Can anyone give me a clear answer? What does the Buddha say?

  • There are several previous topics tagged suicide.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 0:56
  • My question is particularity geared around the Buddhist view point that 'life is suffering'. It seems the only logic thing to do that if life is suffering then we need to kill ourselves to free us of this suffering.
    – nomel7
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 1:26
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    It’s not that simple. Buddhism also teaches endless rebirths. Even if you were reborn a human again after you kill yourself, you will be doing it endlessly
    – NuWin
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 5:29
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    Do Buddhists believe that life is only suffering?
    – user2424
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 10:03
  • Well what's the point in trying to kill my ego if I am just going to be endlessly rebirthed anyway? It sounds like Buddha was wrong if I get endlessly rebirthed.
    – nomel7
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 7:35

6 Answers 6


Buddhists do kill themselves, but instead of killing the body they kill the Ego -- which is much more effective.

  • Why are they building idols to Buddha so? It seems retarded that people who have killed their ego are building giant statues to a person.
    – nomel7
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 7:29
  • Actually, early pictures of Buddha showed empty seat, or the footprints etc.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 12:25

If suicide would have been a solution then Buddha would have said so. Buddha would have said there is no need of Dhamma, just go and kill yourself. Craving doesnt end upon comitting suicide.If craving doesnt end then the person who commits suicide will take rebirth again in good or bad realms. If you can commit suicide without any craving then you will attain Nirvana. But craving can not end without ending greed, anger and delusion. Therefore one should focus on ending greed, anger and delusion rather than on ending life.

  • Ending your life would get rid of all those things. Why do you think that you can achieve nirvana in this realm? No one has ever done it. If Buddha had killed his ego then he wouldn't have created a religion in his name. He would have just chilled in a forest on his own.
    – nomel7
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 7:30

You were getting a lot of short answers -- I don't know whether they were meaningful to you (because I don't know how much you already understand or know about Buddhism).

If Buddhists believe that life is just suffering

I think that Buddhists don't believe that.

There's doctrine about parents' love for their children, for example -- that's not just suffering.

There's doctrine about cause-and-effect -- which says that some actions (or some intentions) lead to suffering (and are therefore unwise, unskillful, and tainted) -- and some actions don't (and so are skillful, virtuous, and "right").

Perhaps the fundamental doctrine of Buddhism is the "four noble truths" -- here is a simple translation (SN 56.11):

  1. "Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress: Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.

  2. "And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.

  3. "And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of stress: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving.

  4. "And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

There are topics on this site (e.g. here or here, see also here) which point out that the Buddha didn't say "life is stressful".

If I paraphrase the first noble truth (quoted above) then the (finite) list of what is stressful includes:

  • Birth, ageing, and death
  • Unhappiness and despair
  • Being with (associating with) what you don't love
  • Losing (separation from) what you love
  • Not getting what you want
  • "Clinging" (upādāna) also translated "attachment"

The second noble truth is that this stress is caused by "craving" -- for sensual pleasure, craving for "becoming" (i.e. to become something), craving for "cessation".

The third is that when craving ceases, so does suffering.

The fourth is that the Buddhist "noble eightfold way" is the path or practice which leads to that cessation.

why don't they just kill themselves?

Well "death" is stressful, killing is stressful, and so on.

It's not what the noble truths say.

A lot of Buddhists profess a doctrine of rebirth -- and use that doctrine to argue against suicide ("no point in killing yourself -- you'll just be reborn, maybe worse off than before") -- I think I've even some use the same argument as you, to explain the doctrine of rebirth, i.e. "rebirth is why you wouldn't just kill yourself".

This topic -- Secular Buddhism and Suicide -- has answers or explanations which don't depend on a doctrine of rebirth (I think that "secular" Buddhism is a form of Buddhism, especially in the West, which ignores or is agnostic about various traditional doctrines that might be understood as supernatural, including any doctrine of rebirth).

By existing you are attached to this reality

Given that you also wrote this statement I might add that another important part of the Buddhist doctrine is the doctrine on or non-self.

A lot of your statements or thinking includes, for example, "I exist" or "I won't exist" and so on.

An introduction to the anatta doctrine might be here -- Anatta-lakkhana Sutta (SN 22.59):

"So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'

It's not easy to understand perhaps (there are 100s of topics tagged on this site), but may be fundamental. A clear explanation is maybe How is it wrong to believe that a self exists, or that it doesn't?

I think this answer was based on the first and maybe second suttas of the Pali canon -- but see also How to explain what Buddhism is? for more comprehensive descriptions.

  • I was less stressed before I heard what the Buddhist believe. It's a cancer of a religion. You just dance around the question of why Buddhists don't kill themselves.
    – nomel7
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 7:34
  • You're using "cancer" as a metaphor. Whereas I think that cancer exists literally in the world, in people -- as a type of illness, of old age and death, cancer could be stressful or "suffering" -- when someone has cancer, Buddhism (not suicide) can be a liberation from that suffering ... an opportunity to be free of fear ... Buddhism (not suicide) is an opportunity to live with peace of mind, with kindness, and so on.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 9:31
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    @nomel7 You wrongly assume that Buddhists claim that life itself is suffering. Life is not all suffering, but we suffer by attaching to grief, depression and our habitual reactions. Example, why can't someone just not be afraid of flying or spiders? Because the attachment is strong, liberation is the opposite, it letting go of these.
    – user13383
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 10:45
  • Well said, @ChrisW, excellent answer.
    – user13579
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 17:55

Buddhism does not "teach life is suffering". In the 1st noble truth, Buddhism teaches "attachment to life is suffering".

This said, Buddhism does teach life is essentially worthless & meaningless (SN 22.95). That is why it is reported in the scriptures that many monks did end their life after seeing its worthless nature.

However, if life is truly seen as meaningless then it is so meaningless that one would not ever bother to kill themselves.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 2:46

Before say such, just notice this Buddha never said that everything thing in this life is makes us suffer and of course there are things makes happy, joy, pleasant feelings. but soon as we feel them we get suffer being loose it. As you say by taking our own life wont save us, wont solve any problem, instead it creates more problems.

why don't they just kill themselves?


  • If the self doesn't exist anyway then why not just kill yourself seeing as you don't even exist? I don't think Buddhism solves any problems. It's a stupid religion.
    – nomel7
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 7:31
  • @nomel7 you are so pathetic, just because you don't understand you saying "It's a stupid religion". And " I don't think Buddhism " yes it is.
    – PL_Pathum
    Commented Sep 2, 2018 at 7:22
  • @nomel7 any way why don't you do it, then you can understand everything as you said and for your knowledge.
    – PL_Pathum
    Commented Sep 2, 2018 at 7:23

If Buddhists believe that life is just suffering why don't they just kill themselves? What does the Buddha say?

This is a common misunderstanding of Buddhism. While it's correct that Buddhism teaches that conditioned reality is marked by suffering, it also teaches a way to end suffering.

The answers you are looking for can be found in the teaching on The Four Noble Truths, namely The Noble Eightfold Path.

  • That's just dogma from an egotistic man who pretended to kill his ego.
    – nomel7
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 7:32

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