The world is at war. What do you do?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
alan
Posts: 2624
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby alan » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:52 pm

Like most of you, I found a recent thread about war, and how a Buddhist would respond, to be very unsatisfying. Maybe because the OP never answered questions, instead using it as a platform to proselytize.
So here is a thread where you can answer some basic questions, or think about it.
You're in England, during the Blitz. Your way of life is threatened by a hateful enemy. Or, maybe you are living in America, in early '42. the Pacific war is going badly.
Hitler's U-boats own the seas. The Wehrmacht controls Africa, and potentially the Oil fields of Arabia. Western Civilization is at risk: the horrors of Naziism are apparent to everyone. Paris is occupied and draped in swastikas. What do you do?
Sit, and watch the arising and falling of thoughts?
Or do you get up an act?

If you act, what would you do? How would you act in accordance with your Buddhist practice?
If you choose not to act, how would you justify it, knowing that mass inaction in the face of such a threat may lead to the abolishment of Buddhism, and a reign of terror that might last decades?

*edited for grammer.

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 5876
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:16 pm

alan wrote:Like most of you, I found a recent thread about war, and how a Buddhist would respond, to be very unsatisfying. Maybe because the OP never answered questions, instead using it as a platform to proselytize.
So here is a thread where you can answer some basic questions, or think about it.
You're in England, during the Blitz. Your way of life is threatened by a hateful enemy. Or, maybe you are living in America, in early '42. the Pacific war is going badly.
Hitler's U-boats own the seas. The Wehrmacht controls Africa, and potentially the Oil fields of Arabia. Western Civilization is at risk: the horrors of Naziism are apparent to everyone. Paris is occupied and draped in swastikas. What do you do?
Sit, and watch the arising and falling of thoughts?
Or do you get up an act?

If you act, what would you do? How would you act in accordance with your Buddhist practice?
If you choose not to act, how would you justify it, knowing that mass inaction in the face of such a threat may lead to the abolishment of Buddhism, and a reign of terror that might last decades?

*edited for grammer.

well this was a situation for many, have a look at the white poppy and its meaning!
there were several schools of pacifists, those who would help but only as medical personel, no weapons.
those who were totally against the war or war in general they were locked up.

I would go for medical personnel, someone's choice does not mean they are not worthy of help, and it isn't just one side who get medical help.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: America

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:21 pm

You meditate, wish dearly for and end to conflict, try and help treat the wounded or otherwise affected on both sides, and remain steadfast in your dedication to nonviolence.
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.

alan
Posts: 2624
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby alan » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:24 pm

"wish"?
"try"?

alan
Posts: 2624
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby alan » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:26 pm

Wishing and trying won't save the world.
What actions would you take?
If you don't act, how will you justify it when the world is ruined?

User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: America

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:43 pm

alan wrote:Wishing and trying won't save the world.
What actions would you take?
If you don't act, how will you justify it when the world is ruined?

Other people can defile themselves and give in to hate and greed with their standing armies and war machines. I hardly think the world will cease to function if I chose to follow the Buddha's teachings instead.


A man may plunder
as long as it serves his ends,
but when others are plundered,
he who has plundered
gets plundered in turn.

A fool thinks,
'Now's my chance,'
as long as his evil
has yet to ripen.
But when it ripens,
the fool
falls
into pain.

Killing, you gain
your killer.
Conquering, you gain one
who will conquer you;
insulting, insult;
harassing, harassment.

And so, through the cycle of action,
he who has plundered
gets plundered in turn.

— SN 3.15
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.

User avatar
marc108
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:10 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby marc108 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:45 pm

hide out and let the military do their thing. if, theoretically, forced into service then i would also do as Citta... serve as medical personnel, perhaps some sort of mechanic. for anyone observing the precepts, killing is clearly out of the question.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

User avatar
rowboat
Posts: 475
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:31 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Brentwood Bay, British Columbia

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby rowboat » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:24 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
alan wrote:Wishing and trying won't save the world.
What actions would you take?
If you don't act, how will you justify it when the world is ruined?

