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Thread: Self-Defense

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Self-Defense

    With all of this talk about how it is wrong to use violence, what about the use of violence in a self-defense situation? As a Buddhist, I would never want to inflict harm on another being but if someone was attacking me with lethal force or with the intention of raping me, I would do what ever it would take to get myself out of that situation safely.

    In my martial arts school, we are taught numerous methods to prevent attacks in the first place and to fight only in self-defense. In self-defense, my instructors teach us to use equal amount of force that our attacker is giving us. If someone comes up to you holding a knife and demands your wallet, just give them your wallet and run. Don't attack them unless they actually attack you. If that same person does move to attack you with that knife even after you give them your wallet, then use the self-defense necessary to get away safely.

    We are taught to use enough force to get them down on the ground to give you enough time to get the heck out of there safely. Now for a woman defending herself against a larger and stronger man, we would have to do enough damage to them to give us time to get away. That means hurting them badly because if we don't, they could get angry and attack us more. Or they can out run us and attack us again. There are a lot of self-defense techniques to use that vary from being lethal to an arm-bar submission but in a real-life situation, you will have only seconds to respond. You won't have time to think, "Well I am a Buddhist and if I use this or this technique, it will cause the least bit of harm."

    So if ever faced with a situation in defending your life and if the use of self-defense causes severe bodily harm or death in order to save your own life or the life of your child, how does that fit in with being a Buddhist? How does that fit in when you are living by the Precepts and what about the karmic effects? I will be completely honest and this might upset some people but if it meant to save my life or keep myself from being brutally raped, I would do whatever it takes to get away safely and/or my child safely. I wouldn't like it and would never intend to hurt anyone. But if I had to, I guess that is something I would have to live with.

    What are your thoughts? What would you do?

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  2. #2

    Re: Self-Defense

    I would do whatever it took to ensure the safety of my loved ones. Most likely my own safety too. However, no matter what, I would always look at the man who thought to attack me and my family and wonder. What happened that he saw this as an acceptable choice? What must have gone on in his life to drive him to this extreme? Was his heart truly evil, or was it just his circumstance that put this thought in his mind? What kindness could have been shown to him in his life, instead of suffering, that could have precluded this action?

    In America we termed old West outlaws as "bandits" but I rather prefer the Spanish "desperado" which is litterally translated as "desperate men".

  3. #3

    Re: Self-Defense

    Dear Jodi,

    thanks for raising this interesting topic. Obviously we all bring our own unique perspectives to this topic, so let me assure you I don't want to "preach" in any way and will just try to state where this often confused novice stands right now (on my wobbly beginners feet).

    We live in a complicated and often dangerous world, sometimes situations leave us without any room for "nice" solutions, in the same way that you described a possible rape and/or mugging scenario. The intention behind an action is of great importance in our practice, and nobody with any normal family ties is expected to e.g. give his/her body to a starving tiger just so the tiger can eat. Our human lives are precious indeed, being able to encounter the Dharma and comprehend even a little bit of the Buddha' teachings is a gift beyond our wildest imagination. Therefore I'd say, do what you must to save yourself, but do not give in to hate and don't enjoy the fact you might have just vanquished your enemy. In order to be an effective fighter, a certain minimum amount of adrenaline fuelled warrior mind might be necessary to overcome our innate animal fear, however cultivating such behaviour patterns also makes us run the risk of becoming accustomed to solving problems through physical force.

    It has been my experience though, that those who focussed on following a way of fighting somehow ended up in fights a lot more than people who tried to use different means of resolving conflict. Obviously if some deeply disturbed criminal, whose daily life is a hell realm 24/7, attacks you in a dark alley, he/she might not be in a "let's have a cup of tea and talk" kind of mode. Do what you must to survive by all means, but also make sure you do not let a moments fear and anger turn into lifelong hate. Is this difficult? Of course it is, but that's why we need practice. I could think of an extremely great range of scenarios where I'd be hard put to forgive, but only because I can't do it doesn't mean that it wouldn't be the best long term solution. The Buddhaway is radical when it comes to forgiveness and seeing others as ourselves, if it wasn't it wouldn't be the Buddhaway.

    Some say that revenge is a dish best served cold....I'd say revenge and related emotions are dishes the Buddhadharma menu doesn't serve. I'm just saying this to clearly distinguish near-instantaneous survival-reactions from anything remotely resembling emotions that involve the enjoyment of another beings suffering (like kicking someone you already knocked out repeatedly in the head because you are so angry at him/her for having attacked you).

    I once saw a documentary about a number of trials in South-Africa after the end of the apartheid regime, where victims of state violence were involved in judging those who had wronged them. It wasn't nice, but I remember being so inspired by the power to forgive that was manifest in some (not all) the individuals present.

    We often fail to live up to our guiding ideals, may they be called precepts or whatever, but that doesn't change the fact that they should remain our compass. Doing our best is all we can do. Sometimes our best is not good enough from an idealistic perspective, but still...doing our best is all we can do.

