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Thread: Perspectives on Non-Violence

  1. #51
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    My understanding is that “right action” is ultimately the way we deter violence before it happens. The smile that changes a stranger’s day changes the world. The butterfly effect if you like. So we do our best to walk, speak, think, and act “peacefully”. This is all we can do. But does this mean we should allow ourselves to be physically abused without defending ourselves? I don’t think so. I don’t see the point in that at all. Of course, defending ones self and retaliation after the fact are entirely different things.

  2. #52
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Nonetheless, we must stop those who commit criminal violence to protect the lives of others.
    Hopefully my post didn't imply that I didn't want the suspect to be found. I simply hope that he has a fair trial. I hope this for anybody involved in a crime, guilty or not.
    迎 Geika

  3. #53
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea1974 View Post
    I am against any form of extreme violence, but isn't violence necessary for life to exist?
    Yes, of course! To eat, something must be killed or maimed, vegetarian or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea1974 View Post
    Can you really imagine a world where there is only peace?
    Nope! And it probably doesn't exist anywhere in this universe.

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck13 View Post
    My understanding is that “right action” is ultimately the way we deter violence before it happens.
    There's a great documentary about this called, "The Interrupters". It's about a group of ex-felons working to stop conflicts before they happen in Chicago. Anyone interested might want to look it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by chuck13 View Post
    But does this mean we should allow ourselves to be physically abused without defending ourselves? I don't think so.
    Me either. I don't know if anyone I know here would advocate that...
    迎 Geika

  4. #54
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Speaking of non violence...

    I just read this story on The Guardian. It's pretty sad.

    Burma has always been a hot spot for hate and intolerance. This time we can see buddhists having a wonderful time creating chaos and killing muslims.

    A lot to think about here. How sick and tired you have to be to react like this? How much hate has been brewing for decades to make violence rise up like that?

    No matter what religion people practice, how much rage and hate do you have to carry on your heart to kill in cold blood like that?

    Blows my mind.

    WARNING: disturbing video.


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...attack-muslims
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  5. #55
    Amelia, no, I get that and I am the same way. only, I can notice that there is that part of me that goes, "yeah yeah, get the guy!", and have to be watchful for it in myself. conversely, there is also that part of me that can root for the bad guy as well (not in said instance, though). all things I need to be mindful of if im going to practice. gassho, justin

  6. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Speaking of non violence...

    I just read this story on The Guardian. It's pretty sad.

    Burma has always been a hot spot for hate and intolerance. This time we can see buddhists having a wonderful time creating chaos and killing muslims.
    All genocide and ethnic cleansing, religious strife and anger and violence is to be condemned. End of story. We should all live together, and this world has space and resources sufficient for all if we wisely share ... Jews and Palestinians, Sunni and Shi'ite, Catholic and Protestant, Serbs and Croats and all the rest.

    Depending on who the "Buddhists" are, "Buddhism" is no less free of such abuses than Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Judaism. In my understanding, in South and Southeast Asia, there are great and historical ethnic tensions as in so many parts of the world. In Thailand too, some Muslims sometimes attack Buddhists ... Sad and to be condemned, no matter who is on the receiving end of the hate.

    http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog.../blog_id/32983

    Sri Lanka is another example of Buddhism all tied up in ethnic and civil war.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17816285

    However, let me say that, perhaps, the "Buddhists" of many places in Asia are "Buddhist" in the very same way that folks are any religion anywhere. The Buddhist priests of these areas ... especially the rank and file ... are typically illiterate or barely educated farmers and peasants themselves, not necessarily educated even in "Buddhism" beyond surface beliefs and practices. The way the religion is practiced is not much different from the way religions are practiced about anywhere, and they look at "Buddha" as their god and the Suttas (which most are really not capable of reading, let alone understanding) as their sacred "Holy Book" above all others. Religion becomes all mixed together with "our people" "our tribe" "our beliefs". For this reason, the articles linked to above are a bit misleading, as they give the impression that this is the reality for all "Buddhists" or "Buddhism" in these cultures. It is not so, not any more than all of Islam is represented by Al Qaeda or all Christianity by the situation in Northern Ireland. Most of the rest of the Buddhist Sangha ... not only the senior Buddhist establishments in these countries, but Buddhists around the world ... do condemn any ethnic violence.

    What is more, there is the tangled historical question of what actions are aggressive and what are (although perhaps in a mistaken way) defensive. These fights are about land, water rights, population pressures, ethnic tensions ... and it does not matter that the people involved might be "Buddhists" or wear robes or anything else.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-23-2013 at 03:48 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #57
    Thanks you Jundo for your understanding words.

    at first I was going to delete this post but decided not to. I usually never respond on these matters, but feel it has a purpose here. No careful composition and rereading here, just wrote as is.

    Safety, prosperity and human dignity come at a huge price is what I've learned. And that's a lot to learn when you are only 19. Let’s just say I have gone through many stages digesting what happened that day. It took a long time, a patient wife and a good minister to learn to see we all did a lot of good too, over there. There are many stories of both tragedy and triumph. I went there as a Bodhisattva, eager to help and make a difference. I’m sad to say most of us came back something very different!

