Is intentionally causing pain always akusala?

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Is intentionally causing pain always akusala?

Postby Coyote » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:42 pm

I practice a martial art/sport called Brazilian jiu jitsu or BJJ for short. By all accounts it's a pretty violent sport. The aim being to score points by putting yourself in advantageous positions and your opponent in disadvantaged positions, but ultimately to make them submit by putting them in arm-bars, chokes and other moves that cause pain. Is the intention to cause pain by performing an arm-bar or whatever akusala? Of course oftentimes the pain is unintentional, but when you are going for a submission you do intend to perform a move that you know causes pain.
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Re: Is intentionally causing pain always akusala?

Postby convivium » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:46 pm

:yingyang:
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Is intentionally causing pain always akusala?

Postby santa100 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:20 pm

I practice judo, a close cousin to jiu-jitsu. During sparring, although both me and my training partner would try to unbalance and throw the other onto the mat, neither one has the intention to cause harm since we're aware that we're training partners. We train hard so that when having to face a real life situation, we won't panic, we let the training kicks in and try to get out of the situation quickly. And if a practitioner is well-trained, s/he would have the discipline to control themselves so that they'd try their best not to engage or in the worst case, minimize the damage done to the attacker just to get out of the situation. That's the true "Tao" of martial arts, like Bruce had said..
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Re: Is intentionally causing pain always akusala?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:37 pm

Coyote wrote: Is the intention to cause pain by performing an arm-bar or whatever akusala?


Does anything good come out of this?
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Re: Is intentionally causing pain always akusala?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Mar 25, 2013 4:25 pm

I feel like it is hardly unwholesome if the other person is down with it. Just don't use those chokeholds on strangers and you'll be fine :)
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

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Is intentionally causing pain always akusala?

Postby Cassandra » Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:27 pm

If the intention to cause pain is to teach a student something, then it cannot be an ill intention. I don't see how it is akusala
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Re: Is intentionally causing pain always akusala?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:11 pm

Cassandra wrote:If the intention to cause pain is to teach a student something, then it cannot be an ill intention. I don't see how it is akusala


But it sounds as if in this context the intention of imposing pain is to win the bout?
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Re: Is intentionally causing pain always akusala?

Postby Win123 » Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:14 pm

Funny, I practiced BJJ for a number of years myself under various Gracies and had thought of this in a general way, whether it was consistent with being a Buddhist. I think the answer depends on the situation and context. For instance, a man is robbing someone unable to defend themselves and committing violence towards them and you happen to walk by and see it. It would seem like the skillful thing to do would be to intervene with the necessary application of force to stop the violent attack and if you had proper training to do it in a way that would not permanently injure another person as in BJJ, that seems like the height of skillful action. If on the other hand, you are the robber and are using your training to take advantage of other people well, obviously not so skillful.

In a practice situation, both parties agree to a set of rules including the fact that a person may get caught in a submission hold and will feel some pain as a result. But the purpose of feeling the temporary pain is to build a skill which could be used to promote a peaceful end as in the above. Again, that seems pretty skillful in a Buddhist sense. Recall that meditation is often very painful too, sometimes much worse than any pain I every felt in BJJ practice. I think it's only a problem if your intention to cause pain comes from wanting to hurt someone else and not trying to prevent even greater violence from occurring.
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