Is suicide OK?

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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Queequeg » Wed May 31, 2017 10:28 pm

Jesse wrote:
Grigoris wrote:
Jesse wrote:The only judge of when suicide is acceptable is the person deciding to do it.
Not really an unbiased and objective judge.
Depends on the situation, however, what right does anyone else have to interfere with such a decision? People think they have rights over other people's decisions, and when it comes to decisions of this magnitude, really nobody has a right to an opinion other than the person in question.

Do you really want society (in it's ignorance) claiming to have authority over your life, and death? I would rather not live in such a world, and such a world could not exist. If euthanasia is not legal, that simply means people will commit suicide on their own. Risking harm to others, and risking putting themselves into unbearable circumstances, such as a coma, brain damage, etc.

In the end, people have all rights over their own lives, and any attempt to impede on this right will only cause more harm.

To make this clear, I am not talking about suicide in relation to mental illness, where in most people actually want help, or to get better. We are talking about suicide in cases where the person has very few to no alternatives except to suffer tremendously until their natural death.
You have no rights except what the government recognizes. Put that in your libertarian pipe and smoke it.
:smile:

But that has nothing to do with Dharma. The Buddha has no rights.
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Jesse » Wed May 31, 2017 10:29 pm

Luckily for me, I subscribe to anarchy. It has everything to do with the Dharma by the way, as we are discussion the moral implications of controlling people's decisions. Which always leads to suffering. Sure the Buddha probably said nothing about how to deal with issues like suicide in the modern age.

Then again, most of Buddhism has changed drastically through the ages to conform to the times, while keeping the same message.

The Dalai Lama eats meat (because he has to.), Thich Nhat Hahn was hospitalized in a western style hospital, would traditional dharma support these sorts of things? Many want to disregard modern times and try to make the current world fit in the paradigm of a centuries-old tradition. It just won't always work.

Since when do we as Buddhists not get to have our own opinions, and the right to come to our own conclusions?
Last edited by Jesse on Wed May 31, 2017 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Queequeg » Wed May 31, 2017 10:31 pm

If you're an anarchist, what the heck are you talking about rights for? Some anarchist you are.
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Jesse » Wed May 31, 2017 10:34 pm

Queequeg wrote:If you're an anarchist, what the heck are you talking about rights for? Some anarchist you are.

Idealistically an anarchist. Realistically I am a socialist.

http://www.theplaidzebra.com/anarchy-it ... not-chaos/

True anarchy is not about violence. Yet this system of government can not work the way things are, it's an idealistic system that could only work in a world that was truly free of afflictions.

As such, I subscribe to liberalism/socialism because they are best options with the way the world currently is. In my opinion.
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Queequeg » Wed May 31, 2017 10:39 pm

Fair enough. Just bustin your chops a little. :smile:
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Jesse » Wed May 31, 2017 10:41 pm

Queequeg wrote:Fair enough. Just bustin your chops a little. :smile:
:cheers:
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Queequeg » Wed May 31, 2017 10:51 pm

