Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

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Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:51 am

Today Aaron Alexis shot and killed 12 people at a Naval shipyard where apparently he worked or was about to work.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ ... story.html

Reports just in indicate that he was a Buddhist and learning the Thai language at a Buddhist temple. He was working at a Thai restaurant for free to learn the language better.

As far as I know, this is the first time a Buddhist has done a serial killing in the U.S. (and hopefully the last) and perhaps the first mass shooting by a Buddhist in any non-Buddhist country.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby plwk » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:58 am

I guess it's true David, until one has gone into any of the Arya stages, 'Buddhist' is just a tagline.. instability & retrogression are facts of life in sam & sara
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby mindyourmind » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:51 am

What a sad incident. My prayers are with all the victims, the shooter included, and their families and friends.

He seems to have had some big issues to deal with, including PTSD. His Buddhism seems to have been his acknowledgement of his struggles that he needed to resolve. Sadly, in this life he did not seem to manage to do so.

It has become quite fashionable to quite early on in these incidents ask what religion the shooter(s) adhered to. I think that we should distinguish between situations where the religion is the actual motivating causal spark that lights the fire, and where the religion is merely a coincidental fact. This shooter was clearly a troubled individual, and it would take a most athletic contortion to argue that his Buddhism motivated him to do this. It is easier to see the link between certain religious dogmas and violence than in this case.Of course Buddhism can be linked to acts of violence and criminality, but on the available facts this seems not to be the case in this instance.

I hope that this does not sound too defensive. Most of us can do with a more compassionate and less cliched understanding of other religions and how they apparently motivate these types of incidents. In this case, as in others, I believe that we should guard against a simplistic dismissal of these events simply based on a person's religion. This terrible incident clearly shows how nuanced such motives and factors could be.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby undefineable » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:54 pm

My guess would be that his Buddhism merely delayed his 'cracking'.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby bamboo » Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:56 am

I can't imagine anyone who understand and practice the Dharma would do something like that.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby not1not2 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:04 am

bamboo wrote:I can't imagine anyone who understand and practice the Dharma would do something like that.

Even assuming he was a sincere practitioner of Buddhism, no spiritual or religious practice is necessarily adequate "medicine" to ameliorate mental illness. Earl
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby bamboo » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:35 am

not1not2 wrote:
bamboo wrote:I can't imagine anyone who understand and practice the Dharma would do something like that.

Even assuming he was a sincere practitioner of Buddhism, no spiritual or religious practice is necessarily adequate "medicine" to ameliorate mental illness. Earl


I don't have much knowledge on mental illness and that whether meditation can cure it, but I know one thing for certain that he had wrong views.

If he truly believes in the dharma, then he must know.

1. Killing is against the precept.
2. By killing innocent people, he will accumulate bad karma that will follow him in the future.

So, it doesnt make sense to me for someone who practices and has faith in the dharma would do something like that. Unless, of course, he is just a Buddhist by label and not really a practitioner.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby Pero » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:34 am

Sometimes something inside can just break and to hell with everything, let alone some precepts. Mere knowing that actions have negative consequences does not always prevent one from acting out those actions for ordinary people. How much more so for someone with mental illness. A Buddhist is not a Buddha.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby Adamantine » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:39 pm

Hey look if you've a read a bit about this by now you'd know this guy was hearing voices, thought mysterious people were following him, etc. In other words, he was clearly having paranoid delusions and was probably schizophrenic. His religious leanings really don't factor in here whatsoever.

That said, as someone who connected to the precious Dharma we should all pray with heartfelt compassion for liberation from this state of terrible confusion he is inevitably in within the bardo state right now. Maybe through whatever small connection he made he could be more receptive now to dedications of merit. Likewise, for all those whose lives he cut short.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby Jikan » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:19 pm

Related topic:

viewtopic.php?f=47&t=14051

Adamantine wrote:Hey look if you've a read a bit about this by now you'd know this guy was hearing voices, thought mysterious people were following him, etc. In other words, he was clearly having paranoid delusions and was probably schizophrenic. His religious leanings really don't factor in here whatsoever.

That said, as someone who connected to the precious Dharma we should all pray with heartfelt compassion for liberation from this state of terrible confusion he is inevitably in within the bardo state right now. Maybe through whatever small connection he made he could be more receptive now to dedications of merit. Likewise, for all those whose lives he cut short.


