Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

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James Tan
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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by James Tan » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:18 am

Depression is low spirits, loss of hope and unhappy , in a dejected state , in sorrow and feeling gloomy .
Probably , person with depression could be without jhana . A person with jhana already subdued some hindrances normally would remain in peaceful state .

A person of sotapanna , sakadagami, anagami and arahant , should be able to attain certain state of absorption . According to 8fp, with right view as the lead, one arrive at right concentration .
Therefore , sakadagami should not have depression .
:reading:

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AgarikaJ
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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by AgarikaJ » Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:31 am

DNS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:30 am
robertk wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:07 pm
voluntary starvation
She couldn't eat due to her depression. She wasn't trying to starve to death.
It's interesting that she was a sakadagami and had depression. A modern trend found in some Buddhists is the "arahantification of sotapannas" believing sotapannas are almost on a par with arahants and here is the report of a sakadagami (much higher than a sotapanna) with depression.
To stress the point, what I posted was a synopsis of a supposed Pali text, where none of us here seems to know the original. So in a best case, it gives a true translation of what the original says, in a worse case it is pure assumption.

Going with what we have, the question is: can a Sakadagami actually have depression? Wikipedia is maybe no good source, but here one can read:
The Sakadagamin will be reborn into the realm of the senses at most once more. If, however, he attains the next stage of enlightenment (Anagamiship) in this life, he will not come back to this world.
The three specific chains or fetters (Pali: saṃyojana) of which the Sakadagamin is free are:
1. Sakkāya-diṭṭhi (Pali) - Belief in self
2. Sīlabbata-parāmāsa (Pali) - Attachment to rites and rituals
3. Vicikicchā (Pali) - Skeptical doubt
The Sakadagami also significantly weakened the chains of:
4. Kāma-rāga (Pali) - Sensuous craving
5. Byāpāda (Pali) - Ill-will
Thus, the Sakadagamin is an intermediate stage between the Sotapanna, who still has comparatively strong sensuous desire and ill-will, and the Anagami, who is completely free from sensuous desire and ill-will. A Sakadagami's mind is very pure. Thoughts connected with greed, hatred and delusion do not arise often, and when they do, do not become obsessive.
Being depressed on the marital status of other people to the point of starving to death sure sounds obsessive to me.

So must we assume, that either this woman:
a) cannot have been a Sakadagami
b) or, while actually being subjected to sporadic Sensuous Craving (leading to an expression of greed for a relationship), the medical reason why she starved to death is a different one from the depression the writer assumed.

I have seen it with my own eyes, living in places with very rudimentary healthcare, that cancer cachexia can be swift and in some cases without the patient actually realizing that they are suffering from a cancer; the cancer actually switches chemical signals in the body and the cells starve internally to death, even though the person might eat plenty of calories.
A more modern disease, HIV, can lead to rapid 'starvation', with the process from totally healthy looking (and feeling) to death in a matter of some weeks; not always it must be apparent why there is this lack of appetite.
Lastly tuberculosis -- or wasting disease -- can lead to rapid weight loss and death, even before coughing symptoms are so strong that people would make a connection between the two symptoms.

All three examples I have seen myself, and I am sure there are many other sicknesses leading to a 'starvation death'. But evaluating the true reason for death with modern medicinal knowledge was not possible then.

Food for thought, but until somebody can find the original text also just speculation.
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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robertk
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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by robertk » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:55 am

DNS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:30 am
robertk wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:07 pm
voluntary starvation
She couldn't eat due to her depression. She wasn't trying to starve to death.
It's interesting that she was a sakadagami and had depression. A modern trend found in some Buddhists is the "arahantification of sotapannas" believing sotapannas are almost on a par with arahants and here is the report of a sakadagami (much higher than a sotapanna) with depression.
Yes. The sakadagami has removed all wrong view and attentuated sense desire.
But levels of sense desire still arise and hence so does aversion, even quite strong and continuing aversion.

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Volovsky
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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by Volovsky » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:56 am

AgarikaJ wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:31 am
To stress the point, what I posted was a synopsis of a supposed Pali text, where none of us here seems to know the original.
The whole Dhp-A is translated, and probably is available for free, since it's an old translation.

