Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
morning mist
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Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by morning mist »

I just came across some tragic information about what people are facing in southern Thailand . What is the best thing to do for Buddhist living in these area ? Is self protection and protecting others against the dhamma ?


Muslims Behead 9 year old Buddhist Boy in Thailand, Murder Family

"…..Then they hanged or beheaded the rest of his family, including what appears to be a toddler. Yet another example of Muslim on Buddhist violence in a country where Muslims are only a small minority.

Live Leak - More than than 4000 people from police and teachers to monks and children have been killed in the past 7 years by Muslims in southern Thailand, but hardly a word in the mainstream media. In Southern Thailand Muslim gunmen continue killing and threatening innocent citizens. The Muslim insurgents have threatened to kill 20 teachers and have distributed fliers that said, “WANTED: 20 Deaths of Buddhist teachers.” Muslim terrorists object to the education system which teaches Buddhist culture that is not acceptable in Islam. The attacks are intended to force Buddhists to leave the region because Muslims want to create an independent Muslim nation in the three southern provinces."
Last edited by morning mist on Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
with metta,
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cooran
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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by cooran »

Hello morning mist,

This might be of interest from Bhikkhu Bodhi:

The First Precept in the Pali Canon
In Pali, the first precept is Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami; "I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life."

According to Theravadin teacher Bhikkhu Bodhi, the word pana refers to breathing, or any living being that has breath and consciousness. This includes people and all animal life, including insects, but not include plant life. The word atipata means "striking down." This refers to killing or destroying, but it can also mean injuring or torturing.

Theravada Buddhists say that a violation of the first precept involves five factors. First, there is a living being. Second, there is the perception that the being is a living being. Third, there is the volition thought of killing. Fourth, the killing is carried out. Fifth, the being dies.

It is important to understand that the violation of the precept arises in the mind, with the recognition of a living being and the willful thought of killing that being.
Also, ordering someone else to do the actual killing does not mitigate responsibility for it.

Further, a killing that is premeditated is a graver offense than a killing that is impulsive, such as in self-defense.
http://buddhism.about.com/od/theprecept ... recept.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There will be akusala kamma even if you kill defending yourself against an unexpected attack.

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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by NDat »

Look deeply into the Four Noble Truths. The answer is in there.
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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by BubbaBuddhist »

One must wonder about performing an act of minor violence to prevent a killing. I recently stopped some maintenance workers outside my apartment from torturing and killing a groundhog with weed whackers. They had this poor beast cornered between some bushes and were laughing like hyenas. This involved me grabbing the implement from the hands of one of them and shoving him away quite forcefully. I then gave these young men what my grandfather would have called a "stern talking to." LOL I said, "I know you probably never learned this in that reform school you went to as kids, but animal cruelty is a felony. If I see you do anything like this again, I'll have you arrested. And fired." They left muttering something about it only being a groundhog and what's the big deal. I got a towel (so I wouldn't be mauled) and transported the terrified creature to the neighboring woods and told him to run and never come back. I hope at least one of the three animals got some part of the message. At any rate, I spent some time thinking (1) what in the blue hell is wrong with people and (2) am I going to blue hell for shoving this big bully. Gah, what a world we live in. Where's the next bus off of it? :toilet:

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Dan74
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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by Dan74 »

For some balance (sorely needed in the current antimuslim climate):



http://www.time.com/time/world/article/ ... 76,00.html
_/|\_
morning mist
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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by morning mist »

HI Dan ,

This topic is about Muslim and Thai Civilians rather than Tamils and Sri lankans. If you want we can discuss this in another thread on Sri Lankan & Tamils. Usually I wouldn't mind ,but it seems that some people prefer that it focuses on a specific issue only and no related topics at all. So I guess, that's the way is ? Btw, the video above doesn't show the whole story. Perhaps you haven't seen " Anuradhapura Massacre by LTTE - 146 Civilians dead on Wesak day"

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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by Dan74 »

I am sorry that my post was not squarely on topic. You brought up an issue with the beaheadings and posted a video from a notorious anti-muslim site. To my way of seeing there is an unacceptable bias against muslims perpetrated at all levels and this needs to be challenged. That's all.

