Pure Land & Suicide

wukong
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Pure Land & Suicide

Postby wukong » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:15 pm

Dear all

someone asked me a question that I really don't know how to answer.

Is there a risk, or indeed a history, of people committing suicide in order to hasten their entry in to the Pure Land?

It is popularly believed here in england that there is a high rate of suicide in Japan or that suicide is seen as an honourable alternative to certain difficulties in life. Could this be influenced by Pure Land beliefs?

Also, are there any references in the Sutras that might be interpreted in a sympathetic to suicide

any help with this would be great

thanks.

wukong

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Nosta
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby Nosta » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:24 pm

Buddha and Buddhism are against suicide.

If someone commits suicide because he is tired from this life and wants a quick way to achieve Pure Land, that means that his mind is so clouded that right after death he wont be able to concentrate on Amitabha and reach Pure Land.

I dont think sutras speak on suicide! I remember the story (i read it somewhere in the forum) of a monk trying to commit suicide to achieve Pure Land and he wasnt able to do it. Even with bad injuries, he wouldnt die! He died from natural causes. It was like Amitabha stoped him from commiting suicide. I bet that "normal" people (i mean a lay person) trying to do the same wouldnt be so lucky...

In Tibet there is the practice of phowa: self ejecting from body once for all in order to achieve Pure Land. From what i know that can only be used when the natural moment of death is coming. I suppose that someone commiting suicided with phowa would not be lucky. Just my guess.

I would like to see the answer to your questions from members with more knowldge than me.

wukong
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby wukong » Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:27 pm

indeed, nosta. the question is intended to compare the theology with the social reality of it, so both points of view are welcome.

gingercatni
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby gingercatni » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:32 pm


wukong
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby wukong » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:40 pm

Gosh, ginger, your quote of me was a little weird. Your question was not distinct from my previous post

But no, thank you. I am not contemplating suicide in the the least. It is merely an academic question that someone asked me that I have no idea how to respond to. Any help responding to the possible criticism that pure land promotes suicide would be very gratefully received.

Wukong.

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Nosta
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby Nosta » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:46 pm


plwk
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby plwk » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:24 am


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sinweiy
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby sinweiy » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:39 am

_/\_
Amituofo!

"Enlightenment is to turn around and see MY own mistake, Other's mistake is also my mistake. Others are right even if they are wrong. i'm wrong even if i'm right. " - Master Chin Kung

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Kaji
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby Kaji » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:42 am

I have heard a story (told by Ven. Chin Kung if I remember correctly) about a monk who wasn't doing too well with his Vinaya (i.e., he often breached his monk precepts).

After learning about the Western Pure Land one day, he closed himself into a room and started nienfo (chanting Amitabha's name) non-stop. I think it was after the third day when Amitabha appeared before him. The monk asked that he be taken to the Pure Land immediately, to which Amitabha replied that his time was not up yet (and so he should wait to near his death for rebirth into the Pure Land). The monk insisted that he be reborn as soon as possible, for he was worried that living more years in this life would only allow him to breach precepts even more. He was also worried that he might not be able to maintain his current level of determination in nienfo through the years, so he was not confident that when the day came would he make it to the Pure Land.

According to the story, Amitabha accepted the monk's request and said that he will come back to escort him to the Pure Land a number of days later. The monk went out and told the other monks, most of whom did not take him seriously, as many doubted how could a monk so bad with his Vinaya could be reborn into the Pure Land simply with a few days of nienfo? When the said date came the monk was confirmed to have been reborn into the Western Pure Land, proving many other monks wrong.

This story teaches us that, 1) if you really want to go to the Western Pure Land as soon as possible and you have a valid reason to do so, you can nienfo according to the sutra and Amitabha may accept an "early entry"; 2) even if you have breached precepts, which could take you to hell, if you nienfo according to the sutra you could still gain entry to the Pure Land.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!

plwk
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby plwk » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:58 am

And I forgot to add on earlier...on a lighter note... it's not worth it (suicide) .... :mrgreen:


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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:34 pm

Answer: Yes.
The Pure land monk Ippen was aware of this practice, spoke out against it and told people not to do it after his own passing.
There is a great book about the Life of Ippen and his teachings, called No Abode.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

plwk
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby plwk » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:48 pm

Yet some of those who dare claim to be Ippen's disciples engage in this delusional act of jumping to their deaths in the sea after his passing causing a misunderstanding of the Pure Land practice...luckily I haven't heard of it in recent times...

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Nosta
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby Nosta » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:37 pm

Interesting story the one about the monk wishing an early rebirth...its my opposite lol. I wish i can stay here many years because i have the objective of "convert" more people to Pure Land. Particulary i would like to have auspicious signs that others could verify, so they can believe on me. Sometimes i have very specific dreams with specific details...and they happen in the very next day. This is an example of a sign that i can use.

About suicide in Japan, the view that i have (a wrong view perhaps...) its that School & Education in Japan is VERY hard. The system demands a LOT from all the students (small ones, teenagers, etc). There is lots of competition and not every children can deal with that.

Also, as said here, Japan is not a buddhist country. The main religion is other (i forgot the name but you can find it on google).

Rakz
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby Rakz » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:08 pm


gingercatni
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby gingercatni » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:30 pm


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Mr. G
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby Mr. G » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:43 pm


Rakz
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby Rakz » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:53 am


Rakz
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby Rakz » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:13 am

http://books.google.ca/books?id=dWL6EEk ... de&f=false

This is what I was trying to remember. It's good to know that there is no solid evidence for this and that the original bio of Shandao is at odds with the bios later written.

plwk
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby plwk » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:18 am


Rakz
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Re: Pure Land & Suicide

Postby Rakz » Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:59 am



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