    Just to be clear on this, I have also seen true beauty and the raw human ability to endure, love and find hope in the bleakest of times. The capacity we all have to pick up the pieces and start building. Not just rebuild the old but build a better world again. True human spirit is stronger than steel. It remains even in the midst of the fire.
    Someone once said the period we were there, was like a whole lifetime violently compressed in a period of six months.(With 'we', I mean our rotation b.t.w.) Maybe as a result of this and other things, compassion and the sense of relativity grew strong. Life is so very precious and so very fragile. Worth appreciating, caring for and protecting to the upmost of our abilities, no matter if it is a friend or a stranger. I try to express this whenever I can. Problem is after all this, is I don’t come across the accessible caring Bodhisattva part much ( being a battle worn soldier never really leaves someone’s eyes and presence) but I’m working on it daily. If the day comes, if need be, I will stand for it all over again.


    Scars, sure but at least, among other things, it woke me up to the Dharma in a way. Sitting however is sometimes still is difficult and Mara has her own face in my case.

    Guess I’m no Forrest Gump after all I feel I can for once, be more open on this forum then I have been to even some close friends. For once that is, so you guys can understand a bit more about me. I would love to hear your comments on this but hope you understand my reluctance to discuss this in further detail. Besides this Thread is not about me and don’t want it to go that way.

    How about those Yankees?

    Gassho

    Enkyo

  8. #58
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Thank you all for contributing to this thread.

    Isn't it strange how we cite religion as the cause of wars when in fact ( remembering all the while that God is on both sides) it is greed, hatred and ignorance that drives it all.
    Last edited by Shokai; 04-23-2013 at 11:44 AM.
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  9. #59
    Thank you Enkyo! Sharing such a personal story and the feelings that go with it is not an easy task. It is great that a forum like this one creates an intimate atmosphere where experiences can be exchanged freely.

    Gassho, A

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Jenell View Post
    So, please tell me how you differentiate your educated, erudite Buddhism with these Asian fundamentalist Buddhists. Is your lineage superior to theirs? I certainly understand tribal and/or ethnic tensions, concerns over resources, etc. What I am having trouble with, lately, is this sense of superiority. It could be "they" feel they have to stop "the other guys" to save them from committing acts of karmic violence. Maybe, they feel they're saving the people they're attacking/stopping. Why do some of us think we're saving people/the world/the perpetrator if we commit violence to stop violence, but other people's motives couldn't possibly be so pure?
    Always hoping for better,
    Gassho,
    Jenell
    We are not superior or inferior, for we are all victims of greed, anger and ignorance. When we see violence, we should condemn it and stop it no matter whether tribal folks in a jungle fighting over the fruit trees or developed countries sending cruise missiles after oil. Violence to stop violence may be necessary in the village too, tragic but understandable.

    I am willing to condemn racial or religious bigotry, woman left in ignorance without education, slavery, use of children as soldiers, genocide, torture, a bombing at a race which kills a child, shootings in schools and many other ugly realities around the world perpetrated by people against people ... I condemn them without feeling superior or inferior to the people who do such acts.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-24-2013 at 02:54 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #61
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Hi Jenell;

    Originally Posted by Jenell
    Isn't religion mostly, greed, hatred and ignorance?


    I prefer not to confuse religion with the manner in which people conduct themselves in the name of religion.
    One definition of religion is:
    a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
    My original statement with which you take umbrage was:
    Isn't it strange how we cite religion as the cause of wars
    In my opinion, very often, groups of people find it accommodating to use religion as a case for war (or violence) when in fact the moral codes put forward by the various flavours of religion are not in keeping with such actions. Most times it is the fear of what "they" may do to us (xenophobia) that causes folks to rally round the flag. And then, it's convienent to say, "Well, they are not like us so we must convert/teach them!." And before you know it, both theys are lobbing bombs at one another and saying Allah or God or Yaweh or Bramha (insert which ever name fits at the time) will see us through.

    So, as I said; Let's not confuse religion with the manner in which people conduct themselves in the name of religion.

    respectfully submitted.
    gassho, Shokai
    Last edited by Shokai; 04-24-2013 at 11:56 AM.
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    ... I condemn them without feeling superior or inferior to the people who do such acts ...
    I agree Jundo, this part I feel is so important! Thank you.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  13. #63
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    It's also important to allow people to handle things in their own way. After this recent tragedy in Boston, I personally can't help but to feel a sense of sadness for the suspect. After all, he's a child, about the same age as my daughter. BUT, I keep that thought to myself while others are expressing their rage and trying to fill their need for revenge or justice. It does none of us any good to tell them they need to feel sorry for the bomber as well as the victims. They have to figure that out for themselves.

