A few ethics questions re: killing

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A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby moyshekapoyre » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:01 am

Namaste,

I hope this is the right place.

I work part-time as a tutor at the local community college. Today a nice young man came in and I helped him specifically on the math section of the ASVAB, which is a military intelligence test. He said he wants to be a marine logistics officer. I said, "You mean, the one who plans the best way to kill people?" He said, "Yes." I asked why he wanted that occupation, and he said, "Because I need constant adventure and challenge." Well, I could have suggested he take up some more peaceful occupation, but I had a feeling that what he really wants is to be in the military. He's very muscular and I could tell that he wants to feel like a "real man" and use all that crazy testosterone he has. I tried to project metta to this young man as I tutored him in math. He says he will try to come to me every day that I work so that he can pass his test in one month. He said, "I really need your help!" I said, "I need your help just as much!" He said, "What can I do for you?" I said, "Help me build peace." He said, "I don't think I can do that, sorry."
On the one hand, I feel bad knowing that I am helping someone to become a highly skilled killer (this is specifically for a military test, remember)... but on the other hand, I know he will get help from someone if not me, and I think perhaps I could plant some dhamma seeds in his mind that may one day grow. Suggestions?

Now the perennial question re: killing bugs. I try really hard not to kill bugs. But as an intelligent person, I understand that by restricting their food supply, I am basically giving them a slow death. This means that if I want to not kill them, I have to continue to feed them (i.e. sleep on the mattress with bed bugs, or leave food out for roaches). But as I feed them, their population explodes and so perhaps many more will die as a result of natural cycles of overpopulation. So no matter what I do, I am killing them. Any intention to not kill them is merely willful ignorance of the consequences of my actions.

I've heard other Buddhists say that it's really all about how your own mind is affected, and so restricting food supply may be not so bad for your mind compared to squashing a bug or throwing poison out for it?

Right now we have fleas in the living room, and my mom is intent on killing them (with a bucket of water they jump into). Personally I would rather just let them bite me, but it turns out that human blood is poison to fleas! Anyway, I feel a bit out of touch with reality with all these ethical concerns.

The other day I had to deal with a maggot infestation on the lid of the trash can and I suddenly understood a sutta about a monk who cut his own flesh out to draw the maggots away from the suffering dog, so as not to harm the maggots. I tried to get the maggots out of the trash can in various ways without harming them, but I killed probably half of them in the process. They really are very fragile! I wished them peace and happiness and I did feel guilty, but mainly I just wanted to never do that again... but everyone would think I'm totally bats if I cut my flesh out to draw them away!

I asked Bhante Seelananda about the bug question and he simply said, "Please abstain from killing insects!" He doesn't like to expound much--I suppose he doesn't have a lot of computer time.

Thanks folks...
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby cooran » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:51 am

Hello moyshekapoyre,

What will happen to the maggots if they are collected with the trash?

I don’t think there are any non-harming ways of removing fleas – it may be that your mother has to eradicate them.

I once had a problem with mice, and managed to get some non-killing traps, keep them in a mouse house and then release them with food into a rural area with a creek nearby.


Regarding the student who wants to study skills to enable him to join the army – these articles may give you a deeper understanding of the varied Buddhist outlook on the military - sorry for the amount of reading I'm suggesting :tongue: :
Buddhism & The Soldier by Major General Ananda Weerasekera
http://www.beyondthenet.net/thedway/soldier.htm

Can We Justify War? Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/wh ... ev/287.htm

The Buddha and the Four-Limbed Army: The Military in the Pali Canon Matthew Kosuta Ph.D
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma6/militarycanon.html

Violence and Disruption in Society - A Study of the Early Buddhist Texts by Elizabeth J. Harris
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 2.html#ch1

with metta
Chris
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby waimengwan » Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:43 pm

Samsara always puts us between the rock and a hard place. And most often than not we create negative karma unwillingly.

So thinking about it in this way should make us weary of samsara :) .
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:27 pm

cooran wrote:Hello moyshekapoyre,

What will happen to the maggots if they are collected with the trash?

I don’t think there are any non-harming ways of removing fleas – it may be that your mother has to eradicate them.

I once had a problem with mice, and managed to get some non-killing traps, keep them in a mouse house and then release them with food into a rural area with a creek nearby.

This thread may be of assistance:
Breaking the First Precept
viewtopic.php?f=32&t=11446

Regarding the student who wants to study skills to enable him to join the army – these articles may give you a deeper understanding of the varied Buddhist outlook on the military - sorry for the amount of reading I'm suggesting :tongue: :
Buddhism & The Soldier by Major General Ananda Weerasekera
http://www.beyondthenet.net/thedway/soldier.htm

Can We Justify War? Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/wh ... ev/287.htm

The Buddha and the Four-Limbed Army: The Military in the Pali Canon Matthew Kosuta Ph.D
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma6/militarycanon.html

Violence and Disruption in Society - A Study of the Early Buddhist Texts by Elizabeth J. Harris
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 2.html#ch1

with metta
Chris


You can justify anything, including war, but the consequences of your actions may be beyond your ability to withstand the resulting horrors. Anyone who has been involved in a military conflict can tell you that from their own experience.

Dogs have long had a means for tolerating fleas: They eat them.

Another thought: There is an old saying: "Lie down with dogs. Get up with Fleas!" It occurs to me that the reverse may be true. Try lying down dogs if you have fleas, and perhaps the fleas will jump over to the dogs, and then you won't have to kill the fleas. :tongue:
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A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby Annapurna » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:47 pm

Goodness.

You have to do something against the fleas, or you will have to move out one day...!

Are you willing to...?
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby whynotme » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:02 am

Dear moyshekapoyre,

Great tries.

But IMO you are wrong with the feeding the roaches.

Let look at this, you meet a stranger in the street begging for food, if you don't give him any, are you killing him? No, not a bit. If you don't give him, others may give him.

If your friends comes to your place to eat something but you don't give him, he will come back to his home to eat. You won't be charged as murderer by not letting him eat at your house.

Similarity, let see the roaches as friends, annoying friends. If you don't like them, you don't need to feed them, you should let them find other place to lives and hunts for food themselves. You don't have responsibility for their food as your human friends either.

Personally, I haven't killed anything for along time. I let the mosquitos bite me, if I see ants on a stream of water I spend time save them. But if I don't like them, I don't feed them, I am not their mother. I must have responsibility for me first before anyone else.

You should concentrate on youself. If your mother want to kill them, it is not your karma. If you aren't killing, it is good for you, you can't control others action, it is an uncomfortable fact and so is samsara. You should accept everything as it is. You should accept your friends, your family aren't Buddhists as you. They may kill, lying, stealing, those aren't your kama. We in samsara just meet others like strangers on the street, let them be and you will have peace.

The Buddha hadn't using his flesh to feed anybody, so you should follow him, not other monks. And I doubt that monk in the story, is it in the Nikayas or just a legend? I read a lot of suttas and havent read anything like that.

Remember, you first, all other things secondly. The Buddha before enlightenment, he only seeked enlightentment, he didn't feed anyone.

Best wishes.

PS: the Buddha said one shouldnt do bussiness in trading weapons, flesh, poison. But he doesn't restrict the military career or martial art training for lay person.
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby moyshekapoyre » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:14 am

Indeed, it seems the Buddha of the Tipitaka was a big hypocrite when it comes to killing. Not ok to kill anything at all, but you must continue to be a soldier until your time is up!

I'm afraid I will have to be a bit more careful with what Buddhist "wisdom" I accept from now on.

As for those who say I should not worry about the actions of others at all, and only pay attention to my own actions--that is certainly not what Buddha did. He saw that some people might benefit from hearing his words and so he spoke them to those people.
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:50 am

moyshekapoyre wrote:Indeed, it seems the Buddha of the Tipitaka was a big hypocrite when it comes to killing. Not ok to kill anything at all, but you must continue to be a soldier until your time is up!

Indeed, it seems that you need to be more careful when reading the translations of the Tipitaka. There is an enrmous range of teachings in the Tipitaka, and knowing the context is crucial.

Disregard the Faults of Others

A Saint Goes Ungrieving

Having slain mother and father and two warrior kings,
and having destroyed a country together with its chancellor,
a Saint goes ungrieving . Dhp v 294

See also: The Kesi Sutta. Note the Buddha's attitude to those who turn out to be unteachable.
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:39 am

PS: the Buddha said one shouldnt do bussiness in trading weapons, flesh, poison. But he doesn't restrict the military career or martial art training for lay person.


Regarding the military career, I advise that one at least reads this

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn42/sn42.003.than.html

before signing on the dotted line.
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby whynotme » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:07 pm

Sam Vega wrote:
PS: the Buddha said one shouldnt do bussiness in trading weapons, flesh, poison. But he doesn't restrict the military career or martial art training for lay person.


Regarding the military career, I advise that one at least reads this

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn42/sn42.003.than.html

before signing on the dotted line.

A very good quotation.

The military's main purpose is to harm and to kill, but there must be a reason the Buddha didn't restrict military career at all. In his time, at least there was a famous lay person named Siha was a general. And it is said that when cakkavatti appears (the king turns the wheel / the king uses dhamma to operate the country), seven jewels exists include a general for his army.

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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby DarwidHalim » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:04 pm

In my opinion, not all killing goes against ethics.

There are situations you really have no choice according to your best judgement at that moment.

You don't kill him for fun. You don't kill him because you are angry. You don't kill him because you are crazy.

If because of buddhism, it makes us idiot not knowing which one is appropriate, then buddhism has made us becoming ethic extremist.

Some time, you have no choice to kill someone, because you have to save the victim of the murderer and the murderer from deep hell.

I saw this video, the police shot this canibal, because he didn't have choice.

If you are the police and you don't shot this canibal, you are the victim of your own extreme view.

It is your intention at the end that govern, not the action itself.



I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:10 pm

DarwidHalim wrote:In my opinion, not all killing goes against ethics.


Well, that is true. The question is "Whose ethics?" Most religions have a "Don't kill clause." But, because of the need for self defense, community defense, and national defense, many forms of killing are justified by the jurisdictions in charge. Abortion is justified the same way, as is execution of murderers in some states.


DarwidHalim wrote:There are situations you really have no choice according to your best judgement at that moment.


Yes, but if you do, then depending on the jurisdiction in charge you will be subject to various consequences for your actions.

DarwidHalim":You don't kill him for fun. You don't kill him because you are angry. You don't kill him because you are crazy.


Who is the" you" that you are talking about. These reasons for killing happen all the time. And, according to Buddha's teachings those that do wind up with rebirths in the hell realms as a result.

DarwidHalim": If because of buddhism, it makes us idiot not knowing which one is appropriate, then buddhism has made us becoming ethic extremist.


Buddham explained very clearly that we are to cause no harm to sentient beings, and in a Sutta called The Simile of The Saw, he explained that it is better to have one's legs and arms cut off than to spend even a few days in The Hell Realms. But, you can do what you want if you are willing to experience the consequences. That is your choice.

DarwidHalim":Some time, you have no choice to kill someone, because you have to save the victim of the murderer and the murderer from deep hell.

I saw this video, the police shot this canibal, because he didn't have choice.


You always have a choice. However, you must first learn to overcome your natural defense reflexes. For example, I would not hesitate to stop someone from killing a child of mine, or a child of yours. But, I would, if possible, stop short of killing the perpetrator.

As for canibals, if you consider all life forms to be your brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers in past lives, what do you eat to keep yourself alive without being a cannibal yourself?

Great questions, by the way. :anjali: Ron
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But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby DarwidHalim » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:08 am

In the kesi Sutta provided by Bhikku Pesala, we can see that even Buddha can kill someone.

I do not see killing as killing.

I see killing as just another form of activity.

I can't really kill someone anyway, even I cut his head, in the next second he just appear in another form.

When I decide to do something on him, whether I give him food or kill him, what I am doing is actually the activity to interfere his kamma.

I need to see whether my interference will bring him good or bad from the dualistic point of view.

There are people who do something from outside look good, but actually the intention is bad.
There are also people who do something from outside look bad, but actually the intention is good.

I do not see soldier job as inherently sinful. I do not see war as sinful.

Because in reality, there is nothing inherently good or bad coming as this is always good, this is always bad.

For the carnival issue, it is really not wrong as a police not to shoot that cannibal.

That is the karmic relationship between the carnival and the victim, probably the victim is previously the cannibal, and the cannibal is previously the victim.

At that point, then it really becomes your call, should I interfere their karma or not.

I do not think by shooting the cannibal I do bad thing for him, because by shooting him I can actually save him from deep hell.

This cannibal although has harm the person, he will receive his Kamma.
But,
He hasnt kill the victim.

If I do not kill him that make him kill the victim, for sure he will go to suffer even more. Deeper hell is waiting for him.
The police action can be seen as saving him from that perspective.

We don't know what is the perspective of the police when he shot him, so it doesn't automatically mean the police actually do good to the cannibal.
If for example the police shot him out of anger, then the police is actually skin very bad kamma for himself and he build a strong relationship with the victim in the negative way.
But if he shot him out of pure good thing in his mind, he has done good thing for three of them.

In any condition, everything can always be seen as good and bad, because in reality good or bad is coming from the google we wear, not dictated or inherently there from this nature.

Someone can do something with not honest intention, but that is their problem.

When you are honestly do your action, even killing can be seen as compassionate act.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:39 am

DarwidHalim wrote:In the kesi Sutta provided by Bhikku Pesala, we can see that even Buddha can kill someone.


Context is everything. It is not real killing. The Buddha was referring to an incorrigible person not worth time and effort in teaching or speaking to.

The Buddha wrote:“It is true, Kesi, that it's not proper for a Tathagata to take life. But if a tamable person does not submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild and harsh training, then the Tathagata does not regard him as being worth speaking to or admonishing. His knowledgeable fellows in the holy life do not regard him as being worth speaking to or admonishing. This is what it means to be totally destroyed in the Doctrine and Discipline, when the Tathagata does not regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing, and one's knowledgeable fellows in the holy life do not regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing.”


DarwidHalim wrote:I can't really kill someone anyway, even I cut his head, in the next second he just appear in another form.


That is a very dangerous logic and not what anatta or rebirth doctrines were ever meant to convey. Using that logic one could kill anyone, anytime, since they don't have a soul and will take another form anyway. The Buddha clearly would not agree with such a notion.
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby DarwidHalim » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:01 am

This is because you have the concept of death as something real death.

If you really have death as just a erroneous pointer, you will really feel you never born and you never die.

If this word die and born can cause discomfort, it shows that concept has deeply inside us.

If someone who has ability to see beyond normal eyes, say you just die a few minutes ago, I will ask him if I die, how can I talk to you now?

If you really see death as death, birth as birth, of course this word will bring a feeling there is killing. Because you really sense death and born.

But if you can see that in reality there is no birth and death, you will just see killing as just word that change phenomena. THIS WORD of KILLING will feel LIGHT in you. If you will this word as heavy, it means you really feel you are born and you really feel you die.

Someone can say he just die yesterday, but he just doesn't know that the person is standing besides him talking to him.

Just because he doesn't have eyes to see that person, he have this wrong view as if there is someone die.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby santa100 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:38 pm

The Buddha made it very clear about killing in DN 29 ( http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Pasadika_Sutta ):
"The brother who is arahant, in whom the intoxicants are destroyed, who has lived the life, who has done his task, who has laid low his burden, who has attained salvation, who has utterly destroyed the fetter of rebirth, who is emancipated by the true gnosis, he is incapable of perpetrating nine things :

1. He is incapable of deliberately depriving a living creature of life.

2. He is incapable of taking what is not given so that it constitutes theft.

3. He is incapable of sexual impurity.

4. He is incapable of deliberately telling lies.

5. He is incapable of laying up treasure for indulgence in worldly pleasure as he used to do in the life of the house.

6. He is incapable of taking a wrong course through partiality.

7. He is incapable of taking a wrong course through hate.

8. He is incapable of taking a wrong course through stupidity.

9. He is incapable of taking a wrong course through fear."
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Re: A few ethics questions re: killing

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:09 pm

DarwidHalim wrote:This is because you have the concept of death as something real death.


Fortunately, the Buddha did not teach in dualistic, non-dualistic, poetic nonsense. He spoke plainly and bluntly.

"All beings tremble before danger, all fear death. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill. All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill." Dhammapada, 129-130


"Monks, one possessed of three qualities is put into Purgatory according to his actions. What three? One is himself a taker of life, encourages another to do the same and approves thereof. Monks, one possessed of three qualities is put into heaven according to his actions. What three? He himself abstains from taking life, encourages another to so abstain, and approves of such abstention."
Anguttara Nikaya, 3.16
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