Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Ben
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by Ben » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:33 am

paarsurrey wrote:I think Buddha's view was that suffering is linked with sins when one is under the influence of Mara or evil; hence Buddha's teaching was extinction of the self. When one is still struggling with the self or sins in the self then one could resemble different forms of animals; that is what might be describes as cycle of rebirth, not a physical rebirth; when one comes out of one's self, and sins no more generate in it, one is out of the influence of Mara; that is the stage when one achieves nirvana or salvation or peace and happiness. This all happens in this life and continues when one goes into heaven after death, in the afterlife, in my opinion.
I think, paarsurrey, you should investigate what the Buddha actually taught and approach it on its own terms rather than attempting to reinterpret it through the prism of Islam.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Buckwheat
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by Buckwheat » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:41 pm

paarsurrey wrote:This all happens in this life and continues when one goes into heaven after death, in the afterlife, in my opinion.
That's your opinion, but not at all what the Buddha taught.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

paarsurrey
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by paarsurrey » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:00 pm

Buckwheat wrote:
paarsurrey wrote:This all happens in this life and continues when one goes into heaven after death, in the afterlife, in my opinion.
That's your opinion, but not at all what the Buddha taught.
I think Buddha believed in heaven and hell where one dwells after death. Didn't he?
I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim

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Ben
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by Ben » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:47 pm

paarsurrey wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:
paarsurrey wrote:This all happens in this life and continues when one goes into heaven after death, in the afterlife, in my opinion.
That's your opinion, but not at all what the Buddha taught.
I think Buddha believed in heaven and hell where one dwells after death. Didn't he?
You may wish to revisit this post:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... ad#p185644" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

santa100
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by santa100 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:27 am

Paarsurrey wrote:
"I think Buddha believed in heaven and hell where one dwells after death. Didn't he?"

While the Buddha certainly did teach about heaven and hell, there're more to His teaching: that there are different kinds of heavens and if one was reborn there, none of those places would be his/her "permanent" dwelling. The best thing that one should do is to practice until one nice day, one'd no longer have a "self" that needs to seek residency anywhere else. This is Nibbana, the unconditioned, unbinding, utmost bliss, etc...

Yana
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by Yana » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:47 am

Lazy_eye wrote:This question comes out of some recent discussions here and elsewhere. I know the topic's a bit heavy so bear with me..

Suppose, though, that there is no rebirth. Following the overall Buddhist perspective on things, would suicide be a desirable and logical choice?
No.Why committ suicide?your guaranteed to die anyways.
Lazy_eye wrote:
After all, isn't the goal cessation of the aggregates? And if suicide actually worked, wouldn't cessation of the aggregates occur? We are encouraged to cultivate zeal and desire in pursuit of the goal -- so were one to become convinced that there is no rebirth, what would be a reason for sticking around?
People commiting suicide or dying of natural causes...both means the same thing death.They are both using death to be free from the aggregates.If suicide actually worked,this mean death actually works.If death actually works,this mean people who die without commiting suicide also works.A 90 year old man dying of old age will no longer worry when he dies he will experience the cessation of aggregates.If this is the case then one might argue it's better all babies died before they were born.That way we'll all be free from cessation.
Lazy_eye wrote:
Besides fear of rebirth, are there any other good arguments (from a Theravada Buddhist perspective) against suicide?
Yes.I have thought of committing suicide many times in the past.But i realized something one night..that people commit suicide for the same reason people study the dhamma.They both want to be free from suffering.This was my logic,taking into consideration of "no rebirth"...If i commit suicide and die i won't feel anything,i will just stop.If i study and practice the dhamma,develop equnimity i too will just stop.Except The difference is one is a corpse and the other is still breathing.I think studying and practicing the dhamma is like committing suicide.But it's not killing the body or the mind.It's killing craving.And THAT's REALLY What Causes our sufferings!

All i can say is if your prepared to commit suicide then You of all people should have no trouble leading a life of renunciation here with the living.
Life is preparing for Death

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Alex123
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by Alex123 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:51 am

Yana wrote: No.Why committ suicide?your guaranteed to die anyways.
If a person has incurable and painful disease, why suffer for many decades?
If person has a lot of suffering and its ending prior to death is uncertain, why suffer for many decades?
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Goofaholix
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by Goofaholix » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:44 am

Alex123 wrote:If a person has incurable and painful disease, why suffer for many decades?
If person has a lot of suffering and its ending prior to death is uncertain, why suffer for many decades?
For most people such suffering would be pointless if that suffering means they cannot live a meaningful life.

However for a Buddhist practitioner who is interested in wisdom leading to freedom from greed, aversion, and delusion such a painful existence could be a brilliant teacher. One doesn't find freedom from Dukkha without experiencing pain and suffering and sometimes intense pain and suffering is what someone may need to wake up.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Aloka
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by Aloka » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:20 am

Goofaholix wrote:
For most people such suffering would be pointless if that suffering means they cannot live a meaningful life.

However for a Buddhist practitioner who is interested in wisdom leading to freedom from greed, aversion, and delusion such a painful existence could be a brilliant teacher. One doesn't find freedom from Dukkha without experiencing pain and suffering and sometimes intense pain and suffering is what someone may need to wake up.
Intense pain and suffering would be the result of having one's arms and legs blown off as well as being blinded in a bomb explosion.