Here is the what translation says:
Sumana obtained the Fruit of the Second Path, but remained unmarried. [152] Overwhelmed with disappointment at her failure to obtain a husband, she refused to eat, and desiring to see her father, sent for him.
Here is the original Pali:
sā pana dhammaṃ sutvā sakadāgāmiphalaṃ patvā kumārikāva hutvā tathārūpena aphāsukena āturā āhārupacchedaṃ katvā pitaraṃ daṭṭhukāmā hutvā pakkosāpesi.
Translation doesn't seem to be very literal, and actually quite free. Here is my attempt to do it literally:
She, having heard the dhamma, having obtained the fruit of sakadāgāmī, having been just (eva) a virgin/maiden, with a such kind of sickness/discomfort afflicted, having stopped food, having been desirous of seeing her father, sent [for him].
I don't see, how from this pali it can be concluded that she was unable to obtain the husband and due to that starved herself to death.

The translation continues:
Anāthapiṇḍika was in the refectory when he received his daughter’s message, but immediately went to her and said, “What is it, dear daughter Sumana?” Sumana said to him, “What say you, dear youngest brother?” “You talk incoherently, dear daughter.” “I am not talking incoherently, youngest brother.” “Are you afraid, dear daughter?” “I am not afraid, youngest brother.” She said no more, but died immediately.
(She called him "youngest brother" because she was sakadāgāmī, and he only sotāpanna). But even from this translation I don't see, that she starved herself. It seems there was not much time between her refusal of food and summoning her father. And from my understanding of Pali it doesn't even seem her distress/illness was because she wasn't married. She just stopped eating due to sickness/distress.

Comments on my Pali translation/understanding are welcomed.

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AgarikaJ
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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by AgarikaJ » Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:55 pm

Volovsky wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:56 am
Translation doesn't seem to be very literal, and actually quite free. Here is my attempt to do it literally:
She, having heard the dhamma, having obtained the fruit of sakadāgāmī, having been just (eva) a virgin/maiden, with a such kind of sickness/discomfort afflicted, having stopped food, having been desirous of seeing her father, sent [for him].
I don't see, how from this pali it can be concluded that she was unable to obtain the husband and due to that starved herself to death.
Thank you @Volovsky. As always, going to the original is way more useful than speculating.

We can remove Sumana then from our discussion of potential suicide candidates.

I wonder, has anybody ever created an actual list of people killing themselves in the Pali canon?

Edit: having written down the question, curiosity was aroused and a quick query in Google brought me a .pdf on 'The "Suicide" Problem in the Pāli Canon'. A number of further examples in there and a discussion on the Sila aspects around suicide.
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]

rightviewftw
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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:35 pm

Volovsky wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:56 am
AgarikaJ wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 8:31 am
To stress the point, what I posted was a synopsis of a supposed Pali text, where none of us here seems to know the original.
The whole Dhp-A is translated, and probably is available for free, since it's an old translation.

Here is the what translation says:
Sumana obtained the Fruit of the Second Path, but remained unmarried. [152] Overwhelmed with disappointment at her failure to obtain a husband, she refused to eat, and desiring to see her father, sent for him.
Here is the original Pali:
sā pana dhammaṃ sutvā sakadāgāmiphalaṃ patvā kumārikāva hutvā tathārūpena aphāsukena āturā āhārupacchedaṃ katvā pitaraṃ daṭṭhukāmā hutvā pakkosāpesi.
Translation doesn't seem to be very literal, and actually quite free. Here is my attempt to do it literally:
She, having heard the dhamma, having obtained the fruit of sakadāgāmī, having been just (eva) a virgin/maiden, with a such kind of sickness/discomfort afflicted, having stopped food, having been desirous of seeing her father, sent [for him].
I don't see, how from this pali it can be concluded that she was unable to obtain the husband and due to that starved herself to death.

