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Buddhism and suicide

edited April 2010 in Buddhism Basics
I was just wondering, what's the Buddhist position on suicide, like, in Catholicism (at least, the traditional variety), it's seen as being sinful, but, in Buddhism, would taking your own life cause negative karma?, would you be reborn in a worse situation in the next life (or in a hell realm)?.

Thanks for any help.



  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited April 2010
    I think its uncertain where you would be reborn which is the whole point. I mean you at least have this life. And in buddhism its believed that whether you like your life or not just by sitting with whatever comes up. Facing it with courage. In such a way you can overcome a lot of the habitual strategies which have been binding to samsara. Kind of a detox process.

    I don't think a bid deal is made like: Oh you definitely go to hell or something. But it is believed to be uncertain. As you have had countless lives and created tons of both positive and negative karma.
  • fivebellsfivebells Veteran
    edited April 2010
    Hi, David. Yes, consideration of suicide is a form of hell-realm samsara. But it's not seen as sinful in any way. If you are going through that, I'm sorry to hear it. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. You could try calling these guys. (Pulled off the net in a search for UK suicide hotlines. I know nothing about them.)
  • edited April 2010
    Some people believe in literal rebirth, and others do not (I'm between views myself).

    If there is any doubt in you, then you should take this life as your only life. If you are suffering, there is another way to end it and still remain living. That is what the goal Buddhism is: the way to end all mental suffering.

    Don't worry about anything else. If you're going to end your life to end suffering thinking that you'll have future lives, why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? End suffering in this life. And if you think you don't have future lives, then you're giving up any future you do have in ending it; so use Buddhism to end your suffering.

    There is a LOT to be said for renunciation. If you just can't handle this life and the situation you're in and therefore don't think you can practice Buddhism, just walk away. Literally. Take off, renouncing the worldly life and seeking your answers and freedom in the wilderness as if all of this human chicanery is only binding you (because it is).

    'Nuff said.
  • edited April 2010
    A really good friend of mine who was 69 and a Buddhist practitioner, developed colon cancer. I saw him deteriorate. He was very ill and barely could get out of bed. He was also very independent, and did not want a lot of money being spent on trying to fix or ease his painful situation. He told all his friends that he was going to commit suicide and did. It is not up to me to judge if it was "right or wrong". There are so many different circumstances that bring a person to commit suicide.....just think of the suicide bombers and just recently the man who flew his plane into the IRS building.
    I have been through phases in my life where i began to want to die. I just haven't acted on it. There sometimes is such a fine line between living through suffering and ending it all. I do not believe in an afterlife or rebirth so it is a HUGE decision, and hopefully i can make it to the end without taking my own life. But if I were to get terminally ill, i think i would find a way to shorten the suffering by suicide, but i really couldn't know that unless the situation becomes that desperate.
  • ValtielValtiel Veteran
    edited April 2010
    fivebells wrote: »
    Hi, David. Yes, consideration of suicide is a form of hell-realm samsara. .)

    that's rather black and white. Intention and mindset determines "rebirth" and so I don't see how such generalizations can be made.
  • edited April 2010
    Hi David 2009,

    If you or someone you know is seriously contemplating suicide then I suggest you look at the website mentioned by 5Bells in #3, or seek offline professional help.

    Kind regards,


  • edited April 2010
    Am I right to say that (like with most things in Buddhism) it would be a matter of choice and your own thing, but still regarded as a terribly silly thing to go about doing.
    Obviously people like Dennis' friend made their own decision that their current life was too painful to carry on, and that's their own thing, you can't really make a generalization about something as morally demanding as the concept of suicide.

    You'd have to make a decision as per the case you're dealing with. Personally, I can't imagine a position where I would commit suicide unless there was nothing left worth living for (i.e. I couldn't do new things, there was nobody at all who relied on me and I had an excruciatingly painful disease which there was no cure to) but I've never been in any of those situations, so I wouldn't know.
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