless-ness right in your presence?". How does the commentary explain it?

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:02 pm

I attach a PDF of Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes on this sutta.
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:It should be noted that this commentarial interpretation is imposed on the text from the outside, as it were. If one sticks to the actual wording of the text it seems that Channa was already an arahant when he made his declaration, the dramatic punch being delivered by the failure of his two brother-monks to recognise this. The implication, of course, is that excruciating pain might motivate even an arahant to take his own life—not from aversion but simply from a wish to be free from unbearable pain.
So, if an Arahant is unable to bear severe pain, how can he be free from aversion? I see no way that this interpretation is possible.
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Nicolas
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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by Nicolas » Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:21 pm

Thank you.

Perhaps Channa was able to bear the pain, but saw it as unnecessary to remain alive in such conditions, considering his work was done?
Just as the Buddha says "my back aches, I will rest it", then perhaps Channa might say "my body aches, I will end it", seeing it as the simple (and blameless) answer to his body's condition, without aversion?

:shrug:

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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by SarathW » Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:10 pm

Yes this is exactly the point made by Bhante Jag. I can see his point. However i still uncertain about it as I am not an Arahant.
Considering the varied opinion and the uncertainty, I rather take the safe path.
That is ,Arahant will not commit suicide.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by justindesilva » Sun Oct 02, 2016 5:16 pm

SarathW wrote:Yes this is exactly the point made by Bhante Jag. I can see his point. However i still uncertain about it as I am not an Arahant.
Considering the varied opinion and the uncertainty, I rather take the safe path.
That is ,Arahant will not commit suicide.
When I was writing on this post earlier I noted that presenting our views is wrong . However it is not wrong if we base our views on Buddha Darma.
Having said that I too endorse the fact that any body committing suicide must have a valid reason of justification. Of course a layman committing suicide will end up in the lower realms of life.But an arhant will have the excuse of no rebirth.
Yet the wrong impression if not justified by an arhant by suicide will lead the layman to doubt in the validity of faith on buddhidm.
As such it I'd up to the skilled intellectuals to find and present valid and justified reasons to safeguard faith.
From the buddhist philosophy arising from damma it is my conviction that we are on this earth for a purpose.and the damma is there to explain this purpose. Tri lakshana (anitta, dukka, anatma) can be expanded to explain the value of purpose of life.
I do not wish to expand on my views hence that life in this matter of anatta cannot be subjected for disbanded for any selfish reason. How can this be explained in justification of suicide of an arhant.
Agganna sutra explains that life energy reacts with the expansion and contraction of the universe and morality has an effect on the environment.

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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by Monk Jag » Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:57 pm

Hi all

Sarath - Thanks for the invitation to contribute to this discussion and sorry about the late reply as I have been away on retreat and when I got back, was hit with a mountain of work.

The text is quite clear from the Buddha's lips on this matter, it is the commentators that want it to be otherwise as it does not fit neatly into their much-loved (and deeply attached to) pre-conceived understanding of Dhamma through the distorted lenses of commentarial literature.

If you read the texts as is, there is little to ponder. Unfortunately too many monks confuse the work of the Buddha with the work of commentators, and one of these two has a greater authority than the other. This has led of course to misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the Buddha's teaching and is a case of "expanding on what should not be expanded on". The Buddha said that these people slander the Tathagatta: "Those who expand what should not be expanded, and those who do not expand those teachings that require expansion".

Monks who try to force Christian values of "suicide = hell" in some automatic fashion do not understand even the 5 precepts no matter how many times they chant them.​ The Buddha himself also warned about making conclusions in a simple way about Kamma, and that any man who tried to work out Kamma would go mad. So the idea of a simple suicide = hell, and suicide= bad sila is clearly mistaken and has no place in an academic study on the topic.

If anyone can show textual evidence from the suttas that categorically shows that Arahants are incapable of killing themselves, then I am more than happy to investigate. I have (in reading the Suttas) not found such evidence. This is in contrast to the references in a few suttas indicating that Arahants killed themselves due to illness. The burden of proof here is on those who claim arahants cannot kill themselves, not the other way around, as the text clearly indicates that Arahants have indeed "Used the knife" and did so "Blamelessly". "Blameless" means fully enlightened.