    Sorry for the jambalaya of thoughts right there.

    Gassho,

    Hans

  4. #4

    Re: Self-Defense

    I would defend myself.

    But to think "What would a Buddhist do" (to quote another zen master, and I don't remember who) would be to add another head on top of your own. The point of Zen is to strip away the BS. Instead of adding another belief system or philosophical matrix to your life, it should help to reveal what is necessary in a given moment. So do what you need to do.

    As Daido Roshi said, "If it's raining, use an umbrella. If you don't use an umbrella, you'll get wet."

    Buddhism shouldn't be sanctimonious and holier than thou... it should be nothing extra, wiping your ass, paying your bills. Who cares what some idea in your head would do, what would you do? That's what matters.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  5. #5

    Re: Self-Defense

    Act swiftly, reflect deeply. That is my way.


    Risho--well said. Great Daido quote.

  6. #6

    Re: Self-Defense

    You're defending a post that has come under attack, and you can see that a twelve year old kid has your partner in his rifle's sites and is about to kill him. You have the kid in yours. You now have the choice as to whose life is more valuable- your comrade's or the child's. This IS going to happen. Someone IS going to die, right freaking now, and you have about a second to make your choice. There will be no happy endings. Your choice. GO!
    ...It's right about then that ideas, doctrines and philosophy go out the window and life really happens.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans

    Some say that revenge is a dish best served cold....I'd say revenge and related emotions are dishes the Buddhadharma menu doesn't serve. I'm just saying this to clearly distinguish near-instantaneous survival-reactions from anything remotely resembling emotions that involve the enjoyment of another beings suffering (like kicking someone you already knocked out repeatedly in the head because you are so angry at him/her for having attacked you).

    Hans
    I agree. In my Kyuki-Do federation, it is stressed frequently to avoid "turnabout". That means to stop defending yourself once you have control of the situation. There is no need to keep going once you have the opportunity to get away safely. If you keep going, then you become the aggressor.

    And I agree to not hold on to any anger or resentment or to give into hate if this ever happens. Nobody wins in this type of situation since both sides will suffer.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  8. #8

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by KvonNJ
    You're defending a post that has come under attack, and you can see that a twelve year old kid has your partner in his rifle's sites and is about to kill him. You have the kid in yours. You now have the choice as to whose life is more valuable- your comrade's or the child's. This IS going to happen. Someone IS going to die, right freaking now, and you have about a second to make your choice. There will be no happy endings. Your choice. GO!
    ...It's right about then that ideas, doctrines and philosophy go out the window and life really happens.
    The problem isn’t doctrine or war or anything like that. It’d be great if there was just a big, red, “Reset” button on delusions and attachments where the whole world over people suddenly realized that they didn’t have to let the karma of past injustices and injuries dictate their future actions. The best we can do is try to realize the truth of the Dharma and spread that understanding so that it is taken up by others. It’s a war of attrition, we fight with loving kindness and non-violence and open a path for others to defect to our side. But as Buddhists, Secular Humanists, Average Joeists, or Whateverists – we respect ALL life, to include our own.

    There is a world of difference between killing someone because you were told to, or made to, or thought you were justified by your beliefs to and defending yourself against someone who was deluded into trying to cause you harm. I think that the intent is key. And there is also a world of difference between killing a man in self defense and feeling compassion towards that man for whatever horrors his life must have been made of to push him to this decision, and killing a man in self defense and immediately going out and partying because you think you just did the world a favor.

  9. #9

    Re: Self-Defense

    dead men make terrible Bodhisattvas.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: Self-Defense

    Didn't Buddhist monks of old carry big sticks and know how to use them?
    Presumably after reasoning first?

  11. #11

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    dead men make terrible Bodhisattvas.
    It's a terrible and unfortunate truth, but so do some living ones....

  12. #12

    Re: Self-Defense

    very true indeed

  13. #13

    Re: Self-Defense

    Let's not forget that Bodhidharma and kung fu both came from Shaolin (well, strictly speaking Bodhidharma came to Shaolin) but you get my point. :twisted:

  14. #14

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Onshin
    Let's not forget that Bodhidharma and kung fu both came from Shaolin (well, strictly speaking Bodhidharma came to Shaolin) but you get my point. :twisted:
    ...and Shaolin Kung Fu has some of the most horrific weapons I've ever seen as a part of it. Twin hooks, anyone? That's what I think is interesting, what with the precepts and all.

    Metta,

    Saijun

  15. #15

    Re: Self-Defense

    I also want to point out that the Precept we take says to Refrain from taking life.

    The talk of kung fu and Shaolin reminds me of a book I read, American Shaolin by Matthew Poly. He went to the Shaolin Monestary to learn kung fu, and ended up being in a sanda (kung fu kick-boxing) tournament. All the monks were teasing him on the ride there, saying things like, "When you face the champion, remember to fall on your back and raise your arms to your face!" or "You can try crying and asking him to stop beating you!"

