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Thread: Practicing ahimsa in a country setting

  1. #1

    Practicing ahimsa in a country setting

    Hello friends,

    A buddy and I had dinner last night. You may have watched a viral video circulating of an adorable black bear in CO. (I believe), pushing a dumpster on it's hind legs away from the trash area from a back space. I'm sure it had a wonderful feast

    My buddy, an avid hunter, said the bear should be killed. That it is, in effect, a danger to the area as it now is tamed to human establishments. "It probably wouldn't think twice to kill," he said.

    I am no hunter. I live in a major city. But I do my best to practice ahimsa. What are your thoughts on practicing ahimsa in the face of, let us posit, a bear approaching your child or exhibiting dangerous behavior?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    My uncle thought he was a chicken. He could've been cured but we needed the eggs.


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    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajña from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  3. #3
    Hi Lu,

    It is so sad that our urban areas and environmental changes have encroached on these animals so much that they must come down for our garbage.

    We had some discussion of this for mice, termites and such.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post94867

    Also, we have faced the questions of, for example, an armed intruder in one's house containing one's children. We face similar issues each year when looking at the Precept on avoiding life as an aspect of our preparations for Jukai (Undertaking the Precepts) Ceremony. Here was the last time this came up. The history of non-violence in Buddhism is far from black and white. The Buddha and most Zen Teachers I know (even the Dalai Lama) seem to allow ... with regret and Karmic weight ... some self-defense, defense of others and military action in self defense.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post98488

    The Dalai Lama once famously said (speaking to a group of American school kids about what to do if an armed intruder were to come into the school) ...

    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/dalailama.asp

    Nonetheless, as the bear is simply trying to survive and protect itself, I would feel great regret if needing to kill the bear that had simply wandered into a neighborhood.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Thanks for the post, but I also agree with Jundo. We cannot just keep killing animals because they are encroaching upon us. We have been encroaching on them actually.

    A quote once said, "The deadliest animal on the planet is not a bear, snake, shark, or spider, but the human being".

    I feel we can live in harmony together, we just need to use the space between our ears better to find that solution. In Canada we have a bad track record for killing animals because they wander into urban areas ... this is not the solution.

    I agree that if we are in danger and have no choice, then we need to protect our loved ones.

    Gassho
    Shingen

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    倫道 真現

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

  5. #5
    Thank you for your thoughtful replies. I agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, my "the bear was simply following it's dharma" comment elicited an, "you're not being realistic" response. That was to be expected.

    Looking fwd. to the day when we begin recognizing that all sentient beings deserve the same level of compassion we afford each other.

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