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 Ben » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:09 am

Hi MP,

Modus.Ponens wrote:-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?

Yes, but is it necessary to respond to the soldier's presence with violence? If one is a doctor treating a patient, would not treating the patient be your priority at that point in time?
kind regards,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:12 am

rowboat wrote:
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.
I can top your horrifying stories, but the point is the real evil is what lies behind the weapons industry. Landmines, B-52s, IEDs while horrifying, are a manifestation of something a bit more primal and problematic. And you are going off topic here.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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People live in one another’s shelter.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:13 am

Hi MP,

Modus.Ponens wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: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.


Respectfully, I disagree. It is consistent with the Buddha's doctrine of kamma:
"Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect."

— AN 6.63

kind regards,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:14 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
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.
That sounds like a few verses from the Dhammapada.
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 tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:22 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
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.
Of course it is a cultural thing. The Buddha lived within a very particular cultural milieu. As for telling monks not to look at women, you might want to keep in mind the Buddha's advice to Ananda concerning that.

-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 if I don't have a gun, the enemy soldier kills me and everyone else in the tent. I'll go with Gandhi on this.
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 David N. Snyder » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:31 am

Ben wrote: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.


Yes, I think a lot of the views expressed here have to do with experiences with the realities of life, Buddhist principles, and also a large degree to culture. I am sure that some of the Americans here (posting in favor of some type of voluntary gun ownership for target practice) and I might have expressed different views if we were not raised in the U.S. and vice versa. Now to really freak the non-Americans out, here is something that I also mentioned over at DW (Mahayana):

Did you know that in many western U.S. states that it is fully legal to walk around with 'open-carry'? That means you can walk outside in public with a pistol on your belt, holster, etc. and it is fully legal (so long as you are not a felon or other condition which precludes you from owning a gun). I would not do that or recommend that and in actual practice few do that as it appears to be just looking for trouble.

It is not as if everyone in America is waiting for a gun fight to occur, unless of course it is high noon on Friday. :rolleye: (just kidding)

I was exposed to guns and their safety from a young age; my father being in the military and later I was in law enforcement and also being exposed to some other experiences led to me find some interest in guns as a sport, shooting at targets. Fortunately I never went hunting and never liked the use of the firearms for killing or potentially killing and focused strictly on the shooting sport side of their use.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:36 am

Ben wrote: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.
The gun culture in the USA is like anything; it is not monolithic; it is varied as to motivation for owning a gun. It certainly is not all fear driven.
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 David N. Snyder » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:37 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.


Someone forgot to tell the women in Las Vegas that rule. Again, probably a cultural thing -- or maybe the weather; here it can get very hot in the summer.

Sorry, continue on back to topic. :guns:
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:41 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Ben wrote: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.
The gun culture in the USA is like anything; it is not monolithic; it is varied as to motivation for owning a gun. It certainly is not all fear driven.


Sure. Certainly from the outside looking in - it does look monolithic. I apologize for the mischaracterization.
kind regards,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:47 am

Ben wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Ben wrote: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.
The gun culture in the USA is like anything; it is not monolithic; it is varied as to motivation for owning a gun. It certainly is not all fear driven.


Sure. Certainly from the outside looking in - it does look monolithic. I apologize for the mischaracterization.
kind regards,

Ben
Cracky, imagine what we American see looking at Australia: shrimps on the barbie and sheelas (not to be confused with sheela-na-gigs) and not to forget goo-day and so on and so forth. Crocodile Dundee, Steve Irwin and the penis art guys
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 rowboat » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:04 am

tiltbillings: [...]but the point is the real evil is what lies behind the weapons industry. Landmines, B-52s, IEDs while horrifying, are a manifestation of something a bit more primal and problematic. And you are going off topic here.


I don't think I am going off topic. I agree that the weapons themselves, and the evil industries which create such weapons, are an extension of something ubiquitous; something found in the hearts of most every human being. But we cannot assume that the presence of this worm in the heart is somehow greater among the people of the United States; we reject this sort of argument -- although certainly the people of that country have many more weapons available at hand (speaking of guns), and also there is a certain culture of entitlement when it comes to the ownership of such weaponry which we can't ignore.

Recently it was reported by Der Spiegel that in the year 2011 German police fired a total of 85 bullets, while in just a single altercation in Los Angeles the police fired 90 bullets at an unarmed man. http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/20 ... al-in-2011

Presumably Germany has at least comparable levels of crime, and presumably all or the great majority of German police are armed with guns. So these realities would seem, at a glance, to support the argument many are making that it's not the gun -- guns are just tools -- it's the intention..., because German police clearly share very different levels of lethal intention from their policing counterparts in the United States.

And yet the numbers tell a different story. The United States is off the charts when it comes to violence involving guns, when compared to other countries. Why?

a) Because there are simply more guns.
b) Guns and gun violence are an intrinsic part of the national mythology of the United States.

The people here who make the argument that guns are merely tools and it's all about intention, etc. are playing a part in this tragic process of normalization of gun ownership.

As I said earlier: In the holy life there is no place for a gun.
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 Reductor » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:21 am

Hey rowboat.

The OP asked: should a practising Buddhist own a gun.

Is this question answered by pointing out the violence done by many people who are not Buddhist? Or does it answer a different question: should violent people own a gun?

Worse, there are many social factors in the U.S. which cannot be rivalled by most other countries on earth. Perhaps those factors could also be playing a part in the massive violence, with gun access being only an additional element.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:21 am

Greetings Tilt (or any other U.S. citizens for that matter),

Have you seen Michael Moore's "Bowling For Columbine", and do you think it's a reasonable assessment on American gun culture?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_for_Columbine

: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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
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 tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:22 am

rowboat wrote: . . . As I said earlier: In the holy life there is no place for a gun.
Thank you for sharing your 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.
"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 5:27 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt (or any other U.S. citizens for that matter),

Have you seen Michael Moore's "Bowling For Columbine", and do you think it's a reasonable assessment on American gun culture?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_for_Columbine

:guns:

Metta,
Retro. :)
It has been awhile, but for what it looks at, it is generally fair, but I don't think it covers everything. It does, however, show what creeps me out about certain aspects of the American gun culture, but keep in mind just because someone owns a gun that does not make them automatically a slack-jawed, mouth breathing, knuckle dragging member of the NRA.
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 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:31 am

Greetings Tilt,

Yeah, most specifically I was thinking about the comparisons Michael draws between the U.S. and Canada, and the role of fear (I think there was an interesting cartoon involved)

I apologise I can't be more specific either, but it's been a while since I saw it too.

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby rowboat » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:32 am

tiltbillings: but keep in mind just because someone owns a gun that does not make them automatically a slack-jawed, mouth breathing, knuckle dragging member of the NRA.


No, of course. But that doesn't mean some of the good people here are not equally willing to put to use many of the standard NRA arguments for gun ownership.
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 5:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

Yeah, most specifically I was thinking about the comparisons Michael draws between the U.S. and Canada, and the role of fear.
Fear has been an increasing commodity in US politics. It is something the Republicans are expert at manufacturing and exploiting.
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 5:35 am

rowboat wrote:
tiltbillings: but keep in mind just because someone owns a gun that does not make them automatically a slack-jawed, mouth breathing, knuckle dragging member of the NRA.


No, of course. But that doesn't mean some of the good people here are not equally willing to put to use many of the standard NRA arguments for gun ownership.
Okay.
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 5:39 am

tiltbillings wrote:
rowboat wrote:
tiltbillings: but keep in mind just because someone owns a gun that does not make them automatically a slack-jawed, mouth breathing, knuckle dragging member of the NRA.


No, of course. But that doesn't mean some of the good people here are not equally willing to put to use many of the standard NRA arguments for gun ownership.
Okay.


I'm glad you "agree" with me.

:quote:
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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