should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:31 am

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Yes. A gun is simply inanimate object, lacking a "self," and how they are used is dependent upon the user's motivation. All of this has already been stated in various ways at length.

well as already pointed out, a gun does have related perceptions
Those are perceptions brought to it, not inherent in it.

and fear of harm & death is aroused by a gun, due to its intended and used purpose
I do not use my gun for harm, death, or fear, and that is not its intended purpose.

but that is where I will leave it, it is still an individual choice as to what is appropriate.
Good idea and yes it is.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:33 am

tiltbillings wrote:If you do not have hands, you will not hold a gun, a knife, a club, or use your hands themselves to kill someone.


That's silly. Obviously, owning a gun is different from having a knife or a club (or your hands). Guns revolutionized the way wars are fought and there's a reason for it: they are way more likely to kill. You don't see soldiers going to battle with golf clubs!

This is assuming that theravadin buddhists are conscious objectors. If not, then owning a gun to protect yourself is a possible way to deal with threats.
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: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:38 am

SDC wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Other than going over the same ground repeatedly, do we have anything new to say here?


Practicing Buddhists shouldn't talk about guns. :D


Why?
I'm not trying to be flippant. But I think its worthwhile re-examining or questioning our own assumptions regarding, what is for some, an emotionally charged issue.

Like some here - I just don't get the gun culture in the US. Everyone arming themselves to the teeth out of fear creates the sort of problems that people buy guns try to protect themselves against. From my, perhaps limited, point of view - it looks like a catch 22. Perhaps my attitude is the result of living in a society where there is a very high degree of gun control and regulation.

On the other side of the coin is the valid premise that guns and bows can be used for worthwhile recreational purposes. I agree with Tilt and those who have said that "intention is key". We lay down the club and blade when we have laid down the intention to use those objects to harm others.
Anyway, they're just my thoughts.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby SDC » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:40 am

Ben wrote:
SDC wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Other than going over the same ground repeatedly, do we have anything new to say here?


Practicing Buddhists shouldn't talk about guns. :D


Why?


Complete sarcasm, Ben.

I actually thought this was a good topic. Shows how different we all think despite our common pursuit.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:44 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:well as already pointed out, a gun does have related perceptions
Those are perceptions brought to it, not inherent in it.

and fear of harm & death is aroused by a gun, due to its intended and used purpose
I do not use my gun for harm, death, or fear, and that is not its intended purpose.

seriously?
a - we are saying the same thing.
b - I was talking about original, not your purpose.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:51 am

Ben wrote:On the other side of the coin is the valid premise that guns and bows can be used for worthwhile recreational purposes. I agree with Tilt and those who have said that "intention is key". We lay down the club and blade when we have laid down the intention to use those objects to harm others.
Anyway, they're just my thoughts.
kind regards,

Ben

I don't get the gun culture either, but...
I would go further and say it is only laid down when we no longer want to pick them up, because of the perceptions of others fear can still arise in them.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:09 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:If you do not have hands, you will not hold a gun, a knife, a club, or use your hands themselves to kill someone.


That's silly. Obviously, owning a gun is different from having a knife or a club (or your hands). Guns revolutionized the way wars are fought and there's a reason for it: they are way more likely to kill. You don't see soldiers going to battle with golf clubs!
What is silly is your third and fourth sentences. A gun can do nothing until it is picked up by the hands of the individual who is going to use it.

This is assuming that theravadin buddhists are conscious objectors. If not, then owning a gun to protect yourself is a possible way to deal with threats.
This Theravadin Buddhist was a card carrying, state recognized conscientious objector, which is what I assume you mean by "conscious objectors," during the draft era of the late 60's and early to mid 70's. Owning a gun and being a conscientious objector are not contradictory.
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: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:11 am

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:well as already pointed out, a gun does have related perceptions
Those are perceptions brought to it, not inherent in it.

and fear of harm & death is aroused by a gun, due to its intended and used purpose
I do not use my gun for harm, death, or fear, and that is not its intended purpose.

seriously?
a - we are saying the same thing.
b - I was talking about original, not your purpose.
The point is that gun has no purpose until it is picked up.
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: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:13 am

Cittasanto wrote:, because of the perceptions of others fear can still arise in them.
Then you do not stick guns in their faces.
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: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby pilgrim » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:21 am

tiltbillings wrote:
pilgrim wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:A gun being a piece of steel and a bit of wood or plastic, has no intention. Why guns came to be does not mean that is how any particular gun must be used.

Going by this rationale, you would not have any objections if all Buddhist households own a dirty nuclear bomb with a 10 second timer. It would look good as a living room ornament right?
When you have an actual equivalent comparison, we can talk.

The object may be different but the rationale is the same.
Edit: Just as you used the pointy stick as a benign example, I just moved the argument to the other extreme to point out the flaw in it.
I think there are situations where Buddhists could own guns, like for harmless sport as you pointed out, but I disagree that a gun is no different from a pointy stick. With great power comes great responsibility, and for a practicing Buddhist the consideration he must give to the idea must be considerable.
Last edited by pilgrim on Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby rowboat » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:30 am

rowboat wrote:Image

:candle:

The weapons industry is an unsupportable evil. In the holy life there is no place for a gun.


