Q&A

Can Those Who Die By Suicide Reach Pure Land? 自杀者能往生净土吗?

Question: Can one sick of suffering, who desires to quickly end life to reach Pure Land be said to have suicidal tendencies?

Answer: The definition of the suicidal are those who want to die. To reach Pure Land in the swiftest way, there is no need to ‘want to die’. What needed are profound Faith (深信) and sincere Aspiration (切愿) with true Practice (实行) of mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s (阿弥陀佛) name. With these Three Provisions (三资粮) equipped BEFORE death, one’s consciousness can just depart for Pure Land directly, without destroying the body first.

It is just so that the body naturally shuts down AFTER departure of the consciousness, without anyone wilfully forcing the body to shut down first. If one is with this right understanding and practises accordingly, without a self-destructive death wish, one cannot be said to be suicidal.

Although it is very challenging, as there are some RARE cases of those who manifested signs of reaching Pure Land upon or after suicide (under personally desperate situations), it is still possible for some who have died by suicide to give rise to the Three Provisions fully in time after death, if their heavy negative karma from self-killing does not first quickly pull their consciousnesses to a lower realm, possibly even to hell. As this is very risky, possibly ‘jumping out of the frying pan into the fire’ to increase suffering for a longer period instead, suicide is strongly discouraged. Suicide also breaks the First Precept directly.

Along with seeking of relevant advice, assistance and counselling, it is thus much more sensible to be courageous to face the current challenges of life, but with more sincere and diligent practice of mindfulness of Buddha. This is the advisable way to connect to Āmítuófó’s great blessings now, which can eradicate negative karma and lessen suffering immediately. Unless with some special and valid reason to want to reach Pure Land quickly, life should be lived on naturally, while fulfilling responsibilities responsibly.

While discouraging suicide, those who have indeed died by suicide, be they spiritually ‘prepared’ or not, should be offered much guidance and support-chanting, especially within 49 days after death, in the hope that they, if not yet reborn elsewhere, can be guided to connect to Āmítuófó’s great blessings to reach Pure Land, and that if they are already reborn elsewhere, the meritorious virtues created and dedicated can alleviate their suffering and expedite a better rebirth.

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