Just War and Buddhism

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation
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clw_uk
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Just War and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:03 am

Hello

In Christianity there is the concept of just war, a similar concept also exists in Islam


I wondered if such a concept could also exist in Buddhism, for example during WW2 would Buddhists or Buddhist countries be justified in going to war with Nazi Germany?
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:34 am

clw_uk wrote:In Christianity there is the concept of just war, a similar concept also exists in Islam

I wondered if such a concept could also exist in Buddhism, for example during WW2 would Buddhists or Buddhist countries be justified in going to war with Nazi Germany?


Buddhists don't go to war, neither do Christians, or Hindus etc either. However governments do go to war, and some of those governments do nominally acknowledge the religious majority of their country. However that doesn't mean that governments closely follow the teachings of that religion, how they act is based on economics, diplomacy etc.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:41 am

Goofaholix wrote:
clw_uk wrote:In Christianity there is the concept of just war, a similar concept also exists in Islam

I wondered if such a concept could also exist in Buddhism, for example during WW2 would Buddhists or Buddhist countries be justified in going to war with Nazi Germany?


Buddhists don't go to war, neither do Christians, or Hindus etc either. However governments do go to war, and some of those governments do nominally acknowledge the religious majority of their country. However that doesn't mean that governments closely follow the teachings of that religion, how they act is based on economics, diplomacy etc.



Would it be just for a Buddhist to fight against Nazi oppression though?
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby bodom » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:04 am

There is no such thing as a just war. Justifying war and killing is the work of the kilesas.

"Having slain what does one sleep soundly?
Having slain what does one not sorrow?
What is the one thing, O Gautama,
Whose killing you approve?"

"Having slain anger; one sleeps soundly;
Having slain anger; one does not sorrow;
The killing of anger, O devata,
With its poisoned root and honeyed tip:
This is the killing the noble ones praise,
For having slain that, one does not sorrow."

SN I.VIII.71


:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby cooran » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:06 am

Hello all,

Worth considering:

“Just War” is an Oxymoron by Santikaro Bhikkhu - on behalf of BPF’s Dharma Council - March 2003
The pervasive conditioning of our culture leads people to ask variations of the question, “What is the Buddhist position on “Just War”? The answer is simple, bewilderingly simple for many.
There is no Buddhist position or doctrine of “Just War.” None. Zero. “Just War” makes no sense in a tradition dedicated to moral decency, non-harming, compassion, and wisdom.
>…………snip……………..<
War happens. It is never desirable or beneficial. Too many innocents die, property is wasted, hatreds and feuds are prolonged, and we accustom ourselves to beastly behavior. There is no place in the Buddhist concept of “nobility” for war. It is never morally legitimate. It isn’t even a “necessary evil.” It is merely the bad policy of shortsighted, cowardly, selfish, and ill-informed leadership.
http://www.liberationpark.org/bpf/just-war-oxy.htm

Getting the Message by Thanissaro Bhikkhu So the Buddha's position on the precepts was uncompromising and clear. If you want to follow his teachings, there's absolutely no room for killing, stealing, or lying, period. However, in our current climate of terrorism and counter-terrorism — where governments have claimed that it's their moral duty to lie, kill, and torture in order to prevent others from lying, killing, and torturing — a number of Buddhist teachers have joined in the effort, trying to find evidence that there were some occasions, at least, where the Buddha would condone killing or offer a rationale for a just war. Exactly why they would want to do this is up to them to say, but there's a need to examine their arguments in order to set the record straight. The Buddha never taught a theory of just war; no decision to wage war can legitimately be traced to his teachings; no war veteran has ever had to agonize over memories of the people he killed because the Buddha said that war was okay. These facts are among the glories of the Buddhist tradition, and it's important for the human race that they not be muddied in an effort to recast the Buddha in our own less than glorious image.
Because the Pali Canon is such an unpromising place to look for the justification of killing, most of the arguments for a Buddhist theory of just war look elsewhere for their evidence, citing the words and behavior of people they take as surrogates for the Buddha.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ssage.html

Violence and Disruption in Society - A Study of the Early Buddhist Texts by Elizabeth J. Harris
>.......snip......<
The question of political, defensive violence, however, must be mentioned here. Can violence be justified in a situation where the state needs to defend its citizens against external and internal threats? Is this a situation in which violence is not condemned? The texts suggest Buddhism would here insist on discrimination. The Cakkavatti Sihanada Sutta gives this advice to the righteous king:

This, dear son, that you, leaning on the Dhamma, honoring, respecting and revering it, doing homage to it, hallowing it, being yourself a Dhamma-banner, a Dhamma-signal, having the Dhamma as your master, should provide the right watch, ward and protection for your own folk, for the army, for the nobles, for vassals and brahmans and householders, for town and country dwellers, for the religious world and for beasts and birds.[40]
This passage implies that the need for an army and consequently for the use of force in defense is accepted as a worldly necessity. But the picture which emerges is not glorification of the "just" war but an appeal for war and violence to be seen against a higher set of values.
>...............................<
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el392.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:07 am

“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby bodom » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:18 am

A 'RIGHTEOUS WAR' IN BUDDHISM?
by PD. Premasiri

http://www.profpremasiri.com/Papers/PDF ... ddhism.pdf

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:22 am

bodom wrote:A 'RIGHTEOUS WAR' IN BUDDHISM?
by PD. Premasiri

http://www.profpremasiri.com/Papers/PDF ... ddhism.pdf

:anjali:



That seems to be aimed at the civil war in Sri Lanka, which is different from the Nazis plan of conquest and plan for extermination, experimentation or slavery of millions...
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:45 am

clw_uk wrote:Would it be just for a Buddhist to fight against Nazi oppression though?


It wouldn't be just, it wouldn't be skillful, it wouldn't create good kamma, but it some circumstances it might be necessary.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:51 am

Goofaholix wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Would it be just for a Buddhist to fight against Nazi oppression though?


It wouldn't be just, it wouldn't be skillful, it wouldn't create good kamma, but it some circumstances it might be necessary.



Would it then be more compassionate to sacrifice "your" own well-being, through negative kamma etc, to help others
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby MJS » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:53 am

Fighting and killing is extremely bad karma. That said if I was in a situation such as WW2 I would probably fight/kill to protect innocents and accept that my choice is causing extremely bad kamma for myself which would result in a pretty crappy rebirth, however to protect the victims I would accept the consequences of my actions because I value others before thinking selfishly about my own kamma and resultant rebirth.

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:20 am

clw_uk wrote:Would it then be more compassionate to sacrifice "your" own well-being, through negative kamma etc, to help others


I think there are times when this could be so.

I think it's a bit of a copout for us to expect the non Buddhists to do all of the work to help protect people from those that would harm them. It's not appropriate for monastics of course because they've renounced many aspects of the world including the right to defend themselves but for lay people we have different responsibilities and restrictions.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:57 am

Goofaholix wrote:
clw_uk wrote:It's not appropriate for monastics of course because they've renounced many aspects of the world including the right to defend themselves but for lay people we have different responsibilities and restrictions.


Would it be appropriate for lay-Buddhists to defend monastics from violence?

Spiny

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby MJS » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:44 pm

I would

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby Nikaya35 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:55 pm

Most people in America and Europe are naive about buddhism. In the second world war
Zen masters in Japan support the emperor cause to conquer and exterminate non japanese people . That's one example of the betrayal of the dharma principles . In the old tibet buddhists sects fight with each other often .
Some extremists buddhists in Sir lanka persecute christians destroy churches and other minorities .

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby Nikaya35 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:19 pm

When reading the Nikayas is very clear that the Budhha teachings is against war killing etc but in the history of buddhism some people claiming to be buddhists commit atrocities like killing people etc . That's very sad that happened and probably will continue to happen.

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:25 pm

Monks, these four types of individuals are to be found existing in the world. Which four? The one who practices neither for his/her own benefit nor for that of others. The one who practices for the benefit of others but not for his/her own. The one who practices for his/her own benefit but not for that of others. The one who practices for his/her own benefit and for that of others.

"Just as a firebrand from a funeral pyre — burning at both ends, covered with excrement in the middle — is used as fuel neither in a village nor in the wilderness: I tell you that this is a simile for the individual who practices neither for his/her own benefit nor for that of others. The individual who practices for the benefit of others but not for his/her own is the higher & more refined of these two. The individual who practices for his/her own benefit but not for that of others is the highest & most refined of these three. The individual who practices for his/her own benefit and for that of others is, of these four, the foremost, the chief, the most outstanding, the highest, & supreme. Just as from a cow comes milk; from milk, curds; from curds, butter; from butter, ghee; from ghee, the skimmings of ghee; and of these, the skimmings of ghee are reckoned the foremost — in the same way, of these four, the individual who practices for his/her own benefit and for that of others is the foremost, the chief, the most outstanding, the highest, & supreme.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:31 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:Would it be appropriate for lay-Buddhists to defend monastics from violence?


I can't think of an instance where genocide of Theravadin Buddhist monks was the only issue but if so I think it would be pretty lame for Theravadin lay people to expect non Buddhists to do all the work to try to stop it.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby Anicca » Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:56 pm

The Buddha allows monks to dis-robe and re-robe. An example of social action, a monk may dis-robe, work for money for a hospital, school etc., spend that money, then re-robe. Once dis-robed, they are not bound by monk's rules - nor are they allowed the moniker of "monk".
A lay-buddhist could set aside their "buddhist" moniker, do whatever "worldly aspirations" they like such as fighting a war, but they would no longer have the distinction of being Buddhist.
In no way IMHO can a Buddhist - lay or otherwise - kill another human. Put aside the moniker to do non-Buddhist things.

We all inherit our kamma regardless of monikers.

metta

edit to fix spelling and add: "Just wars" have no place in Buddhism.

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Re: Just War and Buddhism

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:31 am

Anicca wrote:A lay-buddhist could set aside their "buddhist" moniker, do whatever "worldly aspirations" they like such as fighting a war, but they would no longer have the distinction of being Buddhist.


So a person could temporarily stop calling themselves a Buddhist in order to fight a war, then go back to calling themselves a Buddhist?

Spiny


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