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Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/15/20 11:52 AM
Hello everybody,

Before delving into the subject matter, i have to preface my post with a warning : My treatment of the subject may seem utterly morose and may have negative impact on others who are on an unstable position, i've thought longly about that before making this post, i'm convinced there are benefits of talking candidly about those type of subjects, specifically because there is a strong taboo and societal pressure against them, even if it has to be squared with consideration for vulnerable people. Of course the title is clear enough but still, i have to insist : please, only read the post if you're in a position of strength and equanimity. I've read her that streamentry for instance gives people this kind of strength. I'm not claiming here i will give some earth-shattering, never-given before arguments though. 

I have thoroughly read and enjoyed the integrality of this post https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5631402  : i find myself agreeing with a lot of positions of there. Altough i don't share the tone, i'm in no position to judge anybody. I'll reference some arguments i've found there and explain why i find them unconvincing, not as some sort of final refutation but just to avoid needless repetitions of the same angles. 

So without further ado, i have to admit i've never encountered a single non superstitious argument against suicide as a way to liberation from a buddhist perspective. Having read voraciously texts of the buddha, descriptions of Nirvana and Arahants, it is always conveyed that in their "state" (non-state/non dual "state", or whatever, to not get stuck on semantics) there is no attachment to anything whatsoever, nor to pleasure nor to contentment, nor to life nor to death. And those accounts makes it clear that it's utterly insignificant to them, not in the paradoxical way "They like that happy state that comes from non-attachment" but in an "It really makes no difference way"Of course, this creates a problem for buddhism : It makes suicide a viable solution. If Buddha didn't believe in rebirth, that is.

I hence fail to see any arguments that can be given from buddhist principles against suicide without using rebirth. Here it may be pertinent to share my position on buddhism : I see the historical buddha as a master mystic, great at taming at understanding the inner working of the mind and taming it. But i don't give him any authority on ontology, what is the fabric of the universe, what happens after death, etc. I have a tremendous respect for his mastery of meditation techniques, but the buck stops here. The same way i don't think seeing machine elves on DMT gives you any authority to claim the existence of machine elves, or seeing specific visions or dreams. So all the talks about the hell realms and rebirth is utter superstition for me. I'm an ex-muslim (born in a muslim country, left Islam when i was 17), those hell-realms don't scare me the same way buddhists aren't scared by muslim hell realms if they don't believe in Allah and his prophet Mohammed.

The only authority i give buddhism/Buddha is psychological, not ontological. I also feel that even with all the subtle minutiae of many doctrinal elucubration, buddhists have failed to square rebirth with their own teaching of dependent co-arising and no-self. More on this if you are interrested : http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-logic-of-karma.htmlhttp://jayarava.blogspot.com/2015/03/further-problems-in-karma-theory.htmlI

it's not that i'm convinced by materialism either. Ontologically i'm not decided, i agree that the hard problem of consciousness is real problem and that there is a lot we don't know about ontology. The problem is that believers use this mystery/gap to smuggle superstitious beliefs, and then jump back to the "mystery of consciousness" or "problems of materialism" when holes in their doctrine are shown. I can not go from "Consciousness and the unknown are mystery, we can never be sure about what happens after death" to "Therefore we will be reunited for eons in the smurfes realm", and like i said before personal experience doesn't give you any solid ground to make ontological claims, the same way seeing electric elves while taking DMT doesn't give you any ground to conclude that there are "Realms of electric elves, as ontologically real as ours" So without an apriori moral condemnation of suicide, the mystery of consciousness or inability to know what happens after death can't be used as an argument against suicide. For every unprovable "what if there is a hell realms for the suicidal", i can make a superstitious counter-claim " What if god is selecting those who can't stand a world full of injustice, homelessness, greed and war and therefore send only the suicidal to heavens", of course i don't believe this, it seems to me utterly ridiculous, but not more or less ridiculous than the hell realms. If i were to go by first impressions and build from here, the universe seems utterly amoral, so if there is any rebirth, the most plausible possibility i see is an amoral open individualism style "rebirth", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_individualism where life just repeat itself and all your "liberation" and "memories" in antecedent life return to 0.

Buddhists IMHO have spent a great deal of energy and wit in explaining that karma isn't moral, "there is no cosmic judge giving accounts, it's about the intentions/citta etc", but then go on to pronounce many claims where karma seems to be this cosmic judge actually storing accounts. You can either have a minimalist definition of Karma : Your intentions and actions do influence what you get, but not in an absolute way, after all Trump is the president of the united state and it doesn't seem that he accrued a lot of good merit, and it can stand,  or you use an absolutist definition of karma where it controls almost everything that happens to you - i say almost, because i'm familiar with a sutta where the buddha said that your current actions also influences your results ... but then again your current actions are also influenced by karma - and in this case it fails IMHO,  that's why buddhists need other life and rebirths to salvage karma. Absolutist karma also pressuposes that not only the mind/citta/stream of consciousness have a moral impact but that the whole of nature and the universe participate to this moral ground. Sorry if i may seem harsh, but it seems to me that many venerable buddhists consciously or unconsciously use the "Motte-And-Bailey" strategy : They make claims about absolutist karma, when holes in this absolutist type of karma are shown, they retreat into arguments about minimalist karma.


