I READ with great distress the comment piece by Rita Sim (NST, July 5).
She endorsed an extract of a 1999 Universiti Hospital study which attributed one of the factors driving Chinese to suicide as Buddhism.
Her quote is as follows:
"Religion appears to be one of the important factors that controls the rate of suicides.
"Chinese are mostly Buddhists and Buddhism, similar to Hinduism, does not censure suicide and hence, it is not seriously considered as a sin."
Sim's response: "However, this generalisation has its limitations. There are different Buddhist practices depending on which teaching one follows.
"Many Chinese are also Taoists, Confucianists and Christians, and therefore, may have different beliefs regarding suicide."
From the above, she agrees that Buddhism could be one of the causes driving Chinese to suicide.
Her lack of understanding of Buddhism is appalling.
Among the beliefs of Buddhism are not condoning killing; Buddhists are encouraged to be vegetarians; filial piety and respect for parents; cause and effect and rebirth; compassion and forgiveness; and relief of suffering through the noble eight-fold paths.
Arising from the above beliefs, it is indeed a great sin to kill any living thing, especially oneself, for all Buddhists believe it is rare to be born a human as only humans (e.g. as compared with animals) have the capabilities to cultivate and uplift themselves to a better after-life.
Furthermore, killing oneself is a form of great disrespect to one's parents who have suffered so much to bring one up.
And killing oneself was definitely not one of the methods endorsed by Lord Buddha to solve one's sufferings.
Suffice to say, a true Buddhist will never consider committing suicide as one is full of compassion and forgiveness (for oneself and others) and being a true believer of "cause" and "effect", he will never kill oneself as the "effects" of such a "cause" will be a roaming spirit (by terminating one's life prematurely, one will not go to hell immediately as one's name is not listed there yet) and may eventually end up in hell.
Chinese who are Buddhist and commit suicides are not true Buddhists.
Sim should have highlighted what true Buddhists believe and not take deviant Buddhists practices and brand the whole of Buddhism as deviant and contributing to suicides.
Religion plays a great role in handling depression and suicides.
I have never heard of any true religion being the cause of suicides as all true religions teach love and compassion.
As such, all religions are great, only the misinterpretation of their followers have brought shame to their religions.
In fact, anyone without a true religion would be highly susceptible to suicide when under pressure.
Religion is a saviour, not a terminator of souls.
Those who comment on such issues should, therefore, have a decent knowledge of religions.