Worth repeating.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:31 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:If you do not have hands, you will not hold a gun, a knife, a club, or use your hands themselves to kill someone.


That's silly. Obviously, owning a gun is different from having a knife or a club (or your hands). Guns revolutionized the way wars are fought and there's a reason for it: they are way more likely to kill. You don't see soldiers going to battle with golf clubs!
What is silly is your third and fourth sentences. A gun can do nothing until it is picked up by the hands of the individual who is going to use it.


I don't see anything silly in them. :shrug:

By that logic, women could wear cleavages in temples. There's nothing inherently wrong with cleavages. Yet they are banned from the temples.

tiltbillings wrote:
This is assuming that theravadin buddhists are conscious objectors. If not, then owning a gun to protect yourself is a possible way to deal with threats.
This Theravadin Buddhist was a card carrying, state recognized conscientious objector, which is what I assume you mean by "conscious objectors," during the draft era of the late 60's and early to mid 70's. Owning a gun and being a conscientious objector are not contradictory.


Happy to know a fellow concientious objector (that's what I meant, my english has its flaws). :smile:

They are not contraditory, but are certainly negatively correlated. I remember the story you told about a doctor who was serving in a war, and was a conscientious objector, and in the heat of the moment he killed another person (I don't remember if it was self deffense or other reason). Had there not been a gun there, he would not have killed. The problem with having guns is as exemplified in this and the other story I told: a gun can be a temptation in the heat of the moment. Not having them is better if you are following the first precept to its ultimate consequences.

This is a very american thing. Here in europe most countries put so many barriers on owning a gun that there's praticaly noone with a gun. Here the question is not "should a buddhist own a gun?", but "should a civilian own a gun?".
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: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:37 am

pilgrim wrote:The object may be different but the rationale is the same. Often, one has to push the argument to the extreme to see the flaw in it.
You pushed it over the edge, down the cliff and it died, which is the only flaw that was apparent.
I think there are situations where Buddhists could own guns, like for harmless sport as you pointed out, but I disagree that a gun is no different from a pointy stick.
They become implements of harm by virtue of how they are handled.
With great power comes great responsibility, and for a practicing Buddhist the consideration he must give to the idea must be considerable.
And no one here, I would hope, would disagree with that.
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: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:49 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:By that logic, women could wear cleavages in temples. There's nothing inherently wrong with cleavages. Yet they are banned from the temples.
That has to do cultural mores rather than any objective wrongness with seeing bits of boobs, or whole boobs, for that matter.

. . . a gun can be a temptation in the heat of the moment.
So can a knife, a rock, push down the stairs . . . .

but "should a civilian own a gun?".
That is a different thread.
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: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby rowboat » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:52 am

tiltbillings: They become implements of by virtue of how they are handled.


This is gibberish. What are you trying to say?
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:54 am

rowboat wrote:The weapons industry is an unsupportable evil.
The weapons industry is not the evil; it is a manifestation of the evil, which is a very big difference.
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: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:55 am

rowboat wrote:
tiltbillings: They become implements of by virtue of how they are handled.


This is gibberish. What are you trying to say?
They become implements of harm by virtue of how they are handled
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: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:04 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:By that logic, women could wear cleavages in temples. There's nothing inherently wrong with cleavages. Yet they are banned from the temples.
That has to do cultural mores rather than any objective wrongness with seeing bits of boobs, or whole boobs, for that matter.

. . . a gun can be a temptation in the heat of the moment.
So can a knife, a rock, push down the stairs . . . .

but "should a civilian own a gun?".
That is a different thread.


-The Buddha advised his monks not to look at women. Though it's not on the vinaya, it's an advice given by the Buddha, so it's not merely a cultural thing.

-So imagine a real life situation: you're a doctor serving in a war, treating a patient inside a tent. You're far from the door. An enemy soldier comes inside with his gun down. Now split this scenario in 3.

1- you have a gun
2- you have a knife
3- you have a rock

In which of these scenarios does the enemy soldier get killed? Can you still equate having a gun to having a rock?

-It wasn't my intention to start that debate.
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: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby rowboat » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:05 am

The weapons industry is not the evil; it is a manifestation of the evil, which is a very big difference.


The evil, to take one example, occurred when the six year old Cambodian girl recently had both her legs blown through her abdomen because she stepped on an American landmine. Which Western super-power still refuses to sign the ban on landmines? Whose industry lobbyists pay money to which nation's politicians to keep said nation from signing the landmine treaty?

I'm not sure what point you are trying to make when it comes to evil and manifestations of evil, but I suspect you are merely splitting hairs.
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:08 am

tiltbillings wrote:
rowboat wrote:
tiltbillings: They become implements of by virtue of how they are handled.


This is gibberish. What are you trying to say?
They become implements of harm by virtue of how they are handled


This is the same mentality of some mahayana people who say that renunciation is what's important, not the place you live or what you possess or if you wear robes.
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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