Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby mettafuture » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:31 am

Kabouterke wrote:But you said it yourself, they oppress people in the name of Buddhism. They did it in the name of Buddhism, full stop. There's just no debating about that. As far as politics, news and conflict goes, it's what's done in the name of Buddhism that counts.

You didn't answer my question.

Anyone can do anything in the name of anything.

With all of these milliosn of posts I've written today, I tried to show that I actually agree with you. I don't believe they are real Buddhists. [..] For them, for everybody it was "Buddhist violence": it came from a group that is Buddhist.

So which is it? Are they Buddhists, or not?

Someone says they burned your house down in the name of Buddhism, you have all the reason in the world to believe what they say.

If a mathematician says they burned your house down in the name of Calculus, we have all the reason in the world to believe what they say...

A more accurate headline for these news articles would read "Violent mob posing as Buddhist monks terrorizes Muslim minority."

Kabouterke wrote:
mettafuture wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:I think we can make the topic under discussion a little more focused if we ask instead: "is committing violence consistent with the Buddha's teachings?"

This is indeed a more nuanced way to look at this topic.

As far as I've seen, evidence to support such a correlation has yet been presented.

Is it necessary to find evidence of that?

If you want to give credence to the concept of "Buddhist violence", yes. Without it, you just have a group of people, with no clear religious affiliation, doing violent acts while posing as Buddhists.
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby chownah » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:38 am

Buddhist violence doesn't exist? Depends on what you mean by Buddhism. Buddhist violence exists to the extent that Buddhism is people.....if Buddhism is viewed as a dogma then, of course, Buddhist violence does not exist.

It is amazing how ambiguity can lead one into argumentative befuddlement!

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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby binocular » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:40 am

mettafuture wrote:Those descriptions aren't "violent." They're reality. It's a fact that were are all subject to old age, illness, and death.

The Bible also talks of reality. And reality is that people sometimes persecute and kill people and do all kinds of other ugly things.

Throughout history, Buddhism actually has gotten a bad reputation for focusing so much on greed, anger and delusion, for talking so much about aging, illness and death.


Perhaps some could take AN 4.111 to extremes, for example:

By using the words of a horse trainer to justify murder?

Like I said: if taken to extremes.


-- The Buddha's response, which was an advocation of silence, not violence.

Sure, but it's a statement that someone could misconstrue as "If others do not convert to your religion, kill them."
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:50 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:In the Jātaka verses these mostly occur in connection with some miscreant (usually Devadatta) getting zapped by the utterance of a saccakiriyā (e.g., “Etena saccavajjena, muddhā te phalatu sattadhā!” — “By this utterance of truth may your skull explode into seven pieces!”) spoken by one of the Buddha’s future leading disciples

.....

Unlike some of his modern western admirers, the Lion of the Sakyans (as one would expect of a kṣatriya) is no advocate of simple-minded hippie pacifism.

Perhaps this speaks more of the authors of the Jātaka verses and their degree of enlightenment with respect to that of the Tathagata.

:buddha1:

If there's grounds for violence in a mind rooted in non-greed, non-aversion, non-delusion, I've not discovered it.

Metta,
Retro. :)

I believe the quote that Bhante gave is from the Majhima Nikaya...

:anjali:
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby binocular » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:56 am

Kabouterke wrote:Is it necessary to find evidence of that? I think everybody here's in agreeance that committing violence is not consistent with Buddha's teachings.

There is use of force, and there is violence. The two are not the same. Use of force isn't always violent, while violence always implies a use of force of some kind.


retrofuturist wrote:If there's grounds for violence in a mind rooted in non-greed, non-aversion, non-delusion, I've not discovered it.

One should protect the Dharma, should one not?

In Tibetan Buddhism, they have the Mahakala as the protector of the Dharma. He doesn't look particularly harmless, nor is he intended to be so.


Lazy_eye wrote:I don't think one has to be a simple-minded hippie pacifist to oppose the pogroms that are going on in Burma -- or the participation of certain elements among the Buddhist clergy. That's simply a matter of basic morality. If the Venerables involved think they are demonstrating their enlightenment in this way, or delivering some sort of Dhamma lesson, then enlightenment has no meaning and the Dhamma is nonsense. One might just as well join the Mafia.

Pacifism simply isn't universally viable.
We live in a kill-or-be-killed world. One cannot ignore that.

