Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

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jrob1989
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Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by jrob1989 » Wed May 23, 2018 9:48 am

Hi

I'm looking for some guidance, I have been attending a Buddhism group for a while now and am becoming attracted to it's teachings however I find it's view on suicide very off putting. Unfortunately my father committed suicide a number of years back which I have had major difficulties with. I'm struggling to believe this act will result in bad karma and only worsen his next life in the view of Buddhism. Does anyone have any guidance to offer?

Thanks
Last edited by jrob1989 on Wed May 23, 2018 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Bundokji
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Re: Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by Bundokji » Wed May 23, 2018 10:08 am

jrob1989 wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 9:48 am
Hi

I'm looking for some guidance, I have been attending a Buddhism group for a while now and am becoming attracted to it's teachings however I find it's view on suicide very off putting. Unfortunately my farther committed suicide a number of years back which I have had major difficulties with. I'm struggling to believe this act will result in bad karma and only worsen his next life in the view of Buddhism. Does anyone have any guidance to offer?

Thanks
"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

"The Buddha-range of the Buddhas[1] is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"The jhana-range of a person in jhana...[2]

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"These are the four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
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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rightviewftw
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Re: Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by rightviewftw » Wed May 23, 2018 10:17 am

As i understand the Dhamma it is an offence of wrong-doing to kill oneself, how big of an offence depends on several factors. Suicide for one who does not take another birth is blameless and occurs in very specific circumstances.
How to Destroy any addiction
How to Meditate: Satipatthana Mahasi
Медитация Сатипаттхана Випассана
How To Develop Factors of Enlightenment & Perceptions
Complete Manual of Insight by Mahasi Sayadaw
Tyranny of Words - An Introduction to General Semantics
Ledi Sayadaw's Anapana Dipani (Samatha) @ ffmt.fr/articles/maitres/LediS/anapana-dipani.ledi-sayadaw.pdf
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Sam Vara
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Re: Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by Sam Vara » Wed May 23, 2018 11:43 am

jrob1989 wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 9:48 am
Hi

I'm looking for some guidance, I have been attending a Buddhism group for a while now and am becoming attracted to it's teachings however I find it's view on suicide very off putting. Unfortunately my father committed suicide a number of years back which I have had major difficulties with. I'm struggling to believe this act will result in bad karma and only worsen his next life in the view of Buddhism. Does anyone have any guidance to offer?

Thanks
Hi jrob,

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel.

I'm really sorry to hear about your father. Suicide is particularly hard for relatives to deal with for all sorts of reasons. Could you say what views on suicide have been expressed, and by whom? I'm not sure that the Buddha said all that much about suicide, and people have made all sorts of inferences from what he said in other contexts. It might help with responses if you could give a bit more detail.

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DooDoot
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Re: Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by DooDoot » Wed May 23, 2018 12:43 pm

jrob1989 wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 9:48 am
... this act will result in bad karma and only worsen his next life in the view of Buddhism.
Welcome friend

While I have not read 100% of the Buddha's reported teachings, I have never read the above idea explicitly taught by the Buddha. I have only ever read MN 144, which appears to say that a person that commits suicide due to grasping for (upādiyati) another type of mental-physical state (kaya) is "blameworthy". I guess what is meant by the word "blameworthy" is the person was unable to end life with a mind free from grasping. If you have not heard before, (in MN 37) the Buddha described the ultimate goal of his entire teaching as freedom from grasping (which is Nirvana).

Therefore, if your father's mind was not free from grasping when he took his life, according to MN 144, this certainly appears "blameworthy" from the perspective of full enlightenment. However, this appears to not explicitly say this act will worsen your father's next life. I imagine a person's future will be determined according to both the good & bad kamma a person has performed, as taught in MN 136.

Most importantly, if your father was suffering, reflecting deeply on this will help you greatly to develop compassion for the many similar suffering people in this world. The compassion & wisdom you generate you can dedicate to your father. :heart:

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Re: Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by James Tan » Wed May 23, 2018 2:09 pm

jrob1989 wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 9:48 am
Hi

I'm looking for some guidance, I have been attending a Buddhism group for a while now and am becoming attracted to it's teachings however I find it's view on suicide very off putting. Unfortunately my father committed suicide a number of years back which I have had major difficulties with. I'm struggling to believe this act will result in bad karma and only worsen his next life in the view of Buddhism. Does anyone have any guidance to offer?

Thanks
I am sorry to hear of your father incident .
I think we can look it from this angle .
Buddha's teaching is about now and here and maybe you can think about it first.
If says when your father died in distress or
disappointment, corresponding to his mental state that might cause him to take birth in unfortunate state also.
That is of course unfortunate.
For example , It is just like someone done something bad such as stealing , even in dreams we will full of fears . It could be depending on the state of our mental at the passing time .