This post isn't meant as a cry for help but as a rational discussion of suicide and the ending of suffering/pain. Like OP of the other post, almost my whole life i felt a nagging type of suffering, a type of existential depression that i don't feel is even adressed by any working on "personal problems", it reaches far beyond into "Why i'm here ? What if this will happen again and again ? the ruthlessness of capitalism, the problem of homelessness and the treatment of women and minorities in muslim countries like mine and others etc. Like a commenter in the post i've linked, i share a disdain for psychiatry and its medicalization of negative states and focus on the individual, as if the individual was an island thoroughly divorced from society/nature and the system injustices and absurdities one live in, all that matters to psychiatry is being functional, very convenient for the capitalist system. But contrary to him i don't share the disdain for shrinks, imho most of them are normal people, a lot of them are motivated by empathy and a real desire to help. I've just recently read this book that i found fascinating, i don't agree with everything claimed by the authors, but they make some great points, i'll quote one of them here

"JAMES HILLMAN: We’ve had a hundred years of analysis, and people are getting more and more sensitive, and the world is getting worse and worse. Maybe it’s time to look at that. We still locate the psyche inside the skin. You go inside to locate the psyche, you examine your feelings and your dreams, they belong to you. Or it’s interrelations,
interpsyche, between your psyche and mine. That’s been extended a little bit into family systems and office groups—but the psyche, the soul, is still only within and between people. We’re working on our relationships constantly, and our feelings and reflections, but look what’s left out of that. Hillman makes a wide gesture that includes the oil tanker on the horizon,
the gang graffiti on a park sign, and the fat homeless woman with swollen ankles and cracked skin asleep on the grass about fifteen yards away. What’s left out is a deteriorating world. So why hasn’t therapy noticed that? Because psychotherapy is only working on that “inside” soul. By removing the soul from the world and not recognizing that the soul is also in the world ... " 

The book is named "We've had hundred years of psychotherapy and the world's getting worse", i'm tempted to say the same thing about buddhists, replacing a hundred years with centuries. Except consolidating rigid hiearchical structures that benefits lamas and oppress women, what did buddhists give to their societies ?  The only reasonable argument i've found against suicide as a form of liberation is the simplest one : the impact it will have on others. My problem with this argument is that i never asked to be here, i don't have children nor will have any, and i try to limit new friendships specifically to avoid this. To extend the responsibility more than this seem to me as overburdening the sufferer and the seeker-of-liberation with a uniquely inordinate responsibility and unique standard we don't extend to anybody else. Think about it, in other wakes of life, if an individual where to break up with another individual and it leads to great suffering for him/her, we don't think it's the responsibility of the one who broke up to stick with him. 

Anyway, apologies if this post seems rambly and lacking structure, english isn't my first languages and a lot of thoughts and ideas i always wanted to discuss crossed into my minds while reading the other posts. My questions can be summed into :

- Outside of unverifiable ontological claims like "There is muslim hell waiting for you", "there are buddhist hell realms" or "there is moral rebirth", is there any solid/rational argument against suicide as a way to eliminate of suffering ? Of course you won't feel any "contentment" by being dead, but you won't feel any suffering either (excluding the unverifiable unfalisifable ontological claims). 

- For those who had this existential type of "depression" or something closes to it, how were you able to maintain a stable/good practice ? I've tried many times but i always abandon after a month, because of a lack of faith and results, it's not that i don't feel any effect, there is slightly more calm/empathy etc, it's just that the effect is utterly insignificant compared to nudge existential depression. My mind responds easily to rational arguments, for instance, it's very easy for to deal with anger : i just remember that the person in front of me was an innocent baby once, that just likes me he wants to be free from suffering and is doing his best, and i gain empathy from this and the anger stops, at least personal types of anger. But i can't find any similar reason to place in front of my existential depression/discouragement.Thank you in advance.

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/15/20 1:08 PM as a reply to Solvo.
My investigation in to suffering and suicidal thoughts showed me that the main reason for having them is actually nothing else than the idea of "liberation from suffering". Mind cling to it and to certain semi-pleasant experiences of imaginary liberation that this clinging to liberation provides and keeps itself suffering. If you cling to it then by the fact it literally need the same suffering to be there your mind will make sure to suffer. Also it takes focus of mind away and makes finding actual solution almost impossible.

"Existential depression" you say? Technically it is the easiest type of suffering to remove... Try to remove suffering caused by pain from kidney stones. And this also possible and you can experience bliss while experiencing already greatly reduced physical pain and even consider this experience good later. All that by not wanting suffering to be gone and doing the next thing that comes to mind when you do not focus on liberation from suffering.

