Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by Ceisiwr »

War happens. It is never desirable or beneficial. Too many innocents die, property is wasted, hatreds and feuds are prolonged, and we accustom ourselves to beastly behavior. There is no place in the Buddhist concept of “nobility” for war. It is never morally legitimate. It isn’t even a “necessary evil.” It is merely the bad policy of shortsighted, cowardly, selfish, and ill-informed leadership.

So when the UK fought against Nazi Germany this act was "merely the bad policy of shortsighted, cowardly, selfish, and ill-informed leadership."


When Vietnam invaded Cambodia to destroy the Khemer Rouge, this act was "merely the bad policy of shortsighted, cowardly, selfish, and ill-informed leadership.


Need I go on?


Sometimes violence is necessary, why else would we (and all other life) have evolved to make use of it?
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood.”


Dhotakamāṇavapucchā
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by Ceisiwr »

There is no Buddhist position or doctrine of “Just War.” None. Zero. “Just War” makes no sense in a tradition dedicated to moral decency, non-harming, compassion, and wisdom.

See the problem I have is that this kind of attitude would view the allies part in WW2 as evil, whilst allowing the holocaust to roll on.


Surely having "moral decency, compassion and wisdom" would entail violent intervention when all forms of diplomacy and reason have been exhausted?

Let's allow Nazi Germany to gas millions, but at least we have our principles, or

"When diplomacy fails, then there is only one alternative, violence. Force must be applied without apology".
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood.”


Dhotakamāṇavapucchā
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Aloka
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by Aloka »

clw_uk wrote:
War happens. It is never desirable or beneficial. Too many innocents die, property is wasted, hatreds and feuds are prolonged, and we accustom ourselves to beastly behavior. There is no place in the Buddhist concept of “nobility” for war. It is never morally legitimate. It isn’t even a “necessary evil.” It is merely the bad policy of shortsighted, cowardly, selfish, and ill-informed leadership.
So when the UK fought against Nazi Germany this act was "merely the bad policy of shortsighted, cowardly, selfish, and ill-informed leadership."

When Vietnam invaded Cambodia to destroy the Khemer Rouge, this act was "merely the bad policy of shortsighted, cowardly, selfish, and ill-informed leadership.

Need I go on?


Sometimes violence is necessary, why else would we (and all other life) have evolved to make use of it?

I think you're conveniently forgetting incidents in WW2 like the bombing of the city of Dresden, which didn't have any military significance and resulted in the suffering and deaths of many thousands of ordinary German people.

However, I don't have any interest in arguing about wars in the past. Have an auspicious day, Craig!

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


:)
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by Ceisiwr »

I think you're conveniently forgetting incidents in WW2 like the bombing of the city of Dresden, which didn't have any military significance and resulted in the suffering and deaths of many thousands of ordinary German people.
There were excesses on both sides (more on Germany), however that doesn't mean that the allies use of force against the Axis Powers wasn't justified.
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood.”


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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by daverupa »

I'll take MN 131, in fact, as an appropriate way to frame priorities - thank you Aloka. A creative arising of action in the now based on a proper orientation is the way to build a case for what I see as possible ethical responses to various scenarios, so taking a single case as the sole example is a limited approach, and seems backwards to me. I want to get some principles in place ("proper orientation"), and then proceed.
clw_uk wrote:War is justified when it stops a genocidal regime, yes or no?
You make it seem, here, as though "war" is a single action with a single expression; some acts are justified, some are not. A pile of a certain sort of acts may be termed 'war', but I think we need to parse the pile of acts, not simply use the word 'war', which lets one get away with so many unspoken assumptions...
It would be good if you actually stated how you would respond to ethical dilemmas
You think much to highly of your ability to craft ethical dilemmas which produce suitable avenues of discourse, but excel at railroading conversations into your pre-existing views on the issue.

Try thinking at the level of the individual, rather than at the level of the nation-state, and then ask your questions in that vein.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by Ceisiwr »

You make it seem, here, as though "war" is a single action with a single expression; some acts are justified, some are not. A pile of a certain sort of acts may be termed 'war', but I think we need to parse the pile of acts, not the word 'war', which lets one get away with so many presuppositions...
Stop giving politician answers. Of course "war" is comprised of localised acts, however you still have avoided the question.