If that happened to me, even though I'm a practitioner, I wonder if it would be such a brilliant teacher and what I needed to wake up and lead a meaningful life ? Somehow I doubt it if I was without limbs and blind. I think its easy to say that intense pain and suffering is what someone may need to wake up if we're in good health and have never experienced extreme pain and suffering ourselves, but probably not quite so easy when in the middle of a situation like that. People usually have to be heavily drugged to cope with such extremes.

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Goofaholix
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by Goofaholix » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:14 am

Aloka wrote:
Goofaholix wrote: Intense pain and suffering would be the result of having one's arms and legs blown off as well as being blinded in a bomb exposion.If that happened to me, even though I'm a practitioner, I wonder if it would be such a brilliant teacher and what I needed to wake up and lead a meaningful life ? Somehow I doubt it.
I don't know if I could do it either, but some people can and do.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

danieLion
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by danieLion » Fri May 04, 2012 4:45 am

My mother tried to kill herself three times, maybe four (the medical examiner said the cause of her death was a tossup between a drug overdose and suicide). I have a chronic pain condition (and its corollary depressive symptoms) and have thought about killing myself now and then over the years. I've been thinking about it some lately, because I'm in a lot of a pain these days and am becoming increasingly disabled.

When I investigate this it appears that my mental fabrications with suicidal content are merely the surface layer of a deeper wish than just to be free from affliction. Beyond that is a desire to know what will happen to me when I die. If we wager with the Buddha about rebirth, we still have to take his word for it until we die. But it's worse than that. We don't even know what or how we'll know after we die. We don't even know if we'll "know" anything, as we understand knowing in this life. And even if we master samma-samadhi to the point of being able to direct our knowledge to our own and others rebirths, we still don't have ultimate proof we didn't just imagine it.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned MN 144 yet, the Channavada Sutta: Advice to Channa. Channa was a monk who claimed to be an arahant and killed himself because he was in a lot of pain. In the footnotes to his translation, Bhikkhu Bodhi doubts the commentarial (Majjhima Nikaya Attakattha) assertions that Channa's claim to arahantship was invalid, and gives the impression he thinks Channa was an arahant, claiming not only that the text itself implies this, but that the Buddha agrees. The translation of the commentary says:
He cut his throat, and just at that moment the fear of death descended on him and the sign of future rebirth appeared. Recognizing he was still an ordinary person, he was aroused and developed insight. Comprehending the formations, he attained arahantship just before he expired.... Although this declaration (of blamelessness) was made while Channa was still a worldling, as his attainment of final Nibbana followed immediately, the Buddha answered by referring to that very declaration.
Then Bhikkhu Bodhi states,
It should be noted that this commentarial interpretation is imposed on the text from the outside, as it were. If one sticks to the actual wording of the text it seems that Channa was already an arahant when he made his declaration, the dramatic punch being delivered by the failure of his two brother-monks [Ven Sariputta and Maha Cunda] to recognize this. The implication, of course, is that excruciating pain might motivate even an arahant to take his own life--not from aversion but simply from a wish to be free from unbearable pain.
If BB's right, the inference is that killing yourself is okay for arahants under certain circumstances. But an arahant has the luxury of "knowing" her destination is happy, although the commentators want us to believe an arahant wouldn't kill herself. And what about stream-enterers, once-returners and non-returners? Do they have the same "okay"?

And if Bohdi's assertions are correct, are we to draw the lesson to not be to hard on ourselves for having suicidal thoughts, desires, etc...? And if Bodhi's right, don't Sariputta and Cunda come off as jerks, e.g., more concerned with the validity of Channa's awakening claims than the unbearable physical pain he endured?

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Dan74
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by Dan74 » Fri May 04, 2012 9:48 am

Whoah, Daniel, I had no idea.

Goes to show how little we know of the context and the background of the posters here and how hard it is to judge what is appropriate.

I recently had the worst low of my life with several things coming together including difficulties at work and in the family. My self-esteem which I had sort of forgotten about re-emerged very sore and I just felt like everyone's doormat. Thoughts like you describe would flutter in and seem quite enticing at times. Once it was better and I could let them go, I spoke about it with my teacher.

I am sure any words of wisdom and encouragement I have will ring hollow, Daniel, but even with all your constraints, if you concentrate on doing the best that you can (which you already are, I am sure) and not worry about where you are coming short (we are all human and imperfect), you will do just fine!

I think it is important to have a good solid support network especially at a time like this. A good Sangha, friends, kalyana-mittas and not to be afraid to turn to professionals for help when necessary. There is no shame in that.

Thank you also for mentioning Ven Channa - very apposite!
_/|\_

danieLion
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by danieLion » Sat May 05, 2012 10:25 pm

Thanks Dan74. :anjali:

santa100
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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by santa100 » Sat May 05, 2012 10:50 pm

Yes, and it's Vesak Day! It's extremely rare to be born human. And it's extremely extremely rare to have the opportunity to listen to the Buddha Dhamma. We're the lucky few to have both. With this in mind, I'm willing to stay alive to continue my training even if I have to put up with all terrible sufferings happening to my body and mind. Happy Vesak and may all be well and happy!!

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Re: Buddhism, rebirth and suicide

Post by ancientbuddhism » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:30 pm

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves

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