    He turned to the temple's Buddhism Instructor and asked what the Buddha would have given him for advice, and he replied, " Well, the Buddha taught us to love everybody. You could try loving him, but the Buddha had lousy kung fu."

    All things in perspective, I suppose..... :mrgreen:

  16. #16

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    I also want to point out that the Precept we take says to Refrain from taking life.
    Hello Heitetsu,

    That was actually what I was attempting to point out in my previous post. My apologies for any confusion ops: .

    Metta,

    Saijun

  17. #17

    Re: Self-Defense

    I doubt that a member of a kshatriya family had "lousy kung fu" even if he did teach that we should love everyone.

    "Don't you know that I am a person who can let you cut my head off without blinking an eye." doesn't necessarily mean that he would have.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Self-Defense

    Before a person chooses to attack another haven't they accepted the potential for harm or death to themselves? It's like signing a wavier of liability before doing anything dangerous. If they accept that upfront does it have to result in bad karma to the one who reacts in self defense thus causing harm?

    Matt wrote:
    Act swiftly, reflect deeply.
    I completely agree with what Matt wrote. Only i would reword it to:
    Act swiftly without excess, reflect deeply.

    Without excess reflects on Hans's words:
    (like kicking someone you already knocked out repeatedly in the head because you are so angry at him/her for having attacked you).
    Gassho,
    John

  19. #19
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Before a person chooses to attack another haven't they accepted the potential for harm or death to themselves? It's like signing a wavier of liability before doing anything dangerous. If they accept that upfront does it have to result in bad karma to the one who reacts in self defense thus causing harm?

    Agreed and agreed to " Act swiftly without excess, reflect deeply."

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  20. #20

    Re: Self-Defense

    Hello,

    just a quick comment regarding Shaolin. The whole Bodhidharma/Kung-Fu connection did only ever come into "legendary" existence many hundreds of years after Bodhidharma had lived. To my knowledge this was briefly mentioned in McRae's "Seeing through Zen"...or a similar tome...

    So basically, there is ZERO evidence that the original Bodhidharma (whoever he might/might not have been) promoted Kung-Fu. Looking at the Pali sources and just about 95% of all Mahayana sources will only come to show that promoting Martial Arts was never an integral part of Buddhadharma. The connection between Samurai culture and Zen is very problematic in this respect.

    Takuan e.g. might have been ten times more skilled and wise than this puny novice priest-in-training here, but whichever way you turn it from my limited point of view, training how to best kill and/or maim someone is not at the core of the Buddhadharma and can lead one down a very slippery slope indeed (I remember how I started "to size people up" after only a few months of Wing Chun training....not because I consciously wanted to). Learning how to defend oneself might be something one decides one has to know (I decided I did have to know how to a while ago), but one shouldn't justify this kind of training through kidding oneself into believing it's a particularly skillful way of practising the Buddhadharma.

    Btw. here's a link to Wikipedia (which I don't particularly recommend...but I just don't remember which academic text I got my Bodhidharma info from), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhidharma

    So basically the real Shaolin-Bodhidharma-hype seems to only have really become popular a little more than one hundred years ago.

    Gassho,

    Hans

  21. #21

    Re: Self-Defense

    Hans,

    Your last few posts here on the forum has really been speaking to me. I agree with you on all counts, and I thank you for putting things much more eloquently than I ever could.Thank you again, and many bows.

    With that said, I just wanted to say that I felt exactly the same when I trained Wing Tsun, what with the sizing people up. On one occasion I even wished for a quite irritating macho man nearby to take a swing at me, and I could just picture myself responding with chain punches. I didn't think like this when I didn't practice Wing Tsun, so I can definitely see how one can proceed down a slippery slope from such martial arts training.

  22. #22

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans
    The connection between Samurai culture and Zen is very problematic in this respect.
    Suzuki Shosan appears to lean toward the idea that once a samurai takes the field he has to cast Buddhism aside in order to do his duty as a warrior, but can always return to the path of Dharma once that duty is fulfilled. I'll look up the exact quote once I get home. There were aspects of Zen training that could be adapted to the battlefield, but I doubt that Shosan considered this to be the same as practicing Zen.

    On the flip side of that, he also felt that the duty of the samurai- being prepared to cast aside one's life in service to his lord- was itself the heart of the Zen way. If you were a samurai that is.

    Perhaps that is the key. There are some situations where precepts don't neatly apply, so we need to approach the situation with a fluid nature. Rather than trying to seek an ideal means before an event, act naturally if such an event occurs.

    My apologies for earlier abrupt and disjointed posts, it takes a bit to get warmed up sometimes.

  23. #23

    Re: Self-Defense

    Hello Rev.,

    that is definitely a position one can take and I feel (or rather hope) I can understand the logic. Disclaimer, twisted unsui two cent ramblings coming up.

    At this early point in my practice and understanding, permit me to express or rather re-state my position regarding this kind of Samurai Zen.

