Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Hanzze
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by Hanzze » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:31 am

Dear theY, no, that is my bad skill you are doing perfect.

Not at all, neither this nor that, but to use food only to maintain the body without taking what is not given, no use to talk about killing or harming that is for everybody logical and also to do not tell others to make it ones use.
I just wanted to tell you that the Asian teachers (monks) attached to food often teach some loophole aside of simply going for alms at least. So you will do good if you read some hard discussions of the other extrem of the vegis and vagans. Thsi vegan and vegitarian ways are simply helpless tries to make samsara a better place but missing the point if not taken only as addition to Buddhas way.
A layman has enought and maybe endless work to think on simply trying to abstain from killing, odering to kill and not being involved in such business and observe his intentions in this regard.

If you are interested, here some words about it: Buddha Dharma and Food - consider food as path to liberation
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 _()_

Maarten
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by Maarten » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:12 pm

Dan74 wrote:So there is nothing wrong in your view in profiting from an evil act?
There is, but it is the German who is doing so.

If buying the gold makes you feel horrible and guilty it's better to refrain from buying it. I still don't see any evil intentions in the buyer, aside from the greed for gold which in unrelated to the killing. If the buyer would encourage the seller to kill some more Jews for him, this would be an intention to rob people of their lives but it is possible to buy the gold without having this intention.

theY
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by theY » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:59 am

Hanzze wrote:Dear theY, no, that is my bad skill you are doing perfect.

Not at all, neither this nor that, but to use food only to maintain the body without taking what is not given, no use to talk about killing or harming that is for everybody logical and also to do not tell others to make it ones use.
I just wanted to tell you that the Asian teachers (monks) attached to food often teach some loophole aside of simply going for alms at least. So you will do good if you read some hard discussions of the other extrem of the vegis and vagans. Thsi vegan and vegitarian ways are simply helpless tries to make samsara a better place but missing the point if not taken only as addition to Buddhas way.
A layman has enought and maybe endless work to think on simply trying to abstain from killing, odering to kill and not being involved in such business and observe his intentions in this regard.

If you are interested, here some words about it: Buddha Dharma and Food - consider food as path to liberation
I think, we have the similar idea in this topic. :smile:
Above message maybe out of date. Latest update will be in massage's link.
--------------------------------------------------
Tipitaka memorization is a rule of monks. It isn't just a choice. They must done it.
bahussuto nāma tividho hoti – nissayamuccanako, parisupaṭṭhāpako, bhikkhunovādakoti.
http://UnmixedTheravada.blogspot.com/20 ... monks.html

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Dan74
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by Dan74 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:06 am

There is, but it is the German who is doing so.

If buying the gold makes you feel horrible and guilty it's better to refrain from buying it. I still don't see any evil intentions in the buyer, aside from the greed for gold which in unrelated to the killing. If the buyer would encourage the seller to kill some more Jews for him, this would be an intention to rob people of their lives but it is possible to buy the gold without having this intention.
By participating in the supply-demand chain which is founded on killing, I contribute to its continuation, I am in some sense complicit. By desiring flesh of a slaughtered animal I am putting my desires above the life of a sentient being. It is an uncomfortable realization and of course it does not apply to monks receiving alms or people surviving in a habitat where choices are severely limited, and also not as much to someone who needs to consume meat or fish for medical reasons. Nor does it mean that I am a bad person or incapable of compassion. it is what it is. And of course this is just my view and others may see differently. In any case Ajahn Jagaro said it much more sensitively here:

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha151.htm

And of course this issue has been done to death here:

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9229

The thing to do, in my view, is to drop the defensiveness and the clinging to views and pay careful attention to what arises as we desire food and as we consume it. To investigate how our food is produced and the multitude of effects its production has on the environment and the people. To observe the effect the desiring and consumption has on us. To cultivate equanimity towards the kind of food consumed, a careful mindfulness to the sensations of consuming, a sense of appreciation deep gratitude for the many hands that had worked to bring it to us and for being so lucky to have food at all while cultivating compassion for the majority on this planet who go without adequate nourishment. And finally to cultivate a deep commitment to use the nourishment for the betterment of myself and all. If done gently and sensitively, I think this make very useful practice.

BTW, it is interesting how quick we are to project all sorts of mental states on others. So me pointing out what I see as ethical and logical deficiencies in "eating meat is nothing to do with the first precept or compassion" position is equated as passing judgment and even hating meat-eaters. This could not be further from the truth - I feel we are all work in progress and these issues are for each one of us to face and deal with. My view is at best provisional and may change. I hope your are not cast in stone either.
_/|\_

Maarten
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by Maarten » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:43 pm

Dear Dan,

I can understand your line of reasoning and I share and admire your compassion for animals but I still don't think there is anything inherently immoral about buying meat.