The idea that the commentators were also around at the time and were reading the minds of the monks is clearly indefensible. If this was the case, then Sariputta would have known that the Bhikku in question was "Blameless" as decreed by the Buddha, and would not have worried about that monk as he was already a man perfected. So then we have an unlikely, and untenable alternative position of Sariputta reading the mind of another monk and getting his attainment wrong as the Buddha told Sariputta afterwards that he was "blameless" when he used the knife.

Apologists (commentators) will of course try to make things fit by invoking other non-Buddhavaccana comments like "As he was dying, his mind became free of the defilements, and thus he was blameless then". This is merely a convenient argument based on ideology with no in-text proof whatsoever (and, no...commentary is not proof when it validates itself). This is why I find commentaries nothing more than occasionally helpful footnotes. I do not give it full authority over the Suttas, and where there are discrepancies, the Suttas (for me) always trumps commentaries and Abhidhamma. Any misunderstanding that arises after reading a sutta is usually due to a lack of wisdom rather than a defficiency in the text itself, and hence this means I have more work to do rather than simply agree with a commentary that has no basis or qualification any more than the rambling thoughts of modern-day monks like myself....just another commentator!!!

Hope this helps!

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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:44 pm

Greetings bhante,

:anjali:

Great to see you here. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by Maiev » Sun Oct 16, 2016 11:34 pm

We must keep in mind that an arahant is free of idealism. An arahant might find himself if the situation of suffering from terrible incurable illness and lacking the possibility of teaching the dhamma due to his old age and illness. Knowing there is no more rebirth, nothing more to do in this world, the only rational solution is suicide. Been free from idealism and superstitious beliefs, why would he hesitate in doing the rational choice ?

I think this is why we do not hear too much about sotapanna suicide in the suttas. Such a person still has things to do so he might remain here. Noble ones act with complete pragmatism, been free of idealism and superstitious beliefs.

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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by ryanM » Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:32 am

Yes, thank you Bhante Jag :) Sadhu!

:anjali:
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"

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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by justindesilva » Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:17 am

Maiev wrote:We must keep in mind that an arahant is free of idealism. An arahant might find himself if the situation of suffering from terrible incurable illness and lacking the possibility of teaching the dhamma due to his old age and illness. Knowing there is no more rebirth, nothing more to do in this world, the only rational solution is suicide. Been free from idealism and superstitious beliefs, why would he hesitate in doing the rational choice ?

I think this is why we do not hear too much about sotapanna suicide in the suttas. Such a person still has things to do so he might remain here. Noble ones act with complete pragmatism, been free of idealism and superstitious beliefs.
Please correct me if I am wrong.
From what I understand from the word of Lord budda is that we exist as an inextricably interwoven part of the energy of the universe and the earth. Karma is the pattern of control of these life forces which does not belong to us.
Neither an arhant, a sotapanna or a lay person can decide when to severe our life from nature. Hence how can an arhant decide against nature when to take off his life. This fact makes irregularities in deciding whether an arhant is in control of the natural balance of the universe after attaining arhantship. Does this clarify the status of an almighty GOD. And it should not be.
Further more "Sui cide" is a wrong word to be used in this thread considering the literal translation.

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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by robertk » Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:49 am

Monk Jag wrote:Hi all


Monks who try to force Christian values of "suicide = hell" in some automatic fashion do not understand even the 5 precepts no matter how many times they chant them.​ The Buddha himself also warned about making conclusions in a simple way about Kamma, and that any man who tried to work out Kamma would go mad. So the idea of a simple suicide = hell, and suicide= bad sila is clearly mistaken and has no place in an academic study on the topic.
Thanks for your input on the forum Venerable.
Actually there are cases where monks committed suicide - who were still worldlings-- and attained rebirth in a deva world, according to the commentaries. So the Theravada position is rather nuanced.
Monk Jag wrote: Any misunderstanding that arises after reading a sutta is usually due to a lack of wisdom rather than a defficiency in the text itself, and hence this means I have more work to do rather than simply agree with a commentary that has no basis or qualification any more than the rambling thoughts of modern-day monks like myself....just another commentator!!!
I think the opinions of modern people-even monks, or ancient for that matter, hardly equate with the Commentaries that have been handed down - and that were recited and accepted at the Mahavihara all those hundreds of years past:

IB Horner writes The prime object of every Commentary is to make the meanings of the words and
phrases in the canonical passages it is elucidating abundantly clear, definite, definitive even....This is to preserve the Teachings of the Buddha as nearly as possible in the sense intended, and as conveyed by the succession of teachers, acariyaparama. Always there were detractors, always there were and still are "improvers" ready with their own notions. Through friends and enemies alike deletirous change and deterioration in the word of the Buddha might intervene for an indefinite length of time. The Commentaries are the armour and protection against such an eventuality. AS they hold a unique position as preservers and interpreters of true Dhamma, it is essential not only to follow them carefully and adopt the meaning they ascribe to a word or phrase each time they comment on it. They are as closed now as is the Pali canon. No additions to their corpus or subtractions from it are to contemplated, and no commentary written in later days could be included in it.
Horner. pxiii Clarifier of the Sweet Meaning" PAli Text Society 1978

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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by cjmacie » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:54 am

SarathW wrote:A person who attain fourth Jhana has neither pain nor pleasure.
They are imbued with equanimity.
Are you saying these four Arahants (if they were Arahants before the act of taking knife) were not attained any Jhana?
As this is already wallowing in a thicket of views, how about this? Was this an unskillful act? (Do you know the circumstances? – the Buddha's consideration of life-termination and attainment does appear to have been carefully calibrated by circumstances.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E37cMtCrKoA
justindesilva wrote:...What difference of suicidal nature of an arhant or a priest such as the one in Vietnam for patriotic reasons.
These are important facts.
That's in the area of "circumstances" referred to above. This situation here involved a bit more than "patriotic reasons".

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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by Maiev » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:04 am

From what I understand from the word of Lord budda is that we exist as an inextricably interwoven part of the energy of the universe and the earth.
Neither an arhant, a sotapanna or a lay person can decide when to severe our life from nature. Hence how can an arhant decide against nature when to take off his life. This fact makes irregularities in deciding whether an arhant is in control of the natural balance of the universe after attaining arhantship.
As far as I know, nothing about "energy of universe" or "been a slave to nature" or "natural ballance of the universe" is mentioned in the suttas. Buddhism is pragmatic, not idealistic. You do what is best in a situation without caring about such poetic ideas.
A person who attain fourth Jhana has neither pain nor pleasure.
They are imbued with equanimity.
Are you saying these four Arahants (if they were Arahants before the act of taking knife) were not attained any Jhana?
Jhana is a temporary state not a permanent one. That is why Buddha practiced jhana when he had back pains. But even if jhana would be a permanent state of mind, what good would it be if a person finds himself in a situation with nothing more to do in this world ? Why would he stay here just for the sake of experiencing jhana ? Jhana is a conditioned state too and an arahant has no attachment to jhana just as he does not have attachment to food.

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Re: Bhante Jag - Euthanasia

Post by cjmacie » Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:16 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:...Since Arahants are entirely free from dosa, why would they take their own life? The accounts clearly show that these men were not free from dejection and disappointment (which are aspects of dosa) prior to taking up a knife.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:This is not suicide, of course. Dabba foresaw his own imminent demise, and paid his final respects to the Blessed One before performing his self-cremation.
Interesting distinction: "suicide" vs "self-cremation".

further
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:...Venerable Ānanda did a similar thing to prevent anyone fighting over his remains.
Good point -- again, the circumstances …
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:...if an Arahant is unable to bear severe pain, how can he be free from aversion? I see no way that this interpretation is possible...
Isn’t arahant consciousness kiriya – purely functional? Another interpretation would be that "bearing severe pain" is not the issue; aversion, as well as "dejection", "disappointment" would be mundane; rather that mind-body functionality is so degraded as to be useless to try to continue it. "What needed to be done is done" fulfilled path; nothing more to do, except maybe teach. But if anything productive (for others) becomes impossible? What's there to cling to?

(Similar to the idea in Postby Nicolas » Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:21 pm.)
"Suicide" is Latin for self-killing. What's the "self" here that gets terminated? Five piles of phenomena: material, feeling-tone, percepts, fabrications and consciousness? What's to blame dropping that?

As well as
justindesilva wrote:"Sui cide" is a wrong word to be used in this thread considering the literal translation.
It clearly carries Western religious and modernist cultural baggage, as amply evidence in this discussion.

Facit:
Listening to Bante Jaganātha's talk, and then re-reading this whole thread, and his post (which I hadn't seen until just now), I'm impressed with his understanding and teaching. Rhetorically, he's a bit free-wheeling, and occasionally uses phrasing, which, taken literally and out of context, can be quibbled with – as some here took advantage of.

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