Jigme Tsultrim wrote:
I'm not really seeking "agreement". I'm trying to raise some compassion for the victims. I'm trying to get those who consider themselves as Buddhist to realize that if they feel real compassion for those in error, that the really kind thing for all concerned is to point their error out to them. To claim that as a Buddhist one has no involvement in the activities of others, especially Buddhists, is to deny interdependence.
In teaching interedeoendence it is pointed out when someone claims that they did something by themselves that they must consider all the others involved in making the materials that went into whatever. So, turning this around are we not all involved in the actions of others? Even leaving out the special responsibility created by the Teachings, are we not responsible as fellow human beings?
The Buddha said "Karma is volition and its products".
We are not involved in the actions of others apart from the extent to which we agree to the intentions pursued by others. For example, someone who opposed the Vietnam war is responsible for none of the negative karma generated by that war, while all who supported it earn the negative karma * as many people who supported that war. This is very clearly explained in Abhidharma.
Our mind streams are not interdependent in the same way the roots of trees and mycelium in a forest are. Our mind streams are unique, and the gathering and ripening of karma upon it is individual, not collective. When beings engage in similar acts, they have similar ripenings, but that is as far as it goes.
Being responsible human beings does not bear the consequence that we must be ashamed of human beings when they engage in negative actions because of the three poisons. We do not feel shame when a person with a disease does something wrong. We understand that they are ill and in need of treatment. Likewise, when sentient beings engage in the ten non-virtues, they do so only because of the three poisons in their own minds.
Can we feel sad that sentient beings engage in negative karma? Yes. Is that sadness connected to the fact that we understand all of our unpleasant experiences in samsara are connected with our own negative actions? Yes. Should we feel shame that other sentient beings engage in non-virtuous actions because of the three poisons? No. No, unless at some point, for example, we whole heartedly backed the killing of a bunch of Ronhingyas for the "sin" of being Muslims because of our own afflictions. If we realize that this was wrong on our part, then we should voice that regret, confess it, and move on. But there is very little point in feeling shame at the actions of others in which we played no part.
In order to point out the error of someone, first you must gain their trust and respect. Only then will your admonishments be heeded, respected and effective. Otherwise, admonishing those who do not respect you is like pissing into the wind, it just turns back on you.
As to your point about interdependence. If I am a miner, and I unearth iron to make steel, after it goes to market I have no idea if it will make a car or a gun. So whether it is made into a car or gun has nothing to do with me. I am just mining the ore, and that is all.
One must understand that the way this is taught is that first we have the presentation of the six causes and four conditions; then there is the presentation of dependent origination, and then, only after that is there the presentation of karma, the first is part of the teaching of the noble's truth of suffering, the latter two belong to the noble's truth of the origination of suffering. Cause and condition is not moral cause and condition, so the karana-hetu, which means that everything is a cause for everything else apart from itself does not apply to moral questions of karma-vipaka. If you overextend the limit of mutual causation, even the Buddha becomes responsible for the crimes of Angulimala.
Therefore, it needs to be understood that the only thing one needs to feel shame about is one's own action that arise out of the three poisons. Feeling shame for actions of others is a misplaced sense of identity which arises from a false grasping to self.
As for our responsibility towards other humans, well, again it is question of limitations. We are very limited, our capacity to help others is miniscule. We do what we can, we act as witnesses when there are those who are committing crimes, but we don't judge, and we don't abandon the fact that everyone involved in such events also has their own karma, positive and negative which led to that karmavipaka they are experiencing, including being murdered. The Buddhist view about the karmavipaka is dispassionate. If you engaged in a lot of killing in this life, your life will be shortened in the next. If you engage in a lot of violence in this life, you can bet that in the next you will be subjected to a lot of violence. Karma, like death, is pitiless.
Further, if we engage in judgement, we will lose compassion for the those who truly deserve it, the perpetrators of those crimes. For example, who is deserving of more compassion in this example: the SS soldiers who murdered millions of Jews, or the murdered Jews? Who is going to experience more suffering as a result? Most people feel no compassion for the SS soldiers and wish them into hell, saving their compassion for those who suffered terribly in the death camps. Who is more deserving of compassion, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, or the millions they left in the killing fields? Who is more deserving of compassion, Kissinger and Nixon, who murdered hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese or the murdered Vietnamese.
The reality is that they are all equally
deserving of compassion. This is the Mahāyāna approach. We do not judge and say this sentient beings deserves more compassion, this one less. All sentient beings are deserving of equal levels of compassions, whether they are Hitler, Mao, Stalin or a Rohingya Muslim or Nāgaland Buddhist, or a Sinhalese Tamil.