Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Jikai, my reference to grasping at straws was to your odd response to the piece on war by HHDL, not anything else, including your pacifism.
Here is a well known (arguably the most well known to the western world) Buddhist teacher seemingly writing that some wars could be seen as morally justified, and explaining why (while clearly not making an exhortation for Buddhists to participate in them, pointing out the tremendous human cost etc.) Instead of admitting this, you tried to claim he was saying something other than what he is saying, and that your argument for absolute pacifism is "Buddhist Orthodoxy", while my questioning of your argument is not. It's not as if I am advocating war or violence, I am asking if there are rare times where it can be unavoidable to prevent the suffering of others.
The Brahma Net sutra was written something like 700 years after The Buddha's death wasn't it? It is one thing to say that there is some doctrinal argument for your position, another to quote from a sutra like that and say it is "arguably the Buddha" saying the words.
The conversation basically then devolves into me being less religious than you because I am not convinced of your position of absolute pacifism.
Am I supposed to respond to this kind of stuff, or should I just give up?
I think I know the answer to that one.
Ok, well there’s nothing wrong with us agreeing to disagree on His Holiness on this one. All my comments regarding it were merely meant to suggest that his actions and the vast majority of his works, along with most of the Buddhist Canon make me feel that his comments in the article you posted were designed for a particular purpose/audience as they do not ‘fit’ with my understanding of some of his other words.
I understand that your asking if in certain circumstance it would be ok if one believes it unavoidable. And my answer to that is that at least from a ‘Canonical’ standpoint, you are still committing wrong action. That is all I am suggesting here, nothing more.
Yes the Brahma Net Sutra, along with most Sutra’s were written quite some time after the Buddha’s death. I concede, you are right that my suggesting the Buddha said these things with certainty would be drawing a long bow. And this is why I did not say that, as you quoted I said “arguably the Buddha”. I said this because considering that the only records we have of any possible utterance the Buddha may have made consists of the Canonical literature, even though we are aware that its accuracy is potentially questionable, it is as close as we will get to ‘knowing what the Buddha said’. And it for this reason that I suggest that if something is repeated time and again in canonical literature then we can make the claim that it is “arguably” what a Buddha may have said.
My decision to quote from the Brahmajala Sutra specifically, was due to your point that there are no exhortations in canonical material recommending complete pacifism. You also said that if you were wrong on that, you’d be happy for someone to point it out. I did so.
In short, my use of the words ‘Buddhist Orthodoxy’ were merely meant to point out that ‘Canonically speaking’ the suggestion is… and that as the Canon is as close as we can get to knowing what is ‘Orthodox’- that is what is strictly speaking the teachings of Buddhism, of Shakyamuni Buddha…
I am not trying to say that I am more religious than you and I apologise if what I had written came across that way. I was merely putting my thoughts on the canonical standpoint to your question on this one and suggesting in this particular case that I agree with said canonical standpoint. All cards on the table I am far from the ‘Orthodox Buddhist’ all-round. As a member of a Japanese tradition, feel free to question the ‘orthodox-ness’ of my precepts, and the fact that I am married. If your feelings on the precepts and the marriage of clergy conform more with the canonical literature on this one then I happily concede that you are more ‘orthodox’ or “religious” as you put it than myself On that particular aspect of the doctrine.
I apologise if I did not make myself clear, or if anything I said made you feel as if I was questioning your integrity as a Buddhist. My intention was only to try and answer the second half of your question and give my opinion as to answer the first. I apologise, and want to assure you that I am not trying to digress into the discussion of who is a better this or that- I only attempted to answer your question. If your question did not ask what I thought a Buddhist should necessarily do, I would have answered in a different manner, but given the same answer. If a question is asked, I will answer it within my capacity, you are free to agree or disagree.