I want to know how suicide is viewed in Buddhism. I know that it is not viewed positively, but I want to know why. Is it because it brings grief to others? Is that the only reason? Or there is something else..? I think that if you die happily in a calm state because you wish to, there is no negative energy within you.. so I don't understand why suicide is such a bad thing. (the reasons I think are the grief that will bring to the family and that one's negative energy will linger)

Buddhism also varies among countries and cultures (I'm from the East Asia), but I believe it all began with the core teachings of Buddha and I just want to learn his teachings.

Thank you.


3 Answers 3


Generally, a calm & happy person is not inclined to commit suicide. Generally, a person thinks about committing suicide because they are unhappy & suffering from emotional pain.

In the Pali suttas, only enlightened beings are reported to have ended life. This occurred in at least two situations:

  1. Terminal illness with totally disabling pain (e.g. MN 144), which was unblameworthy.

  2. Revulsion towards the meaningless of phenomena (e.g. SN 54.9), which was both unpraiseworthy & unnecessary.

If a person commits suicide because of emotional suffering, in Buddhism, this is considered to be unpraiseworthy for at least three reasons:

  1. craving exists for a certain state of being;

  2. faith has not been placed in the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha & Noble Eightfold Path to overcome the emotional pain & suffering, which can be overcome with right practise; and

  3. it can result in suffering arising in other people, such as mother, father, family & friends.


Possible list of reasons for not condoning suicide:

  • You are intentionally taking a life which is breaking Sila and Vinaya
  • It bring social problems like misery to loved ones and oftens dependents
  • The act is done with negative mental state hence does not lead to beneficial rebirth in the next life.
  • Based on the view of extinction or nihilism which is unskillful

More on this see:

  • Hi Suminda. My understanding is, taking your own life is not breaking the first precept. I agree with you but this Is how I made to understand in other forums. I can't support my claim with sutta. This is just hearsay information.
    – SarathW
    Jun 30, 2017 at 6:01
  • 1
    Pārājika 3 forbids this for monks. It may be disputed for Sila. But Pārājika are the most offensive breaks of Vinaya hence I think this breaks Sila also. Jun 30, 2017 at 6:05

Suicide is the result of hatred towards yourself, perhaps others or a thing (sickness). Hatred is an unwholesome mental state which will result in a birth in a lower realm.

This is a disputed subject in Buddhism. There is an extended discussion at this link: https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=27879&hilit=

  • I don't think it's necessarily hatred towards self. It could be hatred of the life conditions one finds oneself in.
    – Arturia
    Jun 30, 2017 at 21:38

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