Buddhism does nothing to stop this circle of madness of igniting desire for liberation. Actually this is the thing I hate about this movement/religion. I bet Buddha was very careful about these things but as the things unfortunately are people mostly remembered the worst and which was never even said. Existence is suffering and meditation as the way to liberate yourself from it and bullshit like that. They remembered and written books about what they knew, suffering and constant desire for liberation.

Do not try to liberate yourself from any suffering and just see what happens in your body and mind. Then you wont have existential depression or suicidal thoughts. No liberation eitherer. Suffering just won't exist and to you it will seem strange it ever existed... until you peek again at what "liberation" does to your mind, maybe just to make sure you do not want to cultivate this hot burning coal in your throat ever again.

edit://
Detachement from reality is not needed.
It is bad dharma. You will find a lot of this bad dharma out there unfortunately. For reasons I stated above.

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/15/20 1:12 PM as a reply to Solvo.
Having read voraciously texts of the buddha, descriptions of Nirvana and Arahants, it is always conveyed that in their "state" (non-state/non dual "state", or whatever, to not get stuck on semantics) there is no attachment to anything whatsoever, nor to pleasure nor to contentment, nor to life nor to death. And those accounts makes it clear that it's utterly insignificant to them, not in the paradoxical way "They like that happy state that comes from non-attachment" but in an "It really makes no difference way"Of course, this creates a problem for buddhism : It makes suicide a viable solution. If Buddha didn't believe in rebirth, that is.

I'm hoping not to offend you, but this is complete bullshit. Life is never insignificant. Awakened people are still human beings and have all the same faculties that come along with that. Don't buy into the unfortunate nihilism that accompanies some spiritual thinking. Suicide is not, never is frankly, a viable, rational or ethical option.

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/15/20 1:23 PM as a reply to Solvo.
Solvo:
- For those who had this existential type of "depression" or something closes to it, how were you able to maintain a stable/good practice ? I've tried many times but i always abandon after a month, because of a lack of faith and results, it's not that i don't feel any effect, there is slightly more calm/empathy etc, it's just that the effect is utterly insignificant compared to nudge existential depression. My mind responds easily to rational arguments, for instance, it's very easy for to deal with anger : i just remember that the person in front of me was an innocent baby once, that just likes me he wants to be free from suffering and is doing his best, and i gain empathy from this and the anger stops, at least personal types of anger. But i can't find any similar reason to place in front of my existential depression/discouragement.Thank you in advance.


Hi Solvo, welcome to the DhO!

A few questions:

  • How long have you been practicing?
  • What is your practice?
  • What stops you after a month or so?


~BTG

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/15/20 1:27 PM as a reply to Solvo.
I'm 70 years old.  I've been thinking about suicide on and off since I was a teenager.  I'm still here.

Actually I have had lots of great happiness in my life and I'm incredibly greatful to have experienced this long strange and beautiful trip, but there have been some very painful and frightening times.  Times of hopelessness and dispair.  

I think it is common to think about suicide, and lots of people think about it from time to time.  Thinking about it and doing it are very different.

Life can be very hard.  It is common to think about suicide as a way out.  I'm always suprised when someone tells me they have never thought about it.

I think it is healthy to talk about it.  Get it out in the open.  

But I advise you don't do it.  

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/15/20 1:41 PM as a reply to Solvo.
Most people will agree that Shakespeare is one of the most important figures in Engllish literature.  He shaped the English language and much of our thinking.

What would you say is the most famos line in all of Shakespeare's works?

Most people say that it is "To be or not to be, that is the question"

Why does this resonate?  Because it is a basic human question.

When I honestly asked myself that question I realized I wanted to live, in spite of the slings and arrows.  I'm glad I asked myself the question.

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/15/20 1:58 PM as a reply to Solvo.
Sounds like you are going through a lot of doubt, cynicism, uncertainty, hopelessness and despair in regards to the world and your beliefs. You are spinning in circles trying to "figure it out" and arrive at some thought-world or belief system that will perfectly encapsulate and describe experience, keeping you safe and secure. Unfortunately, all belief systems are leaky and imperfect. They're not going to get you there, and they're not going to solve the frustrating unsatisfactoriness you feel with existence. In fact, heady ontological rumination is often a last-ditch effort by certain aspects of the egoic personality structure to keep actual reality and experience at a distance, to suppress and dissociate from your feeling-life and unpleasant emotion.  

I have been guilty of this many times in my practice and life, and you don’t have to look very far here on DhO to find many, many examples of others doing the same. It is extremely common, especially in the Dukkha Nanas, for the meditator to bump headfirst into deeply uncomfortable and negative emotional content, and then freak out and opt to start spinning endlessly in the content of their intellect and mind.

While the sort of topics you've brought up in your post are interesting to the intellect and have their function in certain contexts, I don't feel that talking about them is skillful in the sense that they lead towards Awakening-- and I assume that's what you're really here for. In the suttas, the Buddha over and over again implores other people he speaks to to drop their ontological inquiries because they’re not particularly useful in the context of attaining enlightenment. He basically says if that if you try to solve the deepest problems of experience from your intellect, your head will explode.

