Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

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Sovietnik
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Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby Sovietnik » Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:12 pm

Do Buddhists as individuals or as societies have the right to defend themselves from an armed aggression?

The rule of ahinsa is one of the most important rules of dharmic religions but we must take into consideration the conditions in which Buddhism was born. Ancient India was a very tolerant land even by the standards of our time. Religious persecution was unknown, people converted freely between various religions and theological disputes were resolved through debates rather than war. In such a climate absolute adherence to ahinsa makes sense.

However, not all cultures are so tolerant. Even though Christianity was born as a peaceful religion, for centuries it had remained very intolerant of other beliefs. Then Islam had been born in 7th century and in just 100 years it's hordes swept through half of the civilized world, reaching India. Before that time much of Central Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan) was Buddhist while today not a single Buddhist remains there and all people who reject the state religion are punished by death.

I've read that the main reason why Buddhism was literally vanquished in these regions is because Buddhists simply accepted their fate and refused to fight for their rights, including the right to live. On the other hand, there is Shaolin monastery which has monks actively learning martial arts while at the same time intensively cultivating their inner spirit. Over centuries many Shaolin disciples joined chinese armies in order to fight with invaders.

What do you think?

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daverupa
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Re: Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby daverupa » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:12 pm

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=19759#p277259

You can also use google to search

"site:dhammawheel.com self defense"

:anjali:
    "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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Unrul3r
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Re: Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby Unrul3r » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:20 pm

"Having the right" depends on either receiving it or grabbing it from something that has the power to give it or to let go of it. Living beings already have the right to act (defend in this case) whether they accept it or reject it. They don't have to get it or grab it from something else.

So, to answer the question, yes, they already have the right. Should they do it? Depends. If "defending" means acting unskillfully then, for their own sake and for the sake of others, no. If not, then, why not? And this applies to everyone, not only to "Buddhists".

:namaste:

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Re: Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby Anagarika » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:23 pm

My thought is that situation-appropriate nonlethal self defense is not a violation of Dhamma. All of our actions are kamma, and we have to accept the kamma that we accumulate. In the face of violence, the question might be "what is the most skillful response in the given situation?" From the other thread, the idea might be to train the mind and the body to respond in the most skillful ways, and that might include martial arts that allow for a skillful nonlethal response to an aggressor.

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Sovietnik
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Re: Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby Sovietnik » Thu Mar 13, 2014 1:58 pm

Unrul3r wrote:"Having the right" depends on either receiving it or grabbing it from something that has the power to give it or to let go of it. Living beings already have the right to act (defend in this case) whether they accept it or reject it. They don't have to get it or grab it from something else.

So, to answer the question, yes, they already have the right. Should they do it? Depends. If "defending" means acting unskillfully then, for their own sake and for the sake of others, no. If not, then, why not? And this applies to everyone, not only to "Buddhists".

:namaste:

Hmm... My thought processes are not used to such an understanding.

But anyway - thank you for all your answers. Both these written and these to yet be written.

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Re: Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby binocular » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:03 pm

Sovietnik wrote:Do Buddhists as individuals or as societies have the right to defend themselves from an armed aggression?

What do you mean by "right"?

That one may still consider oneself a Buddhist, even after one has used force (armed force?)?

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Unrul3r
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Re: Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby Unrul3r » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:05 pm

Sovietnik wrote:
Unrul3r wrote:"Having the right" depends on either receiving it or grabbing it from something that has the power to give it or to let go of it. Living beings already have the right to act (defend in this case) whether they accept it or reject it. They don't have to get it or grab it from something else.

So, to answer the question, yes, they already have the right. Should they do it? Depends. If "defending" means acting unskillfully then, for their own sake and for the sake of others, no. If not, then, why not? And this applies to everyone, not only to "Buddhists".

:namaste:

Hmm... My thought processes are not used to such an understanding.

But anyway - thank you for all your answers. Both these written and these to yet be written.


Sorry if I wasn't clear. What is it that you don't understand?

:namaste:

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Sovietnik
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Re: Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby Sovietnik » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:58 pm

I meant that weird explanation of "having" something being equal to either "receiving" or "grabbing" it. In my understanding "having X" means simplt... having X. There is no need for any meta language to describe this.
What do you mean by "right"?

That one may still consider oneself a Buddhist, even after one has used force (armed force?)?

Pretty much yes.

I know that Buddhism is not like some Abrahamic religions in which doing certain things automatically equals leaving the religion/becoming a heretic. An army of Buddhists that was raised to defend the country still remains Buddhist - but there is a question how much bad karma does one gain by doing this?

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Re: Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby culaavuso » Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:37 pm

Sovietnik wrote:Do Buddhists as individuals or as societies have the right to defend themselves from an armed aggression?

Such a choice is available to Buddhists to the same extent as non-Buddhists. The results of such a choice will be experienced by Buddhists to the same extent as non-Buddhists. Whether this implies a "right" depends on what you mean by "right".

Sovietnik wrote:I know that Buddhism is not like some Abrahamic religions in which doing certain things automatically equals leaving the religion/becoming a heretic. An army of Buddhists that was raised to defend the country still remains Buddhist - but there is a question how much bad karma does one gain by doing this?


It depends on many things including the exact details of the situation and the intentions.
AN 4.77: Acintita Sutta wrote:The [precise working out of the] results of kamma is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

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Unrul3r
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Re: Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby Unrul3r » Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:02 pm

Sovietnik wrote:I meant that weird explanation of "having" something being equal to either "receiving" or "grabbing" it. In my understanding "having X" means simplt... having X. There is no need for any meta language to describe this.


Yes, but "having" something does have in-built assumptions, It's not just "I have it because I have it".You have something because either it was given, you took it or both (like in a trade where you give and receive). So, by asking the question these things are assumed. That's why I questioned the assumptions and remarked that the Buddhists don't have to be given (or take) the right to defend themselves from something else. The rights are inherent to everybody. Everybody has the right to defend. But if you ask "Should the Buddhists defend themselves?" the answer depends on the situation and the specific act of defending and not in the assumptions of the question. This is how I view it anyways.

I hope I made myself clear now.

:namaste:

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Re: Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby pegembara » Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:15 am

Sure they do as long as they still have a "self" to defend. Security from oppression and bondage is a right for all "individuals".
But the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice is to be free from all such concerns.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: Do Buddhists have the right to defend themselves?

Postby Disciple » Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:54 pm

Sometimes violence is necessary unfortunately and you will have to face all the reprecussions from inflicting any damage to the aggressor. Just have to learn to deal with it if comes down to it


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