killing with good intention

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

Re: killing with good intention

Postby greenjuice » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:47 pm

Why would anyone hand a novice a firearm? Also, concerning "you may intend to wound him in the arm", Buddha says that kamma is in the intention. If can aim at a man with the intention to kill him, you can aim at him with the intention to wound him.
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Re: killing with good intention

Postby kmath » Fri Nov 29, 2013 11:27 pm

seeker242 wrote:Solution: shoot him in the shoulder so he can't push the button. :woohoo:


This doesn't answer the question. The OP specifically said that the only way to stop the man is to kill him -- you just have to assume that's true.
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Re: killing with good intention

Postby seeker242 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:41 pm

kmath wrote:
seeker242 wrote:Solution: shoot him in the shoulder so he can't push the button. :woohoo:


This doesn't answer the question. The OP specifically said that the only way to stop the man is to kill him -- you just have to assume that's true.


Correct, but it sounds very much like a "false dilemma". The chances of that being the one and only option, in reality, I would say are extremely unlikely, slim to none actually. Hypothetical situations that would never actually happen, are pretty much irrelevant when it comes to reality. What use is examining your ethical conduct in situation that would never actually happen? It seems more prudent to examine one's conduct in situations that are realistic, because those are the only ones that actually count.

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Re: killing with good intention

Postby Dan74 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:49 pm

A bunch of teachers and commentators seem to assume that there is never kamma from non-action. Like failing to save a drowning man, or even try, failing to feed a hungry beggar, etc.

The failure to act, the choice of one's serenity over a disturbance, the choice of avoiding bad kamma and letting many die rather than taking on bad kamma and saving many as well as the potential killer from some kammic consequences of his action - these are deeply selfish attitudes, and would clearly carry kammic consequences, any way I look at it, whether or not, they are actions or omissions.
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Re: killing with good intention

Postby greenjuice » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:16 pm

This rule against intentionally causing the death of a human being is best understood in terms of five factors, all of which must be present for there to be the full offense.

1) Object: a human being, which according to the Vibhaṅga includes human fetuses as well, counting from the time consciousness first arises in the womb immediately after conception up to the time of death.
2) Intention: knowingly, consciously, deliberately, and purposefully wanting to cause that person's death. "Knowingly" also includes the factor of —
3) Perception: perceiving the person as a living being.
4) Effort: whatever one does with the purpose of causing that person to die.
5) Result: The life-faculty of the person is cut as the result of one's act.

...

Inaction. Given the Vibhaṅga's definition of taking life, we can infer that inaction does not fulfill the factor of effort here, for it does not cut off the life faculty. Thus if a bhikkhu sits idly when seeing a flood sweep a person downstream, he commits no offense — regardless of his feelings about the person's death — even if the person then drowns. Recommending that another person sit idly as well would also not fulfill the factor of effort here, because the category of command covers only the act of inciting the listener to do any of the four actions that would fulfill the factor of effort under this rule.

Medical care and life-support. The same holds true if a bhikkhu decides not to give a patient a treatment — or to discontinue treatment — that might conceivably extend the patient's life: It does not fulfill the factor of effort, for such acts do not cut off the life faculty. At most they simply allow it to end on its own.


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Re: killing with good intention

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:22 pm

Dan74 wrote:A bunch of teachers and commentators seem to assume that there is never kamma from non-action. Like failing to save a drowning man, or even try, failing to feed a hungry beggar, etc.
The failure to act, the choice of one's serenity over a disturbance, the choice of avoiding bad kamma and letting many die rather than taking on bad kamma and saving many as well as the potential killer from some kammic consequences of his action - these are deeply selfish attitudes, and would clearly carry kammic consequences, any way I look at it, whether or not, they are actions or omissions.


:goodpost: I agree. All too often I see on forums such as this, that some posters respond that they will use the saw simile and accept being killed or that they will sit idly by while others are being killed. One poster in a similar thread actually said he would watch people being killed while sitting and watching his sensations.

This is fine if you are a bhikkhu or an arahant, but we are (most of us) lay people with families and responsibilities. There is sometimes the tendency of lay Buddhists to suggest or require the bhikkhuification of lay people; by placing too high of demands on lay people, be it expecting lay people to be celibate, expecting lay people to always be passive, etc.

It is one thing to use the saw simile for yourself, but to impose that on others; that doesn't sound too compassionate to me. It is certainly good to be nonviolent in all possible aspects but sometimes being nonviolent can mean doing nothing and sometimes doing nothing is not compassionate as we all know from our personal experiences; be it not speaking out, not defending someone, be it verbally or physically.
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Re: killing with good intention

Postby kmath » Sat Nov 30, 2013 5:33 pm

David N. Snyder wrote::goodpost: I agree. All too often I see on forums such as this, that some posters respond that they will use the saw simile and accept being killed or that they will sit idly by while others are being killed. One poster in a similar thread actually said he would watch people being killed while sitting and watching his sensations.

This is fine if you are a bhikkhu or an arahant, but we are (most of us) lay people with families and responsibilities. There is sometimes the tendency of lay Buddhists to suggest or require the bhikkhuification of lay people; by placing too high of demands on lay people, be it expecting lay people to be celibate, expecting lay people to always be passive, etc.

It is one thing to use the saw simile for yourself, but to impose that on others; that doesn't sound too compassionate to me. It is certainly good to be nonviolent in all possible aspects but sometimes being nonviolent can mean doing nothing and sometimes doing nothing is not compassionate as we all know from our personal experiences; be it not speaking out, not defending someone, be it verbally or physically.


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