    The bumbling fool that is this Kraut called Hans feels that to cast the Dharma aside cannot be done, once one has truly entered the womb of the Prajnaparamita with hairs on fire. One can easily cast away the -ism of Buddhism, but how can one cast off or even return to the path of Dharma? Can one take off one's skin and dance around in one's bones (my apologies to Tom Waits)?

    If you wield a sword cutting not through delusions but through flesh and bones, becoming a widowmaker, a smith forging orphans on an anvil made of pain and suffering, is that the path the Buddha taught after rising from under the bodhi tree? Let us not forget, following the Buddhadharma is an option, not an obligation.

    If we fail in our practice, that is only all too human. As the Japanese say, seven times down, eight times up. I surely fail a lot. But please let us not make the mistake to turn our own inadequacies into the standard units by which to measure the greatness of the Buddhaway.

    Krishna talking to Arjuna at the dawn of the battle at Kurukshetra might have been sympathetic to Suzuki Shosan's quote, but from my limited perspective we could just as well stop practising Zazen and convert to reading the Bhagavadgita in that case. Since the medieval period, right up to the second world war, the idealisation of warfare has poisoned the well of Japanese Zen in many cases.

    Let us be very careful about every single sip we take from the ladle that is Japanese Zen in this context.

    When mindfulness developed through Zazen is employed to become better at killing, it is not our hair that is on fire, but the Buddha's robe.

    Shakyamuni walked away from his duty as a warrior, his call to re-discover the ancient path was stronger than what society expected of him.


    Gassho,

    Hans

  24. #24

    Re: Self-Defense

    Thank you for the reply. It will take a little more time than I have available at this moment to formulate an appropriate reply, tonight I hope. In other words...en garde :lol:

  25. #25
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Self-Defense

    Hi guys,
    I too found the same to be true when I studied Wing Chun. I noticed that when angry I became more prone to punching the wall or kicking things. Before studying Wing Chun I was in Aikido. During those years of training when I became angry I didn't act out the same. Its impossible to throw the wall! Without an object to focus that anger on it dissipated quicker.
    I think a big part of why i behaved that way while in Wing Chun was the environment of the school and the attitude of the teachers and students. Things like this. We were set up in a bad part of town. Our teachers warned us that anytime someone could come in and challenge any one of us to a fight. It was drilled into us that should that person off the street choose you, you had to fight them. If you refused you would have to fight against all your "Kung Fu brothers" instead!

    Aikido is taught to be a non violent martial art. Are the techniques really less violent.....no. An Aikido person could do as much damage as a Wing Chun guy. It's the martial arts! They have the same concept just a different approach to the psychology of it.

    Karate master Mr. Miyagi has this to say which sums it up for me:
    No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher
    Students reflect and perpetuate what they learn from the attitude of those doing the teaching. Martial arts are just empty skills.

    Gassho,
    John

  26. #26

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    There are some situations where precepts don't neatly apply, so we need to approach the situation with a fluid nature. Rather than trying to seek an ideal means before an event, act naturally if such an event occurs.
    I'd have to say that to set the precepts aside, because your way is better (or more fitting or fluid, or calls for something else) is as adharmic as it could be. As I wrote in another thread, Buddhadharma can never be anything goes. Unfortunately, Japanese buddhism (and other forms of buddhism perhaps) is plagued with antinomianism, an attitude of "we can do it whichever way we want!" or "That doesn't apply to me!". That antinomianism is spreading to western zen buddhism, where scores of people change the Buddhadharma into anything that fits their view of ultimate reality. It fits the western individualism, I suppose. It make people unwilling to change, even if their way brings negative consequences.

    All may have Buddha nature, but it is deeply covered by layers of ego and values. To do what is natural can have devastating consequences if what is natural to me, is completely wrong to you.

  27. #27
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Self-Defense

    If you are at the right school with great instructors, martial arts is definitely more than learning how to fight. In my Kyuki-Do federation, they promote developing the virtues of courtesy, humility, integrity, self-control, perseverance and indomitable spirit. Martial arts allows us to see into our true nature and to realize the potential within each of us physically, mentally and spiritually. We learn discipline, focus, attention, patience, persistence and respect for others. Students entering our DoJang have the intent on keeping an open mind for learning and growing together instead of wanting to harm each other. I know that other schools are different. I am very grateful to be in a family-oriented school that teaches good values for adults and kids.

    I just started Aikido & Judo, and they are great styles of martial arts. I have to admit they are both hard to learn but I like the philosophy behind them. It flows nicely with Buddhist practice.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  28. #28

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by jodi_heisz
    If you are at the right school with great instructors, martial arts is definitely more than learning how to fight. In my Kyuki-Do federation, they promote developing the virtues of courtesy, humility, integrity, self-control, perseverance and indomitable spirit. Martial arts allows us to see into our true nature and to realize the potential within each of us physically, mentally and spiritually. We learn discipline, focus, attention, patience, persistence and respect for others. Students entering our DoJang have the intent on keeping an open mind for learning and growing together instead of wanting to harm each other.

