are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
jason c
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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by jason c » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:03 am

hey david,
i don't know how else to explain it to you, minding your own business does not in any way imply non action, if someone was trying to harm someone in my presence, it would be my duty to stop this, but it must be done mindfully taking into consideration that the person doing the harmful act is a sick or ignorant person and is doing just as much harm to themselves as their victim. most people who commit these crimes were victims of similar crimes. the rapist who rapes your child was probably raped as a child, showing people compassion is not easy it takes a great deal of practice, being mindful of our sensations on a moment to moment basis when we are not in stressful situations, is practice for the real challenges, when life throws us a curve ball. and aren't you just making sweeping allegations about my practice.
metta,
jason

jason c
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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by jason c » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:06 am

santa100 wrote:Jason C wrote:
"thats wonderful, yes i have begun practicing as well, i really find the goenka method effective, which method do you practice?"

Anapanasati has really helped me a lot..
hey santa100,
me too, i wish you much success in your practice.
metta,
jason

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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by DNS » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:10 am

jason c wrote: and aren't you just making sweeping allegations about my practice.
Not at all. I was asking a question. I didn't say "you are not practicing the teachings of the buddha" as you did in your post. (go back and see the questions and question marks of my un-edited post if you like)

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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by jason c » Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:19 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
jason c wrote: and aren't you just making sweeping allegations about my practice.
Not at all. I was asking a question. I didn't say "you are not practicing the teachings of the buddha" as you did in your post. (go back and see the questions and question marks of my un-edited post if you like)
hey david,
i'm sure you are much more versed in the dhamma than me, i don't even know what those things are that you mentioned.
metta,
jason
Last edited by DNS on Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: personal attack removed

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marc108
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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by marc108 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:43 am

jason c wrote: i see no difference in the extermination of the natives as in the extermination of the jews. just different methods. equally horrific in my opinion. practicing buddhists do not belong in armies or police activities, they are practicing a noble path a path leading to nobility.
metta,
jason
agreed, equally horrific. the topic was 'are there any justifiable wars to a practicing Buddhist', so i dont understand how that relates?

i think i understand what you're trying to get at, but 'do not belong' is very strong wording. maybe 'not the best thing for a practicing Buddhist' would be a better. if anything, we need MORE practicing Buddhists in the military & police... these jobs are not inherently immoral or ignoble, they just contain difficult areas regarding the 1st Precept.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by cooran » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:59 am

Hello all,

These might be worth a read:

The Buddha and the Four-Limbed Army: The Military in the Pali Canon
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma6/militarycanon.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Buddhism and the Soldier
http://www.beyondthenet.net/thedway/soldier.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Buddhist Military Sangha
http://buddhistmilitarysangha.blogspot.com.au/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Mr Man
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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by Mr Man » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:54 am

jason c wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
jason c wrote:
sorry for the late reply i missed it, but you deserve a response. war on war in my opinion is pointless, an eye for an eye leaves a blind man. actively working against war is what i'm trying to do now.
metta,
jason
Hi Jason
You did already reply (towards the bottom of page one). If you are working against war that is cool. Remember to use all the good tools like wisdom, compasion and loving kindness. Be prepared to get it wrong and also be prepared to fulfill your duty.

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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by Hanzze » Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:54 am

The Good Life

The genius of the Buddha’s teaching is that inner peace is a transformative power in the world. We need inner peace to create social peace, and we must use Buddhist meditation to reach this inner peace. Personal transformation is the key for social transformation. Inner peace is the key to world peace.
Buddha’s teachings are very easy. There is no need to make them complicated. You must do three things only: to refrain from evil; to do what is good; and to purify the mind. That is all.
We must silence our minds, and listen inwardly until we can hear our own peaceful nature. When we hear our own inner peace, we will hear the peaceful nature of others as well. Wisdom comes from listening.
The Dharma teaches us to know, shape, and free the mind. When the mind is mastered, all the dharma is mastered. What is the key for mastering the mind? It is mindfulness.
All proceeds from mind, all we are arises from the mind. We are what we think. With the mind we create the world. Disorder and confusion in the world follows disorder and confusion in individual minds.
Only with a change of within will there be a change without. Even if it is slow in following, it will never fail to arrive.
Consciousness is the source of ethics. Our mind generates thoughts, speech, and actions. When we have a peaceful mind, we have peaceful words and deeds. We unfailingly start and return to one’s mental states. Some people see meditation as opposed to action, but the Buddha said meditation is the source of action.
If you are mindful, you are a Buddha.
Peace is like water flowing everywhere. Peacemaking is the proper response to violence. Non-violence brings peace. Peace is the highest happiness.
Peace will triumph over war when people can walk down the streets with peace in their minds. That is the only step-by-step process that will bring an end to the great suffering of the people of the world.
We must develop personal compassion as a gift to share, a gift of peace, a gift of healing.
The act of walking itself must be made peaceful, then we will peacefully affect those we encounter.
The Buddha called mindfulness ‘the only way.’ Always in the present. At this very moment. From moment to moment. In all activity. In this very step.
Slowly, slowly, step by step. Each step is a meditation. Each step is a prayer. Each step builds a bridge to peace.
It is the contemplative state of beings that we offer as a gift to the world. Our peace-offering can take the form of meditation, having tea with a refugee, being a peaceful person during business meetings, establishing an altruistic organization, or walking together in a peace vigil. The line between activism and other activities is erased with the correct mind-state.
Responding to the present moment with loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and serenity is making peace.
We must live in the present moment. This. Here. Now. Every moment is a special moment. The present moment is the mother of the future. If we take care of the mother, the mother will take care of the child.
So we must develop the right mind state, and respond to the present circumstances of our lives. We change the world primarily by our presence and our example.
We are non-confrontational, non partisan. We simply tell the people to take care, be careful, be caring, be mindful and aware. It is difficult for people to see the harm they cause if they are not mindful.
The most important action of a peacemaker is the be peaceful. We cannot be angry peacemakers.
We pray for peace all over the world.

Bhikkhu Santidhammo, 2012-06-10
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Lampang
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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by Lampang » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:23 am

Well, the US and allies did. They stopped Hitler from exterminating the Jews. Let's not forget 6 millions of them perished in Hitler's gas chambers. How many more would have to die if we did nothing? Please be honest in answering this question: Are you willing to sit perfectly still and mind your own business at all cost? Even at the cost of millions of human lives?
I'm not sure what the answer to the OP is but this kind of thing grates. The USSR, a totalitarian state which killed tens of millions of its own citizens (and not a few citizens of other nations), fought and defeated the Nazis with the assistance of the allies (and this assistance included the planned mass killing of German civilians by the British and American air forces) and those involved did so for geo-political reasons, not because of their largely non-existent interest in the fate of the Jews. Slave labour was used after the war by the USSR (who conscripted defeated armies for the purpose), who also engaged in the forced expulsion of something like 10-15 million ethnic Germans from eastern Europe, and at least 5% of these (so 500,000) died in the process, though the number could well be higher and whilst at Nuremberg Nazis were tried for exactly these crimes, the crimes of the Soviets have now largely disappeared from the historical record, in part due to fact that one of the allies did it (and one which couldn't be defeated by force of arms). All of this is not to say that World War 2 should not have been fought - in 1939, Britain had few other options but it was very far from being the good fight which so many seem to think it was; it was a horrible thing, and none of those involved emerged without having committed war crimes in the process.
---
I should also add that WW2 started about 18 months before the Nazis decided on the final solution so it's something of a stretch to argue that WW2 was fought to prevent the mass killing of European Jews. Also, people often forget that it was Germany which declared war on America, not the other way around.

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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by santa100 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:04 pm

Well, the argument reminds me of that all so common scenario which a John Doe did something good to help the people in his village and there'll always be a Jim Rogue in that same village who did absolutely nothing and yet, critisizes John Doe with words like: "Look at that John, what's so good about him? he's a control freak, a heavy drinker, and a bad husband". Well, sure, John might be a control freak, a heavy drinker, or a bad husband, but guess what, none of that deny the fact that he Did do something positive unlike Jim Rogue, who Did not do anything accept criticizing others..

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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by alan » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:41 pm

A good book if you're interested in the general "Why we fight" argument, which this one basically falls into, is "Citizen Soldiers" by Stephen Ambrose, in which he extensively documents the sacrifices made by young Americans in WW2. His conclusion, which I found compelling and impossible to ignore, is that the fate of Western society was at stake during those years. It was horrible, but it had to be done, and it's success set the stage for a better world which has benefitted humanity in general.


jason c: Theoretical questions can be useful if they help clarify your thoughts, but to do that you need to have an open, inquisitive attitude in the first place. I don't see that in your attitude.

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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by DNS » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:23 pm

Remember the train moral dilemma we discussed about a year ago? Here's the link: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8528" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Train morality problem / philosophical dilemma / (First Precept issues)

A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you could flip a switch, which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch or do nothing?

(If you flip the switch, you are possibly "responsible" for the death of that person. If you don't flip the switch, five people die)

What would you do?

Image

To change the above scenario a little bit, what if the five people are all innocent, good people and the one person that would be killed (if you flip the switch) is a bad person, a genocidal killer / dictator?

And to put it further in a scenario similar to WW II or other similar type of war (colonization by an empire okay too to compare this to), what if the one bad person is also holding a gun and pointing it at you and other innocent people? (In this case it would somewhat mimic the declaration of war by Germany, the attack on Pearl Harbor as well as the other atrocities committed by the axis powers). Or if you prefer, it could also represent the colonization and massacre of aborigines when an empire takes a land (I'm not excusing either aggressor in this example). In the changed scenario such as this, do you flip the switch? Or do you let the train run over the innocent people?

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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:28 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Remember the train moral dilemma we discussed about a year ago? Here's the link: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8528" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Train morality problem / philosophical dilemma / (First Precept issues)

A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you could flip a switch, which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch or do nothing?

(If you flip the switch, you are possibly "responsible" for the death of that person. If you don't flip the switch, five people die)

What would you do?
We are only responsible for our actions, not the actions of the mad philosopher. If we pull the lever, then we are responsible for the death of the one man, but if we let the trolley go, the blood is on the hands of the man who tied those five people to the ground. Obviously the best response would be to leap in front of the train or attempt to free someone, but for hypotheticals, if we could only flip or not flip the switch, then I think the Buddhist approach would be to let another man do something terrible instead of doing something terrible ourselves.
To change the above scenario a little bit, what if the five people are all innocent, good people and the one person that would be killed (if you flip the switch) is a bad person, a genocidal killer / dictator?
I don't think the Buddha would ever make a distinction between the value of a killer's life and the value of a "good" person's life. All life is precious and all people desire to not die.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by DNS » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:35 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote: I don't think the Buddha would ever make a distinction between the value of a killer's life and the value of a "good" person's life. All life is precious and all people desire to not die.
In this hypothetical, throwing yourself on the track will not work, nor will attempting to untie the one person as the train is moving too fast; so yes the only choice is to flip the switch or not flip the switch.

Thanks for sharing your opinion. I agree, all life is of value and of course there was Angulimala, a murderer who became an arahant. But in this case there is an opportunity to protect the innocent, who are larger in number. I wonder if not flipping the switch is in some way an act of selfishness? I'm not sure; just throwing that idea / question out there. For example, we worry about our kamma and what might happen to us rather than take the 'kammic hit' and as a result five innocent people die to save one bad person.

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Re: are there any justifiable wars to a practicing buddhist?

Post by Mr Man » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:47 pm

LonesomeYogurt in that scenario wouldn't "non action" also be an action? The ball is now in your court. Luckily we are not likely to be put in such a situation.

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