  14. #64
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Thank you Jenell;

    Interesting viewpoint;
    that religion is mostly greed, hatred, and ignorance.
    We speak of "beginingless greed, hatred and ignorance,"
    Do awe and fear and fight or flight supercede?
    Were these the only motivations to codify existence?
    Where do loving kindness and compassion fit in?
    It's not that I don't hear you, it's that I prefer not to emphasize these negative facets.
    Positive reinforcement is imperative.
    Every day I expend great effort to atone for greed, hatred and ignorance and their by-products.
    Let's not confuse religion with the manner in which people (some beings) conduct themselves in the name of religion.

    gassho, Shokai
    Last edited by Shokai; 04-25-2013 at 11:48 AM.
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  15. #65
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    I would like to very humbly suggest that what might be contributing to the present dustup is the problem of definition of the word religion. I think the principles that comprise a belief system and their application or practice by individuals are two different things. The word "religion" originates in religio, which refers to a group of people practicing (their chosen belief system). In the last century, the word religion (at least in the US) has taken on more of an identification in common usage with monotheistic worship. Universal human principles such as love, respect, the equality of all persons, etc. are not in themselves religion. They can be part of a creed, but how they are applied or practiced by groups of people is "religion." Human behaviors such as greed, anger, or violence are added to the mix when people practice in faith communities and other variables such as politics, organizational issues and rivalries, etc. enter the picture.

    I think the challenge here is one of definition and perspective, not lack of respect for diversity (this requires definition as well). I presume we are referring to diversity of thought and belief.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 04-25-2013 at 09:46 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  16. #66
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    I think the challenge here is one of definition and perspective, not lack of respect for diversity (this requires definition as well). I presume we are referring to diversity of thought and belief.
    There should be only one religion: generosity.

    I wish somehow we all understand that.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  17. #67
    "my religion is very simple, my religion is kindness"- dalai lama.

  18. #68
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Hi Jennell,
    In my own practice I disaggregate what one does in the outside world (in terms of "accomplishments") from the level of civility and discourse each member deserves in this sangha. I believe respect and tolerance for the opinions and "voice" of all members is a bedrock principle of this Sangha, regardless of their "station" in life (which I would suggest is an illusion to begin with). I don't need to know what you do outside the Sangha to know that you are a highly intelligent and thoughtful person with much to contribute. I have much to learn from your writing, particularly in those areas where it challenges my own views. The respect I have for your opinion, as well as my practice of listening, will also be the same for any Sangha member, whether they are accomplished or great ridiculous screw ups in life like me. In turn, the skilful listening and respectful behavior I attempt to practice here will I hope radiate into my dealings with all beings.

    When we sit zazen and practice as a Sangha who we are and what we "do" falls away I believe. That's why the precepts are so important to me. In the absence of a social pecking order or hierarchy established by the usual criteria (what do you do? how much do you make? what's your title?) the effort to practice skillful speech and listening, and recognition of not only our interconnectedness, but of the inherent worth and dignity of all beings is sacred. That's why respect for your opinion and voice is a cornerstone of this Sangha's foundation, and Buddhist practice.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 04-25-2013 at 11:14 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  19. #69
    "Love and do what you want" - St. Augustine (jus-t to second jus' post )

  20. #70
    Senior Member Heishu's Avatar
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    Jenell,

    I hope that I am not speaking out of line here, I do see your point. I tend to agree with your opinion of "religion". It is sad that such a thing needs to be said but truth is truth. Religion no matter what the 'faith in' part of it may be, is something formed by the opinions of people and yes it gets boggled.

    Yugen spoke of following the precepts and this is what I have been attempting to do since Jukai. Sometimes it is easy sometimes it is not. Yet I try every day now to follow my vows. Why I am I stating this? For me attempting to stay on track in my personal practice is to avoid confrontation and that for me is a daily and very hard struggle.

    You are of course correct that you have a right to express your thoughts as we all are. Now for the hard part. The response to what I might have said might be negative and I might not like that it is that way but I now try to let it be. Like water off a ducks back I try my best to let it be.

    I value everyone's comments at Treeleaf as a lesson in life. I hardly ever agree with every stated opinion but I do learn from all. Please don't let this little ripple in the stream of thought keep you from sharing your valuable thoughts with the rest of us.

    My apologies to all for butting in but I was learning something in this thread and I needed to raise my hand and express my opinion also.

    Gassho
    Heishu

  21. #71
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    I'm glad you are here Jenell and look forward to more of your writing and practice. I have much to learn as well, about many things. Have spent so much of my life "knowing things," and that didn't work out so well.... :-D

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  22. #72
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I always wonder why people are looking for a particular amount of religious diversity here: a forum for practitioners of and people interested in learning Soto Zen Buddhism.
    迎 Geika

  23. #73
    This is no different from Polish Catholics talking about eliminating the plague of Jews, Jews talking about Palestinians, Croatians about Serbs, Belfast Protestants about Catholics ... terrible and to be condemned wherever it appears.

    The one thing I can say is that most other Buddhist condemn this in the strongest terms, and gradually, by active protest ... and find no doctrinal basis for it in the Buddha's Teachings any place, in any Tradition. This is not Buddhism ... just ethnic and religious hate wrapped in a colored robe ...

    Buddhist monk uses racism and rumours to spread hatred in Burma
    Thousands watch YouTube videos of 45-year-old 'Burmese Bin Laden' who preaches against country's Muslim minority


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...s-hatred-burma
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #74
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Sad to read about what is going on in Burma and Sri Lanka. Metta verses.
    迎 Geika

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