    I think this is especially true of Aikido, which has very limited "attacks", depending almost entirely on defensive moves. At least that's my limited understanding.

  29. #29

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    There are some situations where precepts don't neatly apply, so we need to approach the situation with a fluid nature. Rather than trying to seek an ideal means before an event, act naturally if such an event occurs.
    I'd have to say that to set the precepts aside, because your way is better (or more fitting or fluid, or calls for something else) is as adharmic as it could be. As I wrote in another thread, Buddhadharma can never be anything goes. Unfortunately, Japanese buddhism (and other forms of buddhism perhaps) is plagued with antinomianism, an attitude of "we can do it whichever way we want!" or "That doesn't apply to me!". That antinomianism is spreading to western zen buddhism, where scores of people change the Buddhadharma into anything that fits their view of ultimate reality. It fits the western individualism, I suppose. It make people unwilling to change, even if their way brings negative consequences.

    All may have Buddha nature, but it is deeply covered by layers of ego and values. To do what is natural can have devastating consequences if what is natural to me, is completely wrong to you.
    But remember also that the Buddha put these precepts in place for those who could not transcend their baser wants, desires, and attachments. This does not mean that the Precepts were set in stone and to be followed to the letter, hence the differing versions of them. It might be that they were worded the way they were to impress their significance on those who needed them, and the bodhisattvas who were more enlightened need not adhere as stringently to the words of the Precepts because they lived the Spirit of the Precepts in their daily lives.

  30. #30

    Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    There are some situations where precepts don't neatly apply, so we need to approach the situation with a fluid nature. Rather than trying to seek an ideal means before an event, act naturally if such an event occurs.
    I'd have to say that to set the precepts aside, because your way is better (or more fitting or fluid, or calls for something else) is as adharmic as it could be. As I wrote in another thread, Buddhadharma can never be anything goes. Unfortunately, Japanese buddhism (and other forms of buddhism perhaps) is plagued with antinomianism, an attitude of "we can do it whichever way we want!" or "That doesn't apply to me!". That antinomianism is spreading to western zen buddhism, where scores of people change the Buddhadharma into anything that fits their view of ultimate reality. It fits the western individualism, I suppose. It make people unwilling to change, even if their way brings negative consequences.

    All may have Buddha nature, but it is deeply covered by layers of ego and values. To do what is natural can have devastating consequences if what is natural to me, is completely wrong to you.
    But remember also that the Buddha put these precepts in place for those who could not transcend their baser wants, desires, and attachments. This does not mean that the Precepts were set in stone and to be followed to the letter, hence the differing versions of them. It might be that they were worded the way they were to impress their significance on those who needed them, and the bodhisattvas who were more enlightened need not adhere as stringently to the words of the Precepts because they lived the Spirit of the Precepts in their daily lives.
    So, the precepts (some of them considered grave for a reason) along with I suppose the eightfold path, is for those who are "less enlightened"? I am not sure I agree with this. Anyway, it may be as it may with that, but a samurai who used his sword for killing could hardly be called enlightened. Not even by a stretch. You can't turn the dharma on and off, and avoid vipaka for some actions, and not for others. That, if anything, goes against the spirit of the precepts.

    That is also why it is so dangerous to assume that the path explained by the Buddha does not apply to yourself. The precepts are not set in stone, so I can change their meaning so to fit my wants, needs and desires. For all of us, it's better I think to not see us as awakened but to keep following the path even though it may conflict with our own interest. But that is just my opinion.

  31. #31

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    So, the precepts (some of them considered grave for a reason) along with I suppose the eightfold path, is for those who are "less enlightened"? I am not sure I agree with this. Anyway, it may be as it may with that, but a samurai who used his sword for killing could hardly be called enlightened. Not even by a stretch.
    I recall an expression from an old master that went something along the lines that “the sword is not to take life, but to give it.”
    I think that we should avoid using the precepts as a measure to judge the practice of another, but they are important for our own practice.
    Killing, is not limited to the body, but words and ideas kill as well. And when we get into a judgmental mindset of “he did this so he is not practicing the Buddha way”, that is killing too.
    And to say whether one is enlightened or not just seems irrelevant to me. It seems to fixed.
    Unenlightened people engage in enlightened activity and are spontaneously transformed into Buddhas.
    Enlightened people engage in unenlightened activity and are manifesting the form of animals, hungry ghosts and demons.

  32. #32

    Re: Self-Defense

    Hello Fuken,

    regarding your quote "Killing, is not limited to the body, but words and ideas kill as well." Well, the trouble with our Zennie discussions is this level-jumping from relative to ultimate and back again. We all do it, and we can't help it, but it also doesn't make things particularly easy.

