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 alan » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:36 pm

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

Postby alan » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:43 pm

Lonesome yogurt:
It's just a pretense to assume your meditation will help the world become a better place. You conveniently did not answer the question.

Retro: You rock. As usual!
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby pulga » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:22 pm

A less emphasized passage from the Kakacupamasutta:

Tasmàtiha phagguna tava cepi koci sammukhà tàsam bhikkhunãnam pàninà pahàram dadeyya, leddunà pahàram dadeyya, dandena pahàram dadeyya, satthena pahàram dadeyya, tatràpi tvam phagguna ye gehasità chandà ye gehasità vitakkà te pajaheyyàsi. Tatràpi te phagguna evam sikkhitabbam: na ceva me cittam viparinatam bhavissati na ca pàpikam vàcam nicchàressàmi. Hitànukampã ca viharissàmi mettacitto na dosantaroti. Evam hi te phagguna sikkhitabbam. M21

This gives one the sense of just how radical the Buddha's teaching of liberation is. One could argue that it constitutes a sort of soothing nihilism. A stark distinction has to be drawn between the desires and thoughts of the householder and those of the bhikkhu striving for enlightenment.
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:41 pm

pulga wrote:A less emphasized passage from the Kakacupamasutta:

Tasmàtiha phagguna tava cepi koci sammukhà tàsam bhikkhunãnam pàninà pahàram dadeyya, leddunà pahàram dadeyya, dandena pahàram dadeyya, satthena pahàram dadeyya, tatràpi tvam phagguna ye gehasità chandà ye gehasità vitakkà te pajaheyyàsi. Tatràpi te phagguna evam sikkhitabbam: na ceva me cittam viparinatam bhavissati na ca pàpikam vàcam nicchàressàmi. Hitànukampã ca viharissàmi mettacitto na dosantaroti. Evam hi te phagguna sikkhitabbam. M21

This gives one the sense of just how radical the Buddha's teaching of liberation is. One could argue that it constitutes a sort of soothing nihilism. A stark distinction has to be drawn between the desires and thoughts of the householder and those of the bhikkhu striving for enlightenment.
A translation would be welcome, please.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby pulga » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:54 pm

tiltbillings wrote:A translation would be welcome, please.


I don't know of a translation that I can readily cut and paste. Hopefully some might be curious enough to refer to the Ñanamoli/Bodhi translation to read the entire sutta.
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby Dhammavaro » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:12 pm

:anjali:
Last edited by Dhammavaro on Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
^^The Greatest Gift to Buddha, our Parents, our teacher..is to open the eye of dhamma^^
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:19 pm

pulga wrote:I don't know of a translation that I can readily cut and paste. Hopefully some might be curious enough to refer to the Ñanamoli/Bodhi translation to read the entire sutta.

The entire sutta is http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html but I'm not adept enough with Pali to find exactly what part you're quoting.
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: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:25 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
pulga wrote:A less emphasized passage from the Kakacupamasutta:

Tasmàtiha phagguna tava cepi koci sammukhà tàsam bhikkhunãnam pàninà pahàram dadeyya, leddunà pahàram dadeyya, dandena pahàram dadeyya, satthena pahàram dadeyya, tatràpi tvam phagguna ye gehasità chandà ye gehasità vitakkà te pajaheyyàsi. Tatràpi te phagguna evam sikkhitabbam: na ceva me cittam viparinatam bhavissati na ca pàpikam vàcam nicchàressàmi. Hitànukampã ca viharissàmi mettacitto na dosantaroti. Evam hi te phagguna sikkhitabbam. M21

This gives one the sense of just how radical the Buddha's teaching of liberation is. One could argue that it constitutes a sort of soothing nihilism. A stark distinction has to be drawn between the desires and thoughts of the householder and those of the bhikkhu striving for enlightenment.
A translation would be welcome, please.


Unless I miss my guess...