Not meaning to shut down this conversation, but rather want to say that your time would be much better spent investigating the three characteristics of the thoughts, sensations and emotions behind everything you’ve written here. 

What's going on in your practice? 

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/15/20 3:53 PM as a reply to Solvo.
This moment will influence the next, whether you like it or not.

Consciousness will arise somewhere in that other moment, whether you like it or not.

All things are empty things, and empty things are interdependent things, whether you like it or not.

The deliberate dissolution of a temporary line on a map we call ‘me’ is a causal action, whether you like it or not. 

For someone who has had these insights, suicide can’t solve dukkha because all actions may be causal to future consciousness, and how closely that consciousness is tied to ‘my’ body is ultimately irrelevant to the problem.

Study emptiness.

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 7:34 AM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Ni Nurta:
My investigation in to suffering and suicidal thoughts showed me that the main reason for having them is actually nothing else than the idea of "liberation from suffering". Mind cling to it and to certain semi-pleasant experiences of imaginary liberation that this clinging to liberation provides and keeps itself suffering. If you cling to it then by the fact it literally need the same suffering to be there your mind will make sure to suffer. Also it takes focus of mind away and makes finding actual solution almost impossible.

"Existential depression" you say? Technically it is the easiest type of suffering to remove... Try to remove suffering caused by pain from kidney stones. And this also possible and you can experience bliss while experiencing already greatly reduced physical pain and even consider this experience good later. All that by not wanting suffering to be gone and doing the next thing that comes to mind when you do not focus on liberation from suffering.

Buddhism does nothing to stop this circle of madness of igniting desire for liberation. Actually this is the thing I hate about this movement/religion. I bet Buddha was very careful about these things but as the things unfortunately are people mostly remembered the worst and which was never even said. Existence is suffering and meditation as the way to liberate yourself from it and bullshit like that. They remembered and written books about what they knew, suffering and constant desire for liberation.

Do not try to liberate yourself from any suffering and just see what happens in your body and mind. Then you wont have existential depression or suicidal thoughts. No liberation eitherer. Suffering just won't exist and to you it will seem strange it ever existed... until you peek again at what "liberation" does to your mind, maybe just to make sure you do not want to cultivate this hot burning coal in your throat ever again.

edit://
Detachement from reality is not needed.
It is bad dharma. You will find a lot of this bad dharma out there unfortunately. For reasons I stated above.

Hello Ni Nurta, 



The origin of suffering seems to me like a complex problem that can't be adressed by any specific one answer to end all answers. It's not that i totally disagree with you, your perspective and investigation appears reasonable. But so is the biological/evolutionnary perspective – we suffer because it's evolutionnary beneficial for organism – or social/ecological perspectives, we suffer because we live in a society and environment that we hadn't time to adapt to, that is unhealthy (not in an absolute way, but relatively to our needs and wiring, and by that i don't mean here to blame society as if was some hapless victim, in this perspective, i would be also part of the problem because society is nothing but the sum of our needs, aspiration, and greed  etc… Altough there are systemic issues, systemic dynamics that take life on their own, but i won't go far into this.), or we can go into the Nagarjuna way "There is no suffering and no sufferer, all is an illusion", altough that doesn't speak to me at all.

I want to not cling to the idea of liberation, but how can one even begin to that without replacing it with clinging to the « idea of not thinking about liberation » ? I can say « i'm not clinging to the idea of liberation anymore «  write it, repeat it as a mantra or whatever, but how can i make it intuitively/experientially take root in the mind ? It seems to me that the mind is clingy by nature, some people are able to transcend it, the clinging at least if not the suffering, but they seem so far in between and no matter how hard i try to convince myself that it's within my ability too, i have trouble believing it because of my experience, learned helplesness maybe … the same way some people seem to read a self-help book with cheesy answers and hopeful/encouraging words and it makes a huge difference in their life, because they are already functional/have a lot of strength and need only a little push, while for others it doesn't make any difference and looks excedingly naive and totally disconnected with their experience, meditation seems to work for some people more than others.

About the kindney stone issue, believe me, my purpose wasn't to make it some contest of suffering as in « Poor little me, i have existential depression, the worse of the worse » i know that a lot of people are unfortunately in a worse spot than me, some have existential depression and pain and economical problems … and it's not a contest, everyone's mind is inaccessible to us and it's impossible/useless to evalute and compare. 

I'm just looking for someone with a similar problem who could stick to his practice, how he did it, what advices can he share … etc

Thank you for your time.

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 7:44 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Having read voraciously texts of the buddha, descriptions of Nirvana and Arahants, it is always conveyed that in their "state" (non-state/non dual "state", or whatever, to not get stuck on semantics) there is no attachment to anything whatsoever, nor to pleasure nor to contentment, nor to life nor to death. And those accounts makes it clear that it's utterly insignificant to them, not in the paradoxical way "They like that happy state that comes from non-attachment" but in an "It really makes no difference way"Of course, this creates a problem for buddhism : It makes suicide a viable solution. If Buddha didn't believe in rebirth, that is.

