Stream-Winner Death

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Post Reply
User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Stream-Winner Death

Post by clw_uk » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:00 pm

I have recently discovered the works of Ñāṇavīra Thera who was a self proclaimed stream-winner. In reading his works i discovered that Ñāṇavīra Thera commited suicide due to an illness that he was suffering with for some years.

My understanding is that suicide is a breaking of the first precept not to kill, and his unwholesome kamma.

If one is a Stream-Winner then the lower realms are cut off from him/her, if one is a stream-winner and they kill themselves, how do they experience the unwholesome kamma? Or is suicide not a unwholesome act in certain circumstances i.e. if one is a stream-winner?

I am in now way trying to judge Ñāṇavīra Thera as I am developing an appreciation of him and his writtings, its just the suicide of self proclamied stream-winner confuses me somewhat.


:namaste:
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 18354
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Stream-Winner Death

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:06 pm

Greetings Craig,

The suttas contain account of arahants who have committed suicide, so by inference, it's possible that suicide could be done without a defiled mind. You mention kamma in your post. If suicide, a volitional action, is done without a defiled mind (in other words, the action was done from a mindstate rooted in generosity, lovingkindess and/or wisdom) then it needn't be considered "bad kamma". However, such circumstances would of course be rare, hence why the first precept is 99.999% of the time the best course of action.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

User avatar
clw_uk
Posts: 4718
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Stream-Winner Death

Post by clw_uk » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:49 pm

Thanks you retrofuturist

:namaste:
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

Element

Re: Stream-Winner Death

Post by Element » Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:41 pm

From what I browsed, I agree with Mahavira regarding some aspects of dependent origination, in correctly defining the meaning of sankhara and quoting the relevant texts.

Mahavira sounded brainy, appears to have had insight but killing oneself at 45 years of age is disconcerting.

He could have returned to the West for medical treatment but instead possibly due to aversion to Western society took his life.

E

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 10838
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Stream-Winner Death

Post by DNS » Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:44 pm

retrofuturist wrote: The suttas contain account of arahants who have committed suicide, so by inference, it's possible that suicide could be done without a defiled mind. You mention kamma in your post. If suicide, a volitional action, is done without a defiled mind (in other words, the action was done from a mindstate rooted in generosity, lovingkindess and/or wisdom) then it needn't be considered "bad kamma". However, such circumstances would of course be rare, hence why the first precept is 99.999% of the time the best course of action.
From what I recall from the Suttas (or it may have been the notes or the Commentaries) the Arahants who killed themselves ("took the knife") did so with a defiled mind, but then as they were bleeding, realized the error, meditated and attained enlightenment while they were bleeding to death, not before.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Khalil Bodhi, lyndon taylor, Pseudobabble and 32 guests