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 Hanzze » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:41 am

I agree with you tendency, but the underlining discrepancy is "Can we call somebody still having/using a gun a Buddhist" (from a view of refuge and taking precepts) and that is what seems to lead to defending situations here. Understandable if we like to be one.

And they lived arguing, quarreling, and disputing, wounding one another with weapons of the mouth, saying, "The Dhamma is like this, it's not like that. The Dhamma's not like that, it's like this."

Then in the early morning, a large number of monks, having put on their robes and carrying their bowls and outer robes, went into Savatthi for alms. Having gone for alms in Savatthi, after the meal, returning from their alms round, they went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to the Blessed One: "Lord, there are many brahmans, contemplatives, and wanderers of various sects living around Savatthi with differing views, differing opinions, differing beliefs, dependent for support on their differing views... and they live arguing, quarreling, and disputing, wounding one another with weapons of the mouth, saying, 'The Dhamma is like this, it's not like that. The Dhamma's not like that, it's like this.'"

Various Sectarians


It's not so easy to put the gun's down.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:08 am

Hanzze wrote:I agree with you tendency, but the underlining discrepancy is "Can we call somebody still having/using a gun a Buddhist" (from a view of refuge and taking precepts) and that is what seems to lead to defending situations here. Understandable if we like to be one.
A couple of things. You need to slow down with your writing here. You can do better than this, but I think I get what you are trying to say. I own a gun, I shoot it and I am a Buddhist in terms of the Triple Refuge and the precepts. While I'll listen to and consider other opinions here, what matters in terms of my practice is what I do, not how other people judge me.

The point here is that there are a variety of opinions concerning this issue, some very well stated, but they are just that -- opinions. We can share them, but we also need to allow for the differences with out getting into a fruitless and less than wholesome finger pointing of saying you are not a Buddhist because you do not agree with the "right" opinion.
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.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby jason c » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:43 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Over at Dharma Wheel (Mahayana) there was a long discussion about guns; it got pretty heated at times and the moderators closed the thread several times (currently it is closed).
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=4884

My view is sort of in the middle:

Though I am a gun owner, I do not support the wide proliferation of firearms. Guns are not for everyone. There are some gun-nuts who believe everyone should be armed. There are a number of people who should not own guns, including those with mental health issues, ex-convicts, felons, those prone to marital strife, short-tempers, etc., and of course those who simply don't have a need or interest. I do not advocate that everyone should have a gun. But for some there may be an interest and necessity or simply a sport to shoot at paper targets.
hi david,

do you not feel that with the technological advances in food production, the days of guns being a necessary tool for survival are over. my post is directed to practicing buddhists, not the general public. how is shooting a gun at a paper target in any way profitable towards the goal of liberation, by this action one may encourage their children or others that gun ownership is something to cultivate, this can only lead to harm in the future. also, the argrument of SELF protection seems comical to me, practicing day in and day out to realize the SELF as an illusion and then owning a gun to protect this illusion.

metta,
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:49 am

jason c wrote: how is shooting a gun at a paper target in any way profitable towards the goal of liberation,
Do you do anything for recreation that is not Buddhist, practice related?
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 retrofuturist » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:51 am

Greetings,

"Gun" is an external object. I find the tendency to speak of "gun" in absolutes to miss the entire point of the Dhamma.

I could point back to Rahula's mirror yet again, but that would probably be boring for you all. In short, kamma is cetana/intention

:guns:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby daverupa » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:55 am

This is why I used the word "armament", as a way to include intention in the term itself - the tool is quite beside the point, as a staff can be a weapon or a medical aid just as a gun can be a weapon or a piece of sports gear. The fact that a monk using a walking stick requires a special dispensation is a sign of how easily confused people can be about this distinction.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Ben » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:37 am

Hanzze wrote:Did you ever try to hit a inside target, is this talent really useful to gain insight? Is the propose really one that trains concentration of is it the joy coming with hitting a target.

