Theravada position on self-immolation

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
santa100
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by santa100 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:47 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:Your analysis is treating it as if these are average joes not monks. I think more than any social political cause this shows that Tibetan Buddhism has not been able to ground its monks in an understanding of how the real wotld works. The belief that burning yourself alive is going to make a world leader sad, so sad, he changes his policy, is extreme naivite perhaps caused by an overly idealistic picture of the world.
I don't think an "overly idealistic picture of the world" is the case here. If you've read the link I provided, notice it's not just monastics who set themselves on fire. There're lay people, men, women, and teenagers. Yes, teenagers! Put yourself in the Tibetan's shoes, one of the most peace-loving people who has no army, no weapon, never willing to respond with violence against anyone. And let me remind you again, unlike Vietnam, or Thailand, who do have armies and defense capabilities, and also ready to respond with violence against foreign threat, there was no such thing for the Tibetans. So with all odds possible against them, there simple aren't many choices for the Tibetans. You either give up and assimilate into Chinese and within a few decades, the word "Tibet" will completely disappear from the world's vocabulary or resort to some measure so drastic and desperate for the slimmest hope that the rest of the world would not forget what that word means.

justindesilva
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by justindesilva » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:38 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
justindesilva wrote:It is clear that though it may sound selfless suicide hear is based on greed for possession of nation.
Incorrect assumption. Why is it so unlikely that these suicides are protests against Chinese brutality? Why do you immidiately assume the monks are selfish? It is because they are Vajrayāna and you are Theravāda?

If China invaded Thailand and started extremely aggressive colonization and assimilation processes, and the media utterly ignored widespread human rights violations in Thailand due to China's power, and a famous Theravāda bhikkhu self-immolated to draw attention to Chinese atrocities in international media, would you be so quick to presume that the monk was selfish and greedy?
Theravada or Vajrayana the essential basics of Budda Darma cannot change on politics.

chownah
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by chownah » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:45 am

santa100 wrote:
davidbrainerd wrote:Your analysis is treating it as if these are average joes not monks. I think more than any social political cause this shows that Tibetan Buddhism has not been able to ground its monks in an understanding of how the real wotld works. The belief that burning yourself alive is going to make a world leader sad, so sad, he changes his policy, is extreme naivite perhaps caused by an overly idealistic picture of the world.
I don't think an "overly idealistic picture of the world" is the case here. If you've read the link I provided, notice it's not just monastics who set themselves on fire. There're lay people, men, women, and teenagers. Yes, teenagers! Put yourself in the Tibetan's shoes, one of the most peace-loving people who has no army, no weapon, never willing to respond with violence against anyone.............
......
This is from your link:
Most of the protesters have been monks and nuns, or ex-monks[4][5] Some of the protesters who set themselves on fire were teenagers.[6][7][8][9]
Notes [6][7][8] and [9] say that the teenagers were monks or recent monks. People can go to the articles since the notes have links to those aricles.

Concerning your statement "one of the most peace-loving people who has no army, no weapon, never willing to respond with violence against anyone": In 2008 there were widespread tibetin riots in china. For instance (from wikipedia article "2008 Tibetan unrest":
In an area of Sichuan province incorporating the traditional Tibetan areas Kham and Amdo, Tibetan monks and police clashed on March 16 in Ngawa county after the monks staged a protest, killing at least one policeman, and setting fire to three or four police vans.
and
Violence started in Lhasa in Tibet on March 14 when police cars, fire engines and other official vehicles were set on fire as anger erupted following the police's dispersal of a peaceful demonstration near Ramoche Temple in Lhasa. Rioters, including angry monks, attacked all Han and Hui passers-by using stones and knives.[16][17] Rioters robbed non-Tibetan-owned businesses and banks, also attacked and burned down houses, including governments and schools.
I want it to be clear that I am not saying that this was unwarranted. I am just wanting to make the case that tibetins are not all "never willing to respond with violence against anyone".

Also, do note that it was after the 2008 that the self immolations began and in an article I read (somewhere on wikipedia) it said that the anti gov't tibetins thought that the rioting was not receiving wide enough news coverage and they found that news of self immolation was very effectively distributed world wide.

Also, the Uighur minority in western china has an adversarial relationship with the chinese gov't similar to the tibetin minorities......but the uighur people do not self immolate. I think this is pretty good evidence that self immolation is a cultural manifestation of some sort peculiar to the tibetin minorities. Is there any other place on the planet with such a high concentration of self immolation?...I think not. This again is good evidence that it is something in tibetin culture which is key for this to manifest.

chownah

santa100
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by santa100 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:02 am

chownah wrote:Also, do note that it was after the 2008 that the self immolations began and in an article I read (somewhere on wikipedia) it said that the anti gov't tibetins thought that the rioting was not receiving wide enough news coverage and they found that news of self immolation was very effectively distributed world wide.

Also, the Uighur minority in western china has an adversarial relationship with the chinese gov't similar to the tibetin minorities......but the uighur people do not self immolate. I think this is pretty good evidence that self immolation is a cultural manifestation of some sort peculiar to the tibetin minorities. Is there any other place on the planet with such a high concentration of self immolation?...I think not. This again is good evidence that it is something in tibetin culture which is key for this to manifest.
I wonder why you keep avoiding the social/political background story about China's occupation of Tibet I've consistently brought up. Coemgenu made a solid point here. Without keeping that fact in mind while at the same time suggesting that self immolation as some "cultural manifestation of some sort peculiar to the Tibetan minorities" would make no sense whatsoever. Also the fact that you use the word "The Tibetan minorites" proved to be the dead giveaway to your mistaken view. And that dead giveaway is your wrong belief that Tibetans have always been an ethnic minority of the Chinese! which is obviously not the case at all. Tibetans in Tibet are the majority. Tibet used to be the sovereign country of Tibetans, remember? Have you ever paused for a second and questioned why now they're being treated like the "minorites" in what used to be their own country?

chownah
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by chownah » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:55 am

santa100 wrote:....... Also the fact that you use the word "The Tibetan minorites" proved to be the dead giveaway to your mistaken view. And that dead giveaway is your wrong belief that Tibetans have always been an ethnic minority of the Chinese! which is obviously not the case at all. Tibetans in Tibet are the majority. Tibet used to be the sovereign country of Tibetans, remember? Have you ever paused for a second and questioned why now they're being treated like the "minorites" in what used to be their own country?
In almost all discussions I treat tibet as being seperate from china. If I say "china" or "chinese gov't" it refers to china exclusive of tibet. If I say "tibet" I mean the country shown on most maps which is called tibet. The chinese refer to tibet as "the tibet autonomous region".....I refer to it as "tibet".

It seems that you do not know that the vast majority of immolations did not occur in tibet but in china. At least that is what the map from your link clearly shows. In fact the map from your link shows that only 8 of the immolations happened in tibet and a very large number (most of the rest) happened in china mostly in sichuan province and also in qinghai and gansu provinces. In those places the tibetans are minorities which is why I call them "tibetan minorities". I am fully aware that tibetans in tibet are the majority but the vast majority of the immolations did not occur in tibet but in china where tibetans are minorities. I think your dead give-away is dead wrong.

I want to restate that from your link and its references that the teenagers who self immolated were in fact monks or recent monks....and that while not all of the immolations were monks it seems that a large majority of them were. Here is a link if you want a list:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_p ... ions#2010s

I want to restate that as I mentioned before the tibetan people are not all non-violent as you described them before.

Also, here is an excerpt from your link:
Self-immolations by Tibetans protesting Chinese domination of Tibet have had a greater impact than earlier protests. Despite considerable loss of life during the Tibetan protests in 2008 on the part of both the Tibetan and Han population in Tibet, casualties were simply not reported by the Chinese government. Self-immolations, on the other hand, result in dramatic images of the protester, while burning[5] or afterwards,[14] which can be easily transmitted over the internet to news media and supporters. Internet access has reached even remote areas in the parts of China where Tibetans live.[15]
Also, I am not denying that the chinese gov't persecutes tibetan people....I assume they do but I have no knowledge of it other than incomplete and likely biased reports. I am going with the assumption that they do....so....I am not denying the cultural anguish which is arising there. I do not think that the monks who killed themselves just got up in the morning and out of the blue decided to kill themselves....they did it as a protest to how the chinese gov't is treating tibetans. I am not trying to say they do it for no reason. What I am saying is that the self immolations seems to be a uniquely tibetan response to the chinese persecution in that other persecuted peoples in china (for instance the uighurs) do not do it and in general throughout the world it is a rare occurance EXCEPT for among tibetan people AND mostly tibetan people who do not live in tibet. I think that tibetan buddhism is a very very strong influence on virtually all tibetan people so I think a good discussion would be what is it that so uniquely leads tibetan minorities to chose to self immolate as a protest when almost no one else does...could it be something they get from their understanding of buddhism?....it seems to me that likely it is.
chownah

santa100
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by santa100 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:12 pm

chownah wrote:I want to restate that from your link and its references that the teenagers who self immolated were in fact monks or recent monks....and that while not all of the immolations were monks it seems that a large majority of them were. Here is a link if you want a list:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_p ... ions#2010s
Look at the very link you gave and right away I know that's the wrong one. This link gives all cases of self-immolation committed by people all across the world: China, India, US, Greece, Russia, Israel, etc. It even shows the case of that famous Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc who self-immolated during the Vietnam war, which has nothing to do with the Tibet situation. Matter of fact, you have just disproved your own claim that self-immolation is some unique cultural behavior of the Tibetan people! This is your own quote: "I think this is pretty good evidence that self immolation is a cultural manifestation of some sort peculiar to the tibetin minorities.". Now back to the peace-loving nature of the Tibetans, please bear in mind that China's been occupying Tibet since 1949, that's 67 years, more than half a century! You're gonna have to do a lot more than citing just that 2008 uprising to disprove what I said. Please provide a list of guerrila warfare, acts of terrorist bombing, or folks strapping themselves with explosives for suicidal bombing, etc. If not, my point still holds, the Tibetans are peace-loving people.

chownah
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by chownah » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:34 pm

santa100 wrote:
chownah wrote:I want to restate that from your link and its references that the teenagers who self immolated were in fact monks or recent monks....and that while not all of the immolations were monks it seems that a large majority of them were. Here is a link if you want a list:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_p ... ions#2010s
Look at the very link you gave and right away I know that's the wrong one. This link gives all cases of self-immolation committed by people all across the world: China, India, US, Greece, Russia, Israel, etc. It even shows the case of that famous Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc who self-immolated during the Vietnam war, which has nothing to do with the Tibet situation. Matter of fact, you have just disproved your own claim that self-immolation is some unique cultural behavior of the Tibetan people! This is your own quote: "I think this is pretty good evidence that self immolation is a cultural manifestation of some sort peculiar to the tibetin minorities.". Now back to the peace-loving nature of the Tibetans, please bear in mind that China's been occupying Tibet since 1949, that's 67 years, more than half a century! You're gonna have to do a lot more than citing just that 2008 uprising to disprove what I said. Please provide a list of guerrila warfare, acts of terrorist bombing, or folks strapping themselves with explosives for suicidal bombing, etc. If not, my point still holds, the Tibetans are peace-loving people.
First things first: So, you see that the teenagers you mentioned are in fact monks and recent monks...not lay teens.....as the evidence from your link shows.

Indeed that is exactly the link I intended. I am not trying to hide the distribution of immolation around the world. I am here trying to find the way things really are, not trying to just argue for my point of view but to expand my point of view.

I am disappointed in your severe editing of my post to include only "I think this is pretty good evidence that self immolation is a cultural manifestation of some sort peculiar to the tibetin minorities." If the context is included it would be:
the Uighur minority in western china has an adversarial relationship with the chinese gov't similar to the tibetin minorities......but the uighur people do not self immolate. I think this is pretty good evidence that self immolation is a cultural manifestation of some sort peculiar to the tibetin minorities. Is there any other place on the planet with such a high concentration of self immolation?...I think not. This again is good evidence that it is something in tibetin culture which is key for this to manifest.
So I do think that the huge number of tibenan immolations compared to (think) not uighur immolations IS pretty good evidenct that self immolatoin is cultural manifestation of some sort peculiar to the tibetan minorities. Also, CAN YOU name another place on the planet with such a high concentration of self immolation? I think you can not and as evidence I use the link I brought. There are immolations around the world and fankly I was surprised at how many how diverse the issues were which they were involved with. BUT, go to that list and count up the immolations for any other place or any other ethnic group and see what the total is.....it will be small I'm sure...go look yourself. THEN go count up the immolations for tibetan people (both in tibet and in china)...and the number will be very very large in comparison. Obviously something is going on with the tibetans...the data is just too much of an anomoly to be otherwise.

