Newtown Shootings

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poto
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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by poto » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:30 am

Justsit wrote:
poto wrote:...as a mere householder, I feel I have a duty to provide a safe environment.
Interesting point, Poto, got me thinking. I, too, am a householder - only, I am the only one in the household. Or perhaps that makes me a solitary yogi? :tongue: In any case, if a bad guy comes through the door, do I have a duty to provide a safe environment for myself? or does that only apply to others? Not being a wise-ass here, genuinely curious about your statement.
It is something that I have given a lot of thought to. I figured I would do my best to safeguard my own life as I may not have another opportunity to encounter the Dhamma in the next life. Certainly if I was to be robbed, it would only be the loss of material possessions, but if I was to be murdered that would be a problem, since I have not achieved liberation yet.

I have spent a number of years living alone too, except that I had a dog and probably at those times would have done more to defend my dog from harm than myself.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis

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Ben
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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by Ben » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:34 am

poto wrote:I feel I have a duty to provide a safe environment.
If this is your justification then you are unwittingly perpetuating the cycle of violence.

Just in:
A Utah sixth-grader caught with a gun at school told administrators he brought the weapon to defend himself in case of an attack similar to last week's mass shooting at a Connecticut school, officials said Tuesday.

The 11-year-old was being held in juvenile detention on suspicion of possessing a dangerous weapon and aggravated assault after other students at the suburban Salt Lake City elementary school told police he threatened them with the handgun.

Teachers and administrators at West Kearns Elementary School confronted the boy in class Monday after students reported the weapon, said Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley. The boy had an unloaded gun and ammunition in his backpack, Horsley said.

The boy waved the gun at others during a morning recess, school officials said. Other students, however, didn't report the threat until classes were nearly finished for the day. There was no immediate explanation for the delay, authorities said...

The child made statements to administrators and mentioned the shooting rampage last week in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 children dead, authorities said.

The boy told others his parents sent him to school with the gun for protection, which his parents adamantly deny, Horsley said.
3. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

4. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.
Dhp
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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poto
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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by poto » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:46 am

Ben wrote:
poto wrote:I feel I have a duty to provide a safe environment.
If this is your justification then you are unwittingly perpetuating the cycle of violence.

Just in:
A Utah sixth-grader caught with a gun at school told administrators he brought the weapon to defend himself in case of an attack similar to last week's mass shooting at a Connecticut school, officials said Tuesday.

The 11-year-old was being held in juvenile detention on suspicion of possessing a dangerous weapon and aggravated assault after other students at the suburban Salt Lake City elementary school told police he threatened them with the handgun.

Teachers and administrators at West Kearns Elementary School confronted the boy in class Monday after students reported the weapon, said Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley. The boy had an unloaded gun and ammunition in his backpack, Horsley said.

The boy waved the gun at others during a morning recess, school officials said. Other students, however, didn't report the threat until classes were nearly finished for the day. There was no immediate explanation for the delay, authorities said...

The child made statements to administrators and mentioned the shooting rampage last week in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 children dead, authorities said.

The boy told others his parents sent him to school with the gun for protection, which his parents adamantly deny, Horsley said.
3. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

4. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.
Dhp
I don't understand you Ben. Are you trying to compare me to a sixth grader? Or were you just posting the news article?

Also, the quote you posted is not aptly applied to me. I harbor no hatred for anybody who attacks me. If anything I try to feel compassion for them. But like when a child acts out and throws a tantrum, I would try to stop them from causing harm.

I have had to deal with angry violent people many times in both my professional and personal life. I am not perpetuating the cycle of violence, I am stopping it. It is always important to be calm and clear of mind in those situations so that you maintain control. Without being in control, you run the risk of succumbing to emotions and being dragged into the chaos. Maybe you have been lucky enough to not had to deal with such things...
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis

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Ben
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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by Ben » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:11 am

