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A monk who was fascinated by the physical appearance of the Buddha and who followed him around in admiration. It was to Vakkali that the Buddha uttered the famous statement ‘who sees the Dharma sees me, who sees me sees the Dharma’. This was said with the intention of helping the monk go beyond his obsession with physical appearance. In the end, however, the Buddha had to order Vakkali to leave his presence. On another occasion, according to the Saṃyutta Nikāya, Vakkali fell ill while on his way to visit the Buddha at Rājagṛha.and in great pain committed suicide by cutting his throat. The Buddha went to see his body and declared that he had attained nirvāṇa.and that Māra would be unable to find his departed consciousness (vijñāna). On the basis of this and a few similar cases of suicide (notably those of Godhika and Channa) it has been thought by some Western scholars that Buddhism does not regard suicide as immoral for the enlightened, but this conclusion is not supported by the Theravāda commentaries and tradition nor by a close reading of the canonical passages in question.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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