    I once posted a video clip showing me as the devil making fun of a cardboard iPad....that was part of a video test exercise. Almost ten thousand people watched it and dozens of people insulted me in the most despicable terms. And you know what, that doesn't bother me a lot. They might have killed compassionate speech or tolerance or whatever....but if they had come to my home with a shotgun and killed my family...that would have been a kind of killing that I'd deem completely different in relevance to my life.

    In my limited novice view it appears that one of the underlying issued regarding precepts etc. is simply how we as individuals judge the importance of traditional Buddhist practices. Everyone of us has a different "cut off"-point where we seem to find that something isn't part of the Buddhist path anymore. I see our discussions here mainly as sharing perspectives and viewpoints, the only "judge" in an ultimate sense is going to be life itself.

    On a purely personal note I find the progression from: traditional orthodox vinaya (hundreds of rules to be literally interpreted), to Mahayana vinaya approaches leading to the Brahmajala-Net Sutra to people like Shinran.... to Meiji restoration "allowing" monks to marry....to western lifestyle a very challenging development when viewed from the present. Basically we've been seeing a constant progression of re-interpreting precepts, which is good and inevitable. On the other hand I truly do feel that especially in the west we are making soft interpretations even more soft in many occasions so that our lifestyle won't get too challenged.

    I do indeed find a lot of Japanese Zen to be more informed by confucianism, notions of "obligation" to the state and hierarchical structures than by the spirit of the Buddhadharma, as I am able to see it with my sand covered unsui eyes.

    The fact that e.g. the Hagakure was written by a monk is a complete joke btw., at least when viewed with respect to the Pali sources and most Mahayana sources.

    Shakyamuni simply gave his sword away. Can everyone do that? It seems not, but then I don't see the danger of everybody becoming a Buddhist in the near future.

    We will each follow our own convictions of what is and what isn't Buddhist practice. Due to the real and "bloody" facts that are Japanese history however, I do feel we should remedy the fact that they "softened" their interpretation of e.g. the killing precepts to a point where Buddhist philosophy and practise were abused as a tool to deliver even more suffering in a very effective way.


    As I said before, I am just sharing my cheap two novice cents worth of perspective, feel free to do disagree.
    To each his/her own.


    Gassho,

    Hans

  33. #33

    Re: Self-Defense

    Hans,

    Let me rephrase and make clear my intention.
    I think it is important not to abuse the precepts by turning them into a vehicle for harming another.

  34. #34

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    So, the precepts (some of them considered grave for a reason) along with I suppose the eightfold path, is for those who are "less enlightened"? I am not sure I agree with this. Anyway, it may be as it may with that, but a samurai who used his sword for killing could hardly be called enlightened. Not even by a stretch. You can't turn the dharma on and off, and avoid vipaka for some actions, and not for others. That, if anything, goes against the spirit of the precepts.
    Why would a bodhisattva need to have the Precepts if their actions were in concert with the Precepts through their understanding of the Dharma? They are grave precepts for a reason and that reason is that the less enlightened among the sangha needed to know that to break those precepts meant expulsion from the sangha.

    At any rate, I agree with you on the point of the samurai. It is important to remember that the samurai class existed prior to the wide acceptance of Buddhism in Japan. Aitken Roshi mentioned something in Taking the Path of Zen regarding a monk who gave a samurai the advice of there is "No killing, no one to kill, and no one killing" and speaking of how his vow to save all beings must not have included a person who he considered to be an enemy. The samurai were a product of their culture, which to me seems in conflict with Buddhist faith, but necessary for them because this saha world is imperfect.

  35. #35

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuken
    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    So, the precepts (some of them considered grave for a reason) along with I suppose the eightfold path, is for those who are "less enlightened"? I am not sure I agree with this. Anyway, it may be as it may with that, but a samurai who used his sword for killing could hardly be called enlightened. Not even by a stretch.
    I recall an expression from an old master that went something along the lines that “the sword is not to take life, but to give it.”
    I think that we should avoid using the precepts as a measure to judge the practice of another, but they are important for our own practice.
    Killing, is not limited to the body, but words and ideas kill as well. And when we get into a judgmental mindset of “he did this so he is not practicing the Buddha way”, that is killing too.
    And to say whether one is enlightened or not just seems irrelevant to me. It seems to fixed.
    Unenlightened people engage in enlightened activity and are spontaneously transformed into Buddhas.
    Enlightened people engage in unenlightened activity and are manifesting the form of animals, hungry ghosts and demons.
    The problem with this is that with this kind of attitude, Buddhadharma will turn into anything goes. Anything and anyone can claim to transmit the true Buddhadharma, and no one can say anything about it. Does it matter for my own experience? Probably not. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't have discussions about for example the precepts, and what they really mean and signify. One thing they are not, and that is empty words.

    Even the Buddha by the way, told us that it is good to "periodically [reflect] on the failings of others". He continued with where he believed we were heading if we falsely claimed to represent the dharma. We would be "headed for a state of deprivation, headed for hell, there to stay for an eon, incurable" (about his cousin Devadatta in Devadatta sutta). Is that judging, or it a realist's description of what actually constitutes skillful and unskillful behaviour and what they will lead to? There is nothing judgmental about this, only the facts laid out in plain view.

