Monastics and suicide

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
thepea
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by thepea » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:26 pm

We have the seemingly normal girl who enters the goenka course. Mere days into practicing the Buddha’s pure technique, she unlocked all of this dark past sankharas. She was overwhelmed and committed suicide. This is a powerful technique the Buddha discovered, it works so quickly. She probably should not have been taking this course given the medication she was taking. But point being by the time you go through this tradition to be considered for teaching you have cleared out all of this darkness leading to suicide. Impossible IMO to occur to any teacher, students yes, but not teachers. This is where I wonder what is going on with the monastics for this monk to be teaching dhamma and commit suicide. It makes no sense to me.
I’m not enthusiastic over goenka, it’s enthusiasm over the Buddha’s technique. I’m just referring to the Buddha’s technique as “goenka tradition” because I have not experienced this within a monestery personally, all I’ve experienced there is confusion.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:50 pm

Greetings,
thepea wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:26 pm
We have the seemingly normal girl who enters the goenka course. Mere days into practicing the Buddha’s pure technique, she unlocked all of this dark past sankharas. She was overwhelmed and committed suicide. This is a powerful technique the Buddha discovered, it works so quickly.
thepea wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:12 pm
goenka was a very realized teacher, his dhamma is complete and pure.
thepea wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:26 pm
I’m just referring to the Buddha’s technique as “goenka tradition” because I have not experienced this within a monestery personally, all I’ve experienced there is confusion.
Please desist from expounding this Goenka dogma. Such slander of the Buddha's teaching has no place in this topic. Further slander could be considered a violation of ToS2g or ToS3i, so please be mindful in this regard.

:focus:

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

thepea
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by thepea » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:53 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:50 pm
Greetings,
thepea wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:26 pm
We have the seemingly normal girl who enters the goenka course. Mere days into practicing the Buddha’s pure technique, she unlocked all of this dark past sankharas. She was overwhelmed and committed suicide. This is a powerful technique the Buddha discovered, it works so quickly.
thepea wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:12 pm
goenka was a very realized teacher, his dhamma is complete and pure.
thepea wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:26 pm
I’m just referring to the Buddha’s technique as “goenka tradition” because I have not experienced this within a monestery personally, all I’ve experienced there is confusion.
Please desist from expounding this Goenka dogma. Such slander of the Buddha's teaching has no place in this topic. Further slander could be considered a violation of ToS2g or ToS3i, so please be mindful in this regard.

:focus:

Metta,
Paul. :)
I’m not following you?
I’m trying to explain how this plays out with my understanding. And I’m placing some tough concerns to the forum. This is not dogma, as it has been experienced.
If dhamma wheel continues to associate and consider goenka Vipassana as Theravada garden variety then it must be allowable to converse and quote the head teacher, and his assistant teachers???
It seems the monk who committed suicide was confused, it seems a logical conclusion albeit an unpopular one.
It is of concern to me.

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cappuccino
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by cappuccino » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:09 am

thepea wrote: It makes no sense to me.
After you study the actual teaching
it will start making sense.

thepea
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by thepea » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:53 am

cappuccino wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:09 am
thepea wrote: It makes no sense to me.
After you study the actual teaching
it will start making sense.
So your saying when I study the actual teaching I will understand why monastics want to kill themselves?

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cappuccino
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by cappuccino » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:42 am

thepea wrote:
cappuccino wrote:
thepea wrote: It makes no sense to me.
After you study the actual teaching
it will start making sense.
So your saying when I study the actual teaching I will understand why monastics want to kill themselves?
yes

Garrib
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by Garrib » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:09 am

thepea wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:13 pm
retrofuturist wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:12 pm
Greetings thepea,
thepea wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:50 pm
Goenka retreats take a lot of criticism, but goenka was a very realized teacher, his dhamma is complete and pure. I have had a couple of monks openly criticize goenka as being a weak dhamma. This is confusing to me and has only led me to feel that they were the weak and confused.
The connection between your enthusiasm for Goenka and this topic is becoming increasingly tenuous.

Please start a new topic if you wish to persist with discussing Mr. Goenka.

Metta,
Paul. :)
I’m comparing through the experience I’ve gathered any differences between Theravada teachings and goenka teachings which may lead to the suicide of a monastic of so many years. I hold the opinion that any student going through goenka courses would very quickly eradicate any thoughts of suicide and mind would be free from this. Comparing how the two differ, the rigid strictness of goenka which gains so much criticism vs the seemingly relaxed approach(meditate if you want) of the monastics.
It’s a major difference IMO that I’m curious to discuss or bring into light. It is clear to me there is a difference but many here wish to fence in goenka with garden variety Theravada. All practicing Vipassana students will die well, this is taught. Suicide is not a favourable death, it leads to a miserable rebirth. What was that monk practicing and teaching to others? This is not garden variety Theravada, I’m concerned, and would like answers. This should not happen.
Were you familiar with Bhikkhu Samahita? My understanding is that he was very committed to his meditation practice - and he praised S.N Goenka.

Garrib
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by Garrib » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:18 am

thepea wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:54 pm
So it seems if your an arahant you can go as you please, your safe, but for others it is frowned upon. The others is whom I’m gearing this discussion towards as we’re not talking about an arahant monk who took his life. It seems the buddha was very much against this.
Ok - but to be fair, we have no way of knowing the actual state of Bhante's mind. Furthermore, you said that "..I do not feel that anyone established in the Buddha’s dhamma would be capable of committing suicide." The suttas, strictly speaking, do not seem to be in agreement with you on this point.

I agree with you that suicide is not the way
. That being said, I don't particularly care for the insinuation that Bhante was somehow not practicing real Dhamma, or was lazy or something like that, or that the monastic Sangha in general is lax and undisciplined (some are, and some are not) - Bhante lived meditating alone in the remote jungles of Sri Lanka for years. He then moved back to Denmark to care for his ailing father, who passed away not long before Bhante left us. As David and others have mentioned, Bhante had also experienced some medical issues. He was a caring friend and teacher to myself and many others...his whole life revolved around the Dhamma.

sentinel
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by sentinel » Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:52 am

I think the person with suicidal thoughts ignored their underlying tendencies without treating them first before learning meditation is one of the criteria lead to suicide case other than due to physical sicknesses .
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” -Buddha

dharmacorps
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by dharmacorps » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:44 pm

As Garrib said, we don't know what has gone through the mind of anyone who has killed themselves, we only speculate. Although, speculating about what happened in the head of a dead person and trying to figure out what they did/didn't do/did "wrong" or the "errors" in their practice is not likely to be beneficial to anyone. Clearly, this experience has caused distress and grief, which sometimes is shown in lashing out in anger. My wish for us is we spend some time reflecting on bhante and his contributions, and dedicate some merit to him. This will be more productive than any discussion we have here, it seems. :anjali:

thepea
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by thepea » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:26 pm

Garrib wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:09 am

Were you familiar with Bhikkhu Samahita? My understanding is that he was very committed to his meditation practice - and he praised S.N Goenka.
Not at all familiar with the bhante, other than glancing at some of his elaborate postings from time to time.
I understand that to those who knew him and respected him that this topic does not sit well. Something is not sitting well with me and I’m choosing to investigate and explore this. It’s the suicide leading to birth in the undesirable states that has me questioning.
I would assume that a bhante practicing dhamma and dedicated to their meditation practice would at least be at sotapanna stage. This I gather from questioning and discourses from goenkas long courses. It seems students reach this stage by the time qualifying to sit long courses or during long course. I gather this from the meditation instruction and questioning from at’s during these.
I would assume that anyone reaching this stage or higher is free from birth in these undesirable realms. It strikes me as odd that bhante took his life in such a way, this leads me to conclude that he had not reached a noble stage. I then wonder why not? What or how was he practicing that did not bring this freedom from such misery.
The whole thing does not sit well with me based on his lifelong dedication to practice as you suggest. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, and I’m taking a lot of heat from this thread. I was hoping for some more details regarding these possibilities to shed some light on this.
It would seem disingenuous to just let this go without some feedback or answers.
Was the bhante depressed as a monk?
Was he prone to mood swings?
Was he diagnosed with a mental disorder which would limit his meditation progress?
Someone here must have known him closely or a monk who lived with him perhaps?
Why does this happen, I doesn’t make sense to me?
It seems so anti dhammic???

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cappuccino
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by cappuccino » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:34 am

thepea wrote: doesn’t make sense to me?
the teaching is perfect

people not

Garrib
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by Garrib » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:28 am

thepea wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:26 pm
It’s the suicide leading to birth in the undesirable states that has me questioning.
Can you please provide support for this view?
(that anyone who commits suicide necessarily takes a lower rebirth. Please remember we have already discussed arahants "taking the knife" - these accounts, if you accept them, should establish that nobles can and do at times take their life.)

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Akashad
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by Akashad » Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:28 am

thepea wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:26 pm

The whole thing does not sit well with me based on his lifelong dedication to practice as you suggest. I’m not trying to be disrespectful, and I’m taking a lot of heat from this thread. I was hoping for some more details regarding these possibilities to shed some light on this.
It would seem disingenuous to just let this go without some feedback or answers.
Was the bhante depressed as a monk?
Was he prone to mood swings?
Was he diagnosed with a mental disorder which would limit his meditation progress?
Someone here must have known him closely or a monk who lived with him perhaps?
Why does this happen, I doesn’t make sense to me?
It seems so anti dhammic???
It doesn't sit right with me too. I live far away from a monastery with no Buddhist community. His talks seem like the only few connection i had with dhamma. His talks were very deep. They feel really like "out there" out of this body talk.You know, the feeling you get, from doing too much 32 contemplation of the body or being close to the primordial source type of feeling.Like if you died the next day you wouldn't even mind cause you are all one with the universe. At least that is the impression i got when listening to his talk.About "aeons" and "the cosmic universe".

I am not entirely convinced that Bhante took his own life because of sotapanna or arahant stuff.I have listened to his talks on suicide he would not do that.He is pretty clear that suicide brings worse rebirth as you are breaking the first precept.Even thought it is totally understandable for an arahant to just let go i am not convinced that they would choose suicide,arahants don't care enough about living or dying they are just living out the remainder of their kamma. So it truly for me personally,boils down to personal circumstances or bhante's state of mind or perhaps even obstructive kamma. We cannot run away from it.

For me it is a valuable lesson of both not-self and impermanence.We always think we are the same person.We will always be this buddhist that meditates,but we never know.. what kamma will block or hinder that or what aggregate will form 10 years from now.I always thought to myself that Bhante was incredibly fortunate and his kamma will protect him from harm and he is bulletproof and he may have been that way even in his suicide he may have died peacefully,his state of mind may have been calm,but now i realise how we are not really immune to anything. Kamma will keep on running its course.Bhikku samahita may have ceased but another being is forming and hopefully this being will continue on to The Other shore.

:candle:

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SDC
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Re: Monastics and suicide

Post by SDC » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:27 pm

Akashad wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:28 am
thepea wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:26 pm
...
Why does this happen, I doesn’t make sense to me?
It seems so anti dhammic???
It doesn't sit right with me too. ....
No offense intended, but have either of you ordained for a long period of time? I'm not saying that would qualify you to understand being suicidal, but it doesn't seem that either of you is in a legitimate position to speculate or sympathize with situation of the Venerable. You surely have a right to be concerned, but you both seem very off base. I guess that is just me trying to empathize with the situation knowing full well I have zero experience as a monastic, and would never venture into too much speculation. Just seems like being an armchair critic in this scenario is a bit absurd. I really don't care how developed either of you think you are, it does not qualify you to know what it means to be ordained.

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