Jesse wrote:It has everything to do with the Dharma by the way, as we are discussion the moral implications of controlling people's decisions.
Not really. I didn't bring up anything about controlling people. I asked if it is acceptable to kill yourself according to Buddhadharma. The answer is pretty well settled - OK if you have no afflictions. If you are afflicted, it doesn't solve the problem you think you're solving, and likely makes things worse.
Sure the Buddha probably said nothing about how to deal with issues like suicide in the modern age.
Is death in the modern age all that different than death at any other point in time? This distinction seems dubious.
The Dalai Lama eats meat (because he has to.), Thich Nhat Hahn was hospitalized in a western style hospital, would traditional dharma support these sorts of things? Many want to disregard modern times and try to make the current world fit in the paradigm of a centuries-old tradition. It just won't always work.
Somehow I don't think the problem of dukkha has changed all that much since the Buddha's time. I don't think the cause or its cessation has changed either. Maybe some minor aspects of the 8 fold path have changed, but you'd have to convince me that the changes are significant.
Since when do we as Buddhists not get to have our own opinions, and the right to come to our own conclusions?
Opinions are like... belly buttons - everyone has one. I think the Buddha's response would be, "You can opine whatever you want, dude. I'm just telling you how to end suffering."
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Queequeg » Wed May 31, 2017 10:55 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I am concerned that as a society we treat life and death clinically - its the victory of the materialist logic.
That's pretty much it, and is exactly the sort of thing my teacher talked about. You hear a lot about 'death with dignity', but death with dignity isn't simply euthanasia, if it is at all. Death with dignity is being guided through the process, having palliative care and support etc. It's as if we have begun to confuse "death with dignity" with simply unhooking someone's life support because they signed a DnR. I'm iffy on the ethics of euthanasia itself, but on the larger subject I feel like his criticism (and yours here) was on the money.
Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred...
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Jesse » Wed May 31, 2017 11:01 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Jesse wrote:It has everything to do with the Dharma by the way, as we are discussion the moral implications of controlling people's decisions.
Not really. I didn't bring up anything about controlling people. I asked if it is acceptable to kill yourself according to Buddhadharma. The answer is pretty well settled - OK if you have no afflictions. If you are afflicted, it doesn't solve the problem you think you're solving, and likely makes things worse.
Sure the Buddha probably said nothing about how to deal with issues like suicide in the modern age.
Is death in the modern age all that different than death at any other point in time? This distinction seems dubious.
The Dalai Lama eats meat (because he has to.), Thich Nhat Hahn was hospitalized in a western style hospital, would traditional dharma support these sorts of things? Many want to disregard modern times and try to make the current world fit in the paradigm of a centuries-old tradition. It just won't always work.
Somehow I don't think the problem of dukkha has changed all that much since the Buddha's time. I don't think the cause or its cessation has changed either. Maybe some minor aspects of the 8 fold path have changed, but you'd have to convince me that the changes are significant.
Since when do we as Buddhists not get to have our own opinions, and the right to come to our own conclusions?
Opinions are like... belly buttons - everyone has one. I think the Buddha's response would be, "You can opine whatever you want, dude. I'm just telling you how to end suffering."
This is part of a much larger discussion that is ongoing in society. (the right to choose to die.)

To my mind, the distinctions being made are entirely arbitrary. (free of affliction, or not.) Everyone dies one way or another. I also wasn't directing that comment specifically at you, but at the overall conversation about defining some behavior as acceptable, or not. My argument is simply that nobody but the person making the decision is in any moral position to judge.

There are many things about death that have changed, we now have the means to let people die peacefully, with tact, whereas there used to be no such way to do this. Usually, it's a mixture of benzos, barbiturates, and other sedatives. I've been knocked out with these drugs at a hospital before, for a surgery. I can tell you it's absolutely peaceful and had I never woken up. I wouldn't have known a damned thing. I didn't even know I was getting the drugs, so I was quite surprised when I woke up hours later.


Dukkha hasn't changed, however.. the sheer amount of Dukkha, and people's resistance to treatment has changed drastically.. thus the need for all the modern innovations in BudhaDharma. Dzogchen is one example.
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed May 31, 2017 11:27 pm

There are many things about death that have changed, we now have the means to let people die peacefully, with tact, whereas there used to be no such way to do this.
Firstly, to some degree this is untrue. IIRC there are discussion of what amounts to assisted suicide in the Pali Canon..does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Secondly, having seen a few examples of the "dying peacefully" thing I have to disagree, dying peacefully is not neccessarily the same thing as dying in a drug-induced coma.
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Jesse » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:39 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
There are many things about death that have changed, we now have the means to let people die peacefully, with tact, whereas there used to be no such way to do this.
Firstly, to some degree this is untrue. IIRC there are discussion of what amounts to assisted suicide in the Pali Canon..does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Secondly, having seen a few examples of the "dying peacefully" thing I have to disagree, dying peacefully is not neccessarily the same thing as dying in a drug-induced coma.
Have you ever been at someone's side while they are "dying naturally" ? They are in fact.. in a drug induced coma. Usually, high potency Opiates are pumped into their system to 'make them comfortable'. In fact, my aunt is dying this very moment and the exact thing I just explained is happening. I was also at my grandmas side when it happened, same thing. Pumped full of opiates until they can't even comprehend anymore, and usually they just slowly slip into unconsciousness.

