DonnieRage wrote:I was having a discussion with my dad and my younger brother recently about people breaking into our house. Of course they were saying how they would just "blast the f***er in the face" and I was trying to convince them that they probably wouldn't do that even though they say it. I was also bringing up things like 'thou shalt not kill' (they're both "christians"). My thought was maybe I'd cap them (the intruder) in the knee and toss them out the house, but in hindsight this still a very violent thing to do. Would it be an issue among buddhists? How should/could someone handle a situation like that non-violently?
At one point in my life I used to be a prison officer and so got to know a lot of people who committed offences against people and the laws of the land.
At that time 85% of the inmates were there for drug and drug related offences; 10% where there because they had serve psychological conditions; and 5% were there because their clinging, grasping and desires were no matched by a work ethic or economic opportunities. What is clear that all of them were suffering and their action are explained by DO and the 4NT. What should be remembered that all of them are people and some of our friends on the forum may well have been them before they straighten their lives out! They could also be you kids, siblings, friends or even yourself in the future if your life happened to go the wrong way or you made some really stupid decisions in your life.
When someone steals from ME they take MY possessions from ME without MY permission. When someone breaks into/invades MY house they also invade MY sanctuary and MY sense of security (being MY ability to isolate MY self from the external world). Can you see the problem here – it is the identification of self that causes most of MY suffering rather than the loss of possessions.
Most people that would potential break into your house are looking to support a drug habit/addiction. It is for this reason that most of those I spoke to said the “best” houses to break into were those where there were drugs and alcohol. Why, simply because there was the chance of prompt satisfaction of their wants/needs; less chance of getting caught (easier to walk out with a packet of drugs rather than a 54 inch TV); less chance of it been reported ….. Yep drugs cause people all sorts of problems. You have to admit that the 5th precept helps you to lead a happier life, not following it can lead to all sorts of suffering.
One of the inmates that I got to know very well as serving 14 years for armed holdups. I asked him where he had got the gun that he used – “I robed someone’s house that I knew had guns, I knew that what was in the house was no use to me apart from that gun”.
If you have guns in the house then you have something of real value to the 5% of professional crims as well as those who are the supply end of the drug trade. If you have a gun in your house you have one of three intentions
• to use it out side of the home (except for target shooter all potential uses are against Buddhist teachings).
• have it there to threaten anyone who breaks into your house (that has the risk of having it used against you)
• intend to use it to shoot intruders – note intention/ karma !!
One of the rational fears that people have about home invasions is the risk of violence been perpetrated against them or other occupants. If you look at the cause of the violence in most of the cases you can reduce the risk of this happening.
Most criminal would prefer not to come face to face with their victims because it increases their chance of being caught/convicted. If you block their exit then the chance of you coming to physical harm increases.
Where criminals premeditate violence against members of the household it is normally because the believe that will get them something of higher value and believe that the additional risks of their actions will reward them more than the higher risk to themselves. Normally what they are after is drugs (hard to find) or liquid high value and low volume items (cash and jewelry). What is work remembering is that dead men cannot spend money and injured people cannot enjoy their lives.
If we want to prevent crime then the best answer is; loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. How this would look in practice would be that instead of spending hundreds of thousands of $ a year in putting people in goal; we would recognize that drug addictions are a medical issue not a criminal justice issue. We would have our tax payer dollars spent on medical interventions or even better addressing social and mental health problems before drug abuse/addiction happens. A vote to take money away from social problems and to being tough on crime - is a vote to increase crime and increase the possibility that you will become a victim.
Remembering that the person entering you house is probably doing so for a drug related reason; remembering that most people have drug related problems as a result of what they have suffered in their lives and are trying to escape from that suffering do you feel that it is appropriate to inflict harm on that person. That is not to say that I believe that it should excuse the individual from the consequences – The Buddha taught us that we are responsible for outcomes of intentions. None of us can get away with what we do; karma has a 100% conviction rate. Yes if you can get them arrested that is good – if for no other reason it maybe their best chance of getting the help that they need. If you do something to the intruder will that assist your practice, is it wholesome, will it further bind you in bad karma?
If you accept that what has been stolen is not you then you aid your practice, if you can develop kindness, compassion and equanimity to the intruder then you have gain far more of real worth that could have been taken away from you.