Is violence ever really justifiable?

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Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:26 am

I came across this topic on another Buddhist forum and since it had been locked I couldn't reply to some of the comments made.
So I figured I'd post this here and see what you all had to say.

I don't believe violence will ever be the answer to any problem/situation.

And as I've understood, He did not condone violence in any situation.


Kindest wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Kunga Lhadzom » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:39 am

If you knew someone was planning on killing a planeload of passengers...would it be more compassionate to save those passengers and prevent the killer from creating that karma ?...although just having the thought to kill all those people is pretty much the same (intension).....? I think it's better to save 300 people, to eliminate the killer would be compassionate....
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Martyn » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:43 am

No, I don't believe violence is the answer either.
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:54 am

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:If you knew someone was planning on killing a planeload of passengers...would it be more compassionate to save those passengers and prevent the killer from creating that karma ?...although just having the thought to kill all those people is pretty much the same (intension).....? I think it's better to save 300 people, to eliminate the killer would be compassionate....


Just wondering how would you know, unless you were part of the plan to do this, or a Buddha.


Kindest wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Kunga Lhadzom » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:58 am

The Seeker wrote:Just wondering how would you know, unless you were part of the plan to do this, or a Buddha.
A Buddhist story tells of a ferry captain whose boat was carrying
500 bodhisattvas in the guise of merchants. A robber on board planned
to kill everyone and pirate the ship's cargo.

The captain, a bodhisattva himself, saw the man's murderous
intention and realized this crime would result in eons of torment for
the murderer. In his compassion, the captain was willing to take
hellish torment upon himself by killing the man to prevent karmic
suffering that would be infinity greater than the suffering of the
murdered victims. The captain's compassion was impartial; his
motivation was utterly selfless.
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Nemo » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:02 am

The Seeker wrote:Just wondering how would you know, unless you were part of the plan to do this, or a Buddha.

Cell phone conversations.

It's never the best option. But to be so extreme as to say that physical communication would never be warranted is doctrinaire.

What is the next thing to ban outright. Harsh words? Being blunt about truths people don't want to hear but need to?
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:17 am

:stirthepot:

The Train morality problem / philosophical dilemma / (First Precept issues)

A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you could flip a switch, which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch or do nothing?

(If you flip the switch, you are possibly "responsible" for the death of that person. If you don't flip the switch, five people die)

What would you do?

What would Buddha do?

Image
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:21 am

And for the sake of this argument, we know nothing about the people in the above example, if they are good or bad, terminally ill, etc. And the train cannot stop in time and throwing yourself onto the track will not stop it either (I imagine that would be the Buddha's choice, but for the sake of this scenario let's say that you cannot throw yourself onto the track or even if you did, it would not stop and you know this for certain.)
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:13 am

Nemo wrote:Cell phone conversations.


touche'

It's never the best option. But to be so extreme as to say that physical communication would never be warranted is doctrinaire.

What is the next thing to ban outright. Harsh words? Being blunt about truths people don't want to hear but need to?


Would saying anything truthful actually be harsh words?
As the saying goes, "the truth hurts" but it is the truth.

I've heard the boat simile before, and have always wondered if the Karma of killing one to save many would not be a wash as one did save many.

David N. Snyder wrote:A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are five people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you could flip a switch, which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch or do nothing?

(If you flip the switch, you are possibly "responsible" for the death of that person. If you don't flip the switch, five people die)

What would you do?


:stirthepot:

What if you were physically unable to flip the switch? :shrug:

And thanks for the visual, I love pictures :lol:


Kindest wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:42 pm

The Seeker wrote:What if you were physically unable to flip the switch? :shrug:


In this hypothetical, that is not an option. We must assume everyone is physically able to flip the switch (even quadriplegics flip switches, using their mouth).
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:47 pm

What about throwing the switch and running off to untie the one guy? Is that allowed?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:01 pm

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:
The Seeker wrote:Just wondering how would you know, unless you were part of the plan to do this, or a Buddha.
A Buddhist story tells of a ferry captain whose boat was carrying
500 bodhisattvas in the guise of merchants. A robber on board planned
to kill everyone and pirate the ship's cargo.

The captain, a bodhisattva himself, saw the man's murderous
intention and realized this crime would result in eons of torment for
the murderer. In his compassion, the captain was willing to take
hellish torment upon himself by killing the man to prevent karmic
suffering that would be infinity greater than the suffering of the
murdered victims. The captain's compassion was impartial; his
motivation was utterly selfless.
How utterly predictable that you would bring up the one story where the Buddha uses violence and overlook the inumerable other stories where he allows people to do all sorts of nasty sh*t to him and others while teaching them that not even revenge or self defence is a wholesome activity!

And the other funny thing is that the details of the story always change. Like this is the first time where I have heard that the passengers were actually Bodhisattvas.
Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to steal.
Ryokan returned and caught him. "You may have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty handed. Please take my robe as a gift" and so he took off his robe and gave it to the thief.
The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.
Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could give him this beautiful moon."
From the book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones compiled by Paul reps.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:16 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:What about throwing the switch and running off to untie the one guy? Is that allowed?


In this hypothetical, no that is not an option; the train is moving too fast. The only choices are flipping the switch or not flipping the switch.
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Mr. G » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:19 pm

    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:23 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:What about throwing the switch and running off to untie the one guy? Is that allowed?
:namaste:


I'm with Greg on this optiin, no one is hurt in this scenerio.

:stirthepot:
And in your picture, the switch would require a healthy able person to switch the track.

I guess since you're in red you get to make the :rules: :rolling:

Kindest wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Seishin » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:27 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:What about throwing the switch and running off to untie the one guy? Is that allowed?


In this hypothetical, no that is not an option; the train is moving too fast. The only choices are flipping the switch or not flipping the switch.


What about the ultimate act and throw yourself on the tracks causing the train to derail thereby saving the people?

I can't stand hypothetical scenarios :techproblem:
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby LastLegend » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:46 pm

I would fly kick the train using my Buddha Flying Kick. :namaste:
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:13 pm

There is this thread here viewtopic.php?f=66&t=4884&p=50549&hilit=guns#p50549 which starts as a discussion of Buddhism and guns but ends up as a discussion on Buddhism and the use of violence. It's 22 pages of discussion so there's plenty there to digest.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:55 pm

The only choices are to flip the switch or not flip the switch. The scenario is deliberately that way to challenge us, to test this moral dilemma.
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Re: Is violence ever really justifiable?

Postby Seishin » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:57 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:The only choices are to flip the switch or not flip the switch. The scenario is deliberately that way to challenge us, to test this moral dilemma.


I stand by my response :techproblem:
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