Concerning violence, I am not trying to disprove what you said but as to the tibetans being non-violent...I have used your own link to clearly show that some tibetans have rioted and are reported to have used weapons against people and property and have killed people in those riots. Tibetans started riots and killed people. I am not debating whether they were right or wrong in doing that but there are some tibetans who will use violent means when provoked.
You should read about the 1905 tibetan rebellion and the events which led up to it.
chownah

santa100
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by santa100 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:56 pm

chownah wrote:First things first: So, you see that the teenagers you mentioned are in fact monks and recent monks...not lay teens.....as the evidence from your link shows.
Let's be very clear about this, you keep trying to lump together "ex-monks" which is irrelevant. A person after leaving monkhood, when s/he does something, s/he does it as a lay person. It that's simple.

It's a fact that you have provided your own link to disproved your own claim. You keep pointing or at least implying the "unique" behavior of Tibetans while consistently forget (intentionally or un-intentionally) the "unique" terrible mass colonization and assimiliation being done to them. This is the exact point Coemgenu tried to make and also exactly why you never replied to him. Your Uighur comparison is irrelevant until you can provide proof of them being a sovereign state like Tibet. Did Chinese government invaded a sovereign state of Uighur like they did to the sovereign state of Tibet in 1949? Sorry that I keep reminding this fact again and again. It's just that you seem to keep forgetting it again and again. About the Tibettans not being peace-loving people, you have yet to provide anything as I have asked for. Please provide the exact link and sources. Otherwise, any people who only waged 1 uprising over an entire 67 years of oppression must be pretty darn peace-loving to me!

justindesilva
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by justindesilva » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:55 pm

Please let us be specific about this post. I think it is about how immolation stands based on Theravada buddhism and not whether the political stand by the Tibetans against Chinese rule is justified.

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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by Coëmgenu » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:01 pm

So basically the question is if it is possible for a good deed to produce negative kamma? And the sub-question hidden inside of that is whether it is solely the variety of kamma produced marks a given action as objectively "good" or "bad" for a given practitioner.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

chownah
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by chownah » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:06 am

santa100 wrote: It's a fact that you have provided your own link to disproved your own claim. You keep pointing or at least implying the "unique" behavior of Tibetans while consistently forget (intentionally or un-intentionally) the "unique" terrible mass colonization and assimiliation being done to them. This is the exact point Coemgenu tried to make and also exactly why you never replied to him. Your Uighur comparison is irrelevant until you can provide proof of them being a sovereign state like Tibet. Did Chinese government invaded a sovereign state of Uighur like they did to the sovereign state of Tibet in 1949? Sorry that I keep reminding this fact again and again. It's just that you seem to keep forgetting it again and again. About the Tibettans not being peace-loving people, you have yet to provide anything as I have asked for. Please provide the exact link and sources. Otherwise, any people who only waged 1 uprising over an entire 67 years of oppression must be pretty darn peace-loving to me!
The link I presented proves my claim that the huge number of immolations is a pretty uniquely tibetan phenomenon. Go to the link, count the numbers....is is as obvious as night and day that there is something unique going on in the tibetan communities....it boggles the mind that you would suggest otherwise considering how stark the numbers are.
You ask "Did Chinese government invaded a sovereign state of Uighur like they did to the sovereign state of Tibet in 1949?" I THINK THAT YES THEY DID. From the wikipedia artilce "Uyghurs":
Uyghur separatists and independence movements claim that the region is not a part of China, but that the Second East Turkestan Republic was illegally incorporated by the PRC in 1949 and has since been under Chinese occupation.
The uyghurs do not self immolate like the tibetians. This points very strongly to self immolation having a strong cultural dimension.