poto wrote: I don't understand you Ben. Are you trying to compare me to a sixth grader? Or were you just posting the news article?
I'm sorry you don't understand me, poto, that is my fault.
I am attempting to point out that behaviour breeds behaviour. I linked the article on the sixth grader from Salt Lake City as an example how that arming oneself in a bid to defend oneself, perpetuates the vicious circle of hate, fear, paranoia and mass killings.
I was appalled to read yesterday that the Principal of the primary school in Conneticut was criticised by one of your politicans who said that she should have kept an M4 in her closet. The answer isn't in more weapons.
Also, the quote you posted is not aptly applied to me. I harbor no hatred for anybody who attacks me. If anything I try to feel compassion for them. But like when a child acts out and throws a tantrum, I would try to stop them from causing harm.
No doubt, poto. I am not questioning your compassion. What I am questioning is the justification for having arms in the community. Please don't take it personally. From the perspective of some of us outsiders, there will continue to be these mass shootings until your nation does something drastic, which should include, but not limited to, getting guns out of the hands of those who will do you harm.
poto wrote:I have had to deal with angry violent people many times in both my professional and personal life. I am not perpetuating the cycle of violence, I am stopping it. It is always important to be calm and clear of mind in those situations so that you maintain control. Without being in control, you run the risk of succumbing to emotions and being dragged into the chaos. Maybe you have been lucky enough to not had to deal with such things...
I am very glad that is so. It takes a wise and very disciplined person to do that. I've had my fair share of dealing with difficult situations though I am sure they pale in comparison to what you and others have had to go through.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:26 am

poto wrote: It's not a war, not even close to a war. Far more people die every year from many other things. You're far more likely to die in a car accident than a mass shooting, maybe we should ban cars instead?
Cars exist for a purpose other than killing people, whereas guns do not. Our society does not in any way benefit from the presence of guns in the way it does cars.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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manas
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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by manas » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:37 am

I don't own a gun (I live in a suburban area, so I don't feel I need one), but a thought occurred to me. As Buddhists, we rightly abstain from violence to other living beings, not just because it is a rule to be followed, but out of genuine compassion for other living beings, from insects right up to human beings. But there might be situations where some controlled violence might be necessary, in the defence of others. For example, if someone was about to kill my child, I would do whatever it took to stop them - using lethal force, if that was what it took to save my child's life. So I do think that gun ownership, in certain situations, might be understandable (please note, I didn't say 'good',I said 'understandable'). If I lived in a far-flung rural area on a farm, for example, far from local law enforcement, and had kids, I would also need a suitable weapon to protect them, in case of a home invasion or whatever. But obviously I would do my utmost to try to inflict the least possible harm on an attacker. But when it comes down to it, I challenge any parent to say they would not use lethal force if that was the only way to save the life of their child, for example. This is not a black-and-white issue. Guns are horrible things, but sometimes, in this imperfect realm, they do have a place. Sadly.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by Cittasanto » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:16 am

I keep hearing about these tragic event, but one thing dumbfounds me. That is the reasoning people still have for gun ownership no matter what in US and why these things happen. almost like it isn't a problem in the law itself but on the wider populaces behaviour.


it is sad if the unsubstantiated "facts" outweigh the proof. although the video omits the fact that when a similare event happened in briton the gun control measures were strengthened.
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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by Reductor » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:24 am

Sambojjhanga wrote:How can any Buddhist possibly argue for the existence, never mind the right to own any device which is SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED to violate the most important precept in Buddhism, the one to which if it's violated, all else is meaningless, that being the 1st. precept?

Does it strike anyone else as odd except me that the 1st. precept says: I undertake the training to abstain from killing...and yet that is PRECISELY what a gun is for? It exists for NO OTHER PURPOSE despite the special variants created to perfect the ability at the primary purpose.

I think we're dealing with some serious issues regarding delusion here, folks.
First, I'm rather annoyed at this righteous tone about Buddhists and guns, as if a True Buddhist should automatically toe this line or that, or hand in their meditation pillow. I've long ago ceased to kill living beings, yet I don't abhor firearms. If I were more like my father, I too would own a firearm, so that I could enjoy the endless tinkering he enjoys as he pursues the perfect grouping at 200 yards.

There is nothing in a gun that mandates its owner to kill; not even a mouse need fear a gun toting person who lacks ill-will or intent to harm. Regardless what the manufacturer or inventor may have intended, as an owner I would not be obliged to share in that intent nor to act it out.

But perhaps it is hard to see how anything short of firearm bans can solve the homicide problems in the states, unless you consider places where there are many firearm present yet the gun crime is very low. Like Canada. In Canada only %3 of all violent crime is committed with a firearm, whereas the US sees %66 of homicides being committed with a firearm. When this low rate is considered in conjunction with the high rate of gun ownership in Canada, I'd incline to credit that much lower rate to our stringent gun control laws.

Maybe the answer doesn't lie in letting total freedom reign, on the one hand, or in driving the guns out of society on the other hand? Something in the middle, perhaps?

Or everyone can keep on holding fast to extremes.

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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by Sambojjhanga » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:20 pm

Reductor wrote:
Sambojjhanga wrote:How can any Buddhist possibly argue for the existence, never mind the right to own any device which is SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED to violate the most important precept in Buddhism, the one to which if it's violated, all else is meaningless, that being the 1st. precept?

Does it strike anyone else as odd except me that the 1st. precept says: I undertake the training to abstain from killing...and yet that is PRECISELY what a gun is for? It exists for NO OTHER PURPOSE despite the special variants created to perfect the ability at the primary purpose.

I think we're dealing with some serious issues regarding delusion here, folks.
First, I'm rather annoyed at this righteous tone about Buddhists and guns, as if a True Buddhist should automatically toe this line or that, or hand in their meditation pillow. I've long ago ceased to kill living beings, yet I don't abhor firearms. If I were more like my father, I too would own a firearm, so that I could enjoy the endless tinkering he enjoys as he pursues the perfect grouping at 200 yards.
I said how can any Buddhist ARGUE FOR....I never asked for you, or anyone else, to "turn in their meditation pillow"! I understand hyperbole and all, but let's be careful about arguing to what is actually being said and not create a strawman which is easier to tear down, OK?

No one, least of all I, is arguing for who should and should not be a Buddhist nor am I even arguing for more gun laws. I'm simply stating something I find interesting.

As for your father and target shooting, in all honesty, they make some really awesome airguns specifically designed for target shooting and are quite "tinkerable". If your father is truly interested in shooting tight groupings for that reason (and not simply for practice) then they could ban firearms tomorrow and your father would be good to go. Just get a good Beeman or something along those lines. Even if firearms are restricted, they are going to go after the high capacity types. Single shot target shooting type guns are the least of anyone's concern.
Reductor wrote: There is nothing in a gun that mandates its owner to kill; not even a mouse need fear a gun toting person who lacks ill-will or intent to harm. Regardless what the manufacturer or inventor may have intended, as an owner I would not be obliged to share in that intent nor to act it out.
I disagree. A gun is still dangerous despite the owner's intentions. First of all, there are the all-too-prevalent accidents. We all know the countless stories of "great gun owners" who either shot themselves, or someone else, with the infamous "empty gun". You can certainly kill an animal or a human without holding any ill-will. All it takes is delusion. Also, guns can be stolen, lost, etc. Again, many people have been killed with other people's guns.
Reductor wrote: But perhaps it is hard to see how anything short of firearm bans can solve the homicide problems in the states, unless you consider places where there are many firearm present yet the gun crime is very low. Like Canada. In Canada only %3 of all violent crime is committed with a firearm, whereas the US sees %66 of homicides being committed with a firearm. When this low rate is considered in conjunction with the high rate of gun ownership in Canada, I'd incline to credit that much lower rate to our stringent gun control laws.
There are a number of reasons why Canada is different. First, as you state, Canada does have much more stringent gun laws than the US. Canada is also a much less violent society and finally, Canada has MUCH less population density.

However, I think the primary reason are high-capacity magazines. It's just a lot harder to kill a bunch of people easily if you DO NOT have access to high capacity magazines.

[/quote]
Reductor wrote: Maybe the answer doesn't lie in letting total freedom reign, on the one hand, or in driving the guns out of society on the other hand? Something in the middle, perhaps?

Or everyone can keep on holding fast to extremes.
I agree with you here. I was speaking specifically of Buddhists and why a Buddhist might even consider a gun. But as society as a whole, there is no way an overall gun ban would work, but it's very hard to justify, other than selfish narcisism, the reason anyone (outside of military and LE) would need a high capacity magazine. Your father can talk to you about the accuracy of groupings in controlled shots vs. double or triple taps, I'm quite sure. Unless you're planning on defending your house against an invasion (and many in the so-called liberty/prep movement believe this IS what will happen...right before Jesus Raptures them), you DO NOT need a 30 round mag to protect your home.

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Sabba rasam dhammaraso jinati
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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by Sambojjhanga » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:00 pm

poto wrote:
I find the notion that merely having a gun or supporting gun rights makes one delusional to be rather insulting. Implying that we must make ourselves defenseless in order to be a lay Buddhist disturbs me. I'm glad that you're not deciding who can and can not be Buddhist, because you'd probably toss me right out.
Everyone of us who is incarnate and not enlightened suffers from delusion, so please don't take that personally. I'm not implying that you must do anything. What I am implying is that I find it ironic that Buddhists can in all seriousness consider guns anything other than what they truly are.