Other people can defile themselves and give in to hate and greed with their standing armies and war machines. I hardly think the world will cease to function if I chose to follow the Buddha's teachings instead.



:goodpost: :clap:
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

User avatar
SDC
Posts: 1058
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: North Jersey

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby SDC » Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:05 pm

I would enlist. With my mechanical and electrical background I am sure I could take a position that did not require me to fight, but that does not mean I wouldn't if I had to. I feel I owe my family, friends and neighbors that much. If I was not willing to do this at a minimum, I would have left organized society long ago. But that’s just me. I would not disparage anyone for not wanting to do the same so please do not isolate any of these statements and make it as if I was pointing fingers.

User avatar
manas
Posts: 2192
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby manas » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:38 pm

Hi alan,

I've thought about the issue you mention also. Once again, this is just my stance regarding my own self and not meant to cast judgement on anyone else, but I would feel a bit cowardly if I just tried to stay away from all the danger, while my countrymen & women were risking life and limb, so I would offer my services in any way asked that did not break any of the precepts, whether that was as a medic, other support staff, etc. These things are also needed, remember, and are not immune from danger. There are many ways in which a practising Buddhist can contribute to the defence of their Land/Country/People (meant in affection, not ownership!) that don't involve killing. But for me, due to the 'grey area' that you have brought up (of utter inaction possibly having some dire consequences), I agree that we ought to do something practical to help others in such a difficult time.

manas. :anjali:

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 7807
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby cooran » Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:14 pm

Hello all,

SN 42.3 Yodhajiva Sutta: To Yodhajiva (The Warrior)

Then Yodhajiva[1] the headman went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of warriors that 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.' What does the Blessed One have to say about that?"

"Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that."

A second time... A third time Yodhajiva the headman said: "Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of warriors that 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.' What does the Blessed One have to say about that?"

"Apparently, headman, I haven't been able to get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.'
So I will simply answer you.
When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, his mind is already seized, debased, & misdirected by the thought: 'May these beings be struck down or slaughtered or annihilated or destroyed. May they not exist.' If others then strike him down & slay him while he is thus striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the hell called the realm of those slain in battle. But if he holds such a view as this: 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb."

When this was said, Yodhajiva the headman sobbed & burst into tears. [The Blessed One said:] "That is what I couldn't get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.'"

"I'm not crying, lord, because of what the Blessed One said to me, but simply because I have been deceived, cheated, & fooled for a long time by that ancient teaching lineage of warriors who said: 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.'

"Magnificent, lord! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has the Blessed One — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Community of monks. May the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life."
Notes
1.
= "warrior."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
mirco
Posts: 376
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:12 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby mirco » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:04 pm

alan wrote:Like most of you, I found a recent thread about war, and how a Buddhist would respond, to be very unsatisfying. Maybe because the OP never answered questions, instead using it as a platform to proselytize.
So here is a thread where you can answer some basic questions, or think about it. You're in England, during the Blitz. Your way of life is threatened by a hateful enemy. Or, maybe you are living in America, in early '42. the Pacific war is going badly. Hitler's U-boats own the seas. The Wehrmacht controls Africa, and potentially the Oil fields of Arabia. Western Civilization is at risk: the horrors of Naziism are apparent to everyone. Paris is occupied and draped in swastikas. What do you do? Sit, and watch the arising and falling of thoughts? Or do you get up an act? If you act, what would you do? How would you act in accordance with your Buddhist practice? If you choose not to act, how would you justify it, knowing that mass inaction in the face of such a threat may lead to the abolishment of Buddhism, and a reign of terror that might last decades?

