Is suicide OK?

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DGA
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by DGA » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:46 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:09 pm
DGA wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:36 pm
What's suicide?

I don't mean to be flip. I'm asking because it seems to me that some aspects of this discussion are at cross-purposes, and there may be a definitional problem at the core of it.
D, can you expand on your question? What do you identify as the cross-purposes and tension due to definition?
I'm trying to figure out what to do with the euthanasia discussion in this thread. Is euthanasia suicide? If so, is it the same as other forms of suicide? If not, where is the distinction between euthanasia and suicide as such, e.g., are some cases of suicide better understood as what my middle-school guidance counselor would have grudgingly called "self-care"?

Euthanasia is often thought of as a palliative means to care for someone who is suffering terribly and won't be long for this world regardless. Suicide is thought of as symptomatic of illness, or as an illness in itself. Different categories.

Unrelated but important:
If you're having suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone about it.

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Queequeg
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:27 pm

DGA wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:46 pm
I'm trying to figure out what to do with the euthanasia discussion in this thread. Is euthanasia suicide? If so, is it the same as other forms of suicide? If not, where is the distinction between euthanasia and suicide as such, e.g., are some cases of suicide better understood as what my middle-school guidance counselor would have grudgingly called "self-care"?
This is a simplistic approach, but may be helpful to ground further discussion. A quick search yielded the following definitions:

suicide: the action of killing oneself intentionally.

euthanasia: the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.

It would seem that some suicides may also be euthanasia if they meet the definition of euthanasia. Seems the agent undertaking the action that results in ending a life is not determined in euthanasia.

Earlier, Mantrik brought up some alternatives:
Mantrik wrote:
Sat May 27, 2017 7:41 pm
I don't see a clear line defining suicide.

There are people who take physical action to kill themselves.
There are people who take deliberate decisions not to act (eat, for example).
There are those who seem able to decide to die and can choose the time to simple depart.
There are those who lose the will to live and stop trying, for example when a their loved one dies.

The first two would probably be regarded as suicide in law, but I'm not sure I would classify the other two as 'suicide''.
Not quite on the point of your question, but raises some further interesting angles from which to consider a given act.
Euthanasia is often thought of as a palliative means to care for someone who is suffering terribly and won't be long for this world regardless. Suicide is thought of as symptomatic of illness, or as an illness in itself. Different categories.
From the Buddhist perspective, though, where one's spiritual advancement is the determining factor of whether its "ok", the line seem pretty hard and fast at the distinction of arhat/not-arhat.

Because the agent who takes life can be someone other than the suffering person in the case of Euthanasia, the analysis is a little different.

I remember when I was in Dharamsala, a woman, I can't remember where she was from, but she was White and Western, she was venting at dinner one evening about some nuns she was staying with not letting her put down a dog that was deeply suffering. The dog, the nuns said, had to bear its karma. If the dog was euthanized, it would lose this opportunity to expiate its karma. I presume, the person doing the euthanizing would in turn incur the karma of killing.

I digressed a little off your question, but its interesting how the Buddhist and Western Secular considerations pivot on different standards.
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DGA
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by DGA » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:24 am

That's funny--I heard that very story about the dog and the nuns from a different source. I may have read about it years ago somewhere. Anyway, it's curious that it's been on my mind lately.

I think Mantrik is right to try to make those distinctions. By some definitions, a master who chooses to die at a particular time (phowa, say) for particular reasons would be suicidal; by others, the exact opposite. I don't think it makes sense for us to attempt a Buddhist discussion of a topic through definitions that aren't informed by Buddhist thought, and are also contradictory.

More to reflect on.

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Queequeg
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Queequeg » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:51 pm

DGA wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:24 am
That's funny--I heard that very story about the dog and the nuns from a different source. I may have read about it years ago somewhere. Anyway, it's curious that it's been on my mind lately.
Maybe that dinner was like the Sex Pistols 1976 Manchester concert.. LOL...
I don't think it makes sense for us to attempt a Buddhist discussion of a topic through definitions that aren't informed by Buddhist thought, and are also contradictory.
The discussion is valuable to the extent that it helps to uncover the points of tension and clarify why terms like suicide and euthanasia have a different significance in the context of Buddhism. Its this kind of stuff that is critical for clarifying Buddha Dharma for "Westerners". Kind of a "What the Teaching is Not" clarification. There is a limit to the discussion, though, for sure.
“Once you have given up the ghost, everything follows with dead certainty, even in the midst of chaos.”
-Henry Miller

"Language is the liquid that we're all dissolved in.
Great for solving problems, after it creates the problems."
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odysseus
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by odysseus » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:43 pm

Buddhism does not condone euthanasia. And I repeat that suicide is not allowed. Euthanasia is also a form of suicide.
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-- Dhammapada

Rishin
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Rishin » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:50 am

odysseus wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:43 pm
Buddhism does not condone euthanasia. And I repeat that suicide is not allowed. Euthanasia is also a form of suicide.
Let's just put voluntary euthanasia aside for a moment.

Why do people take their own life?

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Minobu
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Minobu » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:54 pm

Rishin wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:50 am

Why do people take their own life?
unenlightened to what they are....buddhas....
as for euthanasia...i asked a rinpoche if i was lying in a coma, totally brain dead , no chance of coming out of it...no Buddhist practice anymore...
he said it would be ok...

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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Arjan Dirkse » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:22 pm

This is admittedly where I don't agree with the Buddhist standpoint, I think suicide is allowed, and under certain circumstances an understandable choice. If the house is on fire, you get out of the house. However many people who feel suicidal may just be in need of help or medication.

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