Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

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Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby metta_noob » Sun Aug 01, 2010 6:33 am

Last week a rape was reported in our newspapers. The rapist was a 51 year old school bus driver and the victim was a 10 year old girl. The rape was committed in the rapist's school bus in broad daylight ... he was ferrying the girl on a school day and had driven to a side road, parked and forced himself onto the poor girl. I guess he didn't realise that he had parked right next to a building that housed a kindergarten because the teachers in the kindy heard the girl's screams and figured something was amiss. Fortunately some good samaritans driving down that road stopped and accosted the rapist. You can see a video interview the newspaper did with a lady at the kindergarten at the bottom of this page http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?fi ... sec=nation Sorry I don't know how to embed the link.

This morning I attended a dhamma talk where the speaker told us to focus on others' good even if it is only 1% in a sea of bad. She also gave us the example of Angulimara the murderer who became an arahant. She said that good needs to be nurtured and nourished just like grain crops as opposed to weeds (ie bad) which will thrive without nourishment.

At the same time, the newspaper reported that "Facebook users slam alleged rapist" and some are baying for his blood ie death sentence ... others suggested castration. I feel repulsed, fearful (for the little people I know) and angry that this guy can actually succumb to his sexual urge and force himself upon a 10 year old child. Barbaric and bestial are two words that come to mind.

So as a noob, I'd like to ask you what your response would be as a Buddhist. Before delving into the dhamma, I would also have bayed for blood in anger ... and in fact, I still find it difficult to suppress my feelings of anger against this man. How do you deal with this anger?
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Aug 01, 2010 6:45 am

The full force of criminal law will fall on his head. That is simply part of the contract we abide by as members of a society. Once in jail this man's life will be hell, given that pedophiles are on the bottom of the prison pecking order and are seen with loathing and disgust by the other inmates. Now, if there is a good Buddhist (or other) chaplain at the prison in which he finds himself ensconced, maybe that good can be nurtured. Whatever the case this man has brought a world of ugly down upon himself. Finding compassion for him, a good practice.
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: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:01 am

I find it helpful in these situations to keep in mind that extending metta to a person who has committed a disgusting crime, such as this, does not equate to condoning the criminal act, nor the person committing it.

Sounds obvious, I know, but it helps me. Samsara IS disgusting, there IS Dukkha. Rape of a 10 year old girl? It's difficult not to wish pain on him.
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:06 am

tiltbillings wrote:Finding compassion for him, a good practice.

I agree. Think about how messed up his mind must be, and how terrible it must be to live with such a mind.

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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby fabianfred » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:01 am

In our countless lives we have been both rapist and victim....many times. Have compassion for both...but especially for the one creating new karma....not just the one paying the bill for old karma.
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby PeterB » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:07 am

Mawkish1983 wrote:I find it helpful in these situations to keep in mind that extending metta to a person who has committed a disgusting crime, such as this, does not equate to condoning the criminal act, nor the person committing it.

Sounds obvious, I know, but it helps me. Samsara IS disgusting, there IS Dukkha. Rape of a 10 year old girl? It's difficult not to wish pain on him.


Well put. Difficult but not impossible, and yes certainly not even a hint of condoning. Including not speculating that we have all been raped and have raped in former lives. A consideration which does not offer any resolution as far as I am concerned. And certainly is not much use to a actual present ten year old girl or her family.
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:26 am

Call Me by My True Names
by Thich Nhat Hanh
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

Whole poem and Thich Nhat Hanh's thoughts: http://www.quietspaces.com/poemHanh.html

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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby PeterB » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:33 am

No he isnt.
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:40 am

PeterB wrote:
Mawkish1983 wrote:It's difficult not to wish pain on him.
Difficult but not impossible
... which is precisely why I [or maybe we, but I don't want to speak for anyone else] practice.
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:59 am

PeterB wrote: A consideration which does not offer any resolution as far as I am concerned. And certainly is not much use to a actual present ten year old girl or her family.

Surely for the vast majority here the question is not "resolution" or what is of use to that particular girl, it's about developing our own mindstates. How we can develop real compassion without falling into pointless sadness or rage, and develop equanimity without falling into a "don't care" attitude.

PeterB wrote:No he isnt.

It's a poem, Peter...

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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby PeterB » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:04 am

Sorry Mike the idea of some comfortable elderly man implying that he knows what its like to be a 12 year old girl raped and thrown overboard, in stanzas, to make a point, is an idea that I have some difficulty with.
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:13 am

PeterB wrote:... is an idea that I have some difficulty with.
Me too, but I may partly be biased because I'm not a fan of TNH. Just another issue of mine I need to work on and not related to the OT.
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby PeterB » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:19 am

The same thought did cross my mind about me too Mawkish...on the other hand I cant imagine any Theravadin teacher responding to these issues by dashing off a wee poem. No doubt written with his own tears.
This reaction to TNH might simply be an issue for me..I do realise that..
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby appicchato » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:26 am

... is an idea that I have some difficulty with.

Ditto...

In our countless lives we have been both rapist and victim....many times.

Maybe...maybe not...
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:31 am

PeterB wrote:Sorry Mike the idea of some comfortable elderly man implying that he knows what its like to be a 12 year old girl raped and thrown overboard, in stanzas, to make a point, is an idea that I have some difficulty with.

I don't see the point of such judgement. You could say that about almost any aging Buddhist teacher. By that argument I shouldn't pay attention to the thoughts of Ajahn Chah or Ajah Sumedo on developing compassion because they grew old in relative luxury...

Thich Nhat Hanh isn't just some comfortable elderly man. He grew up with, lived with, and confronted violence from a Buddhist perspective. Clearly he understands these issues a great deal more than I (a reasonably comfortable, heading for aging, man) do.

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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby beeblebrox » Sun Aug 01, 2010 1:05 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Thich Nhat Hanh isn't just some comfortable elderly man. He grew up with, lived with, and confronted violence from a Buddhist perspective. Clearly he understands these issues a great deal more than I (a reasonably comfortable, heading for aging, man) do.


Indeed, he was right in the middle of it during the Vietnam War. A lot of his friends died, the monks tortured to death (he wrote one poem about this). Sorry for the OT, this is about the 10 year old girl that was raped.
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby metta_noob » Sun Aug 01, 2010 1:37 pm

thanks for all the responses ... they certainly help me sort out my own feelings about the incident.

Frankly I raised this thread not so much about the rape of the 10yo child but more about how we as buddhists respond to practical situations like this. One other thing the bhante mentioned this morning was that good and bad is all created in our own minds. She said something about how we'd read the papers and get into a rut after reading about something bad that happened thousands of miles away halfway around the world far from ourselves. And that reminds me of what another bhante said about us having to guard our minds like a city (he was quoting the buddha) ... where our 5 senses are like the city gates and we ought to be very careful who /what we let thru those senses/gates. Well, I suppose if I hadn't read the papers and didn't know about the case, I wouldn't have felt bad, would I?

Anyway, I guess the perp has created a lot of bad karma which will ripen in his future lives. And I really wouldn't want to create bad karma for myself by unleashing hatred on him, in this case by way of thoughts. Though I can't help but wonder what conditions were present that made him commit the dastardly deed ... I think the buddha said that nothing happens without a reason?

thanks again
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby PeterB » Sun Aug 01, 2010 1:44 pm

The primary cause of any criminal act is a conscious intention to commit that act.
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby 5heaps » Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:18 pm

metta_noob wrote:How do you deal with this anger?

understand the ineffectiveness of hysteria
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: Buddhist response to a monstrous act of rape?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:18 pm

Being a good buddhist, i think my response would be to shoot him in the head, put the rest of society out of his misery :)
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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