Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
DonnieRage
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Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby DonnieRage » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:06 pm

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?
Last edited by DonnieRage on Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby daverupa » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:13 pm

There may be confusion over violence in terms of motive, and violence in terms of physical force being directed against someone.

In the first case, no action is wholesome with a violent, i.e. aggressive, intention.

Since the Vinaya allows a monk to 'give a blow desiring emancipation' from an assailant, however, I find that the second case of physical violence done as an expression of self-defense with an eye towards emancipation from and/or restraint of an attacker to be generally acceptable.

However, gray areas arise in terms of what sort of force must be present in order to warrant this or that force in response; wise reflection should apply, local laws will apply.
    "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: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby DonnieRage » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:48 pm

"Give a blow desiring emancipation" Would this apply politically (like to those in tibet, for example)? I know the Dalai Lama advises against violence, but it seems peaceful protest and even extreme self violence (like self immolation) have very little effect overall. Throughout my life I've often thought that when it comes to situations like that you have to "speak their own language" which with totalitarian states, is normally violence :( This is actually an issue that's caused me a little bit of stress as I come from a radical anarchist background, and I'm trying to work non-violence into my life. It's obvious to me that peaceful protest works to some extent (majority of the civil rights movement) but then you're waiting around for those in rule to decide they just don't want that power anymore.

Thanks in advance for any feedback
:thanks:

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby daverupa » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:03 pm

We seem to have jumped from breaking and entering to questions about large-scale social mobilization and political protest...

I think these are different realms, with different contexts where violence could get expressed. One is a home invasion, the other is largely a chosen engagement or series of engagements. The earlier Vinaya reference does not seem to apply to those latter cases.

"But then you're waiting around..."

Patience is the highest austerity...
    "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: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby DonnieRage » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:32 pm

Great response. Momma always told me patience is a virtue. Thank you.

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby dagon » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:02 am

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?


Hi Donnie

:soap: warning

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.

Metta

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby JeffR » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:48 am

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 !!


For the sake of discussion: on the third item, intent to use it to shoot intruders; Couldn't it be use to "Give a blow desiring emancipation"?

Guns weren't around in the time of the Buddha, so it couldn't be addressed. It is generally viewed in much of modern society that a shot below the waist is an intention to incapacitate. Wouldn't this be acceptable in self defense?
(I don't know how I feel here. I lean towards not using or possessing the gun, but would like to hear balanced opinions.)

-Jeff

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby Ben » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:12 am

JeffR wrote:
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 !!


For the sake of discussion: on the third item, intent to use it to shoot intruders; Couldn't it be use to "Give a blow desiring emancipation"?

Guns weren't around in the time of the Buddha, so it couldn't be addressed. It is generally viewed in much of modern society that a shot below the waist is an intention to incapacitate. Wouldn't this be acceptable in self defense?
(I don't know how I feel here. I lean towards not using or possessing the gun, but would like to hear balanced opinions.)

-Jeff


Not in Australia. In fact, you would be denied a gun licence in Australia if your reason for obtaining one was for self defence. If you are really worried about home security then instead of purchasing a gun - perhaps invest some money on making your home a little more secure so as to make break-in extremely difficult or impossible.
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
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e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby dagon » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:31 am

JeffR wrote:
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 !!


For the sake of discussion: on the third item, intent to use it to shoot intruders; Couldn't it be use to "Give a blow desiring emancipation"?

Guns weren't around in the time of the Buddha, so it couldn't be addressed. It is generally viewed in much of modern society that a shot below the waist is an intention to incapacitate. Wouldn't this be acceptable in self defense?
(I don't know how I feel here. I lean towards not using or possessing the gun, but would like to hear balanced opinions.)

-Jeff


Hi Jeff

Fair question – I assume that anyone one having a gun in their hand would have the same level of training that I have had. What I was taught that you shoot for the largest body mass especially at close range.

Buddha also taught that we should obey the laws of the country. In most countries possession of a fire is illegal without permits and shooting people is frowned upon (!!!!!).

I think what the OP was suggesting was the use of other skills to kneecap an intruder. In my view this would still be excessive and disproportional in most cases. Making a blow to stop someone killing you can easily be defended in that you are stopping someone committing one of the most serious offences. Deliberately maiming someone to protect the ownership of property is another story.

also what Ben said

metta

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby JeffR » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:05 am

I'm looking for views on the morality from a Buddhist prospective. Here in the US gun ownership is high and some states (e.g. Florida) encourage killing people who appear threatening.