Would you fight, promote or campaign for a war against Nazi Germany or would you do nothing? Or would you promote non-violence, laying down of arms and "discussion" with Hitler?

You think much to highly of your ability to craft ethical dilemmas which produce suitable avenues of discourse, but excel at railroading conversations into your pre-existing views on the issue.
And you excel in your ability to derail conversations by giving evasive politician type answers.
Try thinking at the level of the individual, rather than at the level of the nation-state, and then ask your questions in that vein.
All of my posts have been about how individuals would react, not nation states.

However since you seem to have missed that point, I'll address you directly. If a new Fourth Reich emerged, how would you deal with it? Would you be a pacifist whilst it murdered minorities in its borders, or would you do something?
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood.”


Dhotakamāṇavapucchā
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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by Modus.Ponens »

My answer to the Hitler dilemma is I don't know. By principle, I wouldn't kill. But since I am not sure I can do it for a couple of people, I cannot possibly know if I would not do it to save millions
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by Ceisiwr »

Modus.Ponens wrote:My answer to the Hitler dilemma is I don't know. By principle, I wouldn't kill. But since I am not sure I can do it for a couple of people, I cannot possibly know if I would not do it to save millions

Its simple really

If you knew that putting a bullet in Hitlers brain would save millions of babies from the gas chambers, would you do it? Or would you refrain from such an act?


It would seem that if you answer no, then you simply sacrifice millions just so you can be free from pain. Doesn't sound that noble does it?
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood.”


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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by daverupa »

clw_uk wrote:Would you fight, promote or campaign for a war against Nazi Germany or would you do nothing? Or would you promote non-violence, laying down of arms and "discussion" with Hitler?

...If a new Fourth Reich emerged, how would you deal with it? Would you be a pacifist whilst it murdered minorities in its borders, or would you do something?
Do something. But please read this and consider it. Resistance does not need to look like war.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
Spiny Norman
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by Spiny Norman »

clw_uk wrote: No of course not, however thought experiments like this allow us to examine our ethics in greater detail.
For me I think the principle would be "defend the innocent". I'm sure sure how dhammic that view is though.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by Ceisiwr »

daverupa wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Would you fight, promote or campaign for a war against Nazi Germany or would you do nothing? Or would you promote non-violence, laying down of arms and "discussion" with Hitler?

...If a new Fourth Reich emerged, how would you deal with it? Would you be a pacifist whilst it murdered minorities in its borders, or would you do something?
Do something. But please read this and consider it. Resistance does not need to look like war.

So your point is that they hid? The point remains that without violence and killing the Jews in Vichy France would have run out of places to hide.

If that's the best you can do, then that's the best you can do.


Can you not see the horror that would have waited mankind if the allies had a non-violent attitude to WW2? I fail to understand why you can't grasp this basic fact.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood.”


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daverupa
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by daverupa »

The point is not that they hid; that you think so showcases what I think is an inability for us to actually communicate about this issue.
clw_uk wrote:If you knew that putting a bullet in Hitlers brain would save millions of babies from the gas chambers, would you do it?
IF one knows.

Perhaps it leads later to BILLIONS choosing violence first, instead of considering options. What of this cost? And etc.

I must emphasize again your lack of omniscience.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by Ceisiwr »

daverupa wrote:
clw_uk wrote:If you knew that putting a bullet in Hitlers brain would save millions of babies from the gas chambers, would you do it?
IF one knows.

Perhaps it leads later to BILLIONS choosing violence first, instead of considering options. What of this cost? And etc.

I must emphasize again your lack of omniscience.


Was the allies actions during WW2 justified or not? Was the UK wrong to oppose Nazi Germany with violence?
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood.”


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daverupa
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by daverupa »

clw_uk wrote:Was the allies actions during WW2 justified or not?
Nation-states again, plus simplistic dichotomies at every turn and an ongoing lack of omniscience.

I'm out of the thread. Peace.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Pacifism, Ethics and Dhamma

Post by Ceisiwr »

daverupa wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Was the allies actions during WW2 justified or not?
Nation-states again.

I'm out of the thread. Peace.

Can't answer it can you ;)

Thank god you wasn't prime minster back then, the holocaust death toll might have reached 20 million, but alas at least we have our morals :)
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood.”


Dhotakamāṇavapucchā
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