The world is at war. What do you do?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

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

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:53 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:We did act, and sadly our definition of "acting" was giving guns and petty cash to impoverished ethnic minorities, who then turned around and used them to kill the people who tried to kill them. We fed into the cycle of violence.

Of course we should have acted. It's simply unreasonable to assume that any super power can just sit on its hands and pretend that horrors are not occurring. However, acting by distributing weapons and blanket absolutions to the oppressed so that they can go out and murder the murderers is hardly the correct way to do it. Although you could hardly guess it from the way the world's greatest nations have acted recently, it is possible to intervene in situations without sending in guns and tanks and death squads.


Hi LY,

I'm not talking about the business as usual politics of feeding the military-industrial-complex, but an actual mission to stop the genocide, no arms given to any side, just troops or something going in to stop the genocide; no corporate or other things going on. I agree, in practice it is often an excuse to feed the corporate interests or to arm one side, but what if it was done strictly to stop genocide?
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby santa100 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:43 pm

Actually, the Rwandan Genocide happened in such horrific scale was because the world had looked away:

"Out of a population of 7.3 million people–84% of whom were Hutu, 15% Tutsi and 1% Twa–the official figures published by the Rwandan government estimated the number of victims of the genocide to be 1,174,000 in 100 days (10,000 murdered every day, 400 every hour, 7 every minute). It is estimated that about 300,000 Tutsi survived the genocide. Thousands of widows, many of whom were subjected to rape, are now HIV-positive. There were about 400,000 orphans and nearly 85,000 of them were forced to become heads of families."

In 2000, the UN explicitly declared its reaction to Rwanda a "failure". Then Secretary General Kofi Annan said of the event "The international community failed Rwanda and that must leave us always with a sense of bitter regret."

(ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwanda_genocide )
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby seeker242 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:48 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?


The world is already ruined. It is born that way. You can't save the world. It is impossible to save the world. The world will always be filled with suffering and that simply can't be changed. That is the first Noble Truth. The world is currently at war and always has been and always will be. The only thing you can change is yourself. However, you can help alleviate others suffering. As for what action I would personally take during the nazi invasion. Have you ever seen the movie Schindler's List? It was about a guy named Oskar Schindler. He is credited with saving over 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. Something like that would be the appropriate action. However, working yourself into a tizzy because the world is at war, is pointless. The world will always be at war. This is just the nature of Samsara.
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:19 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:However, what about a police-type action for eliminating genocide and nothing more; nothing about oil, corporate interests, etc, just to stop the genocide? An example that is VERY RECENT, is the massacre-genocide in Rwanda. Over 800,000 were killed, mostly with machetes over a very short period of time. Should we have acted? The super powers and other developed nations had the means to go in and stop it. Should they have done so?

I doubt the Buddha would of spoken for or against such action, bearing in mind the Rajasutta, where the BUddha admits Kings have to make tough choices in this sort of area.
I do not recall any reference of the Buddha telling a king or minister to cease to punish criminals in a manner suitable to the wider society, or to disband the military forces they have at their disposal, so that is why I am guessing this, and why I think it should be left to those who choose to be in a position to make that sort of decision, to make that sort of decision. although inhumane and unjust activities should be fought against, the non-violent ways have shown to be effective in some situations at least
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby Lampang » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:42 pm

alan wrote:Lampang; I'm afraid you are missing the point. I chose WW2 specifically to avoid situations where there was obvious doubt about the utility of the struggle.
Open-ended questions about the 'morality of war" will always result in stock answers and platitudes. I want to force the audience to actually think. That's why I put parameters on the discussion.


Well, I did say "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'. Perhaps you've established that there is a single example of a just war (and WW2 is historically unique and throws very little light on the morality of the wars we see around us) - now what? Simple moral injunctions break down at the extremes but that's surely not news to anyone, is it? And, as I'm sure you're aware, the constant presentation of WW2 in its most sanitized (though most unhistorical) form serves some deeply unsavoury political ends. The problem with thinking about questions in the way you framed the OP is that the top level judgement ("WW2 was OK" or even "Here is a war which was OK so war is OK") tends to flow downward and colour our judgements all the way down. This is immediately obvious in the way WW2 is conceived of by most of the public.