I grew up with guns in a family that hunts and was taught "though shalt not kill"; aim for the legs. A brother that was in law enforcement encouraged aiming for largest part of the body if your life is in immediate danger. He was trained to always shoot for the largest part of the body.

I lean towards not using a gun at all, even when threatened, the two handed saw simile comes to mind. However, I have a wife and kids so letting myself be shot and killed when I could prevent it by doing grave harm to the one about to shoot me seems like a selfish move. My family needs me and would want me to do what it takes to be around a bit longer.

It seems to me that if I was to cap someone in the knee, it really wouldn't matter whether I did it with a golf club, bullet, or karate kick. The intention, result and kamma is the same.

More directly in response to the OP:
Remaining calm and unafraid while doing no harm, no matter what, would be the way to handle an intruder. If they're in the house, get out through a window or back way and call the police from the neighbor's.

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby DonnieRage » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:33 am


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?


:thumbsup:

Thank you dagon!

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby Ben » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:36 am

Hi Jeff,

I think my recommendation above of mitigating risk of break-in by investing in making your home more secure and less appealing as a break-in target is probably my preferred option and is consistent with Buddhist teachings. But if you do find yourself being subject to a home invasion - I would recommend that you remove yourself and your family to outside the property and call the police. If you can't do that, then stay calm.
I might be naive but I don't think that it ever ends well when armed home-owners confront intruders. The intruder already has some very dark kamma to face as a result of the forced entry, intimidation and theft. Stepping into a situation that is highly charged and unpredictable - you leave yourself open to the possibility of reaping the bitter fruit created by acting out of intense fear and anger.
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
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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby seeker242 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:09 am

To kill someone simply because they broke into your house would be a direct violation of the precepts. The gravest of sins. Of course it depends on the situation but people usually break into houses to steal property. Is your television, computer or money really worth more than a man's life? Certainly not! If he wants your television or money, just give it to him! If you do that and they get what they want and leave, the situation is resolved and no one is harmed. The end result is that you no longer have the TV or money that you had. But so what? Those are just materiel things anyway. Only a fool would defend their television with lethal force. Why would you even need to use non-lethal force to defend your television? It's just a television. It means nothing and has no value whatsoever from Buddhist perspective. Now if your own life was in danger, that would be a different situation. However, it's quite possible that trying to defend your meaningless property or television could easily put your life in danger to begin with, whereas it would not be in danger if you had not tried to defend it and just let them take it.

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:21 am

Interesting discussion and good responses above. The one scenario I haven't seen mentioned yet is this:

What about the home invader who is not interested in stealing your money, your televisions, your jewelry. He and his accomplices break in to kill you and your family. Now the situation is changed quite a bit. It is not simply a case of letting him in, letting him take some things and leaving you and your family alone. He is coming in to kill. You can use the saw simile for yourself, but are you willing to use the saw simile for your spouse and children? Tough decisions . . .

Yes, it is rare, but it does happen. Not too long ago a group of criminals did a home invasion, raped and killed the wife and daughter of a physician. The physician was tied up in the basement and they set the house on fire. The doctor was able to escape and survived. His wife and daughter were murdered.

The obvious best course is to call the police and escape out the back with your family. But what if there is no opportunity to escape? Do you potentially use deadly force to save your family members? Perhaps you might be advanced enough to apply the saw simile for yourself, you have no selfishness; but how about your family members? Do you leave them to fend for themselves? Tough choices, with no real correct or easy answers.

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby barcsimalsi » Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:49 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Interesting discussion and good responses above. The one scenario I haven't seen mentioned yet is this:

What about the home invader who is not interested in stealing your money, your televisions, your jewelry. He and his accomplices break in to kill you and your family. Now the situation is changed quite a bit. It is not simply a case of letting him in, letting him take some things and leaving you and your family alone. He is coming in to kill. You can use the saw simile for yourself, but are you willing to use the saw simile for your spouse and children? Tough decisions . . .

Yes, it is rare, but it does happen. Not too long ago a group of criminals did a home invasion, raped and killed the wife and daughter of a physician. The physician was tied up in the basement and they set the house on fire. The doctor was able to escape and survived. His wife and daughter were murdered.