As to how to defend, I would say to be primarily guided by the Dhamma but of course be sensible and defend when necessary.
_/|\_
morning mist
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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by morning mist »

Dan74 wrote:I am sorry that my post was not squarely on topic. ...As to how to defend, I would say to be primarily guided by the Dhamma but of course be sensible and defend when necessary.
Hi Dan,

No problem. Usually, I didn't think that it is a big deal to focus on a specific issue. But that is the case around here with some . I just found out myself . :shock:

The info I posted can be found on the news, youtube, Live Leak, etc...
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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

Seeing aside violence and conflict for starters, the following sutta gives an idea on how one best protect's one self and others.

SN 47.19: Sedaka Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If we can live in accordance with this Dhamma, the basic principles of which are...
And how does one look after others by looking after oneself?
By practicing (mindfulness), by developing (it), by doing (it) a lot.
And how does one look after oneself by looking after others?
By patience, by non-harming, by loving kindness, by caring (for others).
... then hopefully, if/when such a situation arises, the actions we determine to follow will be most appropriate.

Volition starts within.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Jason
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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by Jason »

morning mist wrote:I just came across some tragic information about what people are facing in southern Thailand . What is the best thing to do for Buddhist living in these area ? Is self protection and protecting others against the dhamma ?
Buddhism, as with Jainism, is founded on the principle of ahimsa or harmlessness and non-violence. The Buddha never condoned violence, going so far as to lay down rules expelling monks and nuns who even spoke in favour of killing. For example, from the Vinita Vatthu:
  • A bhikkhu advises an executioner to kill his victims mercifully with a single blow, rather than torturing them. The executioner follows his advice, and the bhikkhu incurs a parajika [i.e., 'defeat,' expelled from the Sangha]. This judgment indicates that a bhikkhu should not involve himself in matters of this sort, no matter how humane his intentions.
That said, he didn't say that one shouldn't defend oneself or one's loved ones when necessary. Buddhism is nothing if not pragmatic, and it's understood that we're potentially going to be confronted with situations where we may feel the need to, or automatically react with, some level of violence and force. That's one reason I think there's no offense for a monk who, "trapped in a difficult situation, gives a blow 'desiring freedom'" (Pc74).

So, in my opinion, protecting oneself and others with a minimal use of force doesn't necessarily go 'against the Dhamma'; although there may certainly be some amount of negative kamma involved.

In addition, even though we can't undone past unskillful actions, we can mitigate the impact they have through striving to refrain from doing said unskillful deeds in the future and training the mind/developing certain wholesome mental states (AN 3.99); so it's not as if we're doomed to suffer 'in hell' for it (whether literally or metaphorically), either.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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morning mist
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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by morning mist »

Hi all ,

Thanks for sharing. I was wondering if anyone know the instruction for lay people about protecting oneself and other innocent people when it comes to violent attacks ?
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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by Jason »

morning mist wrote:Hi all ,

Thanks for sharing. I was wondering if anyone know the instruction for lay people in particular when it comes to protecting oneself and other innocent people when it comes to violent attacks ?
There really isn't any that I'm aware of. The suttas are mostly full of admonishments against killing/observing the first precept, and leaning strongly towards pacifism, e.g., see "Getting the Message" and "The Buddha and the Four-Limbed Army: The Military in the Pali Canon."
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by chownah »

It's all about intention....do you intend to do harm or do you intent to stop harm?
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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by DarwidHalim »

morning mist wrote:I just came across some tragic information about what people are facing in southern Thailand . What is the best thing to do for Buddhist living in these area ? Is self protection and protecting others against the dhamma ?

Muslims Behead 9 year old Buddhist Boy in Thailand, Murder "
My view is, if your motivation is good, such as self protection, it is not wrong.

The action itself is free from good or bad, it is the motivation behind that makes it wholesome or not.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Is it against the dhamma to protect yourself and others ?

Post by whynotme »

DarwidHalim wrote:
morning mist wrote:I just came across some tragic information about what people are facing in southern Thailand . What is the best thing to do for Buddhist living in these area ? Is self protection and protecting others against the dhamma ?

Muslims Behead 9 year old Buddhist Boy in Thailand, Murder "
My view is, if your motivation is good, such as self protection, it is not wrong.

The action itself is free from good or bad, it is the motivation behind that makes it wholesome or not.
Your view is wrong
Please stop following me
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