The translation continues:
Anāthapiṇḍika was in the refectory when he received his daughter’s message, but immediately went to her and said, “What is it, dear daughter Sumana?” Sumana said to him, “What say you, dear youngest brother?” “You talk incoherently, dear daughter.” “I am not talking incoherently, youngest brother.” “Are you afraid, dear daughter?” “I am not afraid, youngest brother.” She said no more, but died immediately.
(She called him "youngest brother" because she was sakadāgāmī, and he only sotāpanna). But even from this translation I don't see, that she starved herself. It seems there was not much time between her refusal of food and summoning her father. And from my understanding of Pali it doesn't even seem her distress/illness was because she wasn't married. She just stopped eating due to sickness/distress.

Comments on my Pali translation/understanding are welcomed.
you need to look in the commentaries not the dhp itself
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by DNS » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:46 pm

robertk wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:55 am
DNS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:30 am
robertk wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:07 pm


She couldn't eat due to her depression. She wasn't trying to starve to death.
It's interesting that she was a sakadagami and had depression. A modern trend found in some Buddhists is the "arahantification of sotapannas" believing sotapannas are almost on a par with arahants and here is the report of a sakadagami (much higher than a sotapanna) with depression.
Yes. The sakadagami has removed all wrong view and attentuated sense desire.
But levels of sense desire still arise and hence so does aversion, even quite strong and continuing aversion.
I agree and since there is still sense desire and aversion, there can be depression. The modern trend of making noble states virtually an impossible state to attain, is mistaken, imo.

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Volovsky
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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by Volovsky » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:45 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:35 pm
you need to look in the commentaries not the dhp itself
This is a commentary.

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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by SarathW » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:29 pm

DNS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:46 pm
robertk wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:55 am
DNS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:30 am


It's interesting that she was a sakadagami and had depression. A modern trend found in some Buddhists is the "arahantification of sotapannas" believing sotapannas are almost on a par with arahants and here is the report of a sakadagami (much higher than a sotapanna) with depression.
Yes. The sakadagami has removed all wrong view and attentuated sense desire.
But levels of sense desire still arise and hence so does aversion, even quite strong and continuing aversion.
I agree and since there is still sense desire and aversion, there can be depression. The modern trend of making noble states virtually an impossible state to attain, is mistaken, imo.
I agree.
But the same token we should not be dumbing down the Sotapanna as well.
Nibbana is assured for the Sotapanna in seven lives.
To me, it is almost a state of an Arahant.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Volovsky
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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by Volovsky » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:53 am

DNS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:46 pm
The modern trend of making noble states virtually an impossible state to attain, is mistaken, imo.
I feel that the modern trend is actually quite the opposite: nowadays jhānas, magga-phalas or at least some vipassana ñāņas are attained during a weekend retreat. I would say it is safer to be overly critical with one's own attainment, than to fall too fast into so tempting conclusion of getting superhuman states worthy of the noble ones.

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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by DNS » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:12 am

Volovsky wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:53 am
DNS wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:46 pm
The modern trend of making noble states virtually an impossible state to attain, is mistaken, imo.
I feel that the modern trend is actually quite the opposite: nowadays jhānas, magga-phalas or at least some vipassana ñāņas are attained during a weekend retreat. I would say it is safer to be overly critical with one's own attainment, than to fall too fast into so tempting conclusion of getting superhuman states worthy of the noble ones.
Yes, I agree with this too, that one should be critical of one's own attainment, so as not to be deluded into something. Certainly both extremes exist; where one is that it is very easy. However, it has been my experience in groups and in forums that the other extreme is more common, that it is virtually impossible to attain any noble states today. Ven. Dhammika has written about that too in his Broken Buddha book:
The original purpose of the Sangha was to provide the optimal environment for attaining Nirvana
and to have a body of people capable of disseminating the Dhamma. In Theravada at least, it has
long ceased to be of much value for these noble ends. In Sri Lanka it is widely believed that it is not
possible to become enlightened anymore and it’s not just simple folk who believe this either. I once
attended a talk by the famous Narada Thera of Vajirarama in Colombo during which he said that it
is even impossible to become a sotapanna today. Richard Gombrich found this same idea to be
widely held in Sri Lanka. ‘The comparative rarity of meditation is closely connected with the
widespread belief in the decline of Buddhism. A village girl said that in a Buddha-less period one
must keep trying, but only limited progress is possible. It is further believed by the majority of
monks, at least those whose general attitudes can be described as traditional, that the sasana has
already declined so far that it is no longer possible for men to attain nirvana. This opinion is very
prevalent among the laity…One monk even specified that till (Metteyya) comes it is not even
possible to become a sotapanna. The last arahat is commonly said to have been Maliyadeva (1st cent
B.C.E). Others say that there may still be human arahats, but it is unlikely and/or undiscoverable.
One monk compared the sasana to a worn-out organism; very few can attain nirvana now just as a
tree grows barren when its fruit is picked too often, and the seventh child is weaker than the first.
The average view, perhaps, was that of the monk who said that it was not impossible to attain
nirvana now, but as ‘religious practice’ is weak, it is hard to believe that there is anyone alive who
has become an arahat’(italics in original). *
* These same beliefs are common in Thailand, see Jane Bunnag’s, Buddhist Monks Buddhist Laymen, 1973, 19, ff.