Also, more directly realted to the topic is something saw in the link presented in the original post which helped in defining this topic is that it misrepresents at least one immolation which occurred in sichuan province china as having happened in tibet. I followed one of the links presented in that article and found another article from the same website which claimed 131 immolations in tibet while it has been clearly shown already that only a very few happened in tibet and the vast majority occurred in china. Is it surprising that the International Campaign for Tibet would publish this misleading information?...frankly I was surprised to see this.
chownah

santa100
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by santa100 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:48 am

chownah wrote:I THINK THAT YES THEY DID. From the wikipedia artilce "Uyghurs":
Of course you're entitled to your opinion. The thing is you haven't explicitly cited any hard link to support your point. At least, try to provide the exact equivalence to the Tibetan Empire
chownah wrote:Also, more directly realted to the topic is something saw in the link presented in the original post which helped in defining this topic is that it misrepresents at least one immolation which occurred in sichuan province china as having happened in tibet. I followed one of the links presented in that article and found another article from the same website which claimed 131 immolations in tibet while it has been clearly shown already that only a very few happened in tibet and the vast majority occurred in china. Is it surprising that the International Campaign for Tibet would publish this misleading information?...frankly I was surprised to see this.
Again, the fact that you did not explicitly provided a hard link means you intentionally or un-intentionally blurr the fact. Please look at the exact link here and count the numbers by doing a Ctrl+F or Find for the string "in Tibetan areas". And here I'll even provide a specific example to counter your claim about a "China" region: Ngawa prefecture (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngawa_Tib ... Prefecture ), there it clearly says about its Tibetan root:
In the 8th century the Gyalrong area was visited by Vairotsana.
In 1410 Je Tsongkhapa's student Tshakho Ngawang Tapa established the first Gelug monastery in the area called "Gyalrong".
Just out of curiosity, I remember you mentioned you live in Thailand. Are you a Thai native or a Chinese living in Thailand? just be honest. We're all good Buddhists who are trying to follow the Five Precepts here, right?

chownah
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by chownah » Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:23 pm

santa100 wrote:
chownah wrote:I THINK THAT YES THEY DID. From the wikipedia artilce "Uyghurs":
Of course you're entitled to your opinion. The thing is you haven't explicitly cited any hard link to support your point. At least, try to provide the exact equivalence to the Tibetan Empire
You asked "Did Chinese government invaded a sovereign state of Uighur like they did to the sovereign state of Tibet in 1949?" I THINK THAT YES THEY DID. From the wikipedia artilce "Uyghurs":
Uyghur separatists and independence movements claim that the region is not a part of China, but that the Second East Turkestan Republic was illegally incorporated by the PRC in 1949 and has since been under Chinese occupation.
The uyghurs do not self immolate like the tibetians. This points very strongly to self immolation having a strong cultural dimension.

I did not provide a link but anyone can go to the wikipedia article which I referenced before and look at the history section....or you could search for any part of the quote I presented....it is that simple....I gave an adequate reference in support of my statements.

I don't really understand why you want us to consider the tibetan empire at its greatest extents. As your link points out it only lasted from the 7th to the 9th century and ended with what they call the "Era of Fragmentation" which "was dominated by rebellions against the remnants of imperial Tibet and the rise of regional warlords". So it didn't last long. From my scant understanding of the empire is that it was mostly the tibetan army marching around and fighting and attacking anyone they could find. It is mostly a waste land and I imagine that one of the reasons the empire fell apart is that too much resource was spent marching around in a huge wasteland with really not much benefit being realised....but I don't know much about this and it is just my idea. It is mostly just wasteland. If you look at the tibetan empire back then on a map you can see that it was all of that inland barren region. Slim pickings I would think.

And the era of fragmentation (characterized by feuding warlords) ended with the mogols taking over.......not really much of a tibetan sort of thing happening at all for more centuries than how long the tibetan empire existed.

What is the point of bringing up the tibetan empire? It really has nothing to do with the fact that every map I can find shows that the vast majority of the tibetan self immolations occured in chinese provinces and not in tibet. If you can bring a map from the last couple of hundred years showing differently I would certainly be glad to see it. While alot of this is only very very barely related to this topic I am finding that researching tibetan history is very interesting.

