Self-Defence

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Self-Defence

Postby Fede » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:49 am

First of all, two apologies:

if Moderators feel this is in the incorrect forum, please be so kind as to transfer it to a more suitable location.

Secondly, I have tried a thread/forum search, but I'm not having a lot of luck.

I would like to ask whether there is a specific sutta reference to the policy (for want of a better word) of self-Defence.

In this sutta teaching by Thanissaro Bikkhu,

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ssage.html

he comments that, and I quote,

...."If a monk was physically attacked, the Buddha allowed him to strike back in self-defense, but never with the intention to kill. "

Could I please ask where the actual source of this comment is?
is it a sutta reference?

The reason I ask, is because a discussion on another forum has a member wishing to see it from the horse's mouth, as it were..... But I would also be interested to know whether the Buddha actually did allow this - and where.

Thank you all for your help.

(and third apology - if this has been asked before, I apologise for raising the topic as a potentially tired 'repeat'....)

Edited to add:

I tried to do a search in Accesstoinsight and found the rules for bikkhus, and reference to this:

(Pc 74 & 75)

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

I then looked up the specific rules, but again, Self-defence isn't mentioned....

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... html#pc-74
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Self-Defence

Postby Fede » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:31 am

I can't believe this has had 20 hits and that nobody's actually said anything!!

Really?
Is it all complete nonsense then?
Is even self-defence frowned upon?

(Where's a Bhante when you want one!? :reading:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Self-Defence

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:36 am

I think one of the responses likely Fede is the reference about allowing your self to have your limbs sawn off etc...

Which migh be the counsel of perfection if you are a Buddha, but is wildly unrealistic for the rest of us.

I make no pretense that I would even consider such a response.
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:47 am

Hi Fede,

Fede wrote:I can't believe this has had 20 hits and that nobody's actually said anything!!

Really?
Is it all complete nonsense then?
Is even self-defence frowned upon?

(Where's a Bhante when you want one!? :reading:


My apologies, busy trying to feed 80. I can't help you with the self-defence quote though I have heard something like that before. Perhaps one of our venerables can assist when they have time. Not sure whether the Buddha condoned using force as self-defence for lay people. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable of the suttas and commentaries can assist regarding lay self-defence.
Great to see you back here - even if briefly!
kidn regards

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Re: Self-Defence

Postby Fede » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:16 pm

80....?!

'80' what?

(I might regret asking! :tongue: )

Thanks so much Ben....
I hope somebody does manage to come back with a coherent and logical and authentic answer.
I truly cannot believe that the Buddha would have never permitted anyone to raise a hand in self-defence, but so far, evidence seems pretty scant.... which, frankly, for someone wishing to follow the dhamma, may be a bit alarming.....

Bless you for your welcome. You're such a pal. :)
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby Fede » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:08 pm

I really do apologise for bumping yet again.
but the lack of replies is quite a revealing factor in itself!


:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Self-Defence

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:14 pm

You persistent Italian lady..... :clap:
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby Jason » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:19 pm

Face it, nobody knows the answer. If it's that important, just write Thanissaro a letter asking for the specific reference.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Self-Defence

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:34 pm

This might be a possible implication of self-defence (self-defense for us Yanks):

The Buddha was not an anarchist. He regularly met with kings and taught them. He supported the idea and need for governments. As such they would need to defend themselves from time to time no matter how peaceful they are; the neighboring kingdoms may not be so peaceful or Dhammic.

'A king should never fall into the power of anger. Rather, let him control his anger, for neither a person’s interests or duty thrive when one is angry... When a dispute arises, he should pay equal attention to both parties, hear the arguments of each and then decide according to what is right. He should not act out of favouritism, hatred, fear or foolishness, but should hear the arguments of both sides and then decide according to what is right... While keeping an eye on state affairs, a king should dispense happiness to all. He should prevent all from committing violence and show that it is righteousness which brings reward. As in the days of former kings, large numbers of immigrants came together to be admitted into the realm, so should you admit them. Always show favour to the poor but also protect the rich who are your subjects...Do not foster hostility towards neighbouring kings. Whoever hates, will be repaid with hatred by his enemies. Cultivate ties of friendship with your neighbours, for others honour those who are steadfast in friendship. Do not talk at great length on all sorts of subjects, but give your judgement at the appropriate time and keep it to the point...Always protect those who live justly. For the wheel of power turns in dependence on the wheel of justice...Do not appoint as headmen of villages or provinces even your own sons or brothers if they are unscrupulous, violent or base...A foolish or greedy minister is of no value to either ruler or realm. Therefore, appoint as your ministers men who are not greedy but prudent and devoted in counsel and who can guide the realm. Your eyes are not as good as those of an informer, nor is your policy. Therefore, you should employ an informer in all your affairs.'
Tesakuṇa Jātaka from the Jātaka (Ja.V.109)


Note in the quote above, governments are to be peaceful and nonviolent but it also says "Always protect those who live justly"

Here is a quote to some more Sutta references to possible self-defense:

Ethical truths must also be consistent. Certain behaviour cannot be wrong in one situation and right in another. Thus it is wrong to kill, no matter what the circumstances. However, the Buddha recognizes that there is a difference between killing out of rage or jealousy and killing in self-defence. The first is completely wrong while the second can be what he called ‘mixed’ (vītimissa),i.e. a mixture of different degrees of wrong and right (M.I,318).
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby lojong1 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:23 pm

Goenkaji recommends some mild self-defense over letting stick bash head repeatedly, also without sutta reference.

It appears self-defense has never caused much problem. Any witness can see fairly accurately whether a fighter has remained calm and used reasonable force to protect from an immediate threat, or if he lost it and tried to teach a goof a lesson, and the fighter himself would know even better than the witness. If somehow found guilty legally, there may be a rule about no criminals in the sangha so that would suck, but it looks like another one of those what ifs that don't need much attention until it happens.

Ah, here's a good one...Pacittiya Offence 74: "Giving a blow to another bhikkhu, when motivated by anger, is a
pacittiya offense."
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby Fede » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:38 pm

Jason wrote:Face it, nobody knows the answer. If it's that important, just write Thanissaro a letter asking for the specific reference.

Tell that to the "Marines"...!! :jumping:

http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/9543/ ... es#Item_18

I think writing to Ven. Thanissaro may be a good idea.....

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far....
I'm sorry I posed such a bender.
I really thought the response would be much more simply found.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby Fede » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:45 pm

PeterB wrote:You persistent Italian lady..... :clap:


Questo e poco ma sicuro...!


(Little said, but much truth!!)
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Self-Defence

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:48 pm

:twothumbsup:
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby lojong1 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:49 pm

Sorry, you had pc74 already!...
I see self-defense all over that rule.

Mahaparinibbana sutta says something: Conditions of a nation's welfare -- "What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis duly protect and guard the arahats, so that those who have not come to the realm yet might do so, and those who have already come might live there in peace?"
"I have heard, Lord, that they do."
"So long, Ananda, as this is the case, the growth of the Vajjis is to be expected, not their decline."
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby Fede » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:00 pm

Yes, I attempted some searches myself. I know the interpretation is pretty clear, but I was really looking for something more authentically concrete. However, your reference to vitimissa is interesting, and I thank you for your diligence.... :)
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:21 pm

lojong1 wrote:Sorry, you had pc74 already!...
I see self-defense all over that rule.


Me too.

Here is the full text:

74. Should any bhikkhu, angered and displeased, give a blow to (another) bhikkhu, it is to be confessed.

The factors for the full offense here are three.

* 1) Object: another bhikkhu.
* 2) Effort: One gives him a blow
* 3) Intention: out of anger.

Non-offenses. According to the Vibhaṅga, there is no offense for a bhikkhu who, trapped in a difficult situation, gives a blow "desiring freedom." The Commentary's discussion of this point shows that it includes what we at present would call self-defense; and the K/Commentary's analysis of the factors of the offense here shows that even if anger or displeasure arises in one's mind in cases like this, there is no penalty.

Summary: Giving a blow to another bhikkhu when impelled by anger — except in self-defense — is a pācittiya offense.

And another important point to the above is that that is the rule for monks. How much more leeway might lay people have? Not to kill of course, but certainly protect for self-defense.
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby Fede » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:30 pm

Brilliant! Most helpful, David, Thank you kindly!! :clap:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby Jason » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:37 pm

I guess I spoke too soon. Nice detective work, everyone. :)
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Self-Defence

Postby Fede » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:00 am

Bless you Jason. I'm still gonna write the Bikkhu! :clap:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Self-Defence

Postby rudybro » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:13 am

What would be the best self defense method? I really want to learn the techniques.
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