chapter  8
The search for compassion
Pages 20

This chapter explores the practices and representations attendant to suicide prevention and treatment work carried out in Madampe. It discusses the concept metta, the Buddhist value of 'loving kindness' and 'compassion'. In Madampe, metta, loving kindness or compassion, is widely considered the cure for the causes of suicide, especially family problems. Roshan argued that people committed suicide because their problems became too much to bear. If anthropological understanding of Sri Lanka's suicide epidemic is to be found in the ontological subjectivities of practice, so too will the possible solutions it calls for. Frustration and anger suicides are seeking social transformation, while their 'cure' through loving kindness, legal dispute, mental health counselling or psychopharmaceutical prescription is seeking a repression of the revolt. The chapter gives the map out the terrain of compassion in suicide interventions and to mark out some lessons people can carry forward into the future.