If the reports are true (although there is some reason to believe they aren't, as noted in the other recent thread on this topic), I don't condone the behavior of the monks, but I can understand how it can come about and why in some circumstances, it is the only course of action that has some chance for ensuring one's survival against an opponent.


Gandhi's passive resistence worked only because the British were moral enough to get disgusted by killing people who did not resist in a physical way. Someone less moral than the British, such as the Nazis, did not get disgusted and did not stop.
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby Aloka » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:12 am

binocular wrote:In Tibetan Buddhism, they have the Mahakala as the protector of the Dharma. He doesn't look particularly harmless, nor is he intended to be so.


In Tibetan Buddhism, Mahakala is the wrathful aspect of Chenrezi (the bodhisattva of compassion and loving kindness) and the purpose of Mahakala practice is to protect the Vajrayana practitioner from delusion and mental obstacles to their own Dharma practice.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with harming others.

.
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby mettafuture » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:26 am

binocular wrote:
mettafuture wrote:
binocular wrote:Perhaps some could take AN 4.111 to extremes, for example:

By using the words of a horse trainer to justify murder?

Like I said: if taken to extremes.

:embarassed:

The Buddha's response, which was an advocation of silence, not violence.

Sure, but it's a statement that someone could misconstrue as "If others do not convert to your religion, kill them."

And I'm sure that same "someone" could also read a cookie recipe as a killing manual.

mikenz66 wrote:I believe the quote that Bhante gave is from the Majhima Nikaya...

It's from the Digha Nikaya (DN 3).
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby Vern Stevens » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:06 am

binocular wrote:There is use of force, and there is violence. The two are not the same. Use of force isn't always violent, while violence always implies a use of force of some kind.


If you would be willing, I'd like to read your distinction between violence and use of force.
“What we think, we become.“ - The Buddha
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby Doshin » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:42 am

binocular wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:If there's grounds for violence in a mind rooted in non-greed, non-aversion, non-delusion, I've not discovered it.

One should protect the Dharma, should one not?


What is the Dhamma ? Where/how does one find the Dhamma ? Without a clear definition, it is very hard to answer your question.

_/\_
Knowing about dhamma, does not imply knowing dhamma
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:40 pm

mettafuture wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I believe the quote that Bhante gave is from the Majhima Nikaya...

It's from the Digha Nikaya (DN 3).

Hmm, yes, I was mixing it up with this one:
MN35 wrote:Then the Blessed One said to him, "Answer now, Aggivessana. This is not the time to be silent. When anyone doesn't answer when asked a legitimate question by the Tathāgata up to three times, his head splits into seven pieces right here."

Now on that occasion the spirit (yakkha) Vajirapāṇin [Thunderbolt-in-Hand], carrying an iron thunderbolt, was poised in the air above Saccaka the Nigaṇṭha-son, (thinking,) "If Saccaka the Nigaṇṭha-son doesn't answer when asked a legitimate question by the Blessed One up to three times, I will split his head into seven pieces right here."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:anjali:
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby barcsimalsi » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:49 pm

This story is taken from the MN 50 Maratajjaniya Sutta:
At that time, Moggallana was Mara, chief of demons, lord of the lower worlds, and his name was Mara Dusi. He had a sister by name of Kali whose son was to become the Mara of our age. Hence Moggallana's own nephew was now standing in front of him at the door post. While being the Mara of that distant time, Moggallana had attacked a chief disciple of the previous Buddha by taking possession of a boy and making him throw a potsherd at the holy disciple's head so that blood was flowing. When the Buddha Kakusandha saw this, he said: "Verily, Mara knew no moderation here" — because even in satanic actions there might be moderation. Under the glance of the Perfect One the astral body of Mara Dusi dissolved on the spot and reappeared in the deepest hell. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el263.html

Does it mean when the antagonist knows no moderation, violence can be use?
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:44 pm

Vern Stevens wrote:
binocular wrote:There is use of force, and there is violence. The two are not the same. Use of force isn't always violent, while violence always implies a use of force of some kind.


If you would be willing, I'd like to read your distinction between violence and use of force.


I think it would depend on which definition of "force" one is using:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/force
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:19 pm

MN35 wrote:Then the Blessed One said to him, "Answer now, Aggivessana. This is not the time to be silent. When anyone doesn't answer when asked a legitimate question by the Tathāgata up to three times, his head splits into seven pieces right here."