What then, is the difference between the method of assisted suicide, and how we go about 'natural death' in our culture?

There is none!!
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:15 am

Have you ever been at someone's side while they are "dying naturally" ? They are in fact.. in a drug induced coma
Yes, actually, I have. You'd be surprised. And yeah, some die in a drug induced coma, others don't. IMO the Buddhist tradition of an aware death process (even if it needs to be amended somewhat with some modern palliative care methods - i'm great with that) is more dignified than what I have seen with many cases.
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Jesse » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:45 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Have you ever been at someone's side while they are "dying naturally" ? They are in fact.. in a drug induced coma
Yes, actually, I have. You'd be surprised. And yeah, some die in a drug induced coma, others don't. IMO the Buddhist tradition of an aware death process (even if it needs to be amended somewhat with some modern palliative care methods - i'm great with that) is more dignified than what I have seen with many cases.
Out of how many deaths you attended, were they being given large doses of opiates for the purpose of comfort? Do you see a difference between this method, and the way death is achieved in assisted suicide?

I've never been to a 'Buddhist' death, so I couldn't say anything about it. Do they just let things be, pain and all until the moment death comes? I would argue that being deep in meditation is in it'self a method of overcoming the pain associated with death, there may be some difference between natural states induced through practiced meditation, and those induced by drugs.. but the end result is sort of the same.

Anyway, I mean no disrespect. I think we can all agree on one thing, in the end we are all equal in death.
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by boda » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:24 am

Queequeg wrote:It saddens and frightens me to consider how materialism has prevailed and comes to define everything, as religion and philosophy retreat.
Materialism is philosophy.
The few instances where materialism was taken to its extremes in the 20th c. were pretty horrific.
I'm wondering what these extremes you refer to are.

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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Kaccāni » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:02 am

Jesse wrote: Of course, it doesn't need help, but there can come points where the pain is far too intense to live anymore, yet the body will still cling to life.
If the body clings (steers towards) to life, the pain is not too intense.

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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by The Cicada » Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:33 am

I knew a guy who basically died at around 55 when he had a stroke. He's alive, but not fully.

It brings me back to the question of my own death and the reality that the dying face. Maybe I'll die very old with deep contentment, despite any of life's inevitable regrets, as I chant the daimoku (provided I don't spiritually "punk out" at the last minute and try getting into Sukhavati to escape all of the hellbound karma I've built up from making inappropriate jokes on Buddhist forums,) and find fulfillment in my Buddhist practice. But then, I might very well end up incapacitated and looked after by careless staff in some nursing facility, in too much pain to do anything but ruminate and too unhealthy to even grasp reality in the conventional sense.

It makes me wonder, at times, if it might be best to die like Socrates, deliberately and making a stand, but late in life, after the duties to others in one's life have already been fulfilled. I wonder if good karma could come from such a thing.

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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Jesse » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:01 am

Kaccāni wrote:
Jesse wrote: Of course, it doesn't need help, but there can come points where the pain is far too intense to live anymore, yet the body will still cling to life.
If the body clings (steers towards) to life, the pain is not too intense.

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Kc
Ah, if I could show you some of my direct experiences of pain, I rather think you would disagree sir.

There is also an attachment to life that is not healthy from the perspective of dharma. To actually live you need to be able to let go of life. Some people hold on to this thing called life far too tightly, which becomes evident when discussion matters like death.
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Jesse » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:32 am

The Cicada wrote:I knew a guy who basically died at around 55 when he had a stroke. He's alive, but not fully.