The people who endured the Blitz were real, and they had to confront real problems.

Indeed they were but what is it that you're interested in? Your actions or theirs? If you want to consider whether or not WW2 (conceived of in the broadest of senses) was justified then by all means consider people in the blitz but if you want to consider whether wars (generally) or a war (in particular) are justified, asking questions about WW2 (and nothing else) is a particularly unfruitful endeavour. And even if it's the former which interests you, I think one needs to be slightly more fine-grained and think about more tightly specified questions. Was the alliance with the Soviets justified? Was the use of area bombing justified? Was the transfer of resources from the colonies to the British war industries (which, incidentally, contributed to the deaths of millions in the Bengal famine) justified? Was it justifiable, even when fighting the Nazis, to shoot conscripts? etc., etc.

The world is already ruined. It is born that way. You can't save the world. It is impossible to save the world. The world will always be filled with suffering and that simply can't be changed. That is the first Noble Truth. The world is currently at war and always has been and always will be. The only thing you can change is yourself.


You don't think that there are gradations of suffering? Something like 30,000 children die every day from easily preventable causes. Is that the same as 20,000 or 2,000 or 2 dying every day? Sitting in the position of privilege most of us (probably all of us) enjoy and declaring that there's nothing we can do about very real suffering out there in the world (though suffering which happily leaves us totally untouched) is a bit of a dodgy position to be in.
Last edited by Lampang on Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby danieLion » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:01 am

daverupa wrote:Extreme hypotheticals tend to make for poor questions in terms of Dhamma practice. How many angels fit on the head of a pin, how many fat men equate to how many trolley victims, how many thought-moments occur while I gorge on sugary foods... it just goes on and on in the head...

hi all,
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=12761&start=60#p193266
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby danieLion » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:05 am

Cittasanto wrote:I do not recall any reference of the Buddha telling a king or minister to cease to punish criminals in a manner suitable to the wider society, or to disband the military forces they have at their disposal, so that is why I am guessing this, and why I think it should be left to those who choose to be in a position to make that sort of decision, to make that sort of decision. although inhumane and unjust activities should be fought against, the non-violent ways have shown to be effective in some situations at least

Hi Cittasanto,
Maybe look into what I said above?

danieLion wrote:...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).


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

Postby Hanzze » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:27 am

David N. Snyder wrote:It's probably the famous Saw Similie section,

"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.


That is a good teaching and describes what an arahant would do, but of course most / nearly all, perhaps all of us are not arahants yet. It is a good ideal to strive for, but as lay people we also engage in things that an arahant wouldn't do, such as watching movies, sports, sexual relations, etc.


Dear David,

I don't know where your idea (ideal) of a practicing Buddhist comes from, but serious practicing disciples of the Buddha who follow a lay-live have less interests in such as watching movies, sports, sexual relations, etc... People who take eight precepts know why they don't do. People with own moral understanding do not do. I guess it's more a question if I am serious into Dhamma or not. Such things are neither high practices but simply moral questions and one would find them in a talk to the young Sigala. Serious virtue in daily live is the very layman's first step.
This is also not what a Arahant would do, but everyone who strives for liberation who strives for a peaceful life. Its a training advice "That's how you should train yourselves!". It's something long before higher attainments and insight meditation and not something which comes after the highest realizations.
It is simply a matter of khanti parami even a non disciple of the Buddha would need to fulfill to come to any realization.

But Buddha told the monk: "Why are you angry, you, who have become a monk in the order of the anger free Buddha? All the wise of the past never felt anger toward others even thousand beats hit their body, even arms and legs, ears and nose where cut of." After this words he told about that case in the past: (Khantivadi-Jātaka)
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 _()_
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby Hanzze » Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:13 am

alan wrote:Either way, it's not an answer.


The ways of conversations may be individual limited Topics of Conversation :tongue: but as far as I had seen, everybody gives his best to help letting go of grasping wrong ideas and worldliness. As world always burns.