Now on that occasion the spirit (yakkha) Vajirapāṇin [Thunderbolt-in-Hand], carrying an iron thunderbolt, was poised in the air above Saccaka the Nigaṇṭha-son, (thinking,) "If Saccaka the Nigaṇṭha-son doesn't answer when asked a legitimate question by the Blessed One up to three times, I will split his head into seven pieces right here."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


I agree that such passages are interesting, but it seems to me they have little or no relevance to the current events. For one thing, no Tathāgata is present in the world right now. Secondly, those carrying out the violence are not attempting to deliver a dhamma teaching; rather they are acting out of an apparent mix of ethonationalistic and economic motives.

Dhammanando wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Perhaps this speaks more of the authors of the Jātaka verses and their degree of enlightenment with respect to that of the Tathagata.


For anyone interested, here is a link to the Paṇḍara Jātaka, wherein Sāriputta, then lord of the nāgas, slays Devadatta, then an evil ascetic, with the approval of the Bodhisatta, then lord of the garuḍas.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/j5/j5011.htm


Sāriputta utters words of condemnation, which apparently cause the earth to open up and swallow Devadatta. He is not depicted as taking up a weapon to smite his enemy. To me, it looks more as though by stating the nature of Devadatta's kammic offense, he triggers the arising of the appropriate vipaka. And in any case, this sort of thing is a narrative trope which probably shouldn't be regarded as a statement about Buddhist ethics.

Non-delusion (amoha, paññā) in the Jātakas is for the most part represented as a sort of Solomonic shrewdness and acuity in analysing and understanding situations and people, coupled with a practical prudence that enables a Bodhisatta to deal optimally with life's vicissitudes. Sometimes an optimal outcome cannot be achieved while keeping one's hands clean, in which case the Bodhisatta takes a proportionalist approach (much as dhammika rājās are expected to do). As the Bodhisatta is as yet unawakened, we shouldn't expect his paññā to be of the level that permanently eradicates kilesa and the harmful actions that issue from kilesa.


As a layperson, I can certainly attest to the truth of this, but what I would question is whether the people involved these hate campaigns and pogroms are displaying "shrewdness and acuity". Their behavior is crude and hysterical. A person with more wisdom would consider the harm such actions are likely to bring, including the possibility of making Burma a target for jihadist retribution, and the possibility of endangering Buddhist minorities in countries such as Bangladesh and Indonesia, or in Thailand's Deep South. Not to mention the economic damage caused by the riots, or the risk of triggering another military putsch.

in short, their actions not only fail on grounds of principle, but also of pragmatism. "Self defense" also fails as a justification because no one has shown that Muslim shopkeepers or Rohingya refugees pose an serious, immanent threat to Myanmar's (nearly 90%) Buddhist majority. If you look at the "arguments" put forward by the 969 people (examples can be found on the web), you will see that they rely heavily on stereotyping and scapegoating, not much different from the paranoia of the National Front and other European fascist groups.
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby binocular » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:02 pm

Aloka wrote:
binocular wrote:In Tibetan Buddhism, they have the Mahakala as the protector of the Dharma. He doesn't look particularly harmless, nor is he intended to be so.

In Tibetan Buddhism, Mahakala is the wrathful aspect of Chenrezi (the bodhisattva of compassion and loving kindness) and the purpose of Mahakala practice is to protect the Vajrayana practitioner from delusion and mental obstacles to their own Dharma practice.
It has nothing whatsoever to do with harming others.

Who said it does?

Protecting oneself/one's practice may result in harming others, though.

And if someone were to attack a Buddhist temple - do you think the monks should just stand there are let it?


Vern Stevens wrote:
binocular wrote:There is use of force, and there is violence. The two are not the same. Use of force isn't always violent, while violence always implies a use of force of some kind.

If you would be willing, I'd like to read your distinction between violence and use of force.

Force is what one needs to use to move around furniture, or to push away a person that is trying to strangle one. One can also use force in speech, such as by speaking harshly, loudly etc.
Violence is when one uses force with the specific intention to harm others.
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby Aloka » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:32 pm

binocular wrote:

Protecting oneself/one's practice may result in harming others, though.



In the case of the explanation I gave, how can that result in harming others?

And if someone were to attack a Buddhist temple - do you think the monks should just stand there are let it?


