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 5:43 am

rowboat wrote:
I'm glad you "agree" with me.

:quote:
Less agreement and more acknowledgement of your statement.
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 retrofuturist » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:44 am

Greetings Tilt, all,

Yes, that's the way it seems... and that feeds the "cetana" (intention) behind gun ownership, but of course, cetana is an individual thing rather than a collective thing, and it's something that both Buddhists and non-Buddhists have.

In that regard the "practicing buddhist" (as compared to others) would have the advantage of having more awareness of their mind-states (Right Mindfulness), and have the intention to progress towards wholesome mindstates (Right Effort)... not to mention the first precept.

It's not the Buddhist gun-owners I'd be worried about... it's those driven by fear, those driven by greed, those driven by anger, those driven by ignorance, those who do not value life, and those whose only deterrent against killing is the risk of getting caught.

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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Truth_Seeker1989 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:39 am

There seems to be two sides here. One for pure pacifism, basically. And the other for responsible ownership of guns/weaponry for self defense, when all other options are exhausted.

Scenario A:

How would a Buddhist society survive without modern weaponry in a world full of non-Buddhists?

Do you honestly believe that to be possible without the help and involvement of the U.N.?

Scenario B:

The world is now majority Buddhist, but there are still dissidents out there who want nothing to do with it, and they stockpile guns, and use terrorism against the governments and Buddhist peoples. There is no other 'logical' option available but to shoot back, otherwise we are just cattle sent to the slaughter. How do we defend ourselves?


My answer...

A: A Buddhist society would be one of logic, science, and rationality. There would be continuous research into better weapons, but only for pure self defense of the nation and it's peoples. Without logic, with pacifism, we would be the laughing stock of the universe. Our goods would simply be taken by small packs of non-Buddhists with guns, carried away right in front of our eyes. Our women would be the pick of the crop as far as Earth goes, because we will not challenge even a small paramilitary organisation of sex traffickers, which would be bound to develop right at our borders, because we won't do a damn thing about it, we can't, riot tactics will not work against real guns and training.

B: A sociopaths heaven, because we won't take up arms to defend ourselves.


I see too much extreme here. The Buddha taught the Middle way. Doesn't the 'Middle Way' apply here as well? We can neither be too aggressive, nor too passive, but in-between.

Being too aggressive is against the teachings of the Buddha, and being too passive is illogical and makes us a coward. But the middle way, in between both of those, of pure self defense, using any and all means necessary before taking life, seems to be pretty damn rational, logical, and plain old COMMON SENSE.

I say to the one who is too aggressive: Practice mindfulness, and read the suttas about loving kindness and compassion. Try to understand those who you wish harm upon.

I say to the one who is too passive: Your a coward and/or unwise, with no real life experience of violent situations, and only looking for justification for your cowardice/lack of wisdom, by coming up with something that any reasonable person would say is irrational, because to not defend yourself is illogical. In today's society, and even in the futures, there will always be weaponry. To think otherwise is great, but that age will never exist for many years to come, if ever. Anyone who really takes a look at the world can see that. And do you honestly believe Humans to be the only life out in this massive Universe? We are one of the youngest Galaxies out there.


Responsible gun/weaponry ownership is the middle way. An active military even in a Buddhist country, created for pure self defense of the nation, is the middle way (Yeah, I know about bad politics, greed, ignorance, etc, but take it as it is for now, pure self defense of the country). Pacifism is an extreme, that should be avoided. Warmongering is the other extreme, that should be avoided.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Mr Man » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:00 am

Hi Tilt
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.

Again later you say "The point is that gun has no purpose until it is picked up."

But there are others who think differently. For example Bodhisvasti says "A gun is for self defense". The idea that a gun is for self defense is exactly why you need tough gun control. That a 22 year old can own a gun specifically with the idea that it is needed for seld defense (not sport, not for his/her work, Not because it is a beautiful object or family heirloom) is scary.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Truth_Seeker1989 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:12 am

The idea of a twenty three year old owning a gun, after taking a class that teaches all other alternatives before it's actual use, a young man who would keep that gun for the pure self defense, when all other options are exhausted, of his family and friends, of his community, is a thing to be proud of!

However, the idea of a snivelling coward who hides when his friends and family are threatened with physical violence, makes me gag. That man should be arrested for not doing anything at all when it was clear he could, even with little risk to himself. That is a sad day, a sad man.
Everything that makes you, you, is the result of your Environment (Society, Culture, Family, Friends, Etc), Genetics/Biology (Your brain which makes the mind possible, Inborn diseases such as Down Syndrome, or even Psociopathy, etc), Thoughts (Everything you think affects your mind, and the person you are), Speech (Same as thoughts, but words affect your environment as well), Actions (Same as Speech), and the Elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Space, and Time).
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:27 am

Mr Man wrote:Hi Tilt
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.

Again later you say "The point is that gun has no purpose until it is picked up."

