SN With Channa passage


With regards to the meaning of the passage itself; does this mean that one can commit suicide ‘blamelessly’ if one has passed beyond rebirth ie is an Arahat and has finished all work?


As a general rule I try to use the vocatives no more than necessary, in accordance with modern English idiom as pointed out by Karl. I haven’t studied this point in detail, but I believe you’ll find that most English translations leave some vocatives out, though perhaps not as many as I.

Nevertheless, if it is the case in a specific instance that the omission creates an ambiguity, then it should be restored. I agree that in this case it would be clearer, so I’ll put it in. Thanks!


That is my reading of the sutta. I also recall from my Zen Roshi that one can simply relinquish life while meditating. For me, this makes me a personally a bit cautious about studying breathless absorption and I have deferred deeper practice till this part of my life without dependents. I understand that concern may be quite unfounded per Ajahn Brahm’s book and other sources. Interestingly, the Channa passage does provide confidence with regard to my concern, since it would seem that Channa could not simply pass away on his own.


It’s tricky, because many people would mistakenly believe they are enlightened. How can we know for certain.


But that isn’t the point. People are unwise, mistaken and ignorant, and therefore in some cultures, are generally cautioned against ‘risky’ behaviour, in order to protect them from consequences they may not be able to see. This is actually disempowering people (in order to protect them). Often in societies where life is viewed as ‘sacred’ the dignity of choice and risk is removed from individuals. This is a purely cultural and conditioned attitude, and a completely different topic.

But I don’t believe the Buddha would have shared in this attitude - it is trying to save people from their own ignorance by imposing control - making life the most important goal. But all that is not the point…

The point is that, if one is beyond rebirth - then - suicide > is not blameworthy. (As pointed out by Karl below - this is only the case where the conditions are compelling AND one is an Arahant).


Yes, it appears that Channa did not have supernormal powers.


Does that mean Arahant can kill womeone else without commiting kamma?


I think Channa might be the one exception to:

A mendicant with defilements ended can’t deliberately take the life of a living creature --DN33


What is the basis?


The basis of Channa’s problem is that he was very well aware that in killing himself he would be deliberately taking the life of a living creature. Yet he was experiencing great pain that would increasingly become a burden to himself and others:

I’m not keeping well, I’m not alright. The pain is terrible and growing, not fading; its growing is evident, not its fading.

This proposed taking of life disturbed the senior monks, who protested and objected. Yet Channa still slit his wrists.

Later, it took the Buddha himself to declare:

When someone lays down this body and takes up another body, I call them ‘blameworthy’.
But the mendicant Channa did no such thing.

And Channa did not return.

This sets quite the high bar for euthanasia.


It is interesting to note if you kill an Arahant or Buddha it is an Anantariya Papa Kamma.


It is impossible to kill a Buddha, no being or a group can do that on their own or collectively.


The dn33 came in handy i see:)


Is ‘blameworthy’ the same as ‘bad karma’?


My reading of that passage is that the Buddha could not find fault (i.e., “blame”) in Channas action. And fault/blame would entail rebirth, from which Channa had escaped.

Consider the other case of mass-murder-suicides. Or even assassinations taken up in the name of Buddhism. From MN86:

“I’ve stopped, Aṅgulimāla—now you stop.”

And Angulimala did have to endure his bad kamma from mass-murder. Chana’s kamma was good in that he was well-loved:

Channa had families with whom he was friendly, intimate, and familiar.”

Those families would experience Channa’s death no matter what he did and his suicide may have indeed showed others the compassion of a Do Not Rescucitate order. If Angulimala had slit his wrists to avoid the fruit of bad kamma, that might have angered the families of those he killed even more and brought more suffering into the world. By staying alive, Angulimala gave others an opportunity to forgive and relinquish their resentment.

Channa set a pretty high bar for suicide. Enlightened and well-loved.


This matter was discussed in Dhamma Wheel.
There are two diffrent school of thought some beleive Channa was not an Arhant before he commited sucide.

Bhante Jag euthanasia.


@SarathW1 That particular discussion looks like mainly personal views and interpretations. When one reads the actual Buddhas actual teaching it is quite clear, that Channa was beyond rebirth. As such, I don’t think it’s accurate to represent your argument as 2 schools of thought. We have what the Buddha taught, and what some people think about it in terms of discussion…

Since this site is predicated on the validity of EBT’s it’s not really appropriate to fundamentally question whether EBTs are wrong, and to lift personal opinions to the same status as the Suttas.

:anjal: :dharmawheel:


Not really.

4. “Does he who will not be reborn feel any painful feeling?”
“He may feel physical pain, O king, but not mental pain.”

“If he feels painful feelings then why doesn’t he just die and attain the extinction of grasping, and put an end to suffering?”
“The Arahant has no fondness for or aversion to life. He does not shake down the unripe fruit but awaits the time of its maturity. For this was said by Venerable Sāriputta, the Buddha’s chief disciple:

“It is not death, nor life I cherish;
As the hireling his wage, so I bide my time.
It is not death nor life I long for,
Mindful and clearly comprehending, I bide my time.”¹


What is the relevance of this?

Where is it from?
What is the context?
how does it address the argument as a whole?

If you wish to seriously and have a good faith discussion, then please treat Forum members with a degree of respect and make the effort to actually use cogent sentences, and not just make statements and paste random snippets, expecting others to do detective work on another website.

If it is not worth the effort to explain - perhaps it is not worth the effort to post

closed #30

The Translation issue in the OP has been addressed, and this topic has wandered off focus