Spanking Children in Buddhism

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
Santi253
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 4:37 am
Contact:

Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by Santi253 » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:49 pm

I am not interested in discussing the effectiveness of spanking compared to other methods of discipline, and I would never recommend corporal punishment as an exclusive method of disciplining children. I am just wondering about the morality of spanking from a traditional Buddhist perspective.

Also, regardless of what Buddhism teaches, do parents spank their children anyway in Asian countries? Under secular law in the United States, there's a difference between spanking and child abuse.
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

R1111 = rightviewftw
Posts: 1019
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:32 am

For how, venerable Nāgasena, is the robber to be subdued by him who sets to work to subdue him?’

‘Thus, great king—if deserving of rebuke let him be rebuked, if of a fine let him be fined, if of banishment let him be banished, if of death let him be put to death.’

‘Is then, Nāgasena, the execution of robbers part of the doctrine laid down by the Tathāgatas?’

‘Certainly not, O king.’

‘Then why have the Tathāgatas laid down that the robber is to be taught better?’

‘Whosoever, great king, may be put to death, he does not suffer execution by reason of the opinion put forth by the Tathāgatas. He suffers by reason of what he himself has done. But notwithstanding that the doctrine of the Dhamma has been taught (by the Buddhas), would it be possible, great king, for a man who had done nothing wrong, and was walking innocently along the streets, to be seized and put to death by any wise person?’

‘Certainly not.’

‘But why?’

‘Because of his innocence.’

R1111 = rightviewftw
Posts: 1019
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:43 am

I think one has to ask if they really deserve it and if it is proper means of teaching them. If wise people would find it to be proper all things considered, then i guess it is blameless. I had parents whip me when i was a kid for reasons i can not remember, i think they were definitely getting out of line.

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 3753
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:01 am

I don't think that a teaching supporting the king on punishing criminals can be used to justify spanking children, nor even to condone cruel punishments. The law of the land is not the business of monks.

There is a rule against punishing novices by beating them being an offence of wrong-doing. The Buddha allowed punishments such has carrying heavy weights, cleaning toilets, etc. If novices do not comply, they should be sent away.

I don't think the Buddha would condone inflicting corporal punishment, but I cannot think of a better reference to support that than the metta sutta.
BlogPāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

R1111 = rightviewftw
Posts: 1019
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:15 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: I don't think the Buddha would condone inflicting corporal punishment, but I cannot think of a better reference to support that than the metta sutta.
I can think of a lot of reference to support this but nothing explicit. I personally doubt wise people would find it appropriate to use violence as well but i am not all-knowing so i hestitate to speak for all possibile states. It is certainly seemingly impossible to imagine an Arahant spanking a child.

binocular
Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by binocular » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:35 am

R1111 wrote:It is certainly seemingly impossible to imagine an Arahant spanking a child.
I think this is because an arahant has no need to assert his dominance or supremacy, or to subdue other people.

Worldly education is to a large extent about those in positions of power asserting their dominance or supremacy and subduing other people, usually under the guise of "doing what's best for the children," "being civilized," or "doing the will of God." This is done in the conviction that the end justifies the means, so any means are acceptable if they seem to lead to the desired end.

However, nobody except an arahant can afford to let others be. So it is understandable that people have a lot at stake in their efforts to establish hierarchies and maintain them.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Santi253
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 4:37 am
Contact:

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by Santi253 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:38 am

As far as what I've seen so far, parents commonly practice some form of corporal punishment in traditionally Buddhist countries. In Singapore, for example, parents use canes:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caning_in ... tal_caning
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

Santi253
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 4:37 am
Contact:

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by Santi253 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:41 am

binocular wrote:
R1111 wrote:It is certainly seemingly impossible to imagine an Arahant spanking a child.
I think this is because an arahant has no need to assert his dominance or supremacy, or to subdue other people.
I think only non-permissive parents should be allowed to opine on the morality of spanking. It's not just about asserting dominance or supremacy. If non-permissive parents modify their childrens' behavior in ways other than spanking, is that about dominance and supremacy as well?
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

binocular
Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by binocular » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:43 am

R1111 wrote:I think one has to ask if they really deserve it and if it is proper means of teaching them.
It depends on what exactly their educators want to teach them.

When I was going to kindergarten and to school (ages 6-15), our teachers beat us. They beat us even more if we fought back or tried to flee. I think what they were really trying to teach us was:
1. Might makes right.
2. Unquestioningly obey people in positions of power and you will do fine in life.
3. The struggle for survival is as good as life gets, don't hope for anything better.

I don't recall them every actually saying those things, though. All beatings were done under the guise that the teacher is just pursuing the greater good and appropriateness, which are supposedly objective and clear to see for all. Funny, how it was always the teachers who considered themselves the arbiters of those things.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by binocular » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:48 am

Santi253 wrote:As far as what I've seen so far, parents commonly practice some form of corporal punishment in traditionally Buddhist countries. In Singapore, for example, parents use canes:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caning_in ... tal_caning
And that makes beating children into something Buddhist?
Santi253 wrote:I think only non-permissive parents should be allowed to opine on the morality of spanking.
Really? Only those who beat children are allowed to talk about the morality of beating children?
It's not just about asserting dominance or supremacy. If non-permissive parents modify their childrens' behavior in ways other than spanking, is that about dominance and supremacy as well?
All parenting is about dominance and supremacy.

And whence the dualism permissive vs. non-permissive, as if this would be the only two options?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

R1111 = rightviewftw
Posts: 1019
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:17 am

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:00 am

I think it is noteworthy that it seems like OP is holding Asian countries to be somehow more progressive for a lack of a better term in regards to Morals. They might be, i am not an expert but i am under impression that at least in some of these "Buddhist countries" the understanding of Buddhism among general population, at least the non monastics is quite poor.

Santi253
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 4:37 am
Contact:

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by Santi253 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:25 am

R1111 wrote:I think it is noteworthy that it seems like OP is holding Asian countries to be somehow more progressive for a lack of a better term in regards to Morals. They might be, i am not an expert but i am under impression that at least in some of these "Buddhist countries" the understanding of Buddhism among general population, at least the non monastics is quite poor.
I am sorry if I've given a wrong impression. I am not basing it as what's more progressive, but instead on what is normal in traditionally Buddhist countries.
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

Santi253
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 4:37 am
Contact:

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by Santi253 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:29 am

binocular wrote:Only those who beat children are allowed to talk about the morality of beating children?
Spanking is not the only option for disciplining a child that a non-permissive parent has available.
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

Santi253
Posts: 982
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 4:37 am
Contact:

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by Santi253 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:43 am

Here is a form of discipline common in Asian cultures that is sometimes more effective than spanking:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hands_up_punishment
Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. - Mahatma Gandhi

http://www.matthewsatori.tumblr.com

binocular
Posts: 5638
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by binocular » Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:06 am

As usual, you refuse to actually engage in discussion ...
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 18 guests