But there are others who think differently. For example Bodhisvasti says "A gun is for self defense". The idea that a gun is for self defense is exactly why you need tough gun control. That a 22 year old can own a gun specifically with the idea that it is needed for seld defense (not sport, not for his/her work, Not because it is a beautiful object or family heirloom) is scary.
A lot of 22 year olds are scary, even without guns.
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 Doshin » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:32 am

marc108 wrote:
jason c wrote: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?
.


i dont believe that is true, in the context of the type of people you find here. i would like to think all of this Bhavana we do would not go out the window in a violent situation and we would have the ability to choose to put a bullet in someones arm rather than their head.

again, there are no rules, per say, against harming. the 1st precept is about killing. ...


I do not agree. It depends on translation/lineage, I have often heard the 1st precept as "I will refrain from harming living beings".

'Right livelihood' in the eight-fold path is often explained as "avoiding any means of livelihood that involves harm or exploitation of others."
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:34 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:, because of the perceptions of others fear can still arise in them.
Then you do not stick guns in their faces.

You don't need to stick a gun in someones face for fear to arise for that person due to the weapon.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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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 7:36 am

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:, because of the perceptions of others fear can still arise in them.
Then you do not stick guns in their faces.

You don't need to stick a gun in someones face for fear to arise for that person due to the weapon.
What are you talking about here?
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 Ben » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:44 am

tiltbillings wrote:A lot of 22 year olds are scary, even without guns.


Indeed they are.

The following is from a news story today of the sentencing of Matthew Milat, who at age 17, murdered his 'friend' by way of axe.

Matthew Milat, the great-nephew of serial killer Ivan Milat has been sentenced to 43 years in jail with a 30-year non-parole period for the brutal murder of 17-year-old David Auchterlonie...

...Milat later bragged about his actions, telling friends that he was doing "what my family does", and attempted to glorify the murder in a series of poems he wrote in jail and later sent to his mother.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/milat-jailed- ... z1xBZuHQnk
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Mr Man » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:46 am

Bodhisvasti wrote:The idea of a twenty three year old owning a gun, after taking a class that teaches all other alternatives before it's actual use, a young man who would keep that gun for the pure self defense, when all other options are exhausted, of his family and friends, of his community, is a thing to be proud of!



No it isn't. Who taught you that? Will Kane?
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:You don't need to stick a gun in someones face for fear to arise for that person due to the weapon.
What are you talking about here?

the simple fact that hearing gun fire can be frightening for people, same way fireworks are frightening to animals when they go off, even if they can't see them.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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 Truth_Seeker1989 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:51 am

Mr Man wrote:
Bodhisvasti wrote:The idea of a twenty three year old owning a gun, after taking a class that teaches all other alternatives before it's actual use, a young man who would keep that gun for the pure self defense, when all other options are exhausted, of his family and friends, of his community, is a thing to be proud of!



No it isn't. Who taught you that? Will Kane?


A young man prepared to defend his family and community through the use of a gun, when every other option has been exhausted isn't something to be proud of? Right. Because cowardice is the new thing of today. Common sense taught me that. The stories of my ancestors taught me that. The acts of brave men taught me that. Defending the helpless is always a virtuous act. And IMO, should be required by law, unless it would bring obvious harm to the helper.
Everything that makes you, you, is the result of your Environment (Society, Culture, Family, Friends, Etc), Genetics/Biology (Your brain which makes the mind possible, Inborn diseases such as Down Syndrome, or even Psociopathy, etc), Thoughts (Everything you think affects your mind, and the person you are), Speech (Same as thoughts, but words affect your environment as well), Actions (Same as Speech), and the Elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Space, and Time).
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:55 am

Cittasanto wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:You don't need to stick a gun in someones face for fear to arise for that person due to the weapon.
What are you talking about here?

the simple fact that hearing gun fire can be frightening for people, same way fireworks are frightening to animals when they go off, even if they can't see them.
And this has what to do with what? Some people are fearful of thunder. I have a friend who is terrified of frogs and the sounds they make. I shoud not own a gun because there are people out there who are fearful of the sound of a gun?
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 Doshin » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:08 am

tiltbillings 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?
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.


Soldiers are trained to instinctively kill every threat. So if he sees you reach for a gun, he would kill you before thinking (that's his training). If he sees doctors uniforms and you with your hands up, he is much less likely to kill you. I don't think you stand a chance against a professional soldier pointing a gun at you, if you are a doctor reaching for a gun.

Even if you get the chance to kill him, he probably just is one in a big group of enemy soldiers; and their next step would probably be to just throw some handgrenades into your tent.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Mr Man » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:16 am

Bodhisvasti wrote:
A young man prepared to defend his family and community through the use of a gun, when every other option has been exhausted isn't something to be proud of? Right. Because cowardice is the new thing of today. Common sense taught me that. The stories of my ancestors taught me that. The acts of brave men taught me that. Defending the helpless is always a virtuous act. And IMO, should be required by law, unless it would bring obvious harm to the helper.


Your rationalization is not convincing. Not sure what cowardice has to do with anything.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Truth_Seeker1989 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:19 am

Mr Man wrote:
Bodhisvasti wrote:
A young man prepared to defend his family and community through the use of a gun, when every other option has been exhausted isn't something to be proud of? Right. Because cowardice is the new thing of today. Common sense taught me that. The stories of my ancestors taught me that. The acts of brave men taught me that. Defending the helpless is always a virtuous act. And IMO, should be required by law, unless it would bring obvious harm to the helper.


Your rationalization is not convincing. Not sure what cowardice has to do with anything.


I have no idea how else to explain it, bud. A young man at twenty three who is prepared, 'after all peaceful options are exhausted', to defend his family and community, is a thing to be proud of. That is rational. A coward is the opposite of that.
Everything that makes you, you, is the result of your Environment (Society, Culture, Family, Friends, Etc), Genetics/Biology (Your brain which makes the mind possible, Inborn diseases such as Down Syndrome, or even Psociopathy, etc), Thoughts (Everything you think affects your mind, and the person you are), Speech (Same as thoughts, but words affect your environment as well), Actions (Same as Speech), and the Elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Space, and Time).
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:20 am

Bodhisvasti wrote:There seems to be two sides here. One for pure pacifism, basically. And the other for responsible ownership of guns/weaponry for self defense,

if you think that then you need to understand life in another context outside of guns.

anything can be turned into a weapon for defensive purposes and if one has to pre-arm themselves it says one of two things, they are living in fear due to fabrications, or they actually live in a situation where the fear is real
like this
http://badassoftheweek.com/omari.html

surely practicing buddhists should be eliminating fear

SN 56.42 - Papata Sutta: The Drop-off translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha at Vulture's Peak. Then he said to the monks, "Come, monks, let's go to Inspiration1 Peak for the day's abiding."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

Then the Blessed One together with a large number of monks went to Inspiration Peak. One of the monks saw the huge drop-off from Inspiration Peak and, on seeing it, said to the Blessed One, "Wow, what a huge drop-off! What a really huge drop-off!2 Is there any drop-off more huge & frightening than this?"

"There is, monk, a drop-off more huge & frightening than this."

"And which drop-off, lord, is more huge & frightening than this?"

"Any priests or contemplatives who do not know, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress'; who do not know, as it actually is present, that 'This is the origination of stress'... 'This is the cessation of stress'... 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': They revel in (thought-) fabrications leading to birth; they revel in fabrications leading to aging; they revel in fabrications leading to death; they revel in fabrications leading to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Reveling in fabrications leading to birth... aging... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair, they fabricate fabrications leading to birth... aging... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Fabricating fabrications leading to birth... aging... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair, they drop over the drop-off of birth. They drop over the drop-off of aging... the drop-off of death... the drop-off of sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. They are not totally released from birth, aging, death, sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. They are not totally released, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

"But as for any priests or contemplatives who do know, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress'; who know, as it actually is present, that 'This is the origination of stress'... 'This is the cessation of stress'... 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': They don't revel in (thought-) fabrications leading to birth; don't revel in fabrications leading to aging; don't revel in fabrications leading to death; don't revel in fabrications leading to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Not reveling in fabrications leading to birth... aging... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair, they don't fabricate fabrications leading to birth... aging... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Not fabricating fabrications leading to birth... aging... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair, they don't drop over the drop-off of birth. They don't drop over the drop-off of aging, don't drop over the drop-off of death, don't drop over the drop-off of sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. They are totally released from birth, aging, death, sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. They are totally released, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

"Therefore, monks, your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
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 Mr Man » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:26 am

Bodhisvasti wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
Bodhisvasti wrote:
A young man prepared to defend his family and community through the use of a gun, when every other option has been exhausted isn't something to be proud of? Right. Because cowardice is the new thing of today. Common sense taught me that. The stories of my ancestors taught me that. The acts of brave men taught me that. Defending the helpless is always a virtuous act. And IMO, should be required by law, unless it would bring obvious harm to the helper.


Your rationalization is not convincing. Not sure what cowardice has to do with anything.


I have no idea how else to explain it, bud. A young man at twenty three who is prepared, 'after all peaceful options are exhausted', to defend his family and community, is a thing to be proud of. That is rational. A coward is the opposite of that.


I can imagine George Zimmerman may have once said somthing similar. Is the US not yet tired of all this gun madness.
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Re: should a practicing buddhist own a gun?

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:33 am

Cittasanto wrote:surely practicing buddhists should be eliminating fear

I agree, but there is a limit to how much one can take responsibility for the mind-states of others.
If one is a member of a gun club and one's gun is locked and only used at the gun club range under the regulations of the gun club then I believe that person is being responsible.
kind regards,

Ben
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