Spanking Children in Buddhism

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
Santi253
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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.
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Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by R1111 » 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.’

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Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by R1111 » 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.

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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.
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R1111
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Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by R1111 » 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.

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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.

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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
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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?
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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.

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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?

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Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by R1111 » 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.

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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.
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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.
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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
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Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

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

As usual, you refuse to actually engage in discussion ...

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Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by BasementBuddhist » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:59 pm

As I progress closer and closer to the age where I feel ready to adopt a baby/small child, this issue weighs on my mind. On the one hand, I find the idea of spanking so antithetical to Buddhist ideas that the idea horrifies me. On the other hand, I have directly experienced an "out of control child" and that situation is very harmful for the kid as well. Perhaps more so than spanking.

I think that children require unyielding but compassionate discipline. Whatever form that takes. You cannot be wishy washy when it comes to discipline. Clear rules must be set, those rules must be for the protection of the child and NOT the convenience or ego of the parent, and those rules must be CLEARLY explained and understood by the child in some form.

I think its important to choose punishments that won't lead to unwanted behavior in the future. For example, if you discipline your child via chores, then that child will come to see chores as something to be avoided and will become lazy. You have to pick a punishment that is undesirable even if it is not a punishment. Spanking fits the bill. Still, it hurts and harms and causes all sorts of pain. It to has its negative lessons.

I think it is a very hard question, if one wishes to do what is best for the kid and not just raise their child for their own gratification like most parents do.

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Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by binocular » Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:45 pm

BasementBuddhist wrote:I think it is a very hard question, if one wishes to do what is best for the kid
What is best for the child -- in what sense?

What is best for the child if he/she is to become a successful upper class person?
What is best for the child if he/she is to be happy and have a sense that life makes sense and is worth living?

There are more options, of course. I'm juxtaposing the two above because at some point, they become mutually exclusive.

What is best for the child?
To learn, early on, that might makes right?
To learn, early on, that the Darwinian struggle for survival is as good as life gets?
To learn, early on, to settle for feeling miserable deep down while pretending to be happy?

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Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by BasementBuddhist » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:19 pm

binocular wrote: What is best for the child if he/she is to be happy and have a sense that life makes sense and is worth living?
This of course, from the perspective of a Sangha member, this is all that life is about.

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Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by Santi253 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:36 am

binocular wrote:As usual, you refuse to actually engage in discussion ...
Does it harm children for them to be in time-out with their hands above their head? It's a very common form of discipline in Asian countries.
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Re: Spanking Children in Buddhism

Post by Circle5 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:37 am

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.
In my country it's a national sport. The idea behind it is that the kid is a thug anyway and respects other thugs of his age. Therefore, he will respect the teacher just as he respects other thugs of his age. And it really has some truth to it. Kids, including me, respected such teachers because of this. And not in a shallow way, I really mean it in a positive way, we really had honest respect for such teachers. The kid really is a monkey, he doesn't now better at least until highschool. Some teachers were very direct about this in middle school, like: I'm the big monkey here, whether you like me or not, I'm the big monkey. You don't mess with the big monkey. I've had a teacher who once got a guy in hospital, and this was in 10th grade. Another teacher was once chasing a guy with a club around the classroom in 8th grade and the guy was complaining that he's using a club. The teacher then told him to go outside the classroom and do a 1-on-1 witch they did. While the teacher was kicking him with the foot, the kid managed to hit the leg he was standing, the teacher fell down and the kid run away.

But my craziest teacher was our painting teacher from middle school. He was respected painter in the city and an exccentric person, also a very bdsm-istic one. He loved to scare 5th grade kids but was cool in 8th grade. He spent the whole first hour of our 5th grade explaining how evil he is. He said things like "it's not at language or math that you will have problems, it's at painting that you will not pass the class". Or "today, when you go home, you go tell your parents that you're painting teacher is not the most cruel teacher in the school, not the most cruel in the country, but the most cruel and tough teacher in the whole wide world." And he repeated this kind of things for an hour. And he really was though. You could hear a insect fly at his hour, absolute silence or he would beat you up. He was so threatening that rarely he really needed to beat someone up. During breaks, the corridors were full of children and when he passed, all had to stop running around and stay with their back against the wall perfectly str8 like in the army and be totally quiet for the time he passed the corridor. One time, a girl classmate kept her knees a little bent, not perfectly straight while standing like that. And he beat her up so hard that she cried the whole break, plus an hour, plus the break after.

He was also drunk all the time and one time he beat another teacher (who was a woman) in the middle of a break with kids running around, 3 meters away from a big group of parents who were waiting for a meeting. The guy was also very tall and strong so not even though 8th graders could do anything cause he would just beat them up. And he would really not pass kids at painting if he had a problem with them and forced them to repeat the year, though that was rare. But nobody really had a problem with the guy, he was a cool guy and most male teachers are decently thuff. It's the teacher from highchool that got a guy in hospital (witch was not the first time he did such a thing) that was really bad, totally mentally disturbed.

.... and I was only at good schools. That middle school was nr 2 best middle school in a 300k city, out of over 40-50 middle schools. And highschool nr 4 our of 32

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