non-violence in extreme cases.

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non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby dhammastudier » Wed May 26, 2010 5:22 pm

i've always wondered about the extent to which non-violence could be practiced in hypothetical situations. a realistic example would be that you have a gun, some person is going to kill your whole family/sangha/friends/etc. and all you have to do is shoot them. is that ok or not?

beyond real ones like that what if some fictional oppressive regime sporting some oppressive terrible desert religion took over most of the world and the last hope was a country that was mainly buddhist and non-violent. for some reason this country is able to change the course of the whole thing and save the world from domination. would it be bad karma for them to fight back to keep the world from falling into darkness and to preserve the dharma? or let's go even further and say the dharma is gone from the world except for one monk who could re-introduce it if he fights off one person who wants to kill him to stop this? sounds childish but think about it! would it be better for him to do no harm :meditate: and let buddhism die and the billions of people that need the dharma to escape samsara be lost or should he fight to help them :jedi: ???

i've even heard someone giving a talk at a buddhist temple say that if someone was going to kill a group of innocent people and asked you where they were, that it would be bad karma to lie! clearly this is wrong. i think people get extreme in literal interpretations sometimes and situations like that are a little easier to decide but when it comes to war it's kind of tough! what do you guys think? when, if ever, is it ok to fight?

obvoiusly there is the fact that there are thousands of universes and if the dharma died on earth then a buddha would be born on another planet in another universe where all of our souls would go anyway so maybe that's the key to thinking that this planet is so dire in preserving the teachings...
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby PeterB » Wed May 26, 2010 5:47 pm

In the unlikely but possible event that someone was about to kill my family and all other options were exausted and I somehow had a gun..yes I would shoot them.
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby Kenshou » Wed May 26, 2010 5:59 pm

I think it's good to keep in mind what the purpose of these restrictions are, including non-violence. Which I would say is, the well-being of the self and others. So, weather in an extreme or everyday situation, if it stands to be beneficial for others, I wonder if a precept violation might not be the right way to go. Adhering unwaveringly to restrictions without thinking through the implications is too simplistic, I think, reality isn't always so clear-cut.
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby Tex » Wed May 26, 2010 6:12 pm

zac wrote:i've always wondered about the extent to which non-violence could be practiced in hypothetical situations. a realistic example would be that you have a gun, some person is going to kill your whole family/sangha/friends/etc. and all you have to do is shoot them. is that ok or not?


My understanding is that kamma is intentional action -- the act of intentionally killing a person will bring about the appropriate kamma-vipaka even if your reason for killing that person was to protect someone else. Clearly there will be times when we might willingly break any of the precepts if we judge the consequences of not breaking the precept to be worse.

It's worth noting that the Buddha cautioned that trying to understand the full workings of kamma and kamma-vipaka would lead to madness and vexation (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html).

I think the idea is to have a working understanding of cause and effect, and of wholesome and unwholesome, and to use our best judgment in real life situations.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby PeterB » Wed May 26, 2010 6:25 pm

I am reminded of the story of the writer Lytton Strachey who was a pacifist. During WW1 he was questioned as to the genuineness of his pacifism as was normal, by a magistrate " What would you do Mr Strachey if a German soldier was attempting to rape your sister " he said. " I would endevour to insert myself between them " said Strachey who was openly gay..
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby bodom » Wed May 26, 2010 6:51 pm

PeterB wrote:In the unlikely but possible event that someone was about to kill my family and all other options were exausted and I somehow had a gun..yes I would shoot them.