:good:
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby bamboo » Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:45 am

Pero wrote:Sometimes something inside can just break and to hell with everything, let alone some precepts. Mere knowing that actions have negative consequences does not always prevent one from acting out those actions for ordinary people. How much more so for someone with mental illness. A Buddhist is not a Buddha.


One does not not need a Buddha mind to refrain oneself from murdering 12 people, a compassionate mind will do. But I agree with you that people with mental illness can do unimaginable things, even the knowing the Dharma doesn't do any good. I didn't really know that he has a history of mental issues. It makes me wonder if practicing meditation can cure mental illnesses. I somehow believe that it is possible.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby Nemo » Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:42 am

The system screwed him over and then tried to throw him away. He asked repeatedly for help. When you sign up you enter an unlimited liability relationship. The government broke the sacredness of that pact. His father openly says he had PTSD. Pissing off vets is extremely unwise.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby MattyNottwo » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:52 pm

I don't think we should equate mental illness with people who cause harm, all things being equal, we would have to say everyone who kills is mentally ill, including all the supposed justified killing, war execution law enforcement etc. I have known many people put in the mental illness label, who are actually kind loving and open hearted, I don't think these groups should be lumped together.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby Jikan » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:57 pm

MattyNottwo wrote:I don't think we should equate mental illness with people who cause harm, all things being equal, we would have to say everyone who kills is mentally ill, including all the supposed justified killing, war execution law enforcement etc. I have known many people put in the mental illness label, who are actually kind loving and open hearted, I don't think these groups should be lumped together.


who said all killers were mentally ill? who, specifically, are you arguing against?

the point is that this killer was mentally ill. take a look at nemo's post in this thread.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby bamboo » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:15 am

Jikan wrote:
MattyNottwo wrote:I don't think we should equate mental illness with people who cause harm, all things being equal, we would have to say everyone who kills is mentally ill, including all the supposed justified killing, war execution law enforcement etc. I have known many people put in the mental illness label, who are actually kind loving and open hearted, I don't think these groups should be lumped together.


who said all killers were mentally ill? who, specifically, are you arguing against?

the point is that this killer was mentally ill. take a look at nemo's post in this thread.


I think he/she was addressing my post for my generalization of mental illness. I apologize. I know not all people with mental illnesses have violent tendency. I should have worded it better.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby disjointed » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:31 am

We can assume by his association with the temple that he made an effort to combat the afflictive emotions, wrong views, bad tendencies, and karma.
He was probably trying to learn Thai so he could ordain like so many Vietnam veterans did in the past.

Those at least 13 people, Aaron included, are not the first or the last victims of the afflictive emotions.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby TheSpirit » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:46 pm

Buddhism probably wasn't enough. He probably didn't have anybody to help and lead him to have correct views. He probably needed a therapist. I worked in a mental health facility and this is very common. It seems like he might have used Buddhism as a tool to try to cope with his mental illness. I pray the spirits of the victim and of the killer himself be free from anger.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby Alfredo » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:13 am

Absolutely nobody blamed Buddhism for what this guy did, or asked what kind of radicalism they were teaching at his temple. They just assumed that this was some fluke thing. If the guy had been a Muslim, the news people would never shut up about it. So perhaps this is an opportunity to feel sympathy for the Muslims, most of whom are just as kind and law-abiding as Buddhists, but never get the benefit of the doubt like we do.
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby Jikan » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:14 pm

Alfredo wrote:Absolutely nobody blamed Buddhism for what this guy did, or asked what kind of radicalism they were teaching at his temple. They just assumed that this was some fluke thing. If the guy had been a Muslim, the news people would never shut up about it. So perhaps this is an opportunity to feel sympathy for the Muslims, most of whom are just as kind and law-abiding as Buddhists, but never get the benefit of the doubt like we do.


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true story
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Re: Shooter at DC shipyard was Buddhist

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:55 pm

mindyourmind wrote:It has become quite fashionable to quite early on in these incidents ask what religion the shooter(s) adhered to. I think that we should distinguish between situations where the religion is the actual motivating causal spark that lights the fire, and where the religion is merely a coincidental fact.
I think you will find that in all cases the professed religion is an incidental factor and that killers, utilising the "cover" of religion, are all troubled individuals. Where in Christ's teachings, for example, does it talk about Holy Wars? And yet...
"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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