Suicide in Buddhism

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Buddhism consists of many conflicting and contradicting ideologies. The idea of suicide is a key issue in Buddhism, and can be argued as a violation of buddhist code. Recently there has been incidents where buddhists monks and nuns have been committing suicide to protest Chinese rule. There is much debate on whether these suicides are morally acceptable by Buddhism, and the question of what makes a suicide immoral according to Buddhism arises. An example of a nun dying by suicide is referenced in an article by Andrew Jacobs in the New York Times.

In Buddhism, the five precepts, which serve as the basic fundamental code of ethics, focus on one’s moral strength and a suggested as rules to live by. The first and most important precept, is the first one, which states that one should not kill living creatures. The first precept states that one should not intentionally kill a living creature, protecting life of oneself and the life of those surrounding. One would logically assume that with the notion of not killing living creatures, that suicide would be considered as well. The effect of killing would only cause more suffering and bad karma, and would inhibit one from attaining nirvana and enlightenment. Killing oneself and breaking the ruling of the first precept, is morally wrong. It is also grounds for expulsion from the Sangha. However, suicide can not only be seen as immoral and detrimental. Buddhism, unlike Christianity does not denounce suicide as a sin, and suggests that suicide can be acceptable. Buddhism heavily stresses the idea of non-attachment. By clinging to precepts, one is suffering, and needs to find a way to release theses defilements and stresses in order to reach nirvana. Being attached to life only causes suffering, and ending one’s life leads to the ending of this attachment. The goal of Buddhism Buddhism also affirms that suicide may be appropriate for one who has attained enlightenment and is an exception to the first precept. There is much...
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