Agreed.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby dhammastudier » Wed May 26, 2010 6:59 pm

peter b.

i feel the same way. i wonder wwbd?
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby dhammastudier » Wed May 26, 2010 7:02 pm

PeterB wrote:I am reminded of the story of the writer Lytton Strachey who was a pacifist. During WW1 he was questioned as to the genuineness of his pacifism as was normal, by a magistrate " What would you do Mr Strachey if a German soldier was attempting to rape your sister " he said. " I would endevour to insert myself between them " said Strachey who was openly gay..


that's hilarious!
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby dhammastudier » Wed May 26, 2010 7:03 pm

Kenshou wrote:I think it's good to keep in mind what the purpose of these restrictions are, including non-violence. Which I would say is, the well-being of the self and others. So, weather in an extreme or everyday situation, if it stands to be beneficial for others, I wonder if a precept violation might not be the right way to go. Adhering unwaveringly to restrictions without thinking through the implications is too simplistic, I think, reality isn't always so clear-cut.


yeah that's basically how i feel. adhering to close can make you a monster or a saint depending on situations you are put in...
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby dhammastudier » Wed May 26, 2010 7:04 pm

Tex wrote:
zac wrote:i've always wondered about the extent to which non-violence could be practiced in hypothetical situations. a realistic example would be that you have a gun, some person is going to kill your whole family/sangha/friends/etc. and all you have to do is shoot them. is that ok or not?


My understanding is that kamma is intentional action -- the act of intentionally killing a person will bring about the appropriate kamma-vipaka even if your reason for killing that person was to protect someone else. Clearly there will be times when we might willingly break any of the precepts if we judge the consequences of not breaking the precept to be worse.

It's worth noting that the Buddha cautioned that trying to understand the full workings of kamma and kamma-vipaka would lead to madness and vexation (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html).

I think the idea is to have a working understanding of cause and effect, and of wholesome and unwholesome, and to use our best judgment in real life situations.


yeah and he was right! it's a never ending cycle of thought!

yeah i guess it's all about our internal scales.
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby Mukunda » Wed May 26, 2010 7:48 pm

zac wrote:i've always wondered about the extent to which non-violence could be practiced in hypothetical situations. a realistic example would be that you have a gun, some person is going to kill your whole family/sangha/friends/etc. and all you have to do is shoot them. is that ok or not?

beyond real ones like that what if some fictional oppressive regime sporting some oppressive terrible desert religion took over most of the world and the last hope was a country that was mainly buddhist and non-violent. for some reason this country is able to change the course of the whole thing and save the world from domination. would it be bad karma for them to fight back to keep the world from falling into darkness and to preserve the dharma? or let's go even further and say the dharma is gone from the world except for one monk who could re-introduce it if he fights off one person who wants to kill him to stop this? sounds childish but think about it! would it be better for him to do no harm :meditate: and let buddhism die and the billions of people that need the dharma to escape samsara be lost or should he fight to help them :jedi: ???

i've even heard someone giving a talk at a buddhist temple say that if someone was going to kill a group of innocent people and asked you where they were, that it would be bad karma to lie! clearly this is wrong. i think people get extreme in literal interpretations sometimes and situations like that are a little easier to decide but when it comes to war it's kind of tough! what do you guys think? when, if ever, is it ok to fight?


If you already have the gun, that speaks quite a bit of your mind set.

At some point one has to ask them self "Do I want to save the world, or myself? Am I prepared to do what it takes to escape samsara, or do I expect to make it a bit more bearable?"

One doesn't have to lie in order to not answer a question that may endanger others. They simply refuse to answer.

"He abused me, attacked me, defeated me, robbed me!" For those carrying on like this, hatred does not end.
"She abused me, attacked me, defeated me, robbed me!" For those not carrying on like this, hatred ends.
Hatred never ends through hatred. By non-hate does it end. This is an ancient truth. - from the Dhammapada.
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby Alex123 » Wed May 26, 2010 11:31 pm

The hard thing is the acceptance of kamma and its result...

Being attacked may be a result of bad kamma. Certainly according to Abhidhamma all unpleasant bodily feelings are results of unwholesome kamma.

So, are you going just to make bad kamma for yourself?


I remember reading a story of a son being killed in the eyes of his anagami mother. She didn't even blink or do anything. That is great achievement!

