Garchen Rinpoche on Suicide

“There is no greater negativity than committing suicide–one creates a very powerful cause of intense suffering by taking one’s own life.

You must understand that all suffering has its seat in the self-grasping mind. When trying to exchange your body, it does not result in exchanging your mind–you cannot escape from your mind. Committing suicide leads to even greater suffering than you experience now; you will not be able to just erase your suffering. 

You have your karma and your lifespan. You must allow your karma to play itself out and not bring an end to your life prematurely. Moreover, by killing one’s body you are killing billions of life-forms living within your body, and you acquire the negative karma of that.

You should rather transform your mind. When you are suffering, practice tonglen; take on the suffering of others and think that by you experiencing suffering they will be released. All suffering is temporary; so is conditional happiness. The mind must gain stability in being unmoved by impermanent circumstances. It is never too late to begin to practice. We have wandered in samsara since beginningless time, and at some point we must begin to practice.

Don’t worry about how much time you have wasted for eons in the past–begin to practice now and you will die free of regrets. What you do from now on is more important. When you feel sick in your body, send your mind out into space; do not fixate on the body. Separate the mind from the body and rest in space. You can also visualize Tara in space and recite her mantra. I personally have many pains, but if I do not fixate on them, if I send my mind out into space and meditate, I do not feel them. Only when I begin to think about them do I again feel the pain.

You should moreover think that your own suffering is quite small compared to the suffering of so many other sentient beings. For example, I was kept in prison for twenty years, and you could call this a problem, but not one time did I think about when I would be released. I just practiced Tara day by day, and let alone not thinking of suicide, I was actually quite happy in my mind. If you want to become free of suffering, you must change your mind, not your body. Pray to Tara all the time and recite her mantra, so you never forget about her. Then I can also help you, as I am always practicing Tara. Whenever you experience pain and difficulty, think of Tara single-pointedly”