I assume that "inside target" you mean something internal - practice related.
Target shooting has some similarities to kasina practice, Hanzze. Many of the Japanese martial arts (and perhaps other asian martial arts as well) have as their basis and goal - mental cultivation.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby SDC » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:01 pm

jason c wrote: also, the argrument of SELF protection seems comical to me, practicing day in and day out to realize the SELF as an illusion and then owning a gun to protect this illusion.


Gun owners can correct me if I am wrong, but I think it may have to do with family protection.

I do not own a gun, and probably never will. However there are some sick people out there. Since we have chosen the lay life and many of us have other people depending on us for support and protection the idea of owning a gun for protection makes sense. Obviously you do not want to use it and hurt another, but if someone is going to harm your children or spouse you will want the opportunity to protect them. That's how I see it.

In regards to using guns for target shooting - aside from the danger aspect which can be controlled with proper safety measures, I do not see that it is a problem for practice. I see it as very similar any other hobby.
Through many of samsara’s births I hasten seeking, finding not the builder of this house - pain is birth again, again. O builder of this house you’re seen, you shall not build a house again, all your beams have given away, rafters of the ridge decayed, mind to the unconditioned gone, exhaustion of craving has it reached.(Dhp - 153, 154)
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby alan » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:07 pm

Once on a visit to Nashville I was invited to go trap shooting and had no choice but to accept...thought I was going to hate it. But guess what? I learned that proper technique and posture as well as a alertness were essential for good results. A focused mind and well balanced body--pointed concentration. The opportunity to shoot last only a second or two and you must respond without discursive thought, tuning in to the moment. Fun!
I found it to be quite satisfying. Went target shooting a few times too, and I enjoyed the focus. I'd do it more often, but don't live near a gun range and don't own a gun. But I do own a camera, and I am often near a beach. This may sound odd, but the focus and clarity I experience when "shooting" photos is not totally unlike what I felt on the gun range. I can see why people get into it.

Of course, photography is a bit more spiritual and holistic, at least for me. Plus it is much quieter!

So to answer the question: Whether or not a practicing Buddhist owns a gun is irrelevant. But if that person uses a gun in a way that enhances their awareness and concentration, well then I say fire away.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:45 pm

jason c wrote:how is shooting a gun at a paper target in any way profitable towards the goal of liberation,


As has been mentioned by others there is concentration skills, etc. but even if you don't consider it as moving toward the goal of liberation; does everything we do need to be towards the goal of liberation? Do you listen to music, watch tv, movies, sports, entertainment, etc? None of these items move towards the goal either, but as lay people they are things we still engage in sometimes. Or how about sexual relations? As lay people there are things we do everyday which are not what an arahant would do, but that time will come at some future date and then we can put aside the mundane worldly things.

jason c wrote:also, the argrument of SELF protection seems comical to me, practicing day in and day out to realize the SELF as an illusion and then owning a gun to protect this illusion.


If you are crossing a street and a bus comes barreling down at you at a high rate of speed, do you move out of the way, or let the bus run you over? We all do things to protect ourselves and avoid death and danger. An arahant might do something else, but are we really there yet? If you have no regard for protecting your own life, how about those under your protection, such as small children?
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:50 pm

alan wrote:So to answer the question: Whether or not a practicing Buddhist owns a gun is irrelevant. But if that person uses a gun in a way that enhances their awareness and concentration, well then I say fire away.


:thumbsup:

There is a forum devoted to people who use guns for sport target shooting, at paper targets. The talk on the forum is only about target sports events, the mechanics of the guns and which ones are best, etc. There is no talk of killing, no talk about hunting, etc.
http://www.targettalk.org/index.php

It is all about intention and what you use it for; there are many like myself that have never shot a human or animal and have no intention of doing so either.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:07 pm

I have a very strict interpretation of the first precept and I don't think I would ever own a gun for the purpose of self-protection because it would be too likely that I might kill someone.

I don't think there's anything wrong with target shooting so long as it isn't in preparation for any other type of shooting that might harm, or if it leads to any kind of violent urge. I've seen a few people who target shoot get a little too into it and it doesn't seem to be good for them. On the other hand, many people like to, as Ben said, treat it as a meditative exercise.

My "policy" I guess would be that it's okay for sport but not for protection. I would try my hardest to get a sport rifle or pistol from a company that did not produce other weapons as well, in order to make sure I wasn't inadvertently taking part in the trading of weapons made for killing.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby marc108 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:21 pm

i think it's very easy to get into theoretical debates over whether gun ownership is wholesome or not, especially if you personally have never been exposed to violent crime. but when someone has you cornered alone, or someone is kicking the door in with your wife and children in the house... it becomes much less theoretical. the reality is that the world is full of extreme violence, and as far as I can tell in my studies of Buddhism the Buddha did not forbid protecting ones self... but the issue is rather, harming others with the unwholesome intentions. It would be absolutely possible to defend yourself with a gun in a nonlethal way, and not have your primary motivating intentions be unwholesome. To me, one of the most valuable aspects of owning a gun is that simply wielding a gun at someone is enough to end 90% of possibly violent altercations instantly without any actual violence.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby jason c » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:46 pm

i brought up a point that everyone has sidestepped, if i own a gun simply to shoot at targets, i must keep that gun locked up, if a member in my family is young or deranged and they find the key, take my gun and kill someone with it, has this hobby been worth it. why would anyone take a chance keeping a weapon such as a gun in their home when so much effort must be put forth just to protect people from it. seems very selfish, and a foolish hobby to me. and if a bus was headed toward me i would simply step aside, i wouldn't pull out a gun and shoot the bus driver. in situations of life and death there usually isn't time to think we simply react. if i have time to think, i better get my gun out of the safe load it and protect my family, you will have made a consciouss choice to kill.
if i leave my house in an angry mood all i will find outside is anger, i will attract it. if i keep a gun in my house for the purpose of killing someone in the event they come to harm my family, i may actually be attracting such an event.
if we are mindful, then as we participate in daily activities we can see if these are beneficial activities or not. if we are not mindful, then we are asleep and may become overpowered by our emotions.
we begin to lead more skillful lives, simpler lives, as we do not crave all the excitements life has to offer.
metta,
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby jason c » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:51 pm

marc108 wrote:i think it's very easy to get into theoretical debates over whether gun ownership is wholesome or not, especially if you personally have never been exposed to violent crime. but when someone has you cornered alone, or someone is kicking the door in with your wife and children in the house... it becomes much less theoretical. the reality is that the world is full of extreme violence, and as far as I can tell in my studies of Buddhism the Buddha did not forbid protecting ones self... but the issue is rather, harming others with the unwholesome intentions. It would be absolutely possible to defend yourself with a gun in a nonlethal way, and not have your primary motivating intentions be unwholesome. To me, one of the most valuable aspects of owning a gun is that simply wielding a gun at someone is enough to end 90% of possibly violent altercations instantly without any actual violence.


really?????? the most valuable aspect of owning a gun is weilding it at someone.
back to your cushion!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby marc108 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:54 pm

jason c wrote:...



No, what i was trying to say is that wielding a gun affords you the ability to end a violent altercation before it even begins... with a much greater ability than anything else. i know someone who was alone with his expensive sports car, and 2 guys approached him in an attempt to rob him... he simply wielded his firearm and they ran. had he not had his gun, they likely would have gotten into a fist fight and all of them would have been subjected to a much higher level of violence and suffering.


this same logic would then have to apply to anything that could be used as a weapon... kitchen knives and such. this is akin to saying if your child took your car for a spin without you knowing and killed someone, has owning a car been worth it? it's a line of thinking that seems to make sense when applied specifically to a gun, but falls apart in a wider context. also, it is a false assumption that by using a gun to protect ones family one would have to kill. It completely possible to use a gun for protection in a nonlethal way. I also dont think the Buddha taught 'the secret' line of thinking in that we attract certain things to ourselves, re: owning a gun would attract violence towards ones self.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby jason c » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:05 pm

marc108 wrote:
jason c wrote:...