I know this is hard to do, and I am not capable of that kind of perfection (to have no anger or attachment whatsoever) - yet.
"dust to dust...."
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby bodom » Wed May 26, 2010 11:56 pm

Alex123 wrote:I remember reading a story of a son being killed in the eyes of his anagami mother. She didn't even blink or do anything. That is great achievement!


Wow that sounds really horrible actually.


:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 27, 2010 12:00 am

bodom wrote:
Alex123 wrote:I remember reading a story of a son being killed in the eyes of his anagami mother. She didn't even blink or do anything. That is great achievement!


Wow that sounds really horrible actually.


:anjali:



She had no attachement to the body and things of this world. That is an awesome achievement.

Lets not forget anatta and dukkha, we can't control what happens. So why get said when things go this or that way? Samsara is dukkha after all. It is rotten to the core. "We" are all going to die anyways, so why make bad kamma by hurting "someone" (even if that someone is an attacker?).
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby bodom » Thu May 27, 2010 12:03 am

Alex123 wrote:
bodom wrote:
Alex123 wrote:I remember reading a story of a son being killed in the eyes of his anagami mother. She didn't even blink or do anything. That is great achievement!


Wow that sounds really horrible actually.


:anjali:



She had no attachement to the body and things of this world. That is an awesome achievement.


Im gonna take a stab in the dark and say you dont have children?

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 27, 2010 12:16 am

bodom wrote:
Im gonna take a stab in the dark and say you dont have children?

:anjali:



Right. But in any case, it is better not to have attachement to anything. Life sucks and if anything to expect, then it is dukkha. The more you have, the more is there to lose.
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby bodom » Thu May 27, 2010 12:27 am

Alex123 wrote:
bodom wrote:
Im gonna take a stab in the dark and say you dont have children?

:anjali:



Right. But in any case, it is better not to have attachement to anything. Life sucks and if anything to expect, then it is dukkha. The more you have, the more is there to lose.


Of course. But my daughter IS my kamma, my responsibility. It is beyond this life for me to give up attachment to her. I am practicing for stream entry in this life as this does not require the complete abandonment of all sense pleasures. I am commited to the household for this life. Hopefully in my next I have the good Kamma to hear the Dhamma and ordain before I have too many responsibilities.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby Dan74 » Thu May 27, 2010 12:45 am

Alex123 wrote:
bodom wrote:
Im gonna take a stab in the dark and say you dont have children?

:anjali:



Right. But in any case, it is better not to have attachement to anything. Life sucks and if anything to expect, then it is dukkha. The more you have, the more is there to lose.


Running away from life is contrary to Buddhadhamma. Whatever our responsibilities are, whatever our environment is, this is our kamma, this is where we practice and develop brahma-viharas. Developing aversion to life, feelings and responsibilities is a way of nihilism, an escapist fantasy that leads to a dead end rather than awakening, which always faces the here-and-now directly. Engaging fully, mindfully, with a mind clear, holding nothing back, is how we see through the delusion, how we develop the brahmaviharas, the factors conducive to awakening and finally turn towards practice with 100% commitment.
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby Ben » Thu May 27, 2010 12:57 am

Mukunda wrote:If you already have the gun, that speaks quite a bit of your mind set.


I don't think so. There are many people who have guns, and in my case - bows, who use them for target shooting.
As there are many collectors of weapons who never take them out of their climate controlled environment to fire them at sentient beings.
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Re: non-violence in extreme cases.

Postby Mukunda » Thu May 27, 2010 1:10 am

Ben wrote:
Mukunda wrote:If you already have the gun, that speaks quite a bit of your mind set.


I don't think so. There are many people who have guns, and in my case - bows, who use them for target shooting.
As there are many collectors of weapons who never take them out of their climate controlled environment to fire them at sentient beings.


The primary of purpose of weapons is to harm or kill other beings. Even though there may be secondary purposes (i.e. target practice, collecting), I fail to see the logic of one committed to not harming other beings being attracted to implements of death for any purpose. Target practice can be practiced using darts, bean bags, etc, and collecting is wide open to almost anything.
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