Burning and human remains

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
SarathW
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Re: Burning and human remains

Post by SarathW » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:17 am

It's blackmail.
I don't think so.
Perhaps it is another way to fight.
You can fight fire with fire or with water.
But none work all the time.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Burning and human remains

Post by JamesTheGiant » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:26 am

I've seen an open air cremation, and I can confirm the heart and internals sizzle and bubble and don't burn away for a very long time, until the very end.

chownah
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Re: Burning and human remains

Post by chownah » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:24 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:26 am
I've seen an open air cremation, and I can confirm the heart and internals sizzle and bubble and don't burn away for a very long time, until the very end.
It seems that the burning monk aroused the passions of many and it seems likely that it was intended to do so.

It seems that the burning monk created discontent and it seems likely that it was intended to do so.

Gotami sutta:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
An excerpt:
"Gotami, the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to passion, not to dispassion; to being fettered, not to being unfettered; to accumulating, not to shedding; to self-aggrandizement, not to modesty; to discontent, not to contentment; to entanglement, not to seclusion; to laziness, not to aroused persistence; to being burdensome, not to being unburdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is not the Dhamma, this is not the Vinaya, this is not the Teacher's instruction.'
chownah

dharmacorps
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Re: Burning and human remains

Post by dharmacorps » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:34 pm

Killing oneself to "protest" actions by another person or groups of people has multiple layers of wrong view involved including not understanding kamma for starters.

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AgarikaJ
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Re: Burning and human remains

Post by AgarikaJ » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:29 am

dharmacorps wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:34 pm
Killing oneself to "protest" actions by another person or groups of people has multiple layers of wrong view involved including not understanding kamma for starters.
One could argue that being dispassionate about ones own life and ending it to protect those who are unable to resist persecution and to make a statement recognizable to people outside of the faith could have merit.

If it could be inferred that this man was not acting out of a mental state of hatred but out of a mental state of contentment it might, from this aspect, be called 'skillful'.

However, is this interpretation Right View? There is the simple fact that we do not know the true mental state of this person.

There is an interesting discussion on the subject of suicide here:
http://www.westernbuddhistreview.com/vo ... ering.html

It brings forward, that suicide was only tolerated by the Buddha in very (!) special circumstances, where the subject was unable to act unskillfully due to to achieving Aranhantship, acting out of a motivation of not clinging to his old body any more.

However, there are clear rules in the Vinaya both with regard to promoting it towards others, assisting them or with regard to killing oneself due to personal hardship/illness. This was a monk, so might they apply here?

What have I taken from the linked discussion, personally? As suicide mainly will be motivated by unskillful states of mind like despair or grief, I would recommend strongly against it and it certainly would break the first precept of actively assisting such an act in any way. However, this was the key sentence for me: "This study has hopefully shown that we cannot prejudge a situation ethically. We must weigh each case carefully, and even then we may, like Saariputta, who was '˜foremost in wisdom', make a mistake."

As such I would not wish to pass judgement if this particular monk in these very particular circumstances acted skillfully and that his death actually broke the first precept.
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

dharmacorps
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Re: Burning and human remains

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:46 pm

AgarikaJ wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:29 am

One could argue that being dispassionate about ones own life and ending it to protect those who are unable to resist persecution and to make a statement recognizable to people outside of the faith could have merit.
You could argue that. It would be based on western, modern political conceptualizations of justice, protest, and resistance rather than having a basis in the teachings. Case in point, the link you gave was to a site called western buddhism.

https://www.lionsroar.com/wisdom-over-justice/


:anjali:

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StormBorn
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Re: Is it unwholesome to criticise ordained monks?

Post by StormBorn » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:16 am

justindesilva wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:53 am
Please note that since 1963 upto now the act of burning himself to death by Tich van duc is internationally known to be an act of self mortification and heroic being patriotic. It was so published even by CNN and other media. What made this act unique is that while burning he sat in lotus position still and steady and did not move until he was burnt out. The media suggested it was a dyana.
Please note that I was careful in bringing this to the notice of participants of this forum. I as a school going high school student (at the time) followed this as of interest in buddhism .
Oh, now CNN also giving "jhaana certs"! :clap:

Buddha taught not to do things that harms oneself or others. These kind of foolish/hateful actions (including hunger strikes) have nothing to do with the values of Buddhism.

Another self-immolation in Sri Lanka as a protest against the slaughter of cows (warning: graphic images & video). They found the monk to be mentally ill: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... Lanka.html
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

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AgarikaJ
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Re: Burning and human remains

Post by AgarikaJ » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:20 am

dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:46 pm
AgarikaJ wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:29 am

One could argue that being dispassionate about ones own life and ending it to protect those who are unable to resist persecution and to make a statement recognizable to people outside of the faith could have merit.
You could argue that. It would be based on western, modern political conceptualizations of justice, protest, and resistance rather than having a basis in the teachings. Case in point, the link you gave was to a site called western buddhism.

https://www.lionsroar.com/wisdom-over-justice/


:anjali:
The reason why I questioned my own argument further down in my post. I agree that there is a high likelihood that this suicide was unskillful.

However, I see this not as a clear-cut case, as long as we have no further information about the true mental state of this monk and it is not reported how his own Sangha -- those who should have known about his motives best -- judged this issue.