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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by santa100 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:17 am

Volovsky wrote:I feel that the modern trend is actually quite the opposite: nowadays jhānas, magga-phalas or at least some vipassana ñāņas are attained during a weekend retreat.
Well, it's difficult to test other's progress on the Path and so anyone can claim anything they want. It's an irony that folks practicing worldly disciplines like boxing or Judo are a lot more honest than Buddhists when claiming their attainments. Why? because there're simple straightforward tests that take just a few seconds to tell if one's a fake or a real deal. How about Buddhism? all we have is the Buddha's advice in AN 4.192.

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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by DNS » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:36 am

santa100 wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:17 am
How about Buddhism? all we have is the Buddha's advice in AN 4.192.
And that's still pretty good advice. As the saying goes, "don't meet your heroes" (because you'll be disappointed). I knew a person who followed a new age guru for about 25 years, writing back and forth, continual contact, then one day she stayed with the guru for a few days; completely disillusioned and left the movement and the guru for good.

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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by santa100 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:48 am

DNS wrote:I knew a person who followed a new age guru for about 25 years...
Too bad Buddhism doesn't quite have that kind of direct "hands on" interaction between teachers and students. It'd be impossible to take a Judo student 25 years to find out the real skillset of Master Kyuzo Mifune, 10th dan, who was still able to kick his student's ass in his ripe old age!

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Re: Can a sotāpanna committ suicide?

Post by rightviewftw » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:02 am

I don't think there are many Ariya or that it is easy to attain. I think many people definitely do arahantify the Sotapannas but they also go overboard with what cannot be done by an Arahant and it is clearly because commentaries progressively added to the lists of what cannot be done.

Also by far the most people i see who think themselves to be Ariyan don't claim to have the meditative attainment of cessation which leads to discernment of the Unmade and supermundane absorbtion, they merely claim to have intellectual understanding and "unshakable faith". I think such people are at best Faith or Dhamma followers and more often than not simply found to hold wrong views.

As for jhanas i think it is an overstatement to say that there are many people attaining the jhanas, afaik on this forum there are only 3 active posters that i know of who claim to have attained the "hard Jhanas" and their descriptions of it are very well aligned. Among the meditators one will see the "jhana-light" or "sukha experiences" like minor-pity or minor-sukkha and more rarely lights etc but these are usually after a week or two on a retreat.

As for claimants of the supermundane meditative attainment, i have only seen one person in the last 2-3 years here on the forum who claimed it (that guy who announced Anagamiship) and he just spoke the words so i don't know what exactly he meant by them. So as far as i can see it is not common at all. I can think of a couple people possibly rumored to have it and know several people who have done intensive Satipatthana courses without any attainments to show for it. Supposedly the traditions teaching Satipatthana meditation are the ones wherein these attainments are most common, but i don't see many people claim these around here.

Perhaps i am not in the right circles.
Volovsky wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:45 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:35 pm
you need to look in the commentaries not the dhp itself
This is a commentary.
i wonder who came up with that version of the story then, seems to be widely taught in that way.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

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