You say I'm implying that we must make ourselves defenseless. I'm not saying that at all! Quite the opposite in fact. What I am saying is that you are deluded if you truly believe that increasing your ability to violate the 1st. Precept in any way makes you safer. I honestly am constantly amazed at how "safe" people think they are. You DO realize that there is a 100% chance that you and everyone you know WILL die, right? You also know that with very few exceptions, NO ONE knows the time, place or method that this will occur, right? So what makes you think that by increasing your ability to kill others more easily, quickly and with less effort can in any way make you or anyone else safer? This is the part I don't get!

Please consider these words from The Buddha:

""There are these five gifts, five great gifts — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that are not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and are unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans. Which five?

"There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from taking life. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression. This is the first gift, the first great gift — original, long-standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated, unadulterated from the beginning — that is not open to suspicion, will never be open to suspicion, and is unfaulted by knowledgeable contemplatives & brahmans..."


Also, why when we are simply discussing something do you come to the (extremely erroneous) conclusion that I want to "toss you out"? I happen to believe that your delusional thinking on this is leading you AWAY from Nibbana, not toward it. I say this because your thoughts and actions are directly counter to what the Buddha teaches us. I cannot "toss you out", only YOU can do that to YOURSELF.
poto wrote: Many times throughout my life I've been responsible for the safeguarding of countless other lives. After my time in the military I took work as a security guard. One of those jobs I had was as a guard at a bank. That was probably the most stressful job I ever had, but it was also rewarding because I felt like I was actually making a difference there. My intention on that job and many others was to protect, not to kill or bring harm. That intention is something that has spilled over to my home life as well.
There is not a doubt in my mind that your heart is in the right place and that you believe that you are acting in a good way. Many fine young men and women have joined the military hoping to make a difference and help people. Same with the police, etc., etc. While this is a noble thing, it has been my finding that often the best way to challenge violence isn't with more violence but with less. Obviously, this isn't always true immediately, but I think that if one takes a look at US military action since, say, WWII, one is struck by how much hatred and devastation this has spread vs. peace and help.

Why is this? I attribute it to greed, hatred and, yes, delusion.
poto wrote: I don't know if some of you have a hard time understanding that intention, or if you're just emotional and stuck on anti-gun thinking. For me, I don't feel that having firearms makes me somehow unable to follow the Buddha's teachings. If I was to ordain it would be a different matter, but as a mere householder, I feel I have a duty to provide a safe environment.
Here is where I think the crux of the issue lies. You see, poto, I don't happen to believe that having firearms DOES make anyone safer. Please re-read what the Buddha has to say regarding the 1st. Precept. The Buddha claims that by NOT violating the 1st. Precept, we are helping to provide that safe environment that you so wish to provide. Note that he doesn't say that threatening the violation of the 1st. Precept, either overtly or covertly, helps to provide that safety. I absolutely understand your intention...and your intention I believe is good and wholesome. The problem is, alas, your DELUSION. The delusion of this regarding this matter is the heart of our societies problems, I believe.

Put simply, you don't put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it...you don't even do it be walking near that fire with a can of gasoline ;)

Metta

:anjali:
Sabba rasam dhammaraso jinati
The flavor of the dhamma exceeds all other flavors

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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by Justsit » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:16 pm

So, Sambojjhanga, I'm still pondering all this...in your view, then, is self-defense justified for Buddhist adherents?

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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:44 pm

Justsit wrote:So, Sambojjhanga, I'm still pondering all this...in your view, then, is self-defense justified for Buddhist adherents?
The first precept states that Buddhists should not destroy living beings. Any hypothetical "kill or be killed" situations that we may or may not formulate for the sake of argument must be secondary to that fact.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by Sambojjhanga » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:24 pm

Justsit wrote:So, Sambojjhanga, I'm still pondering all this...in your view, then, is self-defense justified for Buddhist adherents?
Certainly. Lonesome Yogurt's caveat being born in mind, of course.
Sabba rasam dhammaraso jinati
The flavor of the dhamma exceeds all other flavors

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Alex123
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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by Alex123 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:35 pm

From orthodox Buddhist POV,

If one is killed or hurt, Isn't that a result of past bad Kamma (which one cannot avoid)?

Isn't killing someone, for whatever purpose, even for self-defense, creates new bad kamma for oneself?
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Newtown Shootings

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:44 pm

Alex123 wrote:From orthodox Buddhist POV,

If one is killed or hurt, Isn't that a result of past bad Kamma (which one cannot avoid)?
Not necessarily.
Isn't killing someone, for whatever purpose, even for self-defense, creates new bad kamma for oneself?
You should know the answer to this: It depends
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

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