It brings me back to the question of my own death and the reality that the dying face. Maybe I'll die very old with deep contentment, despite any of life's inevitable regrets, as I chant the daimoku (provided I don't spiritually "punk out" at the last minute and try getting into Sukhavati to escape all of the hellbound karma I've built up from making inappropriate jokes on Buddhist forums,) and find fulfillment in my Buddhist practice. But then, I might very well end up incapacitated and looked after by careless staff in some nursing facility, in too much pain to do anything but ruminate and too unhealthy to even grasp reality in the conventional sense.

It makes me wonder, at times, if it might be best to die like Socrates, deliberately and making a stand, but late in life, after the duties to others in one's life have already been fulfilled. I wonder if good karma could come from such a thing.
Life is truly fleeting. Death can literally happen any moment, for anyone. These days I especially notice when something happens where I recognize just how lucky I have been. For example earlier I slipped on a piece of plastic and lost my balance, I regained my balance and escaped any harm. However, just as easily I could have fallen and hit my head, and I'd be gone. I imagine most of us have these sorts of experiences on an almost daily basis.

Anytime some small thing happens that we normally don't think too deeply about, slipping, losing our balance, choking on food (and managing to get it down!)... It's really so easy to die. We tend not to focus on it though because it could be a paralyzing sort of fear.

If anything realizing just how easy it is to die, and that it could happen literally in the snap of a fingers time.. changes how we see things, how we treat others, how we treat ourselves, etc.

As such, I don't think there's much reason to consider suicide outside of the worst case scenarios happening. (Cancer, and being in unimaginable pain, etc.)

Perhaps keeping death in mind provides one of the best reason to practice more often haha.. :lol:
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:05 am

In my 20 something years as a psychologist and social worker I have yet to meet somebody that has attempted to commit suicide that has not regretted their action. Why? Because mainly because their decision to commit suicide was always based in a despair that did not allow them to see the possibility of change. In almost every single case, after the failed attempt, circumstances changed and allowed the person to live in a relative peace, but if the attempt had succeeded...

Decisions to suicide are rarely made from within a clear and objective state of mind.
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Re: Is suicide OK?

Post by JohnTan » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:54 am

Queequeg wrote:I am concerned that as a society we treat life and death clinically - its the victory of the materialist logic. The equation becomes only a question of quality of life - depending on where the threshold is drawn, the question of life and death is little more than an actuarial calculation. It saddens and frightens me to consider how materialism has prevailed and comes to define everything as religion and philosophy retreat. The few instances where materialism was taken to its extremes in the 20th c. were pretty horrific. Its tempered now, but in questions like this suicide/euthanasia... its becoming more insidious.
When an individual says "my karma", he in fact refers to the collective karma of all that he is made of at that point in time. Due to Dependent Origination, the concept of an individual at any level is illusionary - when we study the individual, be it a world, a nation, a community, a family, a person, an organ, a molecule, an atom, a proton, a quark, there are always sub-components and thus the higher-level "form" is nothing more than a temporary assembly of its components. Thus the way a society changes and how its practices evolve/degenerate arise from the collective karma of the people who form it, so on and so forth.

In discussions about "good" or "bad", "right" or "wrong", we are usually dealing with subjectivity. Without context, these are no more than just subjective labels placed upon people, events, things. The laws of a nation, for example, define the context in which there are specific "rights" and "wrongs" but moving from one nation to another, we see that there is no single set of "rights" and "wrongs" that are applicable verbatim to all nations of this world. Extrapolating from this, the idea that suicide is OK (or an informal definition of "good") depends largely on the context of discussion and does not bear any meaning once we depart from that context.

Even the gems of wisdom such as the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path are dependent on context. They are "right" for the purpose of a person seeking the Dharma and striving for liberation from Samsara. For the one who has moved to the verge of enlightenment, it would be necessary to let even those go in order to be fully liberated - to let go fully, one needs to let go of even the wise teaching "let go".

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