Even though you find criticism based on the location of my source (it being a Western Buddhist site), it nevertheless quoted directly from various Suttas.

As such I still believe that the Buddha tolerated (note, that I did not write accepted or even supported) suicides in the case of Arahants. As such cases are mentioned multiple times in the Suttas this seems not to have been a rare event then in the same way as it happens not infrequently in our times.

Has this been an Arahant though?

There are those who believe he was. Definitely not being one myself I would have no way of ever knowing, so I am willing to leave it at that. :anjali:
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

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budo
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Re: Burning and human remains

Post by budo » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:15 am

The question is, would he have made more people enlightened being alive or dead?

Morality is irrelevant, people will cycle through heaven and hell for eternity. So sacrificing his body to improve morality is a wasted effort. Thus politics is a wasted effort. It is all a show on the theater of samsara.

The only thing that matters is unbinding/enlightenment. So if his suicide led to enlightenment of others escaping samsara, then yes his suicide is not wasted assuming he has already enlightened himself. If his suicide did not lead to the unbinding and enlightenment of others, then it was a waste and he would have been more useful alive teaching the dhamma.

If suicide was effective in bringing about enlightenment, then the Buddha would have killed himself as his first sermon.

Enlightenment can only happen through the dhamma, and the dhamma is a theory that is communicated through sight and sound. Setting yourself on fire is a poor visual, unless maybe Asubha practice, but that is not necessary as death is everywhere and natural and does not require one's sacrifice.

I can only conclude that his suicide was a waste of human life.. To me it sounded like an emotional reaction than a rational and logical one. I personally believe that people are driven by desire and run away from pain, lighting yourself on fire is just an example of masochism which drives people away. However, living a good happy life will attract more followers and lead more to enlightenment. Him smiling and happy would be more effective than his body on fire. The Buddha didn't light himself on fire, instead he crossed his legs and smiled.

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StormBorn
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Re: Burning and human remains

Post by StormBorn » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:22 am

budo wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:15 am
If suicide was effective in bringing about enlightenment, then the Buddha would have killed himself as his first sermon.
And "the Path" would have only one factor "Right Gun." :guns:

Elsewhere in Vinaya the Buddha said to a monk who cut his genitals, "This foolish fellow cut the wrong thing when something else (defilements) there to be cut!" :rofl:
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

chownah
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Re: Burning and human remains

Post by chownah » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:26 am

From the wikipedia article on Thích Quảng Đức:
Precedents and influence[edit]

[*]Despite the shock of the Western public, the practice of Vietnamese monks self-immolating was not unprecedented. Instances of self-immolations in Vietnam had been recorded for centuries, usually carried out to honor Gautama Buddha. The most recently recorded case had been in North Vietnam in 1950. The French colonial authorities had tried to eradicate the practice after their conquest of Vietnam in the nineteenth century, but had not been totally successful. They did manage to prevent one monk from setting fire to himself in Huế in the 1920s, but he managed to starve himself to death instead. During the 1920s and 1930s, Saigon newspapers reported multiple instances of self-immolations by monks in a matter-of-fact style. The practice had also been seen in the Chinese city of Harbin in 1948 when a monk seated down in the lotus position on a pile of sawdust and soybean oil and set fire to himself in protest against the treatment of Buddhism by the communists of Mao Zedong. His heart remained intact, as did that of Đức.[45]


statue in a small park


The Venerable Thich Quảng Đức Monument at the intersection where Quảng Đức performed his self-immolation, Phan Đình Phùng (now Nguyễn Đình Chiểu) Street and Lê Văn Duyệt (now Cach Mạng Thang Tam) Street (10.775159°N 106.686864°E)
After Đức, five more Buddhist monks self-immolated up until late October 1963 as the Buddhist protests in Vietnam escalated.[46] On 1 November, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam overthrew Diệm in a coup. Diệm and Nhu were assassinated the next day.[47] Monks have followed Đức's example since for other reasons.[48]

Đức's actions were copied by United States citizens in protests against the Vietnam War:
Norman Morrison, a 31-year-old Quaker pacifist, poured kerosene over himself and set himself alight below the third-floor window of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara at the Pentagon on 2 November 1965.
Alice Herz, an 82-year-old woman, also burned herself that year in Detroit, Michigan.[49]
Roger Allen LaPorte self-immolated outside the United Nations building in New York City on 9 November 1965.
Florence Beaumont burned herself to death outside the Federal Building in Los Angeles on 15 October 1967.
George Winne, Jr., a student, self-immolated on 10 May 1970 on the campus of the University of California, San Diego and died the following day.

In an apparently non-political case of imitation of Quảng Đức, the young son of an American officer based at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire. He was seriously burned before the fire was extinguished and later could only offer the explanation that "I wanted to see what it was like."[50]
chownah

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budo
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Re: Burning and human remains

Post by budo » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:24 am

StormBorn wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:22 am
budo wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:15 am
If suicide was effective in bringing about enlightenment, then the Buddha would have killed himself as his first sermon.
And "the Path" would have only one factor "Right Gun." :guns:

Elsewhere in Vinaya the Buddha said to a monk who cut his genitals, "This foolish fellow cut the wrong thing when something else (defilements) there to be cut!" :rofl:
:toast:

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