Is suicide morally or ethically wrong?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Vajradhara, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I knew a guy with no lower jaw....at the time he lived with his suicide attempt for over 20 years...quite the punishment.

    we are not punished for our sins but by them.
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste wil,

    so... his "sin" was failure to kill himself? it doesn't seem like punishment to me, it seems like consequences of our actions.

    wouldn't it be more accurate to say that we live with the consequences of our actions, unless those consequences happen to kill us?

    metta,

    ~v
     
  3. Postmaster

    Postmaster New Member

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    haha..

    You also get people doing suicide by cop. Now thats just lame.
     
  4. Magnianhk

    Magnianhk New Member

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    Well first of all, you have a mature and thoughtful discussion on the topic of suicide. I've noticed that the majority of websites, blogs, and forums that I find on the subject are predictably anti-suicide. They house contrived and pretentious arguments for not doing so.

    Well, I can't seem to find much discussion exploring suicide as a real option. Let me ask you all a question. But you must consider it fully without distraction. Just take an honest look inside and be aware of your true feelings when considering --

    Say you are to become homeless because you cannot find a job. You like your home, your possessions. You like what you've created there. It is peaceful, with a nice private back yard, a cat, an inviting kitchen and a comforting vibe.

    You have looked for a job for the last 6 months. You are unskilled. You are depressed and employers can sense that something is wrong. You can't seem to nail an interview. You lost your car about 4 months earlier, making applying for jobs (and getting to them) much more difficult. You feel like you have nothing good to say and that you bring others down.

    Money is getting ridiculously tight for you. The only way you eat is because you are on food stamps. Your family cannot help you. You have too much pride, and you would feel too bad asking a friend to loan you money. In fact, you only have one friend who has a schedule, and a life. That friend is going somewhere, and you aren't. Whenever you see that friend you bring them down because you only have bad things to talk about. You cannot sell anything else on Craigslist. At least, not anything that would feel nothing short of losing a limb.

    You can't make new friends because you cannot afford to be social. Transportation is a chore, not a privilege.

    You feel that you have worked for where you are in life. That you have come so far and have grown so much since some moment in your past when you decided to live life being awake and present. To go backwards in life is incomprehensible. By going backwards, I mean losing everything that you know and have worked for. Why should you suffer just to keep the few people who know you from grieving for a temporary time? I mean let's face it: You'd be dead and they'd still be alive. They would get over it - they are living, breathing, moving forward in a life that makes sense.

    You ask yourself: What is the point of living if you can't really live?

    What is your option? You know no one to move in with. How would you move anyway? Moving costs money - something that you don't have. How would you transport your possessions to a storage locker, even? That would take renting a truck. Do you give up your possessions? Burn them? Give them away? Sell them for dirt cheap? What's the point in that - why sink so low when you could just walk away from it? At least in a will you could decide who receives what item.

    You have no quarrels with God. You start to decide that ending your life is just the natural order of the world. That perhaps, God's plan for you is to be a statistic, or an example. You have to die so that others may learn. You are a sign of the times, meant to be a tragedy, meant to signal and highlight the flaws of the world.

    You watch a monk ignite himself on fire to protest the Vietnam War. You believe that your death is no less symbolic. You believe that you weren't meant for the world. Your soul found the wrong vessel and now you must cast yourself back into a more pure existence.

    The ironic part is that your Father gave you a gun when you were 18, when you moved out. You've always shunned weapons, believing them to be evil incarnate. It's why you can't join the military to get out of your predicament. But now, it just may be your salvation. All of the bad in the world came together and culminated, and inhabited this weapon that you are holding. It's a perfect description for the cycle that will now end this chapter, and complete the circle.

    Your's is a tale that can't be told, and freedom you hold dear.

    So. After taking the time to remove yourself from your comfortable environment, and considered everything above, how do you feel?
     
  5. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    Life has many variations.
    Here is a good analogy:

    Squirrel's story about attachments

    YouTube - Squirrel's story about attachments#!

    The attachments are "bringing you to the earth", to identification with the
    body and mind. But when you see and you've tasted in your Heart what Freedom
    is, the bondage becomes completely repulsive. You can not tolerate it
    anymore.
    For some is enough, the spell is broken.



    Never give up, for then you are broken.
     
  6. Magnianhk

    Magnianhk New Member

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    It is true. A truly enlightened person understands that possessions mean nothing and should not be held high. Or at least I am lead to believe such a statement based on my readings of Tao.

    But certain possessions are a way of life. It is what you do, maybe even what you are. Such as a computer, or musical instrument.
     
  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Greetings, and welcome Magnianhk.

    The situation you describe is familiar, I've been there. I feel for you. But the simple truth is that you are not as far down as you think. Trust me, as bleak as things may seem, they can be far worse.