What are these thoughts but something to let go of?
Will there be any benefit by thinking about fictional situations like that?
I get what I give

santa100
Posts: 1607
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby santa100 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:38 pm

Alan wrote:
"You're in England, during the Blitz. Your way of life is threatened by a hateful enemy. Or, maybe you are living in America, in early '42. the Pacific war is going badly.
Hitler's U-boats own the seas. The Wehrmacht controls Africa, and potentially the Oil fields of Arabia. Western Civilization is at risk: the horrors of Naziism are apparent to everyone. Paris is occupied and draped in swastikas. What do you do?
Sit, and watch the arising and falling of thoughts?
Or do you get up an act?"

I would enlist and use my engineering skill at the dept. of defense's R&D to help develop an air defense system that effectively intercepts German's V-1 and V-2 rockets in the air, preventing them from killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians..

User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
Posts: 16354
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Land of the sleeping gods
Contact:

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:25 pm

Some years ago I was an archivist for a hospital that was originally established to treat returning wounded soldiers from the Great War. In the archives I found accounts of doctors who went off to war to work on the front line as medical staff. In one instance, one doctor was known to enter 'No Man's Land' and treat wounded soldiers from both sides in the bomb craters, regardless of which side the soldier was on. During one of his medical forays into No Man's Land, he stumbled upon a German soldier doing the same thing and they teamed up and worked together for awhile. Eventually, both doctors sought refuge in the trenches occupied by the AIF where the German doctor was placed under custody and sent to detention.
kind regards,

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 14815
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:43 pm

Greetings Alan,

alan wrote:Wishing and trying won't save the world.
What actions would you take?
If you don't act, how will you justify it when the world is ruined?

In characteristic style, I'm going to turn that around and ask how you would answer that question if world was understood as loka, in the sense in which the "world" was explained by the Buddha.

:?:

The loka is burning. What do you do?

SN 35.28: Adittapariyaya Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

danieLion
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby danieLion » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:59 pm

alan wrote:Like most of you, I found a recent thread about war, and how a Buddhist would respond, to be very unsatisfying. Maybe because the OP never answered questions, instead using it as a platform to proselytize.
So here is a thread where you can answer some basic questions, or think about it.
You're in England, during the Blitz. Your way of life is threatened by a hateful enemy. Or, maybe you are living in America, in early '42. the Pacific war is going badly.
Hitler's U-boats own the seas. The Wehrmacht controls Africa, and potentially the Oil fields of Arabia. Western Civilization is at risk: the horrors of Naziism are apparent to everyone. Paris is occupied and draped in swastikas. What do you do?
Sit, and watch the arising and falling of thoughts?
Or do you get up an act?

If you act, what would you do? How would you act in accordance with your Buddhist practice?
If you choose not to act, how would you justify it, knowing that mass inaction in the face of such a threat may lead to the abolishment of Buddhism, and a reign of terror that might last decades?

*edited for grammer.

Hi alan,
1) While I appreciate these hypotheticals, they're not necessary. Plenty o' war happening right now.

2) There's a topic here about Occupy Wall Street with a great discussion about Buddhist intervention.

3) The Buddha did intervene in state/clan sponsored violence a few times between the Koliyan and Sakyan states. If memory serves, the Buddha eventually "gave up" and practiced equanimity amidst the violence (I think the sources for this are the Jataka Tales and the Dhammapada Commentary).

metta

*edit/PS: Personally, I'm a conscientious objector (ever since I was 16 and read first read the Sermon on the Mount). I don't think the first precept is negotiable on this. One exception: IF IT IS CLEAR (political wars are never clear in this sense) that the only way for me to stop violence right in front of me is to act violently myself, I will.

User avatar
Lampang
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:26 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1
Location: Thailand

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby Lampang » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:23 am

So here is a thread where you can answer some basic questions, or think about it.
You're in England, during the Blitz. Your way of life is threatened by a hateful enemy. Or, maybe you are living in America, in early '42. the Pacific war is going badly.
Hitler's U-boats own the seas. The Wehrmacht controls Africa, and potentially the Oil fields of Arabia. Western Civilization is at risk: the horrors of Naziism are apparent to everyone. Paris is occupied and draped in swastikas. What do you do?
Sit, and watch the arising and falling of thoughts?
Or do you get up an act?