As I said before, to me being a vegetarian is more like saving lives than like refraining from taking them.
Take the animal rights activists who try to stop the whale hunters from killing whales. What they are doing is saving lives. This is a virtuous act, but does that make everyone who is not out there saving the whales immoral? I think not.

It is interesting that you exclude monks from the supply and demand chain. When they are asking for alms don't they participate in a supply and demand chain? Why shouldn't the monk refrain from accepting meat to try and stop the layperson from buying it?
I think the reason is that there is no bad karma in accepting the meat. You can't change someones unwholesome mind by not participating in in a supply and demand chain in which they are part. Neither can you avoid being part of such a chain because you do have needs. Somewhere along the endless chain of cause and effect originating from your actions, someone will commit an unwholesome act. This is their problem, not yours. You can't control the intentions of another anyway.

Thank you for your advice, it is good advice. I know I may come across as a struggling vegetarian who is trying to come up with excuses, but I think this is not the case.
This idea or feeling actually came up in a meditation of mine, a metta meditation. To hear that this is actually the orthodox Theravadan view only confirms this idea for me.

On a side note, I will continue to be a vegetarian because I find it more enjoyable to save animals than to eat them, but I no longer consider non vegetarians to be immoral.

With metta

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Hanzze
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by Hanzze » Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:30 am

Maarten wrote:Take the animal rights activists who try to stop the whale hunters from killing whales. What they are doing is saving lives. This is a virtuous act, but does that make everyone who is not out there saving the whales immoral? I think not.
Dear Maarten,

have you seen the movie The Cove. This is a very interesting movie in relation to your topic "Are we responsible for the actions of others?" , karma, sacrify and burden.

Such actions are (you call them "virtuous" above) are mostly out of a strong attachment, curiously all promotion actions have at least caused additional suffering. But we can not say, that it is a "not self created/caused" burden what such people actually have. When we look at this film, we see that he feels at least kind of guilty out of his previous actions (which have been well minded as well, but he saw that they have been not wise at least) which he tries to make undone in some ways.
So guilty feeling (which have its causes) + the idea that one can change his previous action = "compassionated action" (at least further unwise)
Another model of such motivations is substitutional - guiltiness which is caused be the attachment to a groupe or kin (selfdelusion at least)
Guilty feeling vicariously + the idea that one can change this situation or the believe that one needs to sacrify him self for the reputation of a group or kin = "compssionated action" (at least further unwise)

And there is one more constilation, like a smoker who has quite smoking: He feels sometimes the responsibility to bring others to quit, but if we don't quite of our own understandig it's just a matter of time that we fall back mostly more extrem as before. So one who might feel guilty that he has caused so much being to be killed for his peasure might feel that he needs to correct his previous actions in "saving" others which is actually nit possible. Its also a kind of hystery and fear of riping kamma, but rather to focus further on one self, they try to make some +points amoung others but still are turning on the wheel of suffering faster and faster.

There are less who take simply self responibilty which would be an act or real courage and simply ubstain from unwholseome action.
It is interesting that you exclude monks from the supply and demand chain. When they are asking for alms don't they participate in a supply and demand chain? Why shouldn't the monk refrain from accepting meat to try and stop the layperson from buying it?
Bhikkhus (and those who live a holy life) do as long as they are no Arahants still demand on the chain but very subtile and without forcing it in addition. They don't ask for alm's and they accept only food that is left (if done correctly), so not organised for them. There is no organised food, which is not harmful at least. So a monks abstains from organising food, what ever it should be. If it would be possible to organise food that is not harmful for other beings at least, there would be no need of Buddha Dhamma and to escape from the wheel of desire/hunger/thirst/becoming/being.

As a layman who still organises food, one would try to organise it more wholesome (step by step) till it might be real wholesome. Reducing desire mixed with knowledge and skill is the key, the rest is up to ones own condition or better possibility.

The Sedaka Sutta: The Bamboo Acrobat is for sure one of the best suttas in reagard of resposibility.

We are also somehow responsible to keep others from unwholesome actions and that is made by ecplaining Dhamma if it is possible, but we are not responsible for the effects of other beings deed, we can neither correct them, nor are we albe to make them undone. This is also in regard of our self. We have the thought that we are responsible for our "old/past" self but also here it does not make sence. The past person does not exist any more and we just have to carry effects of past the actions. So responsibility is a very present issue and we can use our knowledge and remember to act wisely in the present.

Just taking care/being responsible for the mother as Maha Ghosananda once said:
Take care of the present, and the future will be well. The Dharma is always in the present, and the present is the mother of the future. Take care of the mother, and the mother will take care of her child.
Not to much posts training: 4. Post/ 4.10. 10:28 am (accordiny messurement: 7 posts the last 24h) current value: 8. post
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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Mr Man
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by Mr Man » Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:21 am

In the Maha-parinibbana Sutta the Buddha accepted food from Cunda but also instructed Cunda not to offer the food to others. Would this be an example of the Buddha taking responsibility for the actions of another?