The obvious best course is to call the police and escape out the back with your family. But what if there is no opportunity to escape? Do you potentially use deadly force to save your family members? Perhaps you might be advanced enough to apply the saw simile for yourself, you have no selfishness; but how about your family members? Do you leave them to fend for themselves? Tough choices, with no real correct or easy answers.

What if one shoot the invaders not because of aversion, but see it as responsibility and compassion towards both the victims and invaders. By killing the invaders, one save one's family and also prevent the invaders from making bad karma for themselves.

One may break the first precept by doing so but i just can't think of a better options.

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby dagon » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:55 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Interesting discussion and good responses above. The one scenario I haven't seen mentioned yet is this:

What about the home invader who is not interested in stealing your money, your televisions, your jewelry. He and his accomplices break in to kill you and your family. Now the situation is changed quite a bit. It is not simply a case of letting him in, letting him take some things and leaving you and your family alone. He is coming in to kill. You can use the saw simile for yourself, but are you willing to use the saw simile for your spouse and children? Tough decisions . . .

Yes, it is rare, but it does happen. Not too long ago a group of criminals did a home invasion, raped and killed the wife and daughter of a physician. The physician was tied up in the basement and they set the house on fire. The doctor was able to escape and survived. His wife and daughter were murdered.

The obvious best course is to call the police and escape out the back with your family. But what if there is no opportunity to escape? Do you potentially use deadly force to save your family members? Perhaps you might be advanced enough to apply the saw simile for yourself, you have no selfishness; but how about your family members? Do you leave them to fend for themselves? Tough choices, with no real correct or easy answers.


For the sake of discussion: lets say that you have a gun in your house for this remote risk. Where are you going to keep it to make it accessible in such a situation. How much time do you think that you would have to get the gun in your hand and ready for use. How could you insure that you kids don't get hold of it and play with it (tragic consequences have occurred from that). How can you be sure that your gun is not stolen by criminals and used to kill others. What effect would buying a gun to potential use against another person have on you practice. There have been rare cases where the kids have taken a gun from the house and intentionaly killed other kids!!!

Personally i would prefer the risk of not having a gun in the house. I would prefer not to make myself a victim without the remote risk of that hazard occurring.

you may find this link informative
http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/ ... g-gun-home

metta

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:11 pm

dagon wrote:you may find this link informative
http://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/ ... g-gun-home


Throughout that article the author mentions, "there is no credible evidence that having a gun in your house reduces . . " which is just to say that there is evidence on the other side but the author rejects it as not credible.

The statistics are skewed by both sides on the gun debates. On the anti-gun side, statistics are used that include all crimes and accidents done by criminals. They include acts that happened in the course of criminal actions, they include acts that happened with guns obtained illegally, without permits, without gun safety classes being attended.

On the other side, they show the statistics where gun ownership prevented or stopped crimes, where gun ownership is massive and there are few accidents. In the U.S. there are some 300 million guns which is one for every person. Obviously there are millions who don't have guns, so there are also millions who own several guns. It is amazing that there are not more gun accidents considering the sheer volume, quantity of guns out there in the U.S. Those who obtain their guns legally and attend gun safety classes have far fewer accidents and far less likely to commit crimes using them.

If guns should be banned why do police and military have guns? I do believe some guns should be banned; especially those that are only designed for killing large numbers of people, such as assault weapons, machine guns, etc. Most people might answer that it is okay for police and military to have guns since they are properly trained. Civilians could be required to get this type of training too and this would eliminate most accidents. And background checks could prevent guns from being sold to those with mental illnesses, those prone to marital strife, and those with a criminal background. There are background checks in all states for those who purchase guns legally. The criminals who obtain their guns illegally didn't have to pass any background check. Unfortunately, in many states still to this day, one can legally purchase a gun after passing the background check but is not required to take any gun safety class.

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby daverupa » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:18 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Throughout that article the author...


Nevermind the press writeup, here's the actual paper - which simply summarizes current literature on the topic. Page three goes into depth re: Benefits (of a gun in the home), and there is discussion of the credibility of certain conclusions thereby. Summing up later on,

Conclusions

There are real and imaginary situations when it might be beneficial to have a gun in the home.... That said, for the large majority of households, having a gun in the home will not provide either health benefits or costs this year. However, for those households where having a gun or not will matter this year, the evidence indicates that the costs will widely outweigh the benefits.