    As difficult as it may be to believe, in life possessions come and possessions go. Hey, I like my things too, and I would lie if I told you it wouldn't hurt to lose them.

    But there is a huge difference, and that difference is what separates a "simple" depression from a "legitimate" (in my personal opinion) reason for suicide.

    If you have possessions you are concerned with losing, give them to other family or close friends. As for the rest, possessions come and go, and they are certainly no reason for the ultimate choice. Even the lack of self-esteem from being out of work is still no justification. I could list for you a page long laundry list of "lift yourself up by your bootstraps" things to do, some you already mention and excuse as not doable for you. Therein I see a sample of a self-defeating sabotage attitude all its own.

    I am no doctor, I am no counsellor, I am just a lowly concerned joe. Things are not really as bad as you imagine. There are ways to cope. You are obviously intelligent, evidenced by your writing. If by "unskilled" you mean you do not have a degree, go to school and get one. (There are people who make a tenuous living off of student loans...as long as you stay in school you don't have to pay them back...) If the military is not an option, and you have no pressing family ties, consider the Peace Corps. The pay isn't much, but the travel opportunities and experiences are priceless. "Working" people pay a small fortune to get anything remotely close to the same experiences that can be had with the Peace Corps.

    There is always the thinking of making a job for yourself if nobody else is hiring. Mow lawns, wash windows, whatever it takes. Even in tough times there are always people looking for assistance. They might not have a lot of money to spend, but a little here and a little there, and the invaluable personal connections help out. You never know if helping the little old lady across the street with unloading her groceries might lead to a decent paying job.

    In everything you write, everything is inward focused. Everything is "me." It takes a bit of a leap of faith and a new way of looking at the world: focus instead on "you." Look around and see who needs help and what you can do to provide that help. Surprisingly, a lot of people are willing to pay for that help.

    You can always volunteer. That is the best way I know to get hired at a hospital, go volunteer. Always show up dressed to work and put on your best work attitude, even if you are not getting paid. You never know who is watching, but they will watch. And if they like what they see they will offer a job. I know for a fact this works in hospitals, it probably works other places too.

    Suicide is giving up on yourself, permanently. What you describe isn't cause for suicide, as tragic as it feels in this moment. It is cause for action and a different way of thinking....and maybe a new direction for your life. It can be really scary, I've been there by accident and by choice. It's tough. But it also can show you just what you are made of. You can get through this, you just need to believe in yourself and look for ways to fix your problem. If what you are doing isn't working, try something different.

    Good luck. Peace.
     
  8. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    A thing that Juantoo3 mentioned about student loans got me thinking about what I have observed a lot of people who become judges, lawyers and doctors do, they go to University on student loan and get their degree and then when they get out, they declared bankruptcy and wait out the 7 year period.
    So there is a plan.
    Screw them back that way.
    If I was in such a circumstance I would seriously consider that.

    Or sell what I had and buy a one way ticket to Peru and live with the bush people...become a shaman.
    Lots of options.

    If one is down to a suicidal point then go out on a limb and do something really different, yet noble.....got nothing to lose at that point.....make an adventure out of it.
     
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    In another day and time maybe...not today. I know this one by very recent experience as well, bankruptcy does *not* cover student loans unless you can prove extreme hardship, and that is a separate undertaking all its own. I don't know how it used to be, and not suggesting what you say is untrue, but I can say emphatically and for the record that it is no longer an option to declare bankruptcy after school to cancel student loans. I would encourage anyone who may disagree with me to check the federal regs on this one before jumping to any conclusions.

    So just stay in school, full time (a requirement), and make a career out of it. :)
     
  10. bhaktajan

    bhaktajan Active Member

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    Vedas say:
    A human is born with so many Breathes accorded to themselves.
    also,
    A human is born with so many opportunities re-direct the future Karma-Pay-Back accrued from past actions performed.

    A human is Body is the same as that of any other living creature, accept for consciousness of the Self-in-relationship-to-the-Supreme-Controller (the sanskrit word for the "Supreme-Controller" is: Ishvara).

    A human Body is composed of 8 elements [5 Gross & 3 Subtile]:
    1 earth
    2 water
    3 fire
    4 air
    5 ether
    --------------------------
    6 mind
    7 intelligence
    8 false-ego

    These 8 elements account for all the physical elements that exist.

    The Soul's conscious life-force prevades the body and thus animates it.

    If suicide is acted out . . . the gross body is lost . . . the subtile body continues to exist, but, without the instruments to animate and thus no way to satiate the minds/ego's want for adoration-distinction-fame & especially "gross sense-gratification" [especially the "Keeping-up-with-the-Jones-Type of sense-gratification"].