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daverupa
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by daverupa » Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:53 am

Mr Man wrote:In the Maha-parinibbana Sutta the Buddha accepted food from Cunda but also instructed Cunda not to offer the food to others. Would this be an example of the Buddha taking responsibility for the actions of another?
I think it's probably a mistake to use this episode as a solid example, simply because it's part of a narrative context that isn't teaching ethics so much as lauding the Buddha within a ritualized death narrative. To those hearing this story back in the day, this was an example of the Buddha's powers, not an ethical example to extrapolate and emulate.

I think that, instead, teachings such as the Sedaka Sutta explain the utmost in what concern for others entails.
  • "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]

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Mr Man
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by Mr Man » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:21 am

daverupa wrote:
I think that, instead, teachings such as the Sedaka Sutta explain the utmost in what concern for others entails.
A beautiful sutta indeed.


With regard to the episode from the Maha-parinibbana Sutta I seem to remember there being a reference to the karmic implications of Cunda's offering somewhere. Any ideas of what I may be thinking of?

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daverupa
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by daverupa » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:30 am

Mr Man wrote:Any ideas of what I may be thinking of?
Ud 8.5 wrote:Then the Blessed One addressed Ven. Ānanda, "Ānanda, if anyone tries to incite remorse in Cunda the silversmith, saying, 'It's no gain for you, friend Cunda, it's ill-done by you, that the Tathāgata, having eaten your last alms, was totally unbound,' then Cunda's remorse should be allayed (in this way): 'It's a gain for you, friend Cunda, it's well-done by you, that the Tathāgata, having eaten your last alms, was totally unbound. Face to face with the Blessed One have I heard it, face to face have I learned it, "These two alms are equal to each other in fruit, equal to each other in result, of much greater fruit & reward than any other alms. Which two? The alms that, after having eaten it, the Tathāgata awakens to the unexcelled right self-awakening. And the alms that, after having eaten it, the Tathāgata is unbound by means of the unbinding property with no fuel remaining. These are the two alms that are equal to each other in fruit, equal to each other in result, of much greater fruit & reward than any other alms. Venerable Cunda the silversmith has accumulated kamma that leads to long life. Venerable Cunda the silversmith has accumulated kamma that leads to beauty. Venerable Cunda the silversmith has accumulated kamma that leads to happiness. Venerable Cunda the silversmith has accumulated kamma that leads to heaven. Venerable Cunda the silversmith has accumulated kamma that leads to rank. Venerable Cunda the silversmith has accumulated kamma that leads to sovereignty."' In this way, Ānanda, Cunda the silversmith's remorse should be allayed."
It's also in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta itself, some sections after the meal episode. (If I was a teacher, a student who submitted the Mahaparinibbana Sutta would be up on multiple charges of plagiarism.)
  • "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]

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Mr Man
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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by Mr Man » Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:20 pm

daverupa wrote:
Mr Man wrote:Any ideas of what I may be thinking of?
Ud 8.5 wrote:Then the Blessed One addressed Ven. Ānanda, "Ānanda, "
It's also in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta itself, some sections after the meal episode. (If I was a teacher, a student who submitted the Mahaparinibbana Sutta would be up on multiple charges of plagiarism.)
Thanks :)

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Re: Are we responsible for the actions of others?

Post by Maarten » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:03 am

Dear Hanzze,
Hanzze wrote:
Dear Maarten,

have you seen the movie The Cove. This is a very interesting movie in relation to your topic "Are we responsible for the actions of others?" , karma, sacrify and burden.
I have seen this documentary, but I can't remember most of the details. I just remember it's about the Japanese brutally slaughtering a lot of doplhins.
Hanzze wrote:
The Sedaka Sutta: The Bamboo Acrobat is for sure one of the best suttas in reagard of resposibility.

We are also somehow responsible to keep others from unwholesome actions and that is made by ecplaining Dhamma if it is possible, but we are not responsible for the effects of other beings deed, we can neither correct them, nor are we albe to make them undone. This is also in regard of our self. We have the thought that we are responsible for our "old/past" self but also here it does not make sence. The past person does not exist any more and we just have to carry effects of past the actions. So responsibility is a very present issue and we can use our knowledge and remember to act wisely in the present.
Thank you for this sutta reference, it is an excellent sutta!
the sutta seems to come down to:
Looking after oneself, one looks after others. Looking after others, one looks after oneself.

This makes sense to me, but in taking responsibility for the actions of the butcher even when one buys meat I think were going to far. We don't have any control over the (possible) intentional actions of the butcher, if we have any control it would be over our own intentions. Taking responsibility for the actions of others is like taking responsibility for a hurricane or an earthquake.

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