According to my experience , even though so,
You can still help your father .
I had a friend whom dreamt of his father in the unfortunate state (his father was a alcoholic) ,
A friend suggested him to recite .. itipiso Katha ,
he chanted sincerely for how many ten thousand times and dedicated to his father . After many months , he dream of his father came out of the unfortunate state. Of course I do have other experiences that influences my confidence in the triple Gems .
I hope this helps .
:reading:

Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed May 23, 2018 3:35 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 12:43 pm
I imagine a person's future will be determined according to both the good & bad kamma a person has performed ...
^^^

Then the Venerable Sāriputta approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Venerable sir, the Venerable Channa has used the knife. What is his destination, what is his future bourn?”

“Sāriputta, didn’t the bhikkhu Channa declare his blameless-ness right in your presence?”

“Venerable sir, there is a Vajjian village named Pubbavijjhana. There the Venerable Channa had friendly families, intimate families, hospitable families.”

“The Venerable Channa did indeed have these friendly families, Sāriputta, intimate families, hospitable families; but I do not say that to this extent one is blameworthy. Sāriputta, when one lays down this body and takes up another body, then I say one is blameworthy. This did not happen in the case of the bhikkhu Channa. The bhikkhu Channa used the knife blamelessly. Thus, Sāriputta, should you remember it.”


SN 35:87 trans Bodhi https://suttacentral.net/sn35.87/en/bodhi

In this sutta both Sariputta and Maha Cunda doubt Channa's understanding, both apparently basing their doubt on Channa's fondness for the company of laymen. The Buddha explains that although such attachment is a dangerous thing, it is the taking of one's own life for the sake of taking up rebirth in another body that is the issue in the case of suicide. Channa was above this error and knew he was above such an error.

M Olds https://tinyurl.com/yatrxujg
Last edited by Karma Dondrup Tashi on Wed May 23, 2018 4:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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DNS
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Re: Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by DNS » Wed May 23, 2018 3:52 pm

I'd also be interested in hearing what views you heard and by whom. While Buddhism is opposed to suicide, it takes a much less harsh view of it, compared to other religions. I am not condoning suicide, but there are cases of arahants (mentioned above) who were considered blameless who basically did euthanasia on themselves and then also the other points made above about the whole life events and actions that are taken into account, not typically just one event from your life.

Perhaps related, see also:
https://dhammawiki.com/index.php/Last_thought_moment

(how the final moment, final thought moment does not necessarily solely determine the next rebirth)

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Dhammarakkhito
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Re: Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Wed May 23, 2018 4:41 pm

i doubt venerable channa was an arahant until after he inflicted the fatal wound on himself, same with ven vakkali.
facing one's mortality directly can bring about enlightenment. in order to commit suicide you have to view a being conditionally arisen as permanent and thus take an effort to annihilate it. it's unskillful, based in wrong view. so the consequences are generally dark.
the only sure way out of existence is by penetrating the four noble truths :heart: :candle:
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dharmacorps
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Re: Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by dharmacorps » Wed May 23, 2018 6:38 pm

I'm sorry to hear about your father. I have several family members who have committed suicide too. Although killing of any kind is discouraged by the Buddha, I would say on the whole, the view on suicide is less negative than christianity for instance-- because in christianity, it is a mortal sin and results in eternal damnation. Eternal. That's deeply disturbing to me as a human being who has seen family members suffer with mental illness, depression, and terrible suffering.

With the dhamma, you have the opportunity to make merit for your father at any time. Dedicate the merit of your practice to him. Where ever his rebirth was-- and we don't know it was a bad rebirth because we only see a small part of the story-- he will be there for a time, then be reborn somewhere else under other circumstances. That is a more managable approach I believe than most other religions-- but thats me :)

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by JamesTheGiant » Wed May 23, 2018 7:57 pm

He will be there for a time, then be reborn somewhere else under other circumstances.
This is worth repeating. Even if suicide does cause bad kamma, after some time the kamma will be used up, and you father will be reborn in a good place. :anjali:

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Re: Trouble with buddhism view on suicide

Post by SarathW » Thu May 24, 2018 1:13 am

Sorry to here about the death of your father.
I can related to you as two of my close relatives commit suicide.
Even though the Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country the suicide rate in Sri Lanka is the highest.
This is so ironic!
Kamma and the result associate with suicide is very complex.
I just leave as it is and pay more attention to practice Dhamma.
You can read more here.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=27879&hilit=
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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