Huseng wrote:Johnny Dangerous wrote:What about a destitute refugee forced into prostitution? Child soldiering?
The former is still better than fighting a war.
Look ... if you feel compelled to die in a war for a purportedly just cause, I doubt I'd be able to convince you otherwise. How many people marched off to the Middle East after 9/11 to participate in what they thought was just war, but just ended up being about securing Iraq's oil reserves for the western power bloc?
However, if you are concerned about your post-mortem fate on the far side of death you might think twice about exercising violence of any kind. If you abhor your own suffering, stop harming others. That means if someone throws a stone, you walk away. If they keep throwing stones you still don't retaliate.
This doesn't work for states and governments of course, but as an individual you have the freedom to walk away and abandon such evils. You might be disgraced and dishonoured, and called a coward, but in the end it is better to be a human coward with a means to liberation than some being in the lower realms.
I don't personally feel compelled to fight in a war, especially not a war clearly for the gain of resources such as those my country is perpetually involved in. If I lived in Spain in the midst of the Spanish Civil war for instance, I imagine I would face a starker choice! As you have mentioned many times, first worlders are in the sad positions of sitting back and being able to have whatever opinion they like on war, because the vast majority of us benefit from it materially, but are not in a position to have to support it, and far removed from it's consequences. Incidentally, I do not consider it likely that there are many "just wars", but I do not think it is by necessity an empty category either. I recognize that some people have far less choice than me.
How is it that Buddhists, who are supposed to have a genuine concern with the welfare of other beings are answering this question with concerns about their own well being first and foremost? Is your greatest concern with violence really preserving your own well being by avoiding it, before considering the implications for others that your failure to act could have? While cliche, the Hitler example example is a reasonable one...
I am not asking this question as an individual per se, I am not asking you to tell me what to believe.. like you guys I already have my own opinions on this. I am not exactly trying to get the perspective of a Buddhist deciding on his or her own personal view of violence, but rather connected with the "engaged Buddhism" thread..surely it is important for Buddhist who want to be "engaged" on any level to have opinions, be able to differentiate between the violence of oppressor and oppressed, and be willing and capable of reasoning out the answer..rather than these frankly doctrinaire responses about rebirth into lower realms etc.
Vinetka so far has made to my mind the most compelling argument, violence or no, the willingness to endure harm for the welfare of other beings can certainly be called Bodhicitta..can't it? Gonna chew on Vinetka's response a bit, thank you all for the responses.