I read a comment on this forum, which said:

why do you even need to work hard attain Nibbana? Why not just commit suicide when things get tough?

This comment gives me the impression the writer believes there are some similarities between suicide & Nibbana.

My questions:

  1. What are the reasons why people equate suicide with Nibbana?

  2. Why is Nibbana totally different to suicide?

  • 3
    Down vote for not including the part "if everything ends after death" which refers to your personal belief of annihilationism Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 6:23
  • Wrong. There is no death! (except in wrong view). Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 6:30
  • 3
    You did not answer my question :) Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 6:46
  • 2
    (1) seems highly speculative -- unless quotes from many of these people are provided, or something...
    – user382
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 14:11
  • 4
    @Dhammadhatu you are becoming mad. Your attachment to your views is so strong that you can't even answer a direct question that may challange your views, ego protection mechanism. You should visit a wise teacher.
    – user4878
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 20:42

10 Answers 10



To think,means to divide.You must stop dividing reality only then you will experience the truth! Let me quote the great Tilopa:

"Don’t recall. Don’t imagine. Don’t think. Don’t examine. Don’t control. Rest"

Simple as that.If this life is like a dream what good is it to hold grasp of it?If you can recognize the light you can do it by just sneezing.The great Krishna has said if you recognize your awares while you sneeze you will become enlightenment in a second.

So instead of killing yourself just sneeze!


What are the reasons why people equate suicide with Nibba>

Because they do not understand what Nibbana means.

Why is Nibbana totally different to suicide?>

In Nibbana there is no re birth.


It is interesting to note that etymologically extinction means more or less the same thing as nibbana i.e. blowing out. Which is presumably why the dinosaurs haven't come back yet.


There is no death in Samsara. If one commits suicide they go on to a new existence because that's what they want. It's not that one wants not to exist when one kills themself, it's that one wants not to exist in reality as it is, they want a better existence so one isn't becoming annihilated or becoming enlightened..


I would rather say that suicide and Nibbana are polar opposites, than “Suicide is similar to Nibbana”. North and South Poles are at opposite ends of the planet, and both are equally glacial, or very cold. I am NOT saying “Polar Opposites” in this sense. Nibbana is the rightful escape from depression, and suicide is a momentary escape. I say this because you end up being in the same state in your next birth. One’s character “(gathi)” determines one’s future births.

Suicide statistics tell us that up to 15% of those who are clinically depressed die by suicide.. This brings home the message that we underestimate the severity of mental suffering compared to our physical suffering. If you would go more into Buddha’s Dhamma, you will get to see how our minds control our physical bodies. Then you will begin to understand how the “gathi” from the past life is conditioning your present thought.

Changing to a “gathi” of a Sotapanna is called a change in lineage where one becomes an Ariya or a Noble person and never turning back to the conventional way of life. That is the road to Nibbana – the Answer. By listening to, and reading & understanding the deeper meanings that lie within the first 58 books ever written on Buddha Dhamma, one becomes a Sotapanna (a Stream Entrant). Then by furthering the understanding through proper Guided Meditation, one goes up the ladder towards Nibbana.

Suicide would only make things worse in the “long term” in the rebirth process. Thus it is never too late to start at any stage in your life, this Path to Nibbana. Human life is rare and should not be wasted at any stage. But if you are one who entertain suicidal thoughts, as in to the point that you can’t imagine getting out of bed in the morning tough, you need help. And there should be no shame in seeking it.

A significant part of our suffering comes from the mind. Even some famous and rich people that we know could not bear this mental pain to such an extent that they committed suicide. One could be living in a mansion with a burdened mind and could even commit suicide, while a poor person who has learned the deeper Dhamma that lies hidden beneath the conventional, could be living in a hut with a peace of mind content with what he/she has and knowing that any hardship is just for a brief time (in this life).

Why is Nibbana totally different to suicide is because ONLY a person who truly understand the true meaning of ANICCA attains Nibbana, whereas a person who is all wrapped up in the notion of ‘self’ / ‘Atta’ may go the suicidal way.

The word “atta” can have many meanings depending on the context. In the conventional sense, “attā” means “a person”. The deeper meaning of “atta” is “in full control” or “the essence” or “the truth that is timeless”. Just like the word “anicca“, it is not possible to translate to English. One must get the idea by learning how it is used in various situations. The opposite of “atta” is anatta (“helpless” in case of a living being or “useless” in case of an inert thing) as in the Tilakkhana.

What I give above is a deeper meaning to two key words that are found in this Dhamma Path. If you look at suttas, there is no clear grammatical structure. It is the sound that gives the meaning and most verses have “double meanings”. There is an apparently simple meaning, but deeper meanings are hidden most times. A Sotapanna begins to see this higher truth – the “Paramatta Dhamma” - that lies beyond the conventional truth that most of us are accustomed to.