---

A public health approach to the prevention of firearm violence recognizes that just as we have many motor vehicles in the United States, we also have many guns. And just as there are many types of public health problems caused by motor vehicles (e.g., injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists, side-impact collisions, rollovers, head-on crashes, and car fires) that require diverse policies in order to have a substantial effect, there are also many public health problems caused by guns (e.g., accidents, suicides, intimate-partner violence, mass shootings, gang killings, and assassinations) that require diverse policies to reduce the problem.


source

---

With rod and weapon laid aside, gentle and kindly, one abides compassionate to all living beings.
    "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: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby seeker242 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:38 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Interesting discussion and good responses above. The one scenario I haven't seen mentioned yet is this:

What about the home invader who is not interested in stealing your money, your televisions, your jewelry. He and his accomplices break in to kill you and your family. Now the situation is changed quite a bit. It is not simply a case of letting him in, letting him take some things and leaving you and your family alone. He is coming in to kill. You can use the saw simile for yourself, but are you willing to use the saw simile for your spouse and children? Tough decisions . . .

Yes, it is rare, but it does happen. Not too long ago a group of criminals did a home invasion, raped and killed the wife and daughter of a physician. The physician was tied up in the basement and they set the house on fire. The doctor was able to escape and survived. His wife and daughter were murdered.

The obvious best course is to call the police and escape out the back with your family. But what if there is no opportunity to escape? Do you potentially use deadly force to save your family members? Perhaps you might be advanced enough to apply the saw simile for yourself, you have no selfishness; but how about your family members? Do you leave them to fend for themselves? Tough choices, with no real correct or easy answers.


Yes tough choices! Personally, I think this is where previous practice experience comes into play. If you have previously been making right effort to keep right action, mindfulness, intention, etc. If you understand how kamma works and you know what makes good and bad kamma. If you are able to keep right mindfulness in such a situation, then you will intuitively and automatically know what is appropriate to do or not do when the situation is presenting itself. So in other words, the very action of the situation presenting itself is the thing that is going to tell you what is appropriate or inappropriate.

For example: MN 61 says:

"Whenever you want to do a bodily action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily action I want to do — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Would it be an unskillful bodily action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful bodily action with painful consequences, painful results, then any bodily action of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do. But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction... it would be a skillful bodily action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then any bodily action of that sort is fit for you to do.


It's quite difficult to tell what action would be skillful or unskillful if you don't already have the precise particulars of the situation right in front of you playing itself out, in real time, because that is when intuition regarding the above kicks in. In the heat of the moment, so to speak, your previous practice experience will immediately tell you what is appropriate. I don't think the choice would be a difficult one because after you reflect on the above, which should only take a matter of seconds, you will automatically know what to do and choosing an action that you already know is not unskillful, is very easy because you already know it's not unskillful beforehand.

:namaste:

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Re: Intruders (BnE) and Non Violence

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:18 pm

seeker242 wrote:For example: MN 61 says:

"Whenever you want to do a bodily action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily action I want to do — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Would it be an unskillful bodily action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful bodily action with painful consequences, painful results, then any bodily action of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do. But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction... it would be a skillful bodily action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then any bodily action of that sort is fit for you to do.



Excellent quote, sutta. I had forgotten about that one. That Sutta with instructions to Rahula is like a "Life Meditation" instruction, so I added that to my Dhamma Wiki article:
Life Meditation

Buddhism, especially Theravada tends to be on the passive side, preferring the least confrontation. When in doubt about what to say or do, it seems the preference is to err on the side of silence. I notice I tend to do this myself in some conversations; when not sure what to say or if it might be harmful, I err on the side of silence. Usually there are fewer mistakes made that way, then for example the person who talks without thinking or reflecting on what he is saying.

It is similar with bodily actions too, it is usually better to remain passive rather than do something terribly wrong. But clearly remaining passive in all instances can be detrimental to oneself and to others. One example, is the person about to commit suicide; we don't sit idly by and send metta. Rather we implore the person to not take their life, that things will get better, the situation is impermanent, etc.

So if we apply this to the Sutta teaching above; would doing nothing ". . . lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both?" And in the example I gave, doing nothing clearly would result in self-affliction and to the affliction of others. Could we possibly receive bad kamma for stopping the assailants even if justified legally? Yes. If we refused to do something to save other family members could we possibly be acting selfishly to protect from receiving bad "kamma"? Yes.

Like I say, no easy answers.


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