  36. #36

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Why would a bodhisattva need to have the Precepts if their actions were in concert with the Precepts through their understanding of the Dharma? They are grave precepts for a reason and that reason is that the less enlightened among the sa?gha needed to know that to break those precepts meant expulsion from the sa?gha .
    If your actions are in concert with the precepts, then you do have and follow the precepts. If you call this having or not having or following or not following is purely semantic, isn't it? Bodhisattvas still recite them, live by them, follow them, observe them. This is not something that I am making up myself, you can check the Brahma net s?tra, the s?tra that gave us these precepts in the first place, and you see the Buddha mentioning it.

    Yes, the grave precepts I'm sure meant expulsion fro the Sa?gha, but they are called grave because the karmic consequences of not following them is severe. You will be reborn in the three lower realms without possibility for a long time to again hear the dharma. Again, it is in the Brahma net s?tra.

  37. #37

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuken
    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    So, the precepts (some of them considered grave for a reason) along with I suppose the eightfold path, is for those who are "less enlightened"? I am not sure I agree with this. Anyway, it may be as it may with that, but a samurai who used his sword for killing could hardly be called enlightened. Not even by a stretch.
    I recall an expression from an old master that went something along the lines that “the sword is not to take life, but to give it.”
    I think that we should avoid using the precepts as a measure to judge the practice of another, but they are important for our own practice.
    Killing, is not limited to the body, but words and ideas kill as well. And when we get into a judgmental mindset of “he did this so he is not practicing the Buddha way”, that is killing too.
    And to say whether one is enlightened or not just seems irrelevant to me. It seems to fixed.
    Unenlightened people engage in enlightened activity and are spontaneously transformed into Buddhas.
    Enlightened people engage in unenlightened activity and are manifesting the form of animals, hungry ghosts and demons.
    The problem with this is that with this kind of attitude, Buddhadharma will turn into anything goes. Anything and anyone can claim to transmit the true Buddhadharma, and no one can say anything about it. Does it matter for my own experience? Probably not. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't have discussions about for example the precepts, and what they really mean and signify. One thing they are not, and that is empty words.

    Even the Buddha by the way, told us that it is good to "periodically [reflect] on the failings of others". He continued with where he believed we were heading if we falsely claimed to represent the dharma. We would be "headed for a state of deprivation, headed for hell, there to stay for an eon, incurable" (about his cousin Devadatta in Devadatta sutta). Is that judging, or it a realist's description of what actually constitutes skillful and unskillful behaviour and what they will lead to? There is nothing judgmental about this, only the facts laid out in plain view.
    So if I understand you, you think that the Buddha Dharma occupies a fixed position?

    I think that the everything and everyone does transmit the Buddha Dharma, to say otherwise is an inverted view.
    And trying to fix the Buddha Dharma to one Dharma position would be like trying to pin the Mississippi river in place with a single nail.

    I agree we should have discussions about the precepts, but as they affect our own intimate practice, once again, not as a bar to measure ourselves against others. That just does not flow with the Buddha Dharma as I have heard it at all.

    Keep in mind that the precepts are not the same as the regulations for monasteries, they are regulations for training ones self.

    There is a big difference. Some Mahayana monks follow the old rules but mostly they follow the monastic instructions, now those rules are for the regulation of the community and a little different. Just like the ten commandments are different from the Code of Hamurabi.

    Oh, by the way the sutra that you allude to is from the lesser vehicle, there is nothing like that in the Mahayana.
    Since your brought up scripture though, this comes from the Mahayana Mahaperinirvana Sutra, and is exactly about how we take and keep the precepts:
    A bodhisattva should guard and protect beings and view them as one would ones only son and abide in great loving kindness, great compassion, great joy, and great equanimity. Also he should impart the precept of non-harming to them and teach them to practice all good things. Also he must let all beings abide peacefully in the five moral precepts and the 10 good deeds. Furthermore, he will get into such realms as hell, hungry ghost, animal, and asura, and free these beings from where they are suffering, Emancipate those not yet emancipated, pass over those who have not yet gained the other shore, give Nirvana to those who have not yet attained it, and console all who live in fear.


    Excerpt from chapter four of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana sutra

  38. #38

    Re: Self-Defense

    anista is correct, he is referring to the Mahayana Brahma Net Sutra.

    http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhi ... sframe.htm

  39. #39

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    anista is correct, he is referring to the Mahayana Brahma Net Sutra.

    http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhi ... sframe.htm
    Rev R,
    I was not referring to the Brama Net Sutra, but where he referred to the Devadatta sutta.

  40. #40

    Re: Self-Defense

    oh...my apologies. back to work for me then. carry on

  41. #41

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuken
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    anista is correct, he is referring to the Mahayana Brahma Net Sutra.

    http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhi ... sframe.htm
    Rev R,
    I was not referring to the Brama Net Sutra, but where he referred to the Devadatta sutta.

