YOU CANNOT POST. OUR WEB HOSTING COMPANY DECIDED TO MOVE THE SERVER TO ANOTHER LOCATION. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN VIEW THIS VERSION WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING AND WILL NOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO ONCE THE OTHER SERVER GOES ONLINE.

Question about the first precept - Dhamma Wheel

Question about the first precept

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
CoreyNiles92
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:26 am

Question about the first precept

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:35 am

I was wondering, does murdering someone without the intention of doing so break the first precept? An accident for example.

Also, even with the intention, if you murder someone in self defense in a situation where you're left no other choice, would this break the first precept?

And one more, say the Buddha lived in a village, and the village was threatened to come under attack by barbarians, would the Buddha allow for safeguarding the village and it's inhabitants? Would those protecting him and his disciples be breaking the first precept by doing so? What would Buddha say about this? Would he simply allow himself and his disciples to die, as to not break or encourage the breaking of the first precept?

User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:56 am

Killing someone on accident is not a violation of the first precept. In order for an act to be considered "killing," five conditions must be met:

There is a living being.
There is the perception that the being is a living being.
There is the volition thought of killing.
The killing is carried out.
The being dies.

Thus, accidentally stepping on an insect fulfills the first condition and the last two conditions, but not the others.

Killing in self-defense, however, meets all criteria and thus is a violation of the first precept.
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


santa100
Posts: 2673
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby santa100 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:33 am

In self defense, one doesn't have to go so far as killing the attacker. One just needs to neutralize his ability to attack. So with mindfulness and skillful means, it's still possible to protect one's own safety without the presence of the third condition, the volition to kill, thus avoiding the violation of the first precept.

Yana
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:45 am

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby Yana » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:13 am

Hi,

You know what, i have often thought about this...i know it's hard but i wouldn't kill someone even in self defense..there are many ways to subdue an attacker very rarely would you need to kill someone..if it came down to kill or be killed i'd rather be killed to be quite honest..who wants to have that sort of guilt lying around or pay for that sort of bad kamma.No thanks i'll pass.I have better things to do in my present and future awaiting lives.
Life is preparing for Death

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby Ben » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:45 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

User avatar
polarbear101
Posts: 964
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:39 am
Location: California

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby polarbear101 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:49 am

There are many non-lethal defense strategies that can be employed before one decides to kill. Avoid rather than check; check rather than hurt; hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill; for all life is precious, nor can any be replaced. If you live in bear country, carry bear spray (a more potent form of pepper spray), i.e. there are methods to defend yourself without killing someone. Have a wholesome day!

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby Ben » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:53 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

CoreyNiles92
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:26 am

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby CoreyNiles92 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:54 am

What if you were drafted to a war, and found yourself fighting in a trench with your allies when a group of enemies storm in firing their weapons towards you, pepper spray wouldn't even phase them in such a frenzy, and you would be killed a hundred times over before reaching them to subdue. If you choose to allow them to murder you, you also choose to add greater risk of death to your allies by allowing their numbers to be reduced in your death.
---------------------------
Let's say Buddha and his disciples were inhabiting a village that was threatened by a group of barbarians, with promise to massacre the entire village once they arrive. A group of mercenaries shows up, offering their protection from the barbarians, with no time to evacuate would Buddha be justified in hiring mercenaries to safeguard the town? Or would he allow himself and his disciples to be murdered as to avoid breaking the first precept. Knowing they will not have rebirth, and the world would be rid of enlightenment for ages to come.
---------------------------
How about this morally ambiguous philosophical question, I've had trouble with this one myself.

Imagine being thrown into a scenario where you hold in your hands the fates of eleven lives, you are presented two options, inescapable, you must choose one of the two.

You stand atop a platform above a railway station, with a lever in front of you. There is a train heading down the track towards a brick wall, if it collides with the wall ten people within will die. You have the ability to change the tracks, allowing the train to avoid the wall and continue along on a safe track sparing 10 lives. The catch is that a man has fallen unconscious on this track, and you don't have the time to run down to help him, would you pull the lever and choose this mans fate yourself, sparing 10 innocent lives. Or would you allow nature to run it's course and not involve yourself, allowing 10 innocent people to die.

This one has stumped me for a while, but I seem to always end up at allowing the train to hit the wall, as I do not see it fit for me to intervene, stealing a mans life. But in allowing nature to run its course, I am effectively allowing 10 innocent people to die when I have the chance to save them. In both cases I'm allowing causalities, but only in one am I directly causing it. I have an issue with placing value on a life, therefore would not be able to easily distinguish the value of ten lives compared to one life.

User avatar
Mr Man
Posts: 2873
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby Mr Man » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:21 am


User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby Ben » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:07 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6524
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:38 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

User avatar
Mr Man
Posts: 2873
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby Mr Man » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:57 am


User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:53 pm

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


User avatar
Hickersonia
Posts: 264
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:40 pm
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Contact:

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby Hickersonia » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:13 pm

Okay, I read the Angulimala Sutta [MN 86] yesterday and this question made me think of it again.

Text here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The story in the sutta is basically that a vicious killer resides in this particular area where the Buddha is passing through and the Blessed One (by his super-normal powers) prevents the bandit from catching up to Him, even as he runs his darnedest and the Buddha maintains a walking pace, then even stops altogether.

In the end, the murderous Bandit is converted, and receives the going forth.

What I'm getting at is, if the preposterous situation of the original post had actually occurred, not only would the Buddha have not ordered any killing, but he would have quite probably converted, and even ordained the killers, making arahants of them and saving everyone in the village by his transcendental powers.

In other words, don't underestimate the Buddha too much -- he would never be presented with so few options as we, in our more limited state, would perceive.
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6524
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:43 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 10648
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:28 pm

Not too long ago here in Vegas a man was robbing a store with a sword and threatening people within the store. Several police arrived on the scene. When negotiations failed, a police officer-sharp-shooter -- shot the sword out the suspect's hand. Upon hearing the gun shot, the other officers all fired, killing the suspect.

:computerproblem:

It is not the recommended place to aim since the hand moves too much, but would have prevented the death of the suspect had the other officers refrained from shooting. Law enforcement officers are taught to aim for the middle torso, since it is the largest part of the body and has the least movement and to shoot only when their life or another person's life is in danger.
Image




C J
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:37 pm
Location: Sri Lanka

Re: Question about the first precept

Postby C J » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:19 am



Return to “General Theravāda discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 23 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine