Buddhism & Guns?

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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby steveb1 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:40 pm

lobster wrote:
steveb1 wrote:Instead, I carry a small canister of pepper spray in a pocket, in case attacked by humans or animals. The idea is to disable the attacker while giving the victim a chance to exit the area. The attacker is not permanently harmed. Are non-lethal self-defense devices, such as pepper spray, "permissible" in Buddhism?


Are you also carrying more than a 'reasonable' amount of fear and intention?

Many of us who have done Buddhist or other martial arts do everything to avoid carrying or using weapons. However I do not know your environment or needs. You do not sound dangerous or aggressive :namaste:
If you wish to do a martial art then a combat based Tai Chi Chuan will give you some health and confidence as will metta practice.

Many Buddhists such as the renowned Shaolin used the discipline of hard physical practice as part of their sadhana. :twothumbsup:


Thanks for your reply and advice. I don't think I'm carrying an overload of aggression and/or paranoia. In my life, I've been set upon by hostile strangers (humans and dogs), and now with age, obesity, and arthritis, I really doubt I could "do the moves" that would build up martial art skills - however, I'll look into Tai Chi Chuan - maybe it's something I could use - thanks for the recommendation :)
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby steveb1 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:44 pm

Just a somewhat belated Thank You to all who have replied and shared their ideas :)
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:19 pm

Most people who want to hurt you, steal from you, or both specifically don't want a challenge, in general if you make the job difficult for them that takes care of a portion of your chances of being a victim right there...in the gun thread I mentioned getting a largish dog instead, it's seriously the best deterrent I know of. You have to figure out in the first place whether you are a likely victim, and whether you have done what you should to minimize your risk in the first place, that seems like the rational approach to me. Even for young, able-bodied martial artists, 99% of self defense has nothing to do with moves or physicality..that stuff is for the 1% of the time that the real self defense doesn't work.

Here's a simple example:

Do you spend alot of time around drunk people?

Well, the more you do, the closer you are to a situation where violence is close...just a teeny illustrative example, but one that has alot more to do with the real world than worrying about guns or martial arts moves.

BTW I am a long time martial arts guy..most of what is taught in martial arts isn't self-defense at all IMO, it has other purposes and goes in other directions, however it sells itself.
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Re: Gun and Buddhism

Postby dude » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:26 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Another thing, i grew up in a really poor area, with lots of guns incidentally, it was a semi-regular thing to have to get under the able when shots rang out, just to be safe. The thing that kept people from breaking into your house was a big dog, that is really pretty much still the best home security there is, if one is worried about their home. In addition, you get a nifty pet, most of the time.

It's actually more likely (probably) for most of us to get killed or maimed by cars than anything, quite a bit more likely to the best of my knowledge.

So, if you're really worried about personal safety, you should prioritize based what is a real threat, right? Which means owning a gun or not, while certainly an important question, actually likely has much less to do with your safety than you relationship to cars and driving.


I agree about the dog.
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Re: Gun and Buddhism

Postby reddust » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:35 am

I think cities are like factory animal farms, horribly unnatural. You know you can take the worlds population and give them all 1/4 acre each in Australia? I have to find citation, I can't remember where I read or heard that bit of data. Cramming folk into tight communities with manufactured scarcity and you have a wonderful money maker called poverty. I think we are just domestic livestock being managed and not very well managed at that. Only slaves are not allowed to defend themselves. I think we have lost all our common sense and our true history regarding what kind of world we have always lived in. Do you all think the police or government are going to protect you with their guns? The police are not there to protect you or keep the peace, they are there to gather revenue and make sure you behave. The government is the biggest mass murderer in the history of man kind. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democide

Warren v. District of Columbia[1] (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981) is an oft-quoted[2] District of Columbia Court of Appeals (equivalent to a state supreme court) case that held police do not have a duty to provide police services to individuals, even if a dispatcher promises help to be on the way, except when police develop a special duty to particular individuals.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia

It all sounds so nice, lets not own guns and all the worlds problems will go away. Look at what happens to people who have lost their ability to defend themselves. It's called genocide…..
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby dimeo » Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:56 am

On netflix is an interesting documentary called "10 questions for the Dalai Lama."
He's asked about if self-defence can ever be justified as a response to evil.
From my understanding, he responds that "hitting back" in self-defence can be justified when in eminent danger of being abused or murdered. But in the long term we do want to find a way to work and live together in harmony. A really good and interesting documentary!
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby Nighthawk » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:34 am

Self defense is a good thing. I would rather burn in hell for 100 years than see me and my family get hurt in a violent attack.
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby Nighthawk » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:38 am

Also, Steve, you as a Jodo Shinshu follower should not worry about the question of self defense. This question is more suitable for the Buddhists following the holy path (shodomon)
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:44 am

You are also preventing a potential attacker from making matters worse for himself through his negative actions. This may be even more important, from the buddhist point of view.
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby reddust » Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:14 am

I think letting someone hurt you or someone else causes far more harmful karma to everyone, that behavior is called enabling. No one learns a lesson needed to stop the abuse.
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby M.G. » Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:03 am

Couldn't certain forms of self-defense constitute wrathfull compassion within the Vajrayana understanding?
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby steveb1 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:58 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Most people who want to hurt you, steal from you, or both specifically don't want a challenge, in general if you make the job difficult for them that takes care of a portion of your chances of being a victim right there...in the gun thread I mentioned getting a largish dog instead, it's seriously the best deterrent I know of. You have to figure out in the first place whether you are a likely victim, and whether you have done what you should to minimize your risk in the first place, that seems like the rational approach to me. Even for young, able-bodied martial artists, 99% of self defense has nothing to do with moves or physicality..that stuff is for the 1% of the time that the real self defense doesn't work.

Here's a simple example:

Do you spend alot of time around drunk people?

Well, the more you do, the closer you are to a situation where violence is close...just a teeny illustrative example, but one that has alot more to do with the real world than worrying about guns or martial arts moves.

BTW I am a long time martial arts guy..most of what is taught in martial arts isn't self-defense at all IMO, it has other purposes and goes in other directions, however it sells itself.


Geez, some great ideas there - you've obviously thought out your own position, and have shed light on my questions - thanks.
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby steveb1 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:07 am

Nighthawk wrote:Also, Steve, you as a Jodo Shinshu follower should not worry about the question of self defense. This question is more suitable for the Buddhists following the holy path (shodomon)


A very intriguing statement, but would you please make it more concrete...?

I understand that Amida Buddha is not an interventionary "Force" so if I'm attacked and/or if I respond, Amida "stays out of the action".

Since Amida embraces adherents, never to let go of them, and attainment of Buddhahood is "assured" by His grace, I realize that my ultimate home is in the Pure Land, regardless if I get attacked or if I defend myself.

Since all is unfolding within Amida's presence and grace, I should view attack/defense in that larger cosmic/Dharmic context.

Is that what you are communicating to me - or am I missing something? Thanks in any case for your comment.
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby Nighthawk » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:15 am

steveb1 wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:Also, Steve, you as a Jodo Shinshu follower should not worry about the question of self defense. This question is more suitable for the Buddhists following the holy path (shodomon)


A very intriguing statement, but would you please make it more concrete...?

I understand that Amida Buddha is not an interventionary "Force" so if I'm attacked and/or if I respond, Amida "stays out of the action".

Since Amida embraces adherents, never to let go of them, and attainment of Buddhahood is "assured" by His grace, I realize that my ultimate home is in the Pure Land, regardless if I get attacked or if I defend myself.

Since all is unfolding within Amida's presence and grace, I should view attack/defense in that larger cosmic context.

Is that what you are communicating to me - or am I missing something? Thanks in any case for your comment.


Yes. You achieve birth in the Pure Land regardless of your actions whether wholesome or unwholesome. This is the whole premise of Jodo Shinshu. The only thing preventing you from achieving birth is the slander of Mahayana. You have nothing to worry about.
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby steveb1 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:19 am

Nighthawk wrote:
steveb1 wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:Also, Steve, you as a Jodo Shinshu follower should not worry about the question of self defense. This question is more suitable for the Buddhists following the holy path (shodomon)


A very intriguing statement, but would you please make it more concrete...?

I understand that Amida Buddha is not an interventionary "Force" so if I'm attacked and/or if I respond, Amida "stays out of the action".

Since Amida embraces adherents, never to let go of them, and attainment of Buddhahood is "assured" by His grace, I realize that my ultimate home is in the Pure Land, regardless if I get attacked or if I defend myself.

Since all is unfolding within Amida's presence and grace, I should view attack/defense in that larger cosmic context.

Is that what you are communicating to me - or am I missing something? Thanks in any case for your comment.


Yes. You achieve birth in the Pure Land regardless of your actions whether wholesome or unwholesome. This is the whole premise of Jodo Shinshu. The only thing preventing you from achieving birth is the slander of Mahayana. You have nothing to worry about.


So very nicely phrased and specific to Shin. Thanks for bringing me back to the basics, Nighthawk.
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Re: Gun and Buddhism

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:21 am

"If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun."
The Dalai Lama
Seattle Times, 2001
Determined to be true statement of the Dalai Lama by snopes:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/dalailama.asp
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Re: Gun and Buddhism

Postby TheSpirit » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:24 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Another thing, i grew up in a really poor area, with lots of guns incidentally, it was a semi-regular thing to have to get under the able when shots rang out, just to be safe. The thing that kept people from breaking into your house was a big dog, that is really pretty much still the best home security there is, if one is worried about their home. In addition, you get a nifty pet, most of the time.

It's actually more likely (probably) for most of us to get killed or maimed by cars than anything, quite a bit more likely to the best of my knowledge.

So, if you're really worried about personal safety, you should prioritize based what is a real threat, right? Which means owning a gun or not, while certainly an important question, actually likely has much less to do with your safety than you relationship to cars and driving.


Wasn't there a rule against keeping pet in Buddhism?

you also have to understand the place/environment. A dog can easily be put down by an intelligent person if they have intention to harm. Also keeping pet require commitment and time that I might not have or maybe places that won't allow pet such as most house for rent. That's not to say its not a good idea to have a dog. I had a pit bull. In the end everything else in the big puzzle of things are preventive, self defense is not, its immediate action that can mean life and death. I am sorry but I am not compassionate enough to sacrifice myself or my loved ones to some one who wishes to harm us....yes I am afraid of death and afraid of losing those I care for....so I want to keep them around as long as possible.

sure I agree we can die from anything. I can step out of the shower, slip, fall, hit my head and die. However that doesn't mean we shouldn't take precautions to minimize and reduce the risk. I mean that is like saying dont wear a seat belt because a snake bite can kill us or dont have a tornado shelter in Oklahoma(tornadoes are normal here) because an earthquake can happen and kill you.
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Re: Gun and Buddhism

Postby TheSpirit » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:26 am

David N. Snyder wrote:"If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun."
The Dalai Lama
Seattle Times, 2001
Determined to be true statement of the Dalai Lama by snopes:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/dalailama.asp


I like that quote...lol
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby Nighthawk » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:48 am

"We should know that Amida’s Primal Vow does not discriminate whether one is young or old, good or evil, and that true entrusting alone is needed, for it is the Vow that seeks to deliver sentient beings burdened with foolishness and blind passions.”

“The Nembutsu is non-practice and non-good for those who practice it. It is non-practice for us, because it is not the practice which we do out of our own contrivance; and it is non-good because it is not the good which we do out of our own contrivance. It is entirely due to Other Power and is free from self power.”

“Awaken to the life nurturing Primal Vow of Amida; those who only entrust in this universal activity of love and compassion, through the benefit of embraced and never forsaken, all attain Enlightenment.”
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Re: Self-Defense in Buddhism

Postby steveb1 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:19 am

Nighthawk wrote:"We should know that Amida’s Primal Vow does not discriminate whether one is young or old, good or evil, and that true entrusting alone is needed, for it is the Vow that seeks to deliver sentient beings burdened with foolishness and blind passions.”

“The Nembutsu is non-practice and non-good for those who practice it. It is non-practice for us, because it is not the practice which we do out of our own contrivance; and it is non-good because it is not the good which we do out of our own contrivance. It is entirely due to Other Power and is free from self power.”

“Awaken to the life nurturing Primal Vow of Amida; those who only entrust in this universal activity of love and compassion, through the benefit of embraced and never forsaken, all attain Enlightenment.”


Again, thank you - I snagged the citation for contemplation :)
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