The fist number of L. refer to the standard CtP edition published in 1987. The following number shows correspondence between letters in the new 2010 edition. Note that on this website CtP is available only 1987 edition with minor additions.

[L. 49 | 56] 16 May 1963

For several reasons I should prefer you not to discuss my situation with anyone else, at least for the present (though I shall not prohibit you).

In the first place, I do not think there is any great urgency in the matter. As I think I told you, it is improbable that I shall decide to kill myself (unless the situation takes an unexpected turn for the worse) so long as there is the business of shepherding the Notes through the press to be done. (This does not necessarily mean, of course, that I am determined to kill myself the moment that they are safely in print.) So you can probably count on a breathing-space in which nothing very much will happen. Incidentally, I very rarely act on impulse, and it is most unlikely that I shall end my life in a sudden fit of depression. If I should decide upon it (and it still remains only a possibility), it would be as the result of deliberation; and I should do it only after careful preparation.

In the second place, I hope to be seeing Dr. de Silva personally in the course of the next two or three months, and I had rather discuss the situation (from the medical point of view) fully with him before anything is decided.

Do not think that I regard suicide as praiseworthy—that there can easily be an element of weakness in it, I am the first to admit (though the Stoics regarded it as a courageous act)—, but I certainly regard it as preferable to a number of other possibilities. (I would a hundred times rather have it said of the Notes that the author killed himself as a bhikkhu than that he disrobed; for bhikkhus have become arahats in the act of suicide, but it is not recorded that anyone became arahat in the act of disrobing.)

By all means let the devas prevent it—let them bring about some improvement in my health, some easing of the situation, and all may be well; or let them send sudden death, an elephant, a polonga (there are plenty here), or simply a heart attack, and again the horrid deed of suicide is averted. But in the meantime the situation remains.