"Phagguna, there you should train like this -My mind will not change, I will not utter evil words, I will abide with compassion and loving kindness without an angry thought. Again Pagguna, if anyone beat those bhikkhunis with their hands or with clods, or sticks, or weapons, you should train as above. Again Phagguna, if anyone blames you in the face, you should train as above. If anyone beats you with hands, or clods, or sticks, or weapons, you should give up that worldly interest and worldly thoughts. Phagguna, there you should train like this- My mind will not change, I will not utter evil words, I will abide with compassion and loving kindness, without an angry thought."


source
Last edited by daverupa on Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:26 pm

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

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:28 pm

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.


This passage comes too late in the Sutta; I had thought this was it as well, but the portion cited is an earlier portion, occurring before any reference to Vedehika. It's a similar lesson, of course, but it adds the component of training when one sees violence, not only when violence is being done to oneself, which is why I think it was cited here.
Last edited by daverupa on Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby alan » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:30 pm

Either way, it's not an answer.
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:33 pm

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


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...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby alan » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:42 pm

If I may be allowed to make a statement, it would be this: The conceit that "nothing exists" is a plague on the Dhamma. It allows for inaction, and creates an alternate thought-world which is too easily exploited by those unwilling to face reality.
Pretending to be above it all is not only stupid, it is also pointless. And it is a waste of your life.
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:44 pm

alan wrote:Lonesome yogurt:
It's just a pretense to assume your meditation will help the world become a better place. You conveniently did not answer the question.

Retro: You rock. As usual!


"It is just as the apprentice said: 'I shall protect myself' — in that way the foundations of mindfulness (satipatthana) should be practiced. 'I shall protect others' — in that way the foundations of mindfulness should be practiced. Protecting oneself, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself.

"And how does one, in protecting oneself, protect others? By the repeated and frequent practice of meditation (asevanaya bhavanaya bahulikammena).

"And how does one, in protecting others, protect oneself? By patience and forbearance, by a non-violent and harmless life, by loving kindness and compassion."
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: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby alan » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:51 pm

Not sure if you were referring to me Dave, but just for the record, my question is not an extreme hypothetical. An example of an extreme hypothetical would be to ask a question which would never be encountered in reality. But, as we all know, the question in my OP was something that had to be confronted by a generation.

The "train morality" question is hypothetical. My question has an honest historic root.
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:09 pm

alan wrote:My question has an honest historic root.


Yes, though the flower is hypothetical as no one here had to engage with those dilemmas at that time, and the various possible historical outcomes due to greater or lesser differences in behavior by those involved can only be speculative, moreso when the person in question is only imaginary ("You're in England, during the Blitz.").

The Buddha's statements are clear: now, either the Buddha would have spoken differently given access to certain information, such as the events of WWII or nuclear weaponry, or else he would have spoken as he did anyway...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby alan » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:24 pm

The people who endured the Blitz were real, and they had to confront real problems. My question was phrased in an appropriate manner. If you believe otherwise, you'll have to state it in a more rational way.

You can do better, Dave.
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Re: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:54 pm

alan wrote:dhamavaro: That is exactly the kind of nonsensical response I was trying to avoid.

Except it is a meaningful answer, and it's the answer at the heart of the Buddha's teachings. It's not the Buddha's error if conceptual, worldly concepts invented by deluded beings (all of us included!) can't find a hold on the eternal Dhamma.

You're saying these answers from the Dhamma are meaningless because they don't have application to concepts we've invented. Maybe the concepts we've invented are meaningless because they don't have root in the Dhamma?
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: The world is at war. What do you do?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:09 pm

There are already two war threads going on here so don't want to start a third one :tongue: so here's something to consider:

The Buddha was (rightfully so) anti-war. Wars at the time were primarily one tribal kingdom attacking another kingdom for the purpose of expanding their territory; unjustified in every which way and totally unwholesome. Today's wars are not much different at all.

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

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:26 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?

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. Rwanda is a perfect example of
Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world.
By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased.
This is a law eternal.


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.
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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