    Suicide leaves one without the gross body but still leaves the Soul trapped in a subtile body ---that is unable to preform any actions . . . until ones past karma that led to the present life-time evaporates-and-recalibrates so as to allow for a next birth ---taking up where you left off ---when all karmic accounts are balanced out.

    Suicide leaves one with virtually no means a contrition ---it is a stupid choice that leaves one with few alternatives still.
     
  11. bhaktajan

    bhaktajan Active Member

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    SPORTSbyBROOKS Recovery Of Gored Bullfighter: “Progressing Well”

    Aparicio lost his footing at a time of slaughter as a crutch, and trying to get up, the bull was after him, hitting him squarely in the neck, sticking above the spout and piercing nut and out the mouth.
    The right-hander began to bleed profusely from his mouth as he was led by members of his gang to the infirmary, which is operated by the medical team that goes Maximo Garcia Padrós.
    According to the first part facilitated by Dr. Maximo Garcia Padrós, Aparicio suffers a wound “in submandilar region with an upward trajectory that enters the oral cavity, tongue and reaches across the palate, leading to fracture of the upper jaw.”
    The prognosis of the wounded, has been movement in an ambulance escorted by several municipal staff, is “very serious.” The hospital will undergo a scan to assess the extent of the fracture of the jaw.
    If Aparicio survives, it appears the force of the bull pushing him backwards saved his life. When Aparicio was bowled over, the horn of the animal slipped out of his neck.


    SPORTSbyBROOKS Video: Bullfighter Gored In Neck, Through Mouth

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
    Are bullfighters from the slums?
    Are bullfighters neer-do-wells with spare time to become Celebraties butchers?
    How did this Andalusian pastime start?
     
  12. Dream

    Dream New Member

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    Thoughts of death are part of the process of living, but when you're down and out you get very close to death in your heart. It is best to think of it as a rite of passage. (I really think that it is part of the 'Human' package.) Everything looks bleak and all around is failure; but that bleakness is a natural perception block, so you can't see the way forward. It is like having a crush and your brain is totally wired to put you through a very sad and difficult time. Without this thing in our brains, I think humanity would never have achieved what it has and would destroy itself. If you survive, you will regain your appreciation for living but with a new consciousness gained. That is the only good thing about it. I am not saying that staying alive is necessarily worthwhile individually but if you find value in being a better person, that is where this natural process takes you.

    Having a suicidal phase in your life can be very healthy. Of course there are going to be some benefits you did not expect once you come out of the phase. These are hard to describe to people that have never been that depressed, but they are real. Above all, dark thoughts are a natural process and aid the survival of humanity; and the suicidal is going through something very special that will make them a vital aid to humanity. I think its a risky phase for the individual but which pays off later for the race as a whole.

    My only advice is to force yourself to accept charity from those that offer it. It is a good way of acknowledging that you believe in the greater good and that you intend to repay the kindness someday.
     
  13. Magnianhk

    Magnianhk New Member

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    Thank you so much, everyone, for your posts and thoughts.

    I have found a way to get by, if only for a small time.

    Your community is something that I could grow to value, and so I'll frequent this website more often.

    Thanks again.
     
  14. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    Glad to hear it Magnianhk .
    Don't be a stranger.
     
  15. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Magnianhk,

    welcome to the forum and i'm pleased that you've found our discussion to be thoughtful of a subject which can and often produces emotional rather than rational discourse.

    i'd like to address a few of your sentiments in particular and i apologize for being so tardy in my reply... some of a muddle for me as well these days.

    whilst i totally agree with your assessment i think the motivation to help beings find a reasonable alternative to starting the process over is beneficial for most. i think that i've argued on this very thread that there are compelling reasons for beings to end this current arising and, if i've not (and i've not read this thread in awhile as the conversation seemed to have run its course) then i am now :)

    this part doesn't make any sense to me... if you managed to create the enviorn in which you currently find yourself then you certainly have some skills.

    it is quite a common feeling, depression. most beings experience it to lesser or greater degrees at various points in their lives and, as such, you should try to avail yourself of some of the professional services which are around you. there are free counselors and such provided by various organizations, religious and secular, which may be beneficial to you.

    in my own case consultation with professionals versed in the issues that i have has been tremendously beneficial.

    these are certainly things to bring to a professionals attention if, for nothing else, to get another perspective on the issue.

    i would suggest, however, that if i were in that situation i would attempt to redefine life in a framework which is positive to the reality in which i exist. this isn't about me, however, i find myself in a curiously similar situation in many respects. i'd be happy to discuss them with you via pm if you're interested in my take on some of the things you're discussing.

