This was in reference to several (3 or more) Westerner Monks who are Suttanta only and killed themselves.
- Ven NyanaVira (Clearing the Path)
- The monk from the what-the-buddha-saiddotnet website
- A monk who lived near to the Island Forest Hermitage where ven Nyanavira was from… recently last year or so.
The problem is being totally Suttanta and not believing the commentary…
There are many suttas which reference Suicide and then afterwards, the Buddha declared that they used the knife blamelessly.
Advice to Channa
With TPP you can search for “wrists” in English… then you can find suttas in pali / english. From there I grab the pali or sutta number and jump to the commentary and feel my way through a rough translation…
In this sutta (and several others), it talks about using the knife blamelessly. It should be noted that slitting the wrists is a wrong translation by Ajahn Sujato. Actually the neck was slit and mentioned in the commentary. When someone dies in this way, they do have time to think and practice. It is not getting the head chopped off by Muslim execution as many might think.
Satthaṃ, āvuso sāriputta, āharissāmi,
“The knife, friend-sāriputta, I will use”
You can quite easily see in the sutta that ven sāriputta is questioning him and not accepting that he is enlightened.
“tasmātiha, āvuso channa, idampi tassa bhagavato sāsanaṃ, niccakappaṃ manasi kātabbaṃ:
“So, Reverend Channa, you should pay close attention to this instruction of the Buddha whenever you can:
‘nissitassa calitaṃ, anissitassa calitaṃ natthi.
‘For the dependent there is agitation. For the independent there’s no agitation.
Calite asati passaddhi,
When there’s no agitation there is tranquility.
passaddhiyā sati nati na hoti.
When there is tranquility there’s no inclination.
Natiyā asati āgatigati na hoti.
When there’s no inclination there’s no coming and going.
Āgatigatiyā asati cutūpapāto na hoti.
When there’s no coming and going there’s no passing away and reappearing.
Cutūpapāte asati nevidha na huraṃ na ubhayamantarena.
When there’s no passing away and reappearing there’s no this world or world beyond or between the two.
Just this is the end of suffering.’”
Atha kho āyasmā ca sāriputto āyasmā ca mahācundo āyasmantaṃ channaṃ iminā ovādena ovaditvā uṭṭhāyāsanā pakkamiṃsu.
And when the venerables Sāriputta and Mahācunda had given Venerable Channa this advice they got up from their seat and left.
Atha kho āyasmā channo acirapakkante āyasmante ca sāriputte āyasmante ca mahācunde satthaṃ āharesi.
Not long after those venerables had left, Venerable Channa slit his wrists.
- Satthaṃ āharesīti jīvitahārakaṃ satthaṃ āhari, kaṇṭhanāḷiṃ chindi. Athassa tasmiṃ khaṇe maraṇabhayaṃ okkami, gatinimittaṃ upaṭṭhāsi. So attano puthujjanabhāvaṃ ñatvā saṃviggo vipassanaṃ paṭṭhapetvā saṅkhāre pariggaṇhanto arahattaṃ patvā samasīsī hutvā parinibbāyi
He used the knife to take his own life. He cut his throat. Then at that moment, fearful of death fell upon him. The gati nimitta (sign of death-destination) appeared. He realized he was not enlightened and knowing that, he got the urgency in dhamma and practiced vipassana. Fully grasping by knowledge the saṅkhāre he reached to become an arahant and attained parinibbāna.
Many people dispute this explanation and that is why people who are suttanta kill themselves.