I'm hoping not to offend you, but this is complete bullshit. Life is never insignificant. Awakened people are still human beings and have all the same faculties that come along with that. Don't buy into the unfortunate nihilism that accompanies some spiritual thinking. Suicide is not, never is frankly, a viable, rational or ethical option.

Hi Chris,

There is nothing offensive at all about disagreing.

I was going just by buddhists/advaitists descriptions of Nirvana/and Moshka, it seems that one of its distinctive attributes is that there is no attachement in it, whether to life or to death, are you saying i'm wrong on those depictions as in they don't say that, or that the depictions are themselves wrong ? 

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 7:56 AM as a reply to Bagpuss The Gnome.
Bagpuss The Gnome:
Solvo:
- For those who had this existential type of "depression" or something closes to it, how were you able to maintain a stable/good practice ? I've tried many times but i always abandon after a month, because of a lack of faith and results, it's not that i don't feel any effect, there is slightly more calm/empathy etc, it's just that the effect is utterly insignificant compared to nudge existential depression. My mind responds easily to rational arguments, for instance, it's very easy for to deal with anger : i just remember that the person in front of me was an innocent baby once, that just likes me he wants to be free from suffering and is doing his best, and i gain empathy from this and the anger stops, at least personal types of anger. But i can't find any similar reason to place in front of my existential depression/discouragement.Thank you in advance.


Hi Solvo, welcome to the DhO!

A few questions:

  • How long have you been practicing?
  • What is your practice?
  • What stops you after a month or so?


~BTG

Hello Bagpuss, and thank you

My practice has always been chaotic and disparate, i do one month and stops because of discouragement, feeling that it will amount to nothing, that altough there is a little progress, i'm soooooo far away undoing suffering and i have little energy to go furthermove. I feel like i was running a marathon, and i've barely traveled a quarter of a mile and my energy is already dissipated. I know it's wrong to see it as a "marathon" to begin with, it's just meant as an allegory, I've tried psychiatric drugs but they just make me numb. 

I don't know how to explain it, but when i read for instance "It should take no more than 7 years of serious practice", other than the tremendous respect and admiration i feel for people who are able to do that, i know that if i had the stamina and belief (or just calmness and lack of clinging to result) to stick to 7 years of practice, i wouldn't have a "problem" to begin with. I mean there would still be suffering but i don't know even if i would've been drawn to the path, having that modicum of stability and strength is in itself an amazing quality i'd love to have.

This "existential depression" is always eating away the energy and modicum of faith one need to sustain any practice, in all walks of life. Even in university i was barely able to finish 3 years, each time doing one semester and missing the next, and only going through it by negociating with my minds "Just do 4 months, take it as a goal in itself and see what happens", the problem with this strategy is that it only works short-term, it's not sustainable. 

My practice has been mostly one-pointedness/breath meditation. 

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 7:58 AM as a reply to Solvo.
... are you saying i'm wrong on those depictions as in they don't say that, or that the depictions are themselves wrong ? 

The depictions are wrong - to the point of being nihilistic BS  emoticon


RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 8:04 AM as a reply to Tom Smith.
Tom Smith:
I'm 70 years old.  I've been thinking about suicide on and off since I was a teenager.  I'm still here.

Actually I have had lots of great happiness in my life and I'm incredibly greatful to have experienced this long strange and beautiful trip, but there have been some very painful and frightening times.  Times of hopelessness and dispair.  

I think it is common to think about suicide, and lots of people think about it from time to time.  Thinking about it and doing it are very different.

Life can be very hard.  It is common to think about suicide as a way out.  I'm always suprised when someone tells me they have never thought about it.

I think it is healthy to talk about it.  Get it out in the open.  

But I advise you don't do it.  

Hello Tom Smith,

I'm glad you had a lots of great happiness in your life, may you have many more of those moments and experiences till your last breath.

I totally understand why someone who has both moments of despair/suffering and gladness/joy may be opposed to suicide. But what if you spent a decade of almost exclusively suffering and stress and a nagging sense of suffering that eats a way even the little pleasures you're able to afford ? 

I'm only talking about it now, i don't think i'll do it short term, if only because i lack a painless/effective means (tried to order one, it was taken away by customs), and not before sticking to at least a 4/5 months practice and doing some meditation retreat, as i fear i have nothing to lose. Altough it would be a home retreat because there is 0 monasteries/retreats in my country, and i'm not an impulsive person because i know what a botched suicide attempt can lead to.


"Tom Smith Most people will agree that Shakespeare is one of the most important figures in Engllish literature.  He shaped the English language and much of our thinking.

What would you say is the most famos line in all of Shakespeare's works?

Most people say that it is "To be or not to be, that is the question"

Why does this resonate?  Because it is a basic human question.

