CoreyNiles92 wrote: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.
The correct Buddhist response would have been to refuse service in the first place, so this question is hard to answer accurately.
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.
The Buddha would not have hired them, no. An arahant is incapable of killing or causing others to kill.
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.
The sad fact of life is that every human being dies. The choice is whether or not you want to be the one who kills them.
Mr Man wrote:Of Course they have.
To mitigate (a perceived) immanent threat is a Blair like argument. What if a Buddhist monk was to give the same advice (in relation to a specific threat) or was to follow that advice?
I agree that it's a technical violation of the first precept, but you can hardly blame someone for such an action in a situation where their life is truly on the line. Often, what an arahant would do is not always possible for laypeople who have family obligations or other reasons to defend with violence. It's not ideal but it is at least understandable.
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 SuttaStuff I write about things.