am i breaking my sila

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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jason c
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am i breaking my sila

Post by jason c » Sun May 27, 2012 11:57 pm

if someone is begging for money and i posess first hand knowledge that the person will use that money to harm someone it would be unwise to support this person.
as a self employed business owner my government orders me to collect and submit taxes to them. now i posess first hand knowledge that my country uses a portion of this money to manufacture weapons that can only be used to hurt. posessing this knowledge and handing over taxes (supporting their behavior) am i breaking my sila?

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hanzze_
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Re: am i breaking my sila

Post by hanzze_ » Mon May 28, 2012 2:20 am

Jason,

First of all, as a Buddhist you have to follow the national laws and you will never have a problem with them, if you observe Silas correctly. Secondly, the use of tax is not the matter in regard of the later use and so you are not involved directly, which would be different, if you are involved in direct voting for this or that use, or this or that way.
So what to do with it, is a matter of your voting. The act of sharing your part, is just the act of sharing your part and your thought while doing it.

You can tax pretty good as Dana. Important is that you give it without a wish back, for the good of others and the good mind setting before, while and after the act of giving.

And third, if you do not violent taking what is not giving, you even would not have a problem with paying tax. Silas are the way to get free of new bad conscience or bad effects, they are not to use them for your ideas of good and bad (judgment of others) and no excuse for ones disability in letting go. Actually they are a support, because you always need to get deeper into your intentions and ways of thought.

Do not speculate, just observe Silas. And your are not a big patron who shares his own, remember that it is taken and not really yours, so tax is just a way to compensate peoples disability to share.
In countries where gratitude on generosity was naturally practiced, the was long time no need for tax. In times where duties are out and illusory rights are in, quarrels will be not be lessened.

If one does not come in conflict with a higher problem, he does not quarrel with some minor issues. Dig the unwholesome intention up and do not fall into hypocritical ways. Last but not least, if you like to have it easier, there is a reason why people leave their homes into the homeless state. Its good to practice step by step.

And if such thoughts of "I support the bad man" come up, better think on the own greed government of of thought and put a veto if they do not good.

manas
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Re: am i breaking my sila

Post by manas » Mon May 28, 2012 4:12 am

jason c wrote:if someone is begging for money and i posess first hand knowledge that the person will use that money to harm someone it would be unwise to support this person.
as a self employed business owner my government orders me to collect and submit taxes to them. now i posess first hand knowledge that my country uses a portion of this money to manufacture weapons that can only be used to hurt. posessing this knowledge and handing over taxes (supporting their behavior) am i breaking my sila?
I get the feeling that kings, governments etc have always done this, to some extent. (Apart from righteous ones, that afaik have been few and far between). Although I'm not an authority who can instruct you, personally I wouldn't lose sleep over paying taxes. I mean, if you don't pay, there's a good chance your peace of mind could be adversely affected, worrying that the IRS (or ATO, if you live in my Land) might find out, and get you in trouble, and this could lead to the increase of the hindrance 'restlessness and remorse' - not good for cultivating samadhi. If you do pay, well you're basically just following the laws of the Land in which you live, and while it's a pity the Govt uses some of that money to harm others etc, once it leaves your hands, it's out of your hands - you are not the one buying the weapons, they are. The onus is on them to use it righteously. They are the Govt, after all, not a beggar in the streets. They are supposed to know better, and it's not your fault if they do not.

that's my personal opinion, anyway - but please seek further guidance from an expert in Sila!

:anjali:

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hanzze_
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Re: am i breaking my sila

Post by hanzze_ » Mon May 28, 2012 5:08 am

It would be a risky speculation if we put our wage on, that the (mentioned) beggar would harm lesser if he has not got what you have to much. Over all, you are not able to do wrong by your self if you have no more power (money) in your hand.

Reductor
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Re: am i breaking my sila

Post by Reductor » Mon May 28, 2012 6:40 am

A man is walking down the street. Through no fault of his own, he is mugged. That mugger then buys a nice shiny gun with the proceeds and uses it to kill his drug dealer.

Should the man who was mugged be held accountable for the drug dealer's death?

Last I heard, we're not allowed to opt out of taxes; if you don't pay, you go to jail.

But it's not even so bleak as that analogy above, because the government occasionally provides us with assistance at least, while the mugger doesn't (unless he is a very strange mugger).

So no, I'd say your doing fine.

jason c
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Re: am i breaking my sila

Post by jason c » Mon May 28, 2012 11:49 am

thanks for your replies, they have been understood.
taxes are not a real big problem in my life, i shut my home building business down in 2009, when the economy went belly up. now i operate a carpentry business from the back of my bicycle (sounds depressing) but i highly reccomend it. i'm fortunate, my wife is a school teacher and brings home most of our families money. my government would be hard pressed to buy a slingshot with my meager contributions.
there has been alot of talk about the buddha's teachings being a bit outdated, and i was just wondering if there was a direct teaching of the buddha that addressed this current topic?
maybe this is why he created the order of monks and nuns, for those who want to take morality to its perfection?
metta,
jason

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hanzze_
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Re: am i breaking my sila

Post by hanzze_ » Mon May 28, 2012 1:17 pm

jason c wrote:i was just wondering if there was a direct teaching of the buddha that addressed this current topic?
May I raise the question, what exactly is the topic? What is the real question? The OP question was "am i breaking my sila".

Maybe you think on, "whom should I support that it is from most benefit and not against my own welfar"

If that is the real question, there are many advices who is worthy for gifts. Generally one is wise if he support (Dana) virtuous people and shares with the wise.

One Sutta in this way: Velāma Sutta: About Velāma

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