When I honestly asked myself that question I realized I wanted to live, in spite of the slings and arrows.  I'm glad I asked myself the question."


Glad to hear that, i don't personaly get the same answer by asking that question. 

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 8:03 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
... are you saying i'm wrong on those depictions as in they don't say that, or that the depictions are themselves wrong ? 

The depictions are wrong - to the point of being nihilistic BS  emoticon


I see your point now, thank you. 

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 8:19 AM as a reply to Zachary.
Zachary:
Sounds like you are going through a lot of doubt, cynicism, uncertainty, hopelessness and despair in regards to the world and your beliefs. You are spinning in circles trying to "figure it out" and arrive at some thought-world or belief system that will perfectly encapsulate and describe experience, keeping you safe and secure. Unfortunately, all belief systems are leaky and imperfect. They're not going to get you there, and they're not going to solve the frustrating unsatisfactoriness you feel with existence. In fact, heady ontological rumination is often a last-ditch effort by certain aspects of the egoic personality structure to keep actual reality and experience at a distance, to suppress and dissociate from your feeling-life and unpleasant emotion.  

I have been guilty of this many times in my practice and life, and you don’t have to look very far here on DhO to find many, many examples of others doing the same. It is extremely common, especially in the Dukkha Nanas, for the meditator to bump headfirst into deeply uncomfortable and negative emotional content, and then freak out and opt to start spinning endlessly in the content of their intellect and mind.

While the sort of topics you've brought up in your post are interesting to the intellect and have their function in certain contexts, I don't feel that talking about them is skillful in the sense that they lead towards Awakening-- and I assume that's what you're really here for. In the suttas, the Buddha over and over again implores other people he speaks to to drop their ontological inquiries because they’re not particularly useful in the context of attaining enlightenment. He basically says if that if you try to solve the deepest problems of experience from your intellect, your head will explode.

Not meaning to shut down this conversation, but rather want to say that your time would be much better spent investigating the three characteristics of the thoughts, sensations and emotions behind everything you’ve written here. 

What's going on in your practice? 

Hello Zachary, you make a lot of great and insightful points.

I perfectly see what you mean, papanca, mental/conceptual proliferation can be a poison to the mind.

The only nuance i can add is that i'm not naive enough to expect any definitive/ontological answers, i'm mostly interrested in experiential answers, from people who traversed the same tortuous path. It's not that i'm drawn to papanca first, it's my inability to just get with the flow of life and experience both the goodness and badness of life without this constant oppressive nagging that draws me to this type of questioning. I admire people going with the low and the high, not bothering about any of those unsolvable riddles, but at the same time i feel very estranged trying to walk through those motions, or just letting go and focusing on experiential moments and the marks of existence, i wish i could just not care or  ask those type of questions and understand how useless and unskiffull they may seem from an outside perspective. 

For the practice : Disparate and chaotic, i do one month and them i'm discouraged by how little progress/how little energy i still have to pursue the path, that's actually one of the reasons i made this post. if i just ignore those types of questions, "my mind" gain strength in obstructing me with constant/nagging thoughts like "You're just wasting what little energy you have, it will amount to nothing"

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 8:37 AM as a reply to Milo.
Milo:
This moment will influence the next, whether you like it or not.

Consciousness will arise somewhere in that other moment, whether you like it or not.

All things are empty things, and empty things are interdependent things, whether you like it or not.

The deliberate dissolution of a temporary line on a map we call ‘me’ is a causal action, whether you like it or not. 

For someone who has had these insights, suicide can’t solve dukkha because all actions may be causal to future consciousness, and how closely that consciousness is tied to ‘my’ body is ultimately irrelevant to the problem.

Study emptiness.

Hi Milo, 

i know that this moment will influence the next, whether i like it or not. Actually it's one of the main reasons i'm discouraged : Most of my precedent moments have been moments of failure, nagging sense of hopelessness and discouragement. Where is the strength or hope or clarity of mind supposed to come from ? 

I'm not sure either that suicide can solve but dukkha, but then again there is no reason to think that even enlightenment will solve dukkha after life. I've studied and thought deeply and read voraciously about emptiness, but if you do that without clinging to the buddhist superstiton or perspective, you'll see that it's incompatible with even Nirvana/Moksha whatever leading to an end of dukkha even after death.

After all, we were all "free/not chained by dukha" before the beginning of the universe/or first conscious moment or whatever you see as the beginning, whether from an idealist or materialist perspective, and here we are. I understand emptiness, but emptiness is incompatible with the universe having some registry of who experienced "Nirvana" in this life, as if there was a store of discrete stream consciousness that will be forever liberated.

Emptiness if you investigate it outside of buddhist dogma/perspective leads to an utter dissolution of boundaries, a dissolution that is incompatible with Nirvana as a total liberation. The implications of emptiness for me is either "There is no conscious moment after death that will be live/actual for "me", or they will be an endless for each of "us" no matter how wise/or enlightened "we" were in this life. Only by postulating some superstitious spirit/stable entity (which contradicts emptiness) or believing in superstition can one reach the conclusion that Nirvana leads to a forever sort of liberation.