I try not to speculate about 'mights' and 'ifs' . :)

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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby Vern Stevens » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:39 pm

binocular wrote:Force is what one needs to use to move around furniture, or to push away a person that is trying to strangle one. One can also use force in speech, such as by speaking harshly, loudly etc.
Violence is when one uses force with the specific intention to harm others.


Thank you for explaining your conception of these terms.
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby binocular » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:37 am

Aloka wrote:
binocular wrote: Protecting oneself/one's practice may result in harming others, though.


In the case of the explanation I gave, how can that result in harming others?

Suppose someone would forcefully try to convert you to their religion, to the point of using pyhsical force. Would you not fight back, which can lead to the other person being injured?


And if someone were to attack a Buddhist temple - do you think the monks should just stand there are let it?

I try not to speculate about 'mights' and 'ifs' .

It's about understanding the principles one reasons with, not about "speculating about ifs."

Buddhist temples do get attacked - note the Chinese invasion of Tibet, or the way theTalibans entered the world's political scene, for example.
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby binocular » Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:58 am

Lazy_eye wrote:As a layperson, I can certainly attest to the truth of this, but what I would question is whether the people involved these hate campaigns and pogroms are displaying "shrewdness and acuity". Their behavior is crude and hysterical.

"Crude and hysterical" might just be the winning strategy, as it often is.

Like I already said, a Gandhi-like passive reistence only works against a moral opponent, but not against one without moral scruples, such as a mob.


A person with more wisdom would consider the harm such actions are likely to bring, including the possibility of making Burma a target for jihadist retribution, and the possibility of endangering Buddhist minorities in countries such as Bangladesh and Indonesia, or in Thailand's Deep South. Not to mention the economic damage caused by the riots, or the risk of triggering another military putsch.

Maybe they do see these as potential consequences, but are willing to take the risk.


in short, their actions not only fail on grounds of principle, but also of pragmatism. "Self defense" also fails as a justification because no one has shown that Muslim shopkeepers or Rohingya refugees pose an serious, immanent threat to Myanmar's (nearly 90%) Buddhist majority. If you look at the "arguments" put forward by the 969 people (examples can be found on the web), you will see that they rely heavily on stereotyping and scapegoating, not much different from the paranoia of the National Front and other European fascist groups.

I think your view of self-defense is far too narrow. One ought to see danger in the slightest fault.



First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.


First they came ...

Paranoia?
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:46 pm

Hi Binocular,

If you ask me, it is worth examining the Buddha's teachings on statecraft to see what he had to say about the sorts of issues and problems you are raising. The Buddha didn't only provide teachings for monks and renunciates; he offered counsel to leaders on how to govern wisely and effectively, and on how to resolve conflicts. The Buddha was quite pragmatic and realistic and one of the points that he reiterates is that rash, unskilful actions are not good for one's own well-being -- even if they appear to provide short-term gain.

I suspect that if the Burmese investigated the Buddha's advice a little more deeply rather than whipping up anti-Muslim "969" campaigns and Klu Klux Klan-style pogroms, they could actually find a wise solution to their concerns and avoid what is surely some very negative kamma.
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Re: Buddhist Violence Doesn't Exist

Postby binocular » Sat Jun 08, 2013 5:01 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:If you ask me, it is worth examining the Buddha's teachings on statecraft to see what he had to say about the sorts of issues and problems you are raising. The Buddha didn't only provide teachings for monks and renunciates; he offered counsel to leaders on how to govern wisely and effectively, and on how to resolve conflicts.

Can you offer some examples of this?


The Buddha was quite pragmatic and realistic and one of the points that he reiterates is that rash, unskilful actions are not good for one's own well-being -- even if they appear to provide short-term gain.

The same action may seem rash and unskillful to one person, and good strategy to another.

You said that you're not into sports. If you would be, you'd probably know a bit about strategizing, bluffing, intimidation tactics and so on. To an outsider, these things seem rude and incomprehensible, but an insider is familiar with them and knows how to use them, and when.


I suspect that if the Burmese investigated the Buddha's advice a little more deeply rather than whipping up anti-Muslim "969" campaigns and Klu Klux Klan-style pogroms, they could actually find a wise solution to their concerns and avoid what is surely some very negative kamma.

So what would you do, if you were in the position of the Burmese?
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