Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:53 am

catmoon wrote:Image


Except for that... That's pure evil.
asunthatneversets
 
Posts: 1303
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:30 pm

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby KeithBC » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:25 am

I think this is one of those cases where language gets in the way of communication rather than aiding it. Making "evil" a noun gives it too much solidity. It makes it into a "thing" that could have inherent existence. I don't think it is that way.

It is much closer to reality to use it as an adjective. There are evil actions. Perhaps even evil people, or at least people who do evil actions.

In my definition, an action is evil if the person doing it intends it to inflict suffering. That makes it distinct from actions that are merely bad - those that cause suffering unintentionally. You might call a person evil if he or she habitually commits actions intended to inflict suffering.

But evil as an independent thing that can have characteristics and can influence people? No, I don't think so.

Om mani padme hum
Keith
User avatar
KeithBC
 
Posts: 405
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:22 pm
Location: East Coast of Canada

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby Anders » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:14 am

KeithBC wrote:I think this is one of those cases where language gets in the way of communication rather than aiding it. Making "evil" a noun gives it too much solidity. It makes it into a "thing" that could have inherent existence. I don't think it is that way.

It is much closer to reality to use it as an adjective. There are evil actions. Perhaps even evil people, or at least people who do evil actions.

In my definition, an action is evil if the person doing it intends it to inflict suffering. That makes it distinct from actions that are merely bad - those that cause suffering unintentionally. You might call a person evil if he or she habitually commits actions intended to inflict suffering.

But evil as an independent thing that can have characteristics and can influence people? No, I don't think so.

Om mani padme hum
Keith


:good: :anjali:
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 726
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby White Lotus » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:36 pm

i appreciate your flexibility Gregkarvarnos.

prajna sees that there is only emptiness/mind.
relative experience just is,
some have called suffering evil, some havent. whatever is understood at the moment, or relevant. be free.

evil is: evil isnt.
evil is both of these.
evil neither is nor isnt.

all of these: none of these.

keeping a free mind, one is free to attach to any of these positions or to reject them all at any given time.

as to my speech, i hope it is not unhelpful. i try to keep things simple. if i talk a lot, hopefully it is prajna and not too much view that you read. view is different from prajna in that it is conceptual. prajna is direct seeing and a report of what one has seen. i guess all of us resort to views. this is natural in a world of dualities. why should we be afraid of them...

yes, there is no evil.

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
White Lotus
 
Posts: 570
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:56 pm

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby Ogyen » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:37 am

In my experience there is such a thing as extreme ignorance which can appear as 'pure evil' but is not in the same way quite as black & white and easy to peg as this solid 'evil' thing. There are evil ways adopted like bad attitudes habituating the mind of the person to negative/destructive forms of working with others/the world. But they are still habits and therefore not really intrinsic to being. But they can be pretty crusted on... see Jeffrey Dahmer, or "Uncle Eddie from Philadelphia"...
Image Made from 100% recycled karma

The Heart Drive Word Press
Mud to Lotus

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy
User avatar
Ogyen
 
Posts: 446
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:36 pm

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby catmoon » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:39 pm

A purely evil being simply could not function as a human being. A purely evil being would alienate everyone he encountered.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 3006
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:31 pm

catmoon wrote:A purely evil being simply could not function as a human being. A purely evil being would alienate everyone he encountered.
Now that explains why I fel the way I do about you! :tongue:
"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
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 9270
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby Infinite » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:26 pm

catmoon wrote:A purely evil being simply could not function as a human being. A purely evil being would alienate everyone he encountered.

Indeed, everyone has redeeming qualities about themselves. The World is quite eager to make everything into black and white but this is an incorrect perception and a gross simplification of human interaction.
Infinite
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:20 am

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby Wesley1982 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:32 am

Generally I consider evil to be "things" and "actions" like murder, cruelty , child neglect , animal abuse , and other problems that we see.
User avatar
Wesley1982
 
Posts: 739
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:45 pm
Location: Magga ~ Path to Liberation.

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby catmoon » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:33 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
catmoon wrote:A purely evil being simply could not function as a human being. A purely evil being would alienate everyone he encountered.
Now that explains why I fel the way I do about you! :tongue:


Agree. If you were purely evil, you would simply hate me. But you have an appreciation for compassion, wisdom and feline humour which is why you regard me with the unconditional love, respect and devotion you do.

No, no - no need for prostrations there fella. (Heavens it's SO embarrassing when he does this)
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 3006
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby catmoon » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:48 am

Wesley1982 wrote:Generally I consider evil to be "things" and "actions" like murder, cruelty , child neglect , animal abuse , and other problems that we see.


I have been pondering this. Are such actions pure evil? One can easily conjure up situations where one might do all of the above to benefit others, and even if the reasoning was bad, it would put a speck of good intent in the action.

The next thing I considered was Willy Pickton. His motives were apparently his own enjoyment, yet he ruthlessly killed people to cover his tracks. I cannot find even a speck of goodness in the murders. Not even a trace of good intent. Maybe acts of pure evil do exist.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 3006
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby Takoda » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:55 pm

I do believe that what some might call “unwholesome” does exist in different degrees. For example we might consider lying or not being truthful about something to be “unwholesome” or “wrong”. Not being truthful on a certain matter might not affect the lives of others in any perceivable or direct way. It may actually go unnoticed by others even though the action of not being truthful or not practicing “right speech” will always have its aftereffects.

On the other hand any action that directly affects the lives and well being of others is “unwholesomeness” on a much more serious level. Some might use the word “evil” due to the severity of an action that is completely “unwholesome”.

We might think of mass murderers, the holocaust, the Khmer rouge genocide in Cambodia, the genocide in Rwanda, or a parent that sexually abuses his or her children inflicting deep emotionally and physical harm on them. Of course the list can go on and on. This in itself can take on the qualities of being “evil”.

Of course one thing is to read about an event in a detached way and to merely philosophize on it, and another thing is to actually see, experience and feel the immense suffering that is produced through these very negative actions.

As for something being “intrinsically evil” we might be referring to something having the very nature of being “bad” “unwholesome” or “wicked”. I do not believe that a person is born as an “evil” person. I do believe that as life unfolds a person can cultivate unwholesome thoughts which can and will eventually produce very unwholesome results. This whole process can “snowball” if left unchecked and produce immense amounts of suffering on other sentient beings.

At times, the problem of defining words comes into play. Some will avoid using the word “evil” or “wicked” feeling more comfortable with “unwholesomeness”, “unpleasantness” or “negativity”.


Very interesting thread indeed,

With Kind Regards

Cheers,

Takoda
User avatar
Takoda
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:46 pm

Re: Is there such a thing as almost pure evil?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:08 pm

I was reading a talk and came across this quote.

It's important not to confuse the conventional and ultimate views. On the conventional level karma rules and we refer to it as the incontrovertible law of karma. From the ultimate perspective all is illusion and there is no difference between good and evil. But how often do we dwell in that state? It is difficult to remain in that state while acting in the world. The only reason for practicing the Six Yogas is to maintain the state of mahamudra in situations where it normally would be lost. Padmasambhava said our view should be high as the sky, but our actions should be as fine as flour.

Ari Kiev
Susquehanna Yoga Center


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~
User avatar
Dave The Seeker
 
Posts: 409
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:02 pm
Location: Reading MI USA

Previous

Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

>