non-violence in extreme cases.

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Ben
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by Ben » Thu May 27, 2010 5:06 am

Designed to cause harm?
More like they are designed to aim and fire projectiles at an object.
As I said, it is all to do with intention.
The comparison of guns and bows against knives to show the flaw in your logic is valid
abc_gma_woodruff_edit_071031_mn.jpg
abc_gma_woodruff_edit_071031_mn.jpg (14.4 KiB) Viewed 2126 times
Don't confuse the appliance with an unwholesome action.
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Mukunda
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by Mukunda » Thu May 27, 2010 5:39 am

Ben wrote:Designed to cause harm?
More like they are designed to aim and fire projectiles at an object.
As I said, it is all to do with intention.
The comparison of guns and bows against knives to show the flaw in your logic is valid
abc_gma_woodruff_edit_071031_mn.jpg
Don't confuse the appliance with an unwholesome action.
I am not confusing the appliance with the unwholesome action. The "objects" these items were designed to be fired at are primarily living beings. Mankind did not create bows or guns for the express purpose of hitting paper targets. How would you react if you saw someone walking down the street with a gun? Would your first thought be "I bet they're going to target practice"?

I am of the opinion that any use of such weapons creates subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) impressions in the minds of both the participant and observers simply because on a deep level, we recognize that these items are implements of violence.

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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by Virgo » Thu May 27, 2010 5:53 am

Mukunda wrote:The "objects" these items were designed to be fired at are primarily living beings. Mankind did not create bows or guns for the express purpose of hitting paper targets.
Talking about bows, since Ben is an archer, many bows are created especially for target archery, simply for sportsmanship. Hunting bows are created for hunting, not killing men. A long time ago men created bows to kill other men. Those times are long gone and men use guns to kill each other with usually. So bows are hardly ever created to kill men with. Many are created for sport.
Mukunda wrote: How would you react if you saw someone walking down the street with a gun? Would your first thought be "I bet they're going to target practice"?
Where I am one sees guns often. Sometimes they are going to target practice, sometimes to kill things.

That is OK. This is samsara. Thinking they are bad or that they should stop or are bambi killers and so on is just attachment and aversion, just unwholesome qualities.
Mukunda wrote:
I am of the opinion that any use of such weapons creates subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) impressions in the minds of both the participant and observers simply because on a deep level, we recognize that these items are implements of violence.
Pity that you can't control these things.

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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by ground » Thu May 27, 2010 6:18 am

zac wrote:i've always wondered about the extent to which non-violence could be practiced in hypothetical situations. a realistic example would be that you have a gun, some person is going to kill your whole family/sangha/friends/etc. and all you have to do is shoot them. is that ok or not?
What is the use of "hypothetical situations"? Those are the result of conditioned habitual thinking and the result of pondering on them will be one of conditioned habitual thinking. Perpetuation.

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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by mikenz66 » Thu May 27, 2010 7:40 am

TMingyur wrote:
zac wrote:i've always wondered about the extent to which non-violence could be practiced in hypothetical situations. a realistic example would be that you have a gun, some person is going to kill your whole family/sangha/friends/etc. and all you have to do is shoot them. is that ok or not?
What is the use of "hypothetical situations"? Those are the result of conditioned habitual thinking and the result of pondering on them will be one of conditioned habitual thinking. Perpetuation.
I agree. I think that the only sensible thing to do is to cultivate positive and peaceful qualities try not to have events escalate into such a difficult situation.

And recall that non-violent approaches can work. - but it takes a great deal of discipline. For example, I understand that for non-violent protests that Martin Luther King led in the 50's and 60's there was a lot of planning and training on behaving in a friendly and non-violent way while being carried off by the police, etc.

What would the Buddha do?
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Nāḷāgiriṃ gaja-varaṃ atimattabhūtaṃ
Dāvaggi-cakkam-asanīva sudāruṇantaṃ
Mett'ambuseka-vidhinā jitavā munindo
Tan-tejasā bhavatu te jaya-maṅgalāni.