Paramatta comes from “parama” + “atta“, where “parama” means “at the highest level” and “atta” means “the truth that is timeless”, the deeper meaning. This is a deeper ñāna that a person who is well into this Noble Eightfold Path sees. It is fourfold, and is called Patisambidha Ñana whch in other words can be said as “atta, dhamma, nirutthi, patibhāna“. One who gets to see this two levels of Dhamma will not take “atta” as “a person” or “a self”, and will see Nibbana, and will eventually achieve Nibbana.

As for the ones who are fixed on the conventional meaning to the word “atta“, as well as for anatta, nicca, anicca and many other words, they have a likelihood of equating Nibbana with Suicide. This is one of the main reasons for people to equate suicide with Nibbana.


Puthujjana (ordinary people) believe Nibbana is like heaven or the ending of reincarnations; they believe it is the ending of life that occurs when craving is eventually extinguished. This is why they think there are similarities between suicide & Nirvana because both are views about the ending of life. The suicidal person imagines the ending of life will be peaceful & the puthujjana believes the ending of reincarnations will be peaceful. Therefore, both share a similar belief, despite the subtle differences between their respective beliefs.

While the (religious) puthujjana believe suicide is unwholesome and will just create more reincarnations, including possibly in hell, because they believe Nibbana is the ending of life they believe suicide & Nibbana have some similarities.

Where as, in reality, Nibbana is the here-&-now end of suffering & perfect peace of mind that occurs to the living mind. Therefore, in reality, suicide & Nibbana are totally different. Suicide is unhappiness & the wish to end life. Nirvana is happiness & the fulfilment of life.

In MN 29 & 30, the Lord Buddha said Nibbana is the fulfilment of the Holy Life. The Lord Buddha taught in Nibbana there is no "death" ('marana') because there is no idea of a 'self' that 'dies'. To the Lord Buddha, 'death' ('marana') is a 'self-view'. Freedom from self-view is called Nibbana & the Deathless. Being the 'Deathless', it is totally different to suicide and totally different to the Hindu idea of Nirvana after billions of life-times.

Thus, the Lord Buddha said:

Dhammapada 21. Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead already.

Bhikkhu, ‘I am’ is a conceiving; ‘I am this’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall not be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be possessed of form’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be formless’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be non-percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient’ is a conceiving. Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a tumour, conceiving is a dart. By overcoming all conceivings, bhikkhu, one is called a sage at peace. And the sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die; he is not shaken and does not yearn. For there is nothing present in him by which he might be born. Not being born, how could he age? Not ageing, how could he die? Not dying, how could he be shaken? Not being shaken, why should he yearn? MN 140


No, because in tipitaka, buddha and the other ariya never try to suicide.

In contrast, ariya still accept chances to keep their life by eating, healing. For the example in vinaya, Buddha still ate, and Buddha ever gave chance to Jīvakakomārabhacca for healing Buddha's body.

P.S. Channa-bhikkhu suicide before enlighten.


The question has historical precedents, and early Christian writers were baffled by the idea of Nirvana, on the grounds that they could not see the difference with a, presumably beatified, suicide.

The analogy isn't quite as bad as you make out (I upvoted the question despite the potential antagonism to it), for a few reasons, including the suicide of some solitary Buddhas, and the supposed (?) loss of several hundred arhats, after the Buddha died. Obviously, Buddhas, as they need to preach the dharma, don't face any dilemma like that.

To sum, it depends on what you think suicide, and by extension death, is.


Ordinary people confuse similar words, not thinking what these words actually mean. Ordinary people think with labels and imagination. That's why instead of correct cognition people have wild fantasies.

Nirvana means stopping to stir the mind. It means

  1. instead of ignorance we use prajna;
  2. instead of entanglement in mental creations (samskaras) we act from the wholeness;
  3. instead of jumping from fruit to fruit we live in completeness;
  4. instead of believing in illusory objects (forms and concepts) we remain in reality;

and so on. It means, not developing thirst (tanha), we are satisfied and unconstrained, not squeezed between oppositions.

So there is one thing in common: troubles of this life end, both by suicide or by nirvana.

But Buddhism points out that tendencies from this life have continuation. So there is the difference - for example, for people around,

  • suicide usually continues suffering;
  • nirvana alleviates suffering.
  1. What are the reasons why people equate suicide with Nibbana?

The main reason is misunderstanding of the Dhamma due to having wrong view.

Two other important reasons are;

  • Lack of insight into the true nature of reality.

  • Imbalance of the Five Spiritual Faculties, preventing one from seeing clearly.

  1. Why is Nibbana totally different to suicide?

Suicide is a concept. It belongs to conceptual reality.

Nibbana is one of the four Ultimate Realities (Paramattha Sacca).

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