Suicide for a Higher Good?

An example of a “loving” suicide is shown in the following Buddhist fable:

The Starving Tigress

the monk and the starving tigress“Born into a family of Brahmans renowned for their purity of conduct and great spiritual devotion, the bodhisattva became a great scholar and teacher. With no desire for wealth and gain, he entered a forest retreat and began a life as an ascetic. It was in this forest where he encountered a tigress who was starving and emaciated from giving birth and was about to resort to eating her own newborn cubs for survival. With no food in sight, the bodhisattva, out of infinite compassion, offered his body as food to the tigress, selflessly forfeiting his own life.”

(Shakyamuni Buddha – Jataka, http://www.himalayanart.org/image.cfm/50191.html, retrieved October 20, 2011.)

What then becomes of a sanctity of life position when life is given out of the highest form of respect?

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