Maybe that is also useful for your topic under the care of "general Theravada discussion" and how a disciple of the Buddha trains him self and "react":

"But herein, Cunda, effacement should be practiced by you:[16]

(1) Others will be harmful; we shall not be harmful here — thus effacement can be done.[17]
(2) Others will kill living beings; we shall abstain from killing living beings here — thus effacement can be done.
(3) Others will take what is not given; we shall abstain from taking what is not given here — thus effacement can be done.
(4) Others will be unchaste; we shall be chaste here — thus effacement can be done.
(5) Others will speak falsehood; we shall abstain from false speech here — thus effacement can be done.
(6) Others win speak maliciously; we shall abstain from malicious speech here — thus effacement can be done.
(7) Others will speak harshly; we shall abstain from harsh speech here — thus effacement can be done.
(8) Others will gossip; we shall abstain from gossip here — thus effacement can be done.
(9) Others will be covetous; we shall not be covetous here — thus effacement can be done.
(10) Others will have thoughts of ill will; we shall not have thoughts of ill will here — thus effacement can be done.
(11) Others will have wrong views; we shall have right view here — thus effacement can be done.
(12) Others will have wrong intention; we shall have right intention here — thus effacement can be done.
(13) Others will use wrong speech; we shall use right speech here — thus effacement can be done.
(14) Others will commit wrong actions; we shall do right actions here — thus effacement can be done.
(15) Others will have wrong livelihood; we shall have right livelihood here — thus effacement can be done.
(16) Others will make wrong effort; we shall make right effort here — thus effacement can be done.
(17) Others will have wrong mindfulness; we shall have right mindfulness here — thus effacement can be done.
(18) Others will have wrong concentration; we shall have right concentration here — thus effacement can be done.
(19) Others will have wrong knowledge; we shall have right knowledge here — thus effacement can be done.
(20) Others will have wrong deliverance; we shall have right deliverance here — thus effacement can be done.
(21) Others will be overcome by sloth and torpor; we shall be free from sloth and torpor here — thus effacement can be done.
(22) Others will be agitated; we shall be unagitated here — thus effacement can be done.
(23) Others will be doubting; we shall be free from doubt here — thus effacement can be done.
(24) Others will be angry; we shall not be angry here — thus effacement can be done.
(25) Others will be hostile; we shall not be hostile here — thus effacement can be done.
(26) Others will denigrate; we shall not denigrate here — thus effacement can be done.
(27) Others will be domineering; we shall not be domineering here — thus effacement can be done.
(28) Others will be envious; we shall not be envious here — thus effacement can be done.
(29) Others will be jealous; we shall not be jealous here — thus effacement can be done.
(30) Others will be fraudulent; we shall not be fraudulent here — thus effacement can be done.
(31) Others will be hypocrites; we shall not be hypocrites here — thus effacement can be done.
(32) Others will be obstinate; we shall not be obstinate here — thus effacement can be done.
(33) Others will be arrogant; we shall not be arrogant here — thus effacement can be done.
(34) Others will be difficult to admonish; we shall be easy to admonish here — thus effacement can be done.
(35) Others will have bad friends; we shall have noble friends here — thus effacement can be done.
(36) Others will be negligent; we shall be heedful here — thus effacement can be done.
(37) Others will be faithless; we shall be faithful here — thus effacement can be done.
(38) Others will be shameless; we shall be shameful here — thus effacement can be done.
(39) Others will be without conscience; we shall have conscience here — thus effacement can be done.
(40) Others will have no learning; we shall be learned here — thus effacement can be done.
(41) Others will be idle; we shall be energetic here — thus effacement can be done.
(42) Others will be lacking in mindfulness; we shall be established in mindfulness here — thus effacement can be done.
(43) Others will be without wisdom; we shall be endowed with wisdom — thus effacement can be done.
(44) Others will misapprehend according to their individual views, hold on to them tenaciously and not easily discard them;[18] we shall not misapprehend according to individual views nor hold on to them tenaciously, but shall discard them with ease — thus effacement can be done.