I will probably address some other aspects of your post later.
chownah

chownah
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by chownah » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:46 pm

santa100 wrote:
chownah wrote:Also, more directly realted to the topic is something saw in the link presented in the original post which helped in defining this topic is that it misrepresents at least one immolation which occurred in sichuan province china as having happened in tibet. I followed one of the links presented in that article and found another article from the same website which claimed 131 immolations in tibet while it has been clearly shown already that only a very few happened in tibet and the vast majority occurred in china. Is it surprising that the International Campaign for Tibet would publish this misleading information?...frankly I was surprised to see this.
Again, the fact that you did not explicitly provided a hard link means you intentionally or un-intentionally blurr the fact.
Usually if someone does not provide a link and I want to check things out I simply ask them to provide a link. Do you really think that it is credible for you to claim that "the fact that you did not explicitly provided a hard link means you intentionally or un-intentionally blurr the fact." The fact that I did not provide a link only means that I did not provide a link....not providing a link does nothing to the facts....where did this thought of yours come from? Here is the link:
https://www.savetibet.org/new-wave-of-r ... molations/
You can just find "131"....or read the article as it is not very long.
santa100 wrote: Please look at the exact link here and count the numbers by doing a Ctrl+F or Find for the string "in Tibetan areas". And here I'll even provide a specific example to counter your claim about a "China" region: Ngawa prefecture (ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngawa_Tib ... Prefecture ), there it clearly says about its Tibetan root:
In the 8th century the Gyalrong area was visited by Vairotsana.
In 1410 Je Tsongkhapa's student Tshakho Ngawang Tapa established the first Gelug monastery in the area called "Gyalrong".
Yeah, you can use Find on "tibetan areas" and it will give you the data which includes all of the areas in china which have had tibetan self immolations like I mentioned before. Go look at the map at this same link and you will see that the bulk of the immolatoins occure in chinese provinces like in the ngawa tibetan and qiang autonomous prefecture which is sechuan provence, china.

I think that it is more important to note that it is ethnic tibetan individuals who are self immolating and whether they live in tibet or in china is of less importance.....but....fact is most are happening outside what as far as I can tell is the currently accepted borders of tibet. If you have a map from the last 100 years or so which shows borders encompassing the majority of the immolations I would like to see it and to know its soure.

Main point: Self immolation is so much more frequent in people of tibetan culture than in any other place or ethnic group in the world that it seems very obvious that there is a correlation between tibetan culture and self immolation. Something in the culture seems to be facilitating this act.
chownah

santa100
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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by santa100 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:19 pm

chownah wrote:Main point: Self immolation is so much more frequent in people of tibetan culture than in any other place or ethnic group in the world that it seems very obvious that there is a correlation between tibetan culture and self immolation. Something in the culture seems to be facilitating this act.
chownah
I did prove that you got the fact wrong about the Ngawa region you claimed that it belongs to China. From your latest post, the main point is that you have not provided any new and useful info. to back up your claim. Until you provide the info., it remains exactly what it is, just a claim. From my many posts and ample evidence provided, No, it's not "something in the culture" that "facilitates" the act, it is "something the Chinese government has been doing to the Tibetans" that is the root cause.

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Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by JohnK » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:55 pm

This post is not really related to the discussion, but is related to the title of the thread.
Making my way through the MN, I just read MN 124 (Bakkula Sutta) and thought it was interesting, and not a typical MN sutta -- thought I would share for those who might not be familiar.
At the age of 160, strict ascetic and arahant Bakkula calls upon the Sangha to witness his attainment of final Nibbana.
According to Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes (quoting from note 1172, p.1338), Buddhaghossa's commentary says that
Ven. Bakkula had considered that all his life he had never made himself a burden to the other bhikkhus, and he did not want his body to be a burden after his death. Thus he entered into meditation on the heat element and attained final Nibbana by causing his entire body to be consumed by the blaze. Only the relics remained.
Quite a dramatic scene.
"Why is it, Master Kaccana, that ascetics fight with ascetics?"
"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics" (AN 2: iv, 6, abridged).
Kindly eyes, not verbal daggers.

chownah
Posts: 6289
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by chownah » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:34 am