    you sell everything that you have to... why not? it's just stuff and you can always replace stuff with different stuff. some stuff is sentimental and probably isn't worth anything to anyone but you anyways so that shouldn't factor much into it... if you have no food to eat it doesn't matter how nice the table is.. unless you need to burn it for heat!

    consider taking a roommate... then you don't have to move and can have help with the bills! :)

    perhaps you should.

    well...i'm a Buddhist and i don't know your religious views but i'd say that perhaps a better understanding of God and the plan that God has for you could be of some benefit in helping you find a sense of positiveness regarding this current arising.

    as a Buddhist i would suggest to you that suicide actually doesn't help most issues that dominate us with the sole exception of physical pain as such is only a symptom of the flesh, so to speak. our current arising has ebbs and flows, crests and troughs... good times and bad times and the art of happiness lies in avoiding being carried away by the good times and the bad times and finding a view which accommodates them both.

    every moment of consciousness arises conditioned by the previous one, if we want to break the chain all we need do is conceive a new thought.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  16. Magnianhk

    Magnianhk New Member

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    A smile for all of your posts.
     
  17. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    In The Bellevue Literary Review, in an essay called “By My Own Hand,” Anita Darcel Taylor writes about her bipolar illness and depression:
    I have no grand wish for death. I do not view suicide as a desire to end life or a dramatic way to go down in flames. Rather, it is a tool in my possession — the only one, really — that offers a permanent end to my pain. When I have lost enough of myself to this disease as to become unrecognizable even to me, I will stop. I will go no further. That, I tell myself, is my earned choice.
    I have pondered these words many times. The clinician in me wants to insist that with the right tools — therapy, medications, support systems — most depressions can be treated. But the reality is that our tools are often no match for the fury.


    Depression screening is now standard. Along with a blood pressure check, all my patients get a depression questionnaire. One question is: “Have you ever had thoughts that you would be better off dead?”
    A surprising number of patients say they have, and I find myself in frequent existential conversations about life and death, hunting for pragmatic clues about actual risks for suicide. There are clinical guidelines for assessing risk, but it is an imperfect science.

    Two weeks ago, I called one of my patients to reschedule an appointment. A family member answered and told me that my patient had been found dead in his apartment, most likely a suicide. This robust and healthy 54-year-old had screened “negative” for depression at every visit, despite having risk factors: being unemployed, living alone, caring for an ill relative.

    I’m not ready to give up hope. I will continue to assiduously treat my patients’ depression, but I remain humbled by the fact that even with the best of medical science, we will be successful only in part. And of course there is — as Ms. Taylor points out — the voluntary aspect of mors voluntaria. For some people it might be a rationally used tool. For others, it is a tsunami without possibility of escape. It is precarious, from the outside, to judge.

    I can never know how it was for Michael — whether it was a “rational” choice, or simply the relentless blackness of his illness. Despite the decades that have passed since his death, the sadness remains. The graphic nightmares of the gunshot, of his family scrambling to the bedroom, of the unimaginably horrific site that greeted them, have receded. But he comes to me from time to time, and I mourn the child that he was, and the adult that he never had the chance to become. As I watch my own children grow, I have a slip of insight into the exquisiteness of his parents’ pain — pain that surely travels with them always.

    There is one photograph that comes to mind whenever I remember Michael. It was during a camping trip, and our green Coleman tent looms in the background. Our skinny 7-year-old arms flop over each other’s shoulders, and our mouths loll open, yodeling one of the many goofy songs in our repertory.

    I want to yodel back into that scene, to those two children, to feel the insouciant, rapturous joy of that moment. If only I could tug out that feeling, wrap it around us like the oversize beach towels we loved, to somehow protect us from the future. I want to warn those children, to warn my own children who are now the same age, and who now go on those same camping trips and sing those same songs.

    But I know that I can’t. I can only hope. Remember, and hope.

    Lives Cut Short by Depression - NYTimes.com
     
  18. earl

    earl ?

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    V, a poignant story. Did not know you were in the same profession as me. I've been in this field for 30+ years and am simply lucky that no one I've worked with has committed suicide, though some have attempted it. It seems sometimes we are simply trying to breathe life back into those who despair and they seem no longer capable of "breathing in." We actually after jointly sharing the burden of others, tend to wear down after years of attempting to do so-the universality of suffering, indeed. "They" call it compasion "burn--out." It either burns you out, or it empties you out. earl
     
  19. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    hello earl,

    thank you for the response.

    i apologize if i gave you the impression that i'm a physican of any sort, the information there is from the linked blog post on the NYTimes site however i thought it was a very good essay and powerfully presented some of the moral questions which surround this subject.

    metta,

    ~v
     
  20. earl

    earl ?

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    No problem, V. I could go on about the limits of my profession and many, many client stories. Not all sad. Some even bordering on the psychic.;) earl
     

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