Emptiness/dependent co-arising/and the doctrine of momentariness are actually incompatible with buddhist rebirths and with Nirvana/Awakening having any lasting impact after death. Buddhists since early buddhisms had a lot of doctrinal disputes trying to make those ideas seems compatible, without success.

More on this if anyone is interrested : 

"

The axioms that Buddhists use to define and delimit the theory of karma mostly derive from of an ideological program rather than resulting from careful study of nature. These axioms force Buddhists into incoherent or self-contradictory positions on karma that can only be addressed by ad hoc  extensions and black-box processes. Those that were traditionally added, brought new metaphysical problems and beyond a certain point these are not addressed by the Buddhist tradition.

Simplistic models of karma break down when we add real-world complexity. What holds for one karma does not hold for two, let alone for a realistic number. This is not just poor abstract philosophy. People base their actions and their life choices on these ideas. If the argument presented here is correct, then karma is a poor basis for decision making because it doesn't make sense and doesn't explain how morality works. Furthermore karma is at the heart of Buddhism. As I have shown in previous essays, where there was a conflict between karma and the highly esteemed idea of dependent-arising (pratītyasamutpāda) it was always the latter that was altered to preserve the functionality of karma. Karma is primary. Without karma Buddhism unravels."

http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-logic-of-karma.html?m=1

http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2016/05/karma-and-rebirth-basics.html

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 8:37 AM as a reply to Solvo.
I understand emptiness, but emptiness is incompatible with the universe having some registry of who experienced "Nirvana" in this life, as if there was a store of discrete stream consciousness that will be forever liberated.

At what level do you understand emptiness? Emptiness is not just an intellectual concept. It's also a way in which we experience the world, and to see that you have to practice and discover how the mind processes phenomena and creates your experience. At that "deeper" level, emptiness is beyond concept, becoming a deeply felt experiential view that changes how you interact with everything.

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 8:42 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I understand emptiness, but emptiness is incompatible with the universe having some registry of who experienced "Nirvana" in this life, as if there was a store of discrete stream consciousness that will be forever liberated.

At what level do you understand emptiness? Emptiness is not just an intellectual concept. It's also a way in which we experience the world, and to see that you have to practice and discover how the mind processes phenomena and creates your experience. At that "deeper" level, emptiness is beyond concept, becoming a deeply felt experiential view that changes how you interact with everything.

Like i said in the beginning of my post, i don't think buddhism/buddhas has any authority in ontology.

The same way experiencing machine elves under DMT doesn't give you any solid ontological ground to make a conclusion about the ontological existence of electric elves. Buddhist experiences, no matter how blissful/intuitively convincing/shattering/ego-dissolving they may seem don't give buddhist any ontological ground to ascertain what happens after death, they have authority to talk about psychology/the mind/this moment, sure, but not ontology. 

I'm not denying that at a deeper level emptiness will change how you interact with everything. I'm denying that it gives you any ontological ground to extrapolate about what happens after the death of the body/mind. 

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 8:58 AM as a reply to Solvo.
Solvo:
I'm just looking for someone with a similar problem who could stick to his practice, how he did it, what advices can he share … etc



Well, I've been through a few difficult dark nights now Solvo and I can tell you that existential dread was the predominant experience for me in the one. I basically spent months and months almost unable to function. Hours and hours of uncontrollable crying. I tried therapy, and under pressure from my family I even tried SSRI's (BIG mistake!).

There were many things I did to get out of this mess but the one that tipped the balance was to entirely rethink my practice and then double down on it until i got through this stage. Now, I have no idea if you are in the classic dukkha nanas as found in the progress of insight or just depressed, so my experience and advice may have very limited value but I would consider changing your technique, or at least revisiting your existing one.
Have you read MCTB? You can apply what you read in there to both anapanasati (your breath practice) or body scanning as well as Daniels preffered technique of noting in the mahasi style.
A friend of mine from a few years back on this board did the entire path in just that little patch of sensations below her nostrils And of course many people here like noting. Personally I've used them all and even mixed them up from time to time and combined them etc. The key is to notice the 3 characteristics regardless of your technique.

One thing I know for absolute certain is this: You can't think your way out of this stuff. Do whatever you can to stop those spiraling thoughts Solvo. I like to use awareness practices as my walking/talking/doing stuff techniques - you can note "seeing, hearing, touching" to anchor in the senses or "feel, image, talk" if you really have to (check out Shinzen Young for more on all that). I don't really like noting but have used it many times to ease my way through sticky patches and definitely prefer a pre-defined labelling scheme such as Shinzens.

There are some very experienced folks in this thread who I'm certain know a fair bit more than I so I hope they will also comment on techniques.
~BTG

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 8:57 AM as a reply to Solvo.
I'm not denying that at a deeper level emptiness will change how you interact with everything. I'm denying that it gives you any ontological ground to extrapolate about what happens after the death of the body/mind. 

