Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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puppha
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Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by puppha » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:52 pm

Dear All,

I have a dilema and I would like to know what's your take on it.

The story is the following (without entering it too much details). A certain agreement is being negotiated which would give very significant powers to private companies against a country's governement and its people. Big companies could sue governments if certain laws are passed which would reduce their profits! This is completely evil in my view and a pure attack on democracy, and I decided to take some action by sharing the news and the knowledge I have, so that other people are aware of what is going on.

Now one of them said something along the line "Well, I agree this is evil, but it is prophesied in the holy book of my religion, so I won't take action against it. And my holy book says there is even worse to come!"

:jawdrop:
I found that shocking... I try my best to respect all religions, but this was really demanding a lot from me. It's like using one's religion/beliefs for letting evil being committed. Personally, I find that attitude to be bordering on evil itself.
I wish I am wrong, so please correct me...

What's your take on this situation?

Metta

SarathW
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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by SarathW » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:04 pm

Bench mark (standard or the minimum requirement) for a Buddhist lay person is to observe the five precepts and practice Brahama Viharas.
Your action should be along those requirements.
:)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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manas
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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by manas » Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:42 pm

Many Buddhist do the same thing. For example, I posted a video about why the world is heading towards a third world war (to preserve the incredible power and profit of International Bankers) and there were two broad responses, one that this was merely a 'conspiracy theory', and the other, that we are all going to die one day in any case, as if this is reason enough not to take action against a conflict which would kill billions of people, but would also render this beautiful, life-sustaining planet a mere shadow of it's former self. After all, the five khandhas are not-self, so why worry about the welfare of the physical environment we all live in? Except that, without a suitably habitable planet to actually live on, or a living human body, one cannot practice the Dhamma, either.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

(SN 22.97)

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puppha
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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by puppha » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:42 pm

@SarathW: Yes, I agree with you.

@manas: That also reminded me of Thai buddhist monks saying that prostitutes deserve their situation because of some bad kamma they accumulated in previous lives. And they even gladly accepts donations from brothels, as it will help these poor girls accumulate some merits to have a better next life! I think that a very similar line of reasoning, using beliefs to let evil actions unchecked...

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manas
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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by manas » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:46 pm

puppha wrote: @manas: That also reminded me of Thai buddhist monks saying that prostitutes deserve their situation because of some bad kamma they accumulated in previous lives. And they even gladly accepts donations from brothels, as it will help these poor girls accumulate some merits to have a better next life! I think that a very similar line of reasoning, using beliefs to let evil actions unchecked...
That sort of thing is a disgraceful distortion and misuse of the Buddha's teachings...appalling.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

(SN 22.97)

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Viscid
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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by Viscid » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:22 pm

Religions don't require your respect. If you can provide a good argument for taking action, then do so, confidently. Offend people, if necessary. Reason trumps dogma and shallow superstition.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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mikenz66
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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:30 pm

manas wrote:
puppha wrote: @manas: That also reminded me of Thai buddhist monks saying that prostitutes deserve their situation because of some bad kamma they accumulated in previous lives. And they even gladly accepts donations from brothels, as it will help these poor girls accumulate some merits to have a better next life! I think that a very similar line of reasoning, using beliefs to let evil actions unchecked...
That sort of thing is a disgraceful distortion and misuse of the Buddha's teachings...appalling.
I'd be wary of general statements attributed to "X Buddhist Monks", without any detail or context. A slightly different telling of the story would give a completely different impression.

:anjali:
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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by SarathW » Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:38 pm

puppha wrote:@SarathW: Yes, I agree with you.

@manas: That also reminded me of Thai buddhist monks saying that prostitutes deserve their situation because of some bad kamma they accumulated in previous lives. And they even gladly accepts donations from brothels, as it will help these poor girls accumulate some merits to have a better next life! I think that a very similar line of reasoning, using beliefs to let evil actions unchecked...
I think Ambapali is a prostitute and a lay follower of Buddha.
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:07 pm

SarathW wrote: I think Ambapali is a prostitute and a lay follower of Buddha.
:thinking:
Yes, there are a number of those in the Suttas. She eventually became a bhikkhuni: 
Ambapālī
Thig 13.1 Ambapali

:anjali:
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Mkoll
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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by Mkoll » Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:38 pm

Here's an example of the kind of beliefs you're talking about.

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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puppha
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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by puppha » Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:39 pm

Hi Viscid,
Viscid wrote:Religions don't require your respect. If you can provide a good argument for taking action, then do so, confidently. Offend people, if necessary. Reason trumps dogma and shallow superstition.
I have to say I agree with you. I think staying silent for the sake of political correctness is unskillful.

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puppha
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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by puppha » Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:41 pm

Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:I'd be wary of general statements attributed to "X Buddhist Monks", without any detail or context. A slightly different telling of the story would give a completely different impression.
I have seen similar stories many times. You can just have a look at "Broken Buddha" from Ven Dhammika; what he exposes is actually even worse than what I mentioned.

:anjali:

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puppha
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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by puppha » Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:48 pm

Mkoll wrote:Here's an example of the kind of beliefs you're talking about.

Freaky... And unfortunately very real...
However, there is a difference here in the sense that they actively support evil actions.
In my situation, the guy was not taking action either way.

I think I can formulate what's going on inside that twisted mind: "I agree it's evil, but according to my beliefs it's all going according to plan, so I will do nothing against it."
After pondering it, I think either the reasoning or the beliefs are "mildly" evil in such a case.

Metta

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Re: Using beliefs for not taking action against wrongdoings

Post by Mkoll » Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:53 pm

puppha wrote:Freaky... And unfortunately very real...
However, there is a difference here in the sense that they actively support evil actions.
That's true. But I don't think they believe what they're doing is evil. I think they believe they're doing good because with what they do, Jesus will arrive sooner.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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