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.
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
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.
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.
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