Analyzing what, if anything, extends beyond death is a waste of time, IMHO. So... have at it, and have fun doing it. I'll stay out of the discussion.

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 1:58 PM as a reply to Solvo.
I have not read all the responses so apologies if their is repetition here.

You ask: is there any solid/rational argument against suicide as a way to eliminate of suffering ?

You also said you believe in the meditative wisdom of the Buddha, but not the after-life. So here's an answer tailored to this:

Suicide from the meditative perspective cannot be acceptable, because the freedom from suffering that the meditative path points to is letting go of desire-aversion, and suicide is pushed by these two forces, especially aversion. 

Take a common instructions you have even here in Pragmatic Dharma: the teacher points to where in your meditation you generate aversion. For example, to move from Re-Observation to Equanimity: typically a teacher will tell you to notice the aversion, and learn to be intimate with the unpleasantness without struggling with it (translation: let go of aversion). Re-Observation is an unpleasant stage of meditation. Equanimity follows it if you learn to recognize and let go of aversion in re-observation. The whole path is to be here and now and not struggle with it. Now, with suicide you have aversion to the present, and are looking forward to death (desire). 

This leads to this conclusion: the "end of suffering" that you envision in suicide cannot be the same as the one the meditative path points at. So from the Buddhist perspective, even the one without rebirth, suicide is not a path to the end of suffering.

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 2:31 PM as a reply to Solvo.
Nagarjuna way "There is no suffering and no sufferer, all is an illusion"

It is kinda true. Suffering is caused by wanting pain to be gone and pain can always be experienced as pleasure and this pleasure when expeirenced makes pain gone completely. This pleasure can be found in strange places in your experience, usually very far away from source of pain. Because it is far away it is especially beneficial to not focus on liberation from suffering (which is always close to pain) and let mind just experience everything. Then it can find what it needs to experience to actually not experience pain as pain but pleasure.

When however you experience suffering it is not an illusion. It is very real.

I want to not cling to the idea of liberation, but how can one even begin to that without replacing it with clinging to the « idea of not thinking about liberation » ? I can say « i'm not clinging to the idea of liberation anymore «  write it, repeat it as a mantra or whatever, but how can i make it intuitively/experientially take root in the mind ?

Yes, I had the same set of issues.
The trick is to go with it through the end, even if your mind breaks from all the nonsense while doing it.
This is general way to get most of the things eg. relaxation. How do you not do anything when not doing seems like just another form of doing action called inactivity. When you go deeper and deeper in trying not doing not-doing you will get closer and closer to what seems like form of insanity, then it will be felt like your mind is so full in this recursion that one more step and it breaks because and it cannot do it anymore. Then it it is completely blocked and you find yourself not doing anythibng without doing anything to cause this inactivity.

Recursion is actually the best way to practice any meditative skills.
Even practices which are described in linear fashion like eg. Mahasi Noting or mantras can be done recursively and then they work much better. It might be hard to intuitively know how to do recursion and generally brain does not like it until it learns it. Do not be discouraged by these cases of running in circles and try to figure it out.

About the kindney stone issue, believe me, my purpose wasn't to make it some contest of suffering as in « Poor little me, i have existential depression, the worse of the worse »

Yes, existential depression is far worse.
Little suffering over long time is far forse than strong suffering for a while.
From technical standpoint however small suffering can be rather easily fixed while strong suffering caused by strong pain is more difficult as there is much more stuff to deal with at once and requires more skill.
Imagine you live happy life without much worries, everything falls in to place. Then for one day you get existential depression... and next day you feel happy again. What impact this depression would have on you? Less than hitting your finger with a hammer.

The issue with such existential depression is that when you do have it for sufficiently long time then even when you find yourself not having it and realize this then immediatelyu your mind will jump at the idea of liberation from suffering and try to actually experience it, even when it is not suffering. This is pretty much the moment in which you start suffering again. That can happen multiple times a second and is why you experience suffering constantly. If not for it all you would experience was some sort of physical pain which would fade over time or which you could experience as pleasure. This is why I say it is technically easy to deal with.

RE: Suicide and liberation
Answer
7/16/20 2:57 PM as a reply to Solvo.
Solvo

For the practice : Disparate and chaotic, i do one month and them i'm discouraged by how little progress/how little energy i still have to pursue the path, that's actually one of the reasons i made this post. if i just ignore those types of questions, "my mind" gain strength in obstructing me with constant/nagging thoughts like "You're just wasting what little energy you have, it will amount to nothing"


What is your relationship like with these feelings of discouragement, low energy, lack of progress, etc.? Are you able to sit with these and investigate them for the three characterisitics? There is absolutely no emotional state or affect that is off-limits for practice, being aware of these unpleasant states and noting their impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and emptiness will eventually yield insight if you are able to consistently sit with them day after day.