Also useful might be All the Fermentations:

"[5] And what are the fermentations to be abandoned by avoiding? There is the case where a monk, reflecting appropriately, avoids a wild elephant, a wild horse, a wild bull, a wild dog, a snake, a stump, a bramble patch, a chasm, a cliff, a cesspool, an open sewer. Reflecting appropriately, he avoids sitting in the sorts of unsuitable seats, wandering to the sorts of unsuitable habitats, and associating with the sorts of bad friends that would make his knowledgeable friends in the holy life suspect him of evil conduct. The fermentations, vexation, or fever that would arise if he were not to avoid these things do not arise for him when he avoids them. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by avoiding.
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 _()_
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:17 am

danieLion wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:I do not recall any reference of the Buddha telling a king or minister to cease to punish criminals in a manner suitable to the wider society, or to disband the military forces they have at their disposal, so that is why I am guessing this, and why I think it should be left to those who choose to be in a position to make that sort of decision, to make that sort of decision. although inhumane and unjust activities should be fought against, the non-violent ways have shown to be effective in some situations at least

Hi Cittasanto,
Maybe look into what I said above?

danieLion wrote:...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

These instances are at the time of conflict when blood shed is about to happen, not at another time as I was thinking of, while they were having a dhamma discussion of some veriety, be it a teaching or other.

the Buddha is silent (to my knowledge) on how matters such as defence of the realm, policing... should be done.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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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."
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby danieLion » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:10 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
These instances are at the time of conflict when blood shed is about to happen...

Sorry, I was also trying to link it the OP's question.

Cittasanto wrote:the Buddha is silent (to my knowledge) on how matters such as defence of the realm, policing... should be done.

To my knowledge, too. But are we sure? Perhaps someone who does know would care to say?
metta
PS: Although we might could infer something from the way the Buddha usually coupled kings with thieves?
*Edit: PS added
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby robertk » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:03 am

For Hanzze.
Was Visakkha a seious Buddhist?
She became a sotapanna at age 7 and went on to have many many children and grandchidren. She was often praised by the Buddha.
She must have had sex though.
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby Hanzze » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:04 am

Robertk

I don't know her story, but there are many who left the path and one day return. Some may remember their youth. I don't think we can call it walking the right way (it's a matter of awareness). I guess the all times running around problem is the "is". We are not talking about a person, we are talking about action.
Although getting children generally does not mean that one is aside of the path. I don't know why she get them as well as I don't know why she married, and I don't know what was here karmic situation in that case.
But a would wonder if somebody reaching sotapanna (even a the first person, on the way to it), would be still attached in mundane sensual pleasure on a very low level. Such as watching fighting's, looking for where the party and the entertainment goes on, running after romantic and sexual relations...

We are very attached to persons and being as we always like to be somebody or to portray something. (Actually the root of suffering.) That is not the case and it would be wrong understood if it seem's like a personal judgment. We are talking about a way of actions, a way that leads to an aim. And that is what it is about. History is just something we can remember and learn and if we can compare it to an alternative, we might feel to put effort in changing our ways.

We all have done wrong or not so smart and I guess it's good if we get hints to do it better and that there a possibilities. Otherwise it will just end up in the next war, when we still think that their is a need to defend our self.

When we thing in a way of being that and that, we would act wrong. I am a soldier, i must kill. I am a father, I must kill. I am a poor, I must steal... That is what people generally think, but they don't must, it's simply their moment from moment choice, to flow along the stream of their past, even turn it on till it becomes a war.

I am that and than, is no excuse. I don't have the right effort yet, I am not ready yet, I do not see the benefit yet, would be a normal answer if you talk with people having grown up in a Buddhist background (still a kind of excuse, but with "respect" of what was taught and to keep other on the way if they are able to, not suggesting an imitation, the general "we are so poor" "that's the way it is" or "our kamma, we need to live with it").

(Note: the ways I use to express things do not catch right speech as it should be: lesser harmful or lesser misunderstandable: Well knowing but still ignorant, excuses and apologies on and on. No idea what to defend... maybe we take things simply to personal and forget to *smile*)
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 _()_
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