What the Buddha abandoned

What practices did the Buddha abandon or discourage as not being conducive to enlightenment?

with metta


My train of thought:

“Pursuing gain on gain”
“Guessing another’s thoughts”
“Talk about dangers”
“To tell a lie even in jest”
“Greed for supporters”


In a nut shell, all rebirth making activities.


Mat’s question is asking which specific practices did the Buddha abandon or discourage.
For example, in mn57 the practice of behaving like a dog and an ox are discouraged. The two ascetics take the Buddha’s advice. :anjal:
Are there any other suttas that specify the various ascetic practices that the Buddha abandoned or discouraged?
Furthermore, there must be some suttas that discourage things such as animal sacrifice, ritual sorcery, magical incantations, summoning demons, etc?


Twelfth on the list of the large section on moral discipline of “The Fruits of Recluseship” DN 2.

offering blood-sacrifices to the gods;


I reckon we are more likely to find what he encouraged instead of what he abandoned. The aforementioned DN2 is a great reference point for that.

Another beautiful and valuable reference point for how the Buddha probably taught people to know for themselves what to practice or not is the MN139.

Clearly in his accounts of his previous unsuccessful practices towards awakening, found in Suttas like MN26, MN36 and MN85, we see he abandoned first the practices of immaterial absorptions outside the context of a path headed by right understanding, then he abandoned the path of awakening through inedia (starvation) - which seems to be related to the undertaking of the sallekhana vows by Jains of nowadays.

Along that line, the fact that the eightfold path lacks a factor of right death (samma marana) - which the Jains seem to have - shows he not only abandoned that but never advocated for that sort of thing.


What do you think of " death "
for an arahant whom took
their own lives ( due to sickness)
is considered right death ?

In EBTs we find the cases of very sick arahants who, endowed with knowledge and vision of the end of all āsava (i.e. sensuality, craving for becoming, doubt/speculation and ignorance) themselves, decide to use the knife and put an end to life (see SN35.87 and SN22.87).

Only a Buddha can confirm the circumstances of those who choose to do so and the suttas suggest those who used to do so would do it alone and later on be found dead - the act is always recorded to have occurred after everyone had left the present of the one using the knife.

In the Vinaya we find the opposite, in the origin story for the parajika #3 we see the case of Migalaṇḍika who, after being instructed by an evil being, killed many monks believing that would liberate them. This is how the Buddha is recorded to have reacted:

The Buddha criticized them:
“Monks, it’s not suitable for these monks, it’s not proper, it’s not worthy of an ascetic, it’s not allowable, it should not be done.
How could those monks take their own lives, kill one another, and say to Migalaṇḍika, ‘Please kill us; this bowl and robe will be yours’?
This will not give rise to confidence in those without it …
And, monks, this training rule should be recited thus:
If a monk intentionally kills a human being or seeks an instrument of death for him or praises death or incites someone to die, saying,
Good man, what’s the point of this wretched and difficult life? Death is better for you than life!
— thinking and intending thus, if he praises death in various ways or incites someone to die— he too is expelled and not in communion.’”

If you check the many permutations in the same text analysing parajika #3 you find an extensive list of acts which would cause one to not be considered a bhikkhu anymore, including things that resemble what we call nowadays compassionate euthanasia:

On one occasion a man whose hands and feet had been cut off was in his relatives’ house surrounded by his relations.
A monk said to those people, “Would you like him to die?”

“Yes, Venerable.”

“Then you should give him buttermilk.”

They gave him buttermilk and he died. The monk became remorseful … “You have committed an offense entailing expulsion.”
Source: https://suttacentral.net/en/pi-tv-bu-vb-pj3/281