JohnK wrote:This post is not really related to the discussion, but is related to the title of the thread.
Making my way through the MN, I just read MN 124 (Bakkula Sutta) and thought it was interesting, and not a typical MN sutta -- thought I would share for those who might not be familiar.
At the age of 160, strict ascetic and arahant Bakkula calls upon the Sangha to witness his attainment of final Nibbana.
According to Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes (quoting from note 1172, p.1338), Buddhaghossa's commentary says that
Ven. Bakkula had considered that all his life he had never made himself a burden to the other bhikkhus, and he did not want his body to be a burden after his death. Thus he entered into meditation on the heat element and attained final Nibbana by causing his entire body to be consumed by the blaze. Only the relics remained.
Quite a dramatic scene.
Interesting.
I have two thoughts on this: 1. Where did buddhaghossa get this information which was not in the sutta?.....and 2. Intent seems to be a central issue...or at least the portion of the sutta you brought seems to point to it.
Oh! I just had a third thought....how much trouble would it have been for the bhikkhus to take care of his body?....seems like bhikkhus take care of bodies all the time and it is not like a bhikkhu's life is so tightly scheduled that it would be hard for them to find the time to do it. Was bakkula sort of lacking in proportion about things?
chownah

JohnK
Posts: 407
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Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by JohnK » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:38 am

chownah wrote:
JohnK wrote:This post is not really related to the discussion, but is related to the title of the thread.
Making my way through the MN, I just read MN 124 (Bakkula Sutta) and thought it was interesting, and not a typical MN sutta -- thought I would share for those who might not be familiar.
At the age of 160, strict ascetic and arahant Bakkula calls upon the Sangha to witness his attainment of final Nibbana.
According to Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes (quoting from note 1172, p.1338), Buddhaghossa's commentary says that
Ven. Bakkula had considered that all his life he had never made himself a burden to the other bhikkhus, and he did not want his body to be a burden after his death. Thus he entered into meditation on the heat element and attained final Nibbana by causing his entire body to be consumed by the blaze. Only the relics remained.
Quite a dramatic scene.
Interesting.
I have two thoughts on this: 1. Where did buddhaghossa get this information which was not in the sutta?.....and 2. Intent seems to be a central issue...or at least the portion of the sutta you brought seems to point to it.
Oh! I just had a third thought....how much trouble would it have been for the bhikkhus to take care of his body?....seems like bhikkhus take care of bodies all the time and it is not like a bhikkhu's life is so tightly scheduled that it would be hard for them to find the time to do it. Was bakkula sort of lacking in proportion about things?
chownah
Regarding your thought 1, according to Bhikkhu Bodhi's preface to this translation (p.16), Buddhagosa based his commentary (5th century) on "the ancient commentaries (no longer extant) that had been preserved for centuries by the Sangha of the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. The commentary is of value not only for elucidating the meaning of the texts but also for filling in then background of events that led to the promulgation of the discourses." I am just reporting. People here have way more knowledge (and views) about the commentaries than me.
Interestingly, this particular sutta contains passages enclosed in brackets which B.B. says, the commentary says, were "added by the elders who compiled the Dhamma" (note 1168) and the sutta "was recited at the second compilation of the Dhamma, held about a hundred years after the Buddha's passing away" (note 1173). My quoting is of B.B. apparently paraphrasing the commentary NOT from B.B. quoting Buddhaghosa directly.
I have been watching B.B's talks on the MN suttas on youtube, and maybe I'll take a look soon at the two MN 124 to see if he has more to say about this; it has been very interesting to watch these, by the way.
"Why is it, Master Kaccana, that ascetics fight with ascetics?"
"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics" (AN 2: iv, 6, abridged).
Kindly eyes, not verbal daggers.

chownah
Posts: 6289
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by chownah » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:56 am

JohnK,
When I was out working today it occurred to me that perhaps bakkula timed the fire just right so that it would consume his body the moment after death......thus it would not be a self immolation but rather just a cremation of his remains. Is there anything in what you have read that would say one way or the other?
edit: I just reread your original post and it does seem that the heat is what killed him....but translations being as tenuous as they are sometimes I still wonder about the possibility.
chownah

justindesilva
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:38 pm

Re: Theravada position on self-immolation

Post by justindesilva » Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:56 pm

May I note that in the case of ascetic Bakkula who decided to end his life ended up with Kasina bhavana which involves heat element or tejo dhatu to rap up the body to burn. The same argument arises in arhat Channa in channovada sutra.
Therefore timing to die with fire does not arise.

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