    It might be important to point out, that in the Mahayana the Buddha only ever encourages us to act with nobility.

  42. #42

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuken
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuken
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    anista is correct, he is referring to the Mahayana Brahma Net Sutra.

    http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhi ... sframe.htm
    Rev R,
    I was not referring to the Brama Net Sutra, but where he referred to the Devadatta sutta.

    It might be important to point out, that in the Mahayana the Buddha only ever encourages us to act with nobility.
    Just as important to remember that the suttras were written years after Buddha's death. I like the way Aitken Roshi said it, "the life of the Buddha is our guide. If it can be proven that the Buddha never lived, then the myth of his life is our guide."

    I can't speak to what the Buddha spoke 2500 years ago, or how many bodhisattvas chanted the Bhrama Net Suttra, all I know is that cats and white oxen actually exist on this earth.

  43. #43

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    Just as important to remember that the suttras were written years after Buddha's death. I like the way Aitken Roshi said it, "the life of the Buddha is our guide. If it can be proven that the Buddha never lived, then the myth of his life is our guide."

    I can't speak to what the Buddha spoke 2500 years ago, or how many bodhisattvas chanted the Bhrama Net Suttra, all I know is that cats and white oxen actually exist on this earth.
    Well said, well said! The Buddha is our guide, however there are (at least) three paths (that are all one) The Sravakayana (sometimes called Theravada or Hinnayana) the Mahayana (Zen and Pure Land Schools) and the Vajrayana (Tantric schools or "thunderbolt" vehicle) each having their own texts. If I were studying and practicing the Sravakayana I would not reference Mahayana texts any more than I would reference a field guide to alaska while hiking here in Okinawa. They are all part of the one vehicle, but with different means whereby, and (as I have learned the hard way) it may become important along the way to understand there is a reason for the three classifications. Not sure if that was clear, let me know.

  44. #44

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuken
    Well said, well said! The Buddha is our guide, however there are (at least) three paths (that are all one) The Sravakayana (sometimes called Theravada or Hinnayana) the Mahayana (Zen and Pure Land Schools) and the Vajrayana (Tantric schools or "thunderbolt" vehicle) each having their own texts. If I were studying and practicing the Sravakayana I would not reference Mahayana texts any more than I would reference a field guide to alaska while hiking here in Okinawa. They are all part of the one vehicle, but with different means whereby, and (as I have learned the hard way) it may become important along the way to understand there is a reason for the three classifications. Not sure if that was clear, let me know.
    Well Fuken, I don't know where to start. Maybe I miss something in this response, please let me know if that's the case. In your previous post you said that we should according to Mah?y?na act with nobility, yet you call other parts for "lesser"? Is that nobility? Yes, it could be! You are calling things as they are, aren't you?

    The Therav?da and H?nay?na are not the same thing. H?nay?na consists of all the early school, and perhaps most notably the Vaibh??ika-Sarv?stiv?da. Therav?da is but one of the early schools.

    In Mah?y?na, the pali canon are studied and revered. Since the Mah?y?na s?tras are often written as teachings succeding the pali canon, it is wise to first have an understanding of the suttas. So, reference to pali suttas is indeed valid. If you compare the difference between suttas and s?tras to field guides of Alaska and Okinawa, well, you clearly have a strong opinion of what constitutes lesser and greater, and seems to cherish this dualism. I do not, even though I certainly fall into this thinking myself!

    But, if you want, I can stop quoting suttas and move on to s?tras! All the more fun!

    the La?k?vat?ra s?tra is devoting numerous chapters to the "Erroneous views" of philosophers, and brahmans, "like simple-minded ones they are". Most notably those who have a wrong view of what constitutes dharma. In Vimalak?rtinirde?a s?tra, a clearly polemical work against the h?nay?nist view, Vimalak?rti makes fun of the h?nay?nists personified by ??riputra, with all their petty rules that hinders them from seeing the true dharma.

    It does not matter if it is a sutta or s?tra, there is always the need to call things what they are.

    Oh, and that quote from Mah?parinirv??a s?tra I agree with completely! It says the same thing I say about the precepts.

    Last but not least, yes, buddhadharma points out ultimate reality. Ultimate reality exists not depending on your view of it. Smaller rules for a samgha can be replaced, the graver ones (no matter if it's sa?gha rules or precepts) can not.

    Let me ask you a question: how much are you willing to reinterpret the precepts? Until they become what you have always wanted them to be? When they fit with your current line of work, lifestyle, actions? Where do you draw the line?

  45. #45

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM

    Just as important to remember that the suttras were written years after Buddha's death. I like the way Aitken Roshi said it, "the life of the Buddha is our guide. If it can be proven that the Buddha never lived, then the myth of his life is our guide."

    I can't speak to what the Buddha spoke 2500 years ago, or how many bodhisattