Background - My sister's son did not work at all in his life and has been taking anti-depressants for many years now. My sister must be very sad and worried about him constantly, but she never talked about it to anyone.

His father decided to get him help with meditation and went to this place called "Nirmaya" in Pune city, India. My sister did not want to go for this. But because she was not strong enough to resist him, she had to go along with it.

They arranged for long distance meditation for him by uploading his picture in their computer and told him to meditate at home. They told him to let them know whenever he meditates so that they can send positive vibrations to him through his picture on their computer. They charged fee for every call.

They also said if parents do the meditation, it will be beneficial.

My sister started doing meditation along with her son to show support for him. Nothing happened to the son and the father, but she started feeling very sad and tired and low energy. No one thought deeply why it is happening to her. She thought that she is depressed so decided to see local Psychiatrist. In her first visit she mentioned her worries about her son to the doctor and nothing else. Doctor did not ask any history about her life and put her on two anti-depressants, one anti-anxiety drug and multivitamin tablets.

At this point my sister is taking all those medicines and doing meditation. She was already a very silent person but after this she became more silent. She continued to have sadness and low energy. So she called the doctor and reduced the dose of anti-depressants. She became sick with flu and could not function at all. During her sickness she stopped meditation. Once she came out of the sickness, she started meditation again. She also requested her doctor to reduce her anti-depressants dose. Doctor stopped one anti-depressant and multivitamin tablet.

My sister did not feel better. She stopped taking the anti-depressants. She continued with meditation.

This whole thing started with meditation on June 20th, 2022. October 17, 2022, she committed suicide in the morning.

What happened to her? Did meditation affect her in such a way that she did not want to live any longer? Should all the places that recommend meditation be held responsible for not giving enough warnings to people they are supposed to help? Has it become money making machine with very little studies about meditation and anti-depressants drugs?

If you can answer my questions truthfully, I will appreciate it.


Jayshree Deshmukh


3 Answers 3


When a sick person goes to a doctor and does not get healed, sometimes we want to blame the doctor and sometimes we blame the entire western medicine.

In some cases this may be justified: not all doctors are good, and our current understanding of human body has its limits. But to say that it was the doctor who killed the patient or it was the medical science that killed the person is probably an exaggeration.

If someone could not be helped, should we fire all doctors and close all hospitals? Of course not.

There may be deep and complex reasons for why the person committed suicide. If we had the person's diaries - perhaps we could read it and say, this is what she had on her mind. Without that information we can only guess and assign random blame based on our prejudices and stereotypes. Doing it randomly like that will not improve anything.

It is true that spiritual practice can open suppressed layers of one's psyche. It goes without saying that guidance of a qualified teacher and loving support of spiritual friends or family members is an important factor of overcoming one's deeply buried neuroses. In very complex cases, especially when anti-depressant medication is involved, a close supervision by a healthcare professional becomes a critical requirement.

I am deeply sorry for your loss and I hope you won't let your grief turn into anger hurting other people.

  • Thanks for stating your opinion based on incomplete knowledge about meditation. In my opinion when one starts making money by telling people that meditation is beneficial for everyone and does not bother to research if it has any risks. If it has any risks how to monitor them and not let it hurt people. You should check out the website Cheetahhouse.org if you take time to know the risks of meditation. My sister's life is valuable enough for you to open your five senses and look into this research. Many lives will be saved in future. Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 12:15
  • 1
    It's the easy money that makes people take advantage of people's lack of knowledge. The person who opens up a restaurant and serves food and charges money for the food has to be absolutely sure that there is no poison in the food. You got it. That is called responsible business. Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 12:16
  • Definitely agreed with your second comment.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 13:05

I am a kind of depression before and I can say the concentration meditation and the Buddha's teaching is very helpful for me.

Why it can help me?

Because it's not only sitting to be calm but the teaching is fixing my imaginative views into what the real lives are being. Both should be meditated together.

Imaginative views are including positive views and negative views. It could be grown by many origins such as past lives's karma, present life's family's views, drug, health, etc.

And in your sister case, it's clear that the imaginative views happened before the meditation.

You should try the meditation yourself to see how happy the practitioner are while meditating then you will see there are pure happiness in the right concentration meditation which is the opposite of depression.

However, the happy of the concentration meditation can't fix the imaginative view into the reality. The view is fixed by dhamma study which is harder and more depress than the concentration meditation, so the practitioner must have personal management skill to manage whether when she should do the concentration meditation to be relax and when she should study Dhamma to fix her imaginative view.

See this clip and do it yourself then tell me where is the depression? I am doing it and I feel very happy joyful comfort every time of the concentration meditation. I do the concentration meditation to take a tea break, to be happy joyful comfort, beside the insight meditation because the Buddha teach me like that.


  • that's a very interesting video...i am just learning Ānāpānasati right now for first time...
    – blue_ego
    Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 15:43
  • @blue_ego I'm sorry for the mistake. I am not a native english speaker. The last paragraph should be " I am doing the concentration meditation and I feel very happy joyful comfort every time of the concentration meditation. "
    – Bonn
    Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 17:18

Thank you for asking this important question. I think these kinds of questions should have more of a focus, particularly within the Buddhist community, as I've met many silent sufferers and many Buddhists who have openly admitted they have been psychologically damaged by Buddhist practices. Adding to that there are Buddhists sanghas ordaining people who have no clue whatsoever about how to guide a person through awakening - that in itself is a whole other subject, but succinctly, those sanghas are only interested in sustaining a group ideology or a public image rather than understanding what the Buddha taught. It's a materialistic and self-aggrandizing way to 'feel good' about yourself. However, I suspect that this happens in other traditions, too.

I'm not going to go into detail about the problem of sanghas; it's far too messy, but there are a couple of pertinent points going on here that need highlighting...

  1. The practices themselves are not suitable for the temperament of the person. As an extreme example, there is a Buddhist teaching called the Vesali Sutta, in which a group of monks are given a teaching on the repulsiveness of the body. As such, many of them killed themselves. Here is the excerpt in question, 'In one day, ten monks took the knife. In one day, twenty monks took the knife. In one day, thirty monks took the knife. It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would explain another method so that this community of monks might be established in gnosis.'

  2. The person has a low level of self-esteem, low confidence and/or a high level of self-criticism. If one tries to erode the illusion of selfhood while not having a reasonably healthy sense of self, well, that's not going to fair too well. Buddhist practises are asking you to directly challenge your beliefs about you and the world. As such, one needs to be fairly well put together, emotionally and mentally, as some of these practices can be very powerful.

  3. The person has some unknown issues buried beneath their superficial identity - whilst I understand that this is true for everyone, depending on the person, the issues themselves - if suddenly opened up - can re-traumatise the person. Adding to that, when one begins to sit with themselves quietly, this simple task itself can be enough to induce a what is generally referred to in the field as a dark night, which might present as a type of depression. The dark night is seen as something of a landmark in some Zen traditions, as it signifies that the illusion of selfhood is eroding. That, too, can cause all sorts of destabilizing thoughts and behaviours and if one does not understand the terrain, it can cause further issues - even suicide.

  4. Lastly, anti-depressants themselves can cause suicidal thoughts, in particular SSRI's. In fact, you will find that as a potential side effect listed in the booklet.

It's possible that a combination of all these factors might have played a role, or perhaps just one. Whatever happened, I hope that you can find some solace and peace from your loss.

  • 1
    Thank you so much for your support. Please check out Cheetahhouse.org Commented Dec 14, 2022 at 12:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .