Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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clw_uk
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Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:55 am

As we all know in order to know Dhamma we have to practice non-violence and cultivate loving kindness and compassion



Therefore, would it be beneficial for Buddhists to learn marital arts? I have been thinking of learning martial arts, purely defensive, in order to defend myself and defend others, without killing.

For example, if my mother was attacked I would want to be able to defend her and also stop the attacker, without killing.


Thoughts?
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daverupa
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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by daverupa » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:13 pm

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=7537

This link is to a thread which was an earlier version of this; there are a few comprehensive posts in there by David Snyder that should get the ball rolling, and perhaps comments can build from those, but these threads have popped up from time to time & don't often seem to go more than a few posts...
David N. Snyder wrote:This might be a possible implication of self-defence (self-defense for us Yanks):

The Buddha was not an anarchist. He regularly met with kings and taught them. He supported the idea and need for governments. As such they would need to defend themselves from time to time no matter how peaceful they are; the neighboring kingdoms may not be so peaceful or Dhammic.
'A king should never fall into the power of anger. Rather, let him control his anger, for neither a person’s interests or duty thrive when one is angry... When a dispute arises, he should pay equal attention to both parties, hear the arguments of each and then decide according to what is right. He should not act out of favouritism, hatred, fear or foolishness, but should hear the arguments of both sides and then decide according to what is right... While keeping an eye on state affairs, a king should dispense happiness to all. He should prevent all from committing violence and show that it is righteousness which brings reward. As in the days of former kings, large numbers of immigrants came together to be admitted into the realm, so should you admit them. Always show favour to the poor but also protect the rich who are your subjects...Do not foster hostility towards neighbouring kings. Whoever hates, will be repaid with hatred by his enemies. Cultivate ties of friendship with your neighbours, for others honour those who are steadfast in friendship. Do not talk at great length on all sorts of subjects, but give your judgement at the appropriate time and keep it to the point...Always protect those who live justly. For the wheel of power turns in dependence on the wheel of justice...Do not appoint as headmen of villages or provinces even your own sons or brothers if they are unscrupulous, violent or base...A foolish or greedy minister is of no value to either ruler or realm. Therefore, appoint as your ministers men who are not greedy but prudent and devoted in counsel and who can guide the realm. Your eyes are not as good as those of an informer, nor is your policy. Therefore, you should employ an informer in all your affairs.'
Tesakuṇa Jātaka from the Jātaka (Ja.V.109)
Note in the quote above, governments are to be peaceful and nonviolent but it also says "Always protect those who live justly"

Here is a quote to some more Sutta references to possible self-defense:
Ethical truths must also be consistent. Certain behaviour cannot be wrong in one situation and right in another. Thus it is wrong to kill, no matter what the circumstances. However, the Buddha recognizes that there is a difference between killing out of rage or jealousy and killing in self-defence. The first is completely wrong while the second can be what he called ‘mixed’ (vītimissa),i.e. a mixture of different degrees of wrong and right (M.I,318).
http://buddhisma2z.com/content.php?id=82" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
David N. Snyder wrote:Here is the full text:

74. Should any bhikkhu, angered and displeased, give a blow to (another) bhikkhu, it is to be confessed.

The factors for the full offense here are three.

* 1) Object: another bhikkhu.
* 2) Effort: One gives him a blow
* 3) Intention: out of anger.

Non-offenses. According to the Vibhaṅga, there is no offense for a bhikkhu who, trapped in a difficult situation, gives a blow "desiring freedom." The Commentary's discussion of this point shows that it includes what we at present would call self-defense; and the K/Commentary's analysis of the factors of the offense here shows that even if anger or displeasure arises in one's mind in cases like this, there is no penalty.

Summary: Giving a blow to another bhikkhu when impelled by anger — except in self-defense — is a pācittiya offense.

And another important point to the above is that that is the rule for monks. How much more leeway might lay people have? Not to kill of course, but certainly protect for self-defense.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

santa100
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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by santa100 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:57 pm

clw_uk wrote: Therefore, would it be beneficial for Buddhists to learn marital arts? I have been thinking of learning martial arts, purely defensive, in order to defend myself and defend others, without killing.

For example, if my mother was attacked I would want to be able to defend her and also stop the attacker, without killing.
Unlike the mistaken perception that martial arts guys could do more harm to an attacker in a fight, it's quite the opposite in real life. Due to their hard training every day at the dojo, they're better prepared for a real life situation. They're able to stay calm and strike the opponent at the precise spot at the precise moment not to kill or maim, but to disable. An untrained person would easily becomes panic and when s/he strikes, their untrollable punch or kick could land everywhere and more prone to unnecessary damage either to themselves or to the attacker. "more sweat in training, less blood in battle"..

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clw_uk
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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:09 pm

santa100 wrote:
clw_uk wrote: Therefore, would it be beneficial for Buddhists to learn marital arts? I have been thinking of learning martial arts, purely defensive, in order to defend myself and defend others, without killing.

For example, if my mother was attacked I would want to be able to defend her and also stop the attacker, without killing.
Unlike the mistaken perception that martial arts guys could do more harm to an attacker in a fight, it's quite the opposite in real life. Due to their hard training every day at the dojo, they're better prepared for a real life situation. They're able to stay calm and strike the opponent at the precise spot at the precise moment not to kill or maim, but to disable. An untrained person would easily becomes panic and when s/he strikes, their untrollable punch or kick could land everywhere and more prone to unnecessary damage either to themselves or to the attacker. "more sweat in training, less blood in battle"..

So would you agree that learning martial arts would be good for a Buddhist?
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santa100
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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by santa100 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:28 pm

In my opinion, yes. Beside, from my own experience, if one is well trained in martial arts, there's something in the way one walks and acts that naturally signal the attacker to avoid the trouble, thus prevent a potential conflict from happening. Obviously, any attacker would naturally prefer to pick on a weaker "prey" than a strong one. That gives them a much better chance of success..

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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by binocular » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:11 pm

clw_uk wrote:So would you agree that learning martial arts would be good for a Buddhist?
What provisions would you as a martial arts Buddhist make for the time when you are ill, too old or otherwise to weak or incapacitated to engage in a physical fight?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by Babadhari » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:18 pm

from what i have seen in friends, i happen to think martial arts are very beneficial for physical well being and mental discipline viewed as a sport and not a weapon.
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Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by Mkoll » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:18 pm

clw_uk wrote:Therefore, would it be beneficial for Buddhists to learn marital arts? I have been thinking of learning martial arts, purely defensive, in order to defend myself and defend others, without killing.
As a regimen of physical fitness and self-improvement, I don't see a problem with martial arts if one has the right mindset and the wisdom for when it should and should not be used. But that applies to anyone, not just Buddhists.

Regardless, battles are best won without fighting. From the grandmaster of war himself:
Sun Tzu wrote:For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.
:anjali:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

SarathW
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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by SarathW » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:37 pm

Buddha was trained as a warrior prince.
Did he ever asked us to take a self defence course?
Self defence never helped the Sakyans!
Why did the enemy kill the whole Sakyan Klan except Buddha?
:shrug:
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vishuroshan
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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by vishuroshan » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:55 am

WELL SAID Sarath. i like your comment. there's only 1 weapon for the self defence. thats the VIRTUE(SILA). only that can protect you if you dont have any BAD KAMMA which give you results at that time.

zamotcr
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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by zamotcr » Wed May 28, 2014 4:01 pm

SarathW wrote:Buddha was trained as a warrior prince.
Did he ever asked us to take a self defence course?
Self defence never helped the Sakyans!
Why did the enemy kill the whole Sakyan Klan except Buddha?
:shrug:
The little difference here is: we are not Buddha nor Sakyans ;)

Martial Arts is not only a physical activity. It help us to develop a discipline, a right mental attitude, respect to our elders and to give the best of us in every situation. It also teach concentration. I haven't read in the Suttas when the Buddha suggested to remove the kingdoms army, but otherwise, he recommended to protect the people. Of course protection can be done in a lot of ways without fighting, fight is the last resource to defend ourselves.

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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by TheNoBSBuddhist » Wed May 28, 2014 4:14 pm

zamotcr wrote:The little difference here is: we are not Buddha nor Sakyans ;)


And the Buddha was not Buddhist... we emulate and follow his teachings because they are sound, correct, Right and attainable.

Martial Arts is not only a physical activity. It help us to develop a discipline, a right mental attitude, respect to our elders and to give the best of us in every situation.
...as does Buddhism...
It also teach concentration.
As does Buddhism...
I haven't read in the Suttas when the Buddha suggested to remove the kingdoms army, but otherwise, he recommended to protect the people. Of course protection can be done in a lot of ways without fighting, fight is the last resource to defend ourselves.
The entire focus in learning a Martial Art is to know how to avoid situations where you will need to fight.

Better to preserve life, limb and safety, rather than resort to violence.
I come from Scotland; a nation reputed for having fiery tempers, a strong defensive instinct and a fearless tendency to 'pick a fight'.

Fighting should not even be an option, let alone a last resort.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....

Ananda Thera
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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by Ananda Thera » Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:14 am

Yes, I think that it is acceptable to practice martial arts as a practicing Buddhist. Many boys and men in Thailand practice Muay Thai while still being a Buddhist.

It is okay to fight. As long as you are defending yourself out of compassion for the attacker; you are worried that if he hurts you in any way, he would commit unskillful Kamma and have to suffer the consequences in the future. But if you are in an angry state of mind and wants to fight the attacker with the intent of HURTING him for revenge of him provoking you harshly, then I think you should not fight even if you have practiced martial arts, and try your best to run away.

So after you learned martial arts, to fight or not depends on whether you intent is kind and patient, or angry and hateful.

The question of whether you SHOULD learn martial arts or not, it depends on your personality. If you are already a calm person and a good practicing Buddhist who can develop Metta easily to others, then go for it; practicing martial arts will further enhance your patience and discipline. BUT, if you are an agitated person who has a past tendency of aggression and hatred, and cannot easily develop genuine metta to others or you are working hard to generate metta to get rid of your past aggression, then DO NOT start martial arts! As you have not yet mastered your mind and your personality is not stable enough; you can easily fall back to the agressive state. This can be dangerous to your practice as you may lose the weak metta that you have worked hard on to establish. So you may easily fall back to your original state.

Anyways, this is just my suggestion. It all depends on you.

walkart
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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by walkart » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:54 am

Iam an ancient kick boxer, and contrary to peoples stéréotypes fighting sports are not violent. There is perhaps some physical violence, but there is no any hate or anger. Some one who is attached to this body will percive thèse sports as violent, but some one who practice it knows that its a peacefull sport.

Why is that?

Because when your mind is not peacefull you can not fight. You dont see your partner's movements, you stress, feel fear and not able to do something constructive.

Each boxer know that the one who feel fear or too nervous is weak and loose à battle.

Fighting sports are good to develop satipatthana, anapanasati and contemplation of anatta, because a body moves and react on its own. Someone who try control this process loose many time and loose the battle.

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Re: Non Violence, self defence and defence of others

Post by walkart » Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:51 am

I forgot to say about self confidence.

When you are self confident you dont afraid of other peoples, when you are dont affraid of them you dont feel anger or hate toward them, you naturaly develop loving kindness and friendliness.
Why?
Because there is no fear.

Fear is the Mara weapon. When you feel fear (doubt etc.) Mara controls you.

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