Nāḷāgiri, the excellent elephant, when maddened,
Was very horrific, like a forest fire, a flaming discus, a lightning bolt.
The Lord of Sages defeated him by sprinkling the water of good will:
By the power of this, may you have victory blessings.
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by Pannapetar » Thu May 27, 2010 10:03 am

Virgo wrote:I would say that just because someone has a weapon for any reason does not mean someone will kill someone else with it.
While this may be true individually, unfortunately, this statement does not hold true for a large statistical population. The USA is a case in point, where gun violence is quite high (though it's higher in some other countries such as Colombia). There is an undeniable relation between regulation of firearms ownership and firearms used for homicide/suicide. Put simply, guns are more often used for killing in those places where guns are easier to obtain.

I think that fascination with weapons ought to be questioned.

Cheers, Thomas

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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by Hoo » Thu May 27, 2010 12:49 pm

JMHO but this usually becomes a non-topic when discussion of firearms is introduced. Separate topic, subject to the knee-jerk beliefs and views held by many, rarely if ever room for open minds to consider and discuss. Instead of dealing with others' attachment to their views, I usually find it more productive to deal with my own and see if I am "being Dhamma" by holding such a view.

But to answer the OP's comment, with regret I would take out the aggressor. But my goal for this life is to simply become a functioning Buddhist layman. Enlightenment will, needs be, come later. In the meantime, maybe it pays to consider why one feels safe enough to practice. Is it because we have delegated violence to others in our society to keep us safe?

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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by Sekha » Thu May 27, 2010 5:18 pm

To come back to the original question of this topic, there is no way in which one could use violence, and retaliate. Here are the Buddha's words about it:
Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by PeterB » Thu May 27, 2010 5:32 pm

Dukkhanirodha wrote:To come back to the original question of this topic, there is no way in which one could use violence, and retaliate. Here are the Buddha's words about it:
Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Yes well that was the Buddha Dukkhanirodha..I am certainly not going to sit around beaming good thoughts while someone saws off my limbs.

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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by Sekha » Thu May 27, 2010 5:37 pm

:|
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by Modus.Ponens » Thu May 27, 2010 5:54 pm

I agree with Dukkhanirodha. Non-violence is always the way. There's a sutta somewhere that states that a person who works for himself only is superior to those who work only for others (and a person who works both for the benefict of themselves and of others is the foremost) (if someone has the original quote please provide it). To me this implies that something like kiling an atacker to prevent others from being killed is not the best way to deal with the situation.

EDIT: furthermore, in the vinaya, the Buddha forbided for monks even to praise death.
Last edited by Modus.Ponens on Thu May 27, 2010 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by Modus.Ponens » Thu May 27, 2010 5:59 pm

One more thing. I think hypothetical situations have their utility, which is to explore the limits of morality. If one gets to the conclusion that it's never right to kill one will always abide by that rule. And rules are very important to have since they may help us decide in the only milisecond we may have at our disposal what's the right thing to do.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by Mukunda » Thu May 27, 2010 6:41 pm

Virgo wrote:
Mukunda wrote:
I am of the opinion that any use of such weapons creates subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) impressions in the minds of both the participant and observers simply because on a deep level, we recognize that these items are implements of violence.
Pity that you can't control these things.
But I can control whether or not I participate, condone, endorse, or promote such things, and therefore, hopefully, at least cease strengthening already present mental impressions or planting new ones.

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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by Tex » Thu May 27, 2010 9:52 pm

PeterB wrote: Yes well that was the Buddha Dukkhanirodha..I am certainly not going to sit around beaming good thoughts while someone saws off my limbs.
Me neither.

But the simile of the saw seems, to me at least, to be teaching that nothing should move us to anger or ill will, not that nothing should move us to defend ourselves. There's a difference. He didn't say anything about allowing them to continue sawing at us.
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"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -- Heraclitus

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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Post by cooran » Thu May 27, 2010 10:26 pm

Dukkhanirodha wrote:To come back to the original question of this topic, there is no way in which one could use violence, and retaliate. Here are the Buddha's words about it:
Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Hello Dukkhanirodha, all,

This is a good example of just why lay people should take instruction from a learned teacher who can unpack the suttas correctly, and not take translations as if they are reading a newspaper article.

The Kakacupama Sutta "The Simile of the Saw" is a discourse on the need to maintain patience when addressed with disagreeable words. (Bhikkhu Bodhi, Majjhima Nikaya p.63)

The Buddha uses an extreme simile to bring home the message. It is not about submitting passively to horrific violence.

with metta
Chris
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