No, what i was trying to say is that wielding a gun affords you the ability to end a violent altercation before it even begins... with a much greater ability than anything else. i know someone who was alone with his expensive sports car, and 2 guys approached him in an attempt to rob him... he simply wielded his firearm and they ran. had he not had his gun, they likely would have gotten into a fist fight and all of them would have been subjected to a much higher level of violence and suffering.


this same logic would then have to apply to anything that could be used as a weapon... kitchen knives and such. this is akin to saying if your child took your car for a spin without you knowing and killed someone, has owning a car been worth it? it's a line of thinking that seems to make sense when applied specifically to a gun, but falls apart in a wider context. also, it is a false assumption that by using a gun to protect ones family one would have to kill. It completely possible to use a gun for protection in a nonlethal way. I also dont think the Buddha taught 'the secret' line of thinking in that we attract certain things to ourselves, re: owning a gun would attract violence towards ones self.


how we carry ourselves(kamma) is exactly this , cause and effect, if i don't carry a gun i cannot shoot someone. if i weild a gun at the first sign of trouble i most certainly will be attracting trouble.
kitchen knives are tools for cooking, if my son misbehaves i don't wave a knife in his face.
and also for the record, i don't own a car i ride a bicycle as my principal mode of transportation. cars are tools and they too are abused in todays world.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby marc108 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:24 pm

jason c wrote:how we carry ourselves(kamma) is exactly this , cause and effect, if i don't carry a gun i cannot shoot someone. if i weild a gun at the first sign of trouble i most certainly will be attracting trouble.
kitchen knives are tools for cooking, if my son misbehaves i don't wave a knife in his face.
and also for the record, i don't own a car i ride a bicycle as my principal mode of transportation. cars are tools and they too are abused in todays world.



you are painting unlikely extremes and taking what i said out of context. again this boils down to will you protect yourself if you need to, with or without a gun? that's the real issue here.

my understanding of how the Buddha presented Kamma does not include that having the ability to protect oneself will create the conditions that one would be more likely to need to protect oneself.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby SDC » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:37 pm

jason c wrote:and also for the record, i don't own a car i ride a bicycle as my principal mode of transportation. cars are tools and they too are abused in todays world.


Jeez, thanks for making me feel like sh^t. :tongue:
Through many of samsara’s births I hasten seeking, finding not the builder of this house - pain is birth again, again. O builder of this house you’re seen, you shall not build a house again, all your beams have given away, rafters of the ridge decayed, mind to the unconditioned gone, exhaustion of craving has it reached.(Dhp - 153, 154)
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby jason c » Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:00 pm

marc108 wrote:
jason c wrote:how we carry ourselves(kamma) is exactly this , cause and effect, if i don't carry a gun i cannot shoot someone. if i weild a gun at the first sign of trouble i most certainly will be attracting trouble.
kitchen knives are tools for cooking, if my son misbehaves i don't wave a knife in his face.
and also for the record, i don't own a car i ride a bicycle as my principal mode of transportation. cars are tools and they too are abused in todays world.



you are painting unlikely extremes and taking what i said out of context. again this boils down to will you protect yourself if you need to, with or without a gun? that's the real issue here.

my understanding of how the Buddha presented Kamma does not include that having the ability to protect oneself will create the conditions that one would be more likely to need to protect oneself.


hi marc108,
in a life or death situation, you will simply take action, no thinking will be necessary. if however you have the time to go to your safe, unlock it, load your gun, you will have made a conscious choice to hurt or harm someone. why invite that into ones life?


hi SDC,
my wife has a car, we both use it to run errands, its great! i speak from experience as someone who has abused the car privelage,(drinking and driving, speeding, road rage, etc....) my past is not very shiny. do not feel i'm being judgemental with my postings, most of them come from my own life experience. if i hadn't found the dhamma i am quite sure i would have killed someone or myself. i'm lucky to have woken up.
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