Why does everyone always pick WW2 as an example in these things? And then it's always WW2 at its most difficult point. Why not make it January 1945 when the war is almost over and victory certain. Would you then join the air force and participate in the fire bombing of Dresden? Does the argument then seem quite so tipped in one direction? If the purpose of using WW2 in arguments about just wars is to illuminate whether there are extreme and historically almost unique circumstances when even pacifists might be inclined to act against their normal judgements, its use might be OK but if it's to make some general point about the morality of participating in war, I'm not sure there's anything useful to be gained by it (and a lot to be lost, since the endless repetition of the assorted tropes surrounding the 'greatest generation' serve to obscure the realities of war in general and the historical facts of WW2 in particular.)

Surely, if you're an American and you want to get to some truth about whether or not one ought to fight in America's wars it would be better to pick a war which more accurately reflects the difficult morality of most of America's wars. Was it OK to dodge the Vietnam draft? Was it morally acceptable for US pilots and bomber crews to engage in the mass bombing of Laotian and Cambodian peasants in secret and undeclared wars? Was the first Iraq war justified? Was it OK for the American military to invade Iraq a second time? If there is a justification for that, does it extend to the use of white phosphorus (in Fallujah) and DU shells (all over the place)? These seem like rather more pressing questions which have a lot more relevance to our (possible) future actions than the constantly recycled questions about WW2.

User avatar
Hanzze
Posts: 1906
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:47 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 1006
Location: Cambodia

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby Hanzze » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:39 am

"The world is at war. What do you do?"

Yes you should see that the world is at war at this very moment. That the world is on fire in this very moment. That even your body is at war and on fire. And it would be wise to lose attachment to it and leave the battlefield. But as long as we do not see it, we just have a foreshadow which is making us fear. Fear that we might not be able to run away.

What about simply start to uproot the root and nothing else?

Looks like I entered the delusional battlefield again. *smile* What a fool, just missed the real enemies again.

Come on and join the real fight, get for war, a war with real peace at the end, the Dhamma fight:

Fight greed, fight aversion, fight delusion… these are the enemy. In the practice of Buddhism, the path of the Buddha, we fight with Dhamma, using patient endurance. We fight by resisting our countless moods.

Dhamma and the world are interrelated. Where there is Dhamma there is the world, where there is the world there is Dhamma. Where there are defilements there are those who conquer defilements, who do battle with them. This is called fighting inwardly. To fight outwardly people take hold of bombs and guns to throw and to shoot; they conquer and are conquered. Conquering others is the way of the world. In the practice of Dhamma we don’t have to fight others, but instead conquer our own minds, patiently enduring and resisting all our moods. ...read more
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

pegembara
Posts: 680
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby pegembara » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:10 am

There are no easy answers.

By participating in the war, one is already caught in the web of delusion and madness. But unless one is truly free from the madness, one cannot be free from feeling responsible/accountable for defending one's so called "nation or country" against the "enemy."
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

User avatar
Dan74
Posts: 2713
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm
Which number is larger than 1000 and less than 1002: 6

Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby Dan74 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:45 pm

I feel that Cittasanto and Ben mention inspirational examples and attitude whereby one can give 100% and still maintain their Buddhist practice. It might not always be possible to be a medic though.

I don't know what I would do. I think I would make a very poor combat soldier but I would not run and hide in a cave or a forest, that would just be wrong (for me). The main thing would be to contribute in any way I could while keeping steadfastly to my practice of Dhamma and of Brahmaviharas.

As much as this would probably arouse aversion, the Korean example of Ven. Sosan's monk army repelling the Japanese invaders comes to mind. Sosan just went back to his hermitage to practice once the war was over declining the king's offer of power.

Even the precepts, I feel, are not absolute...
_/|\_


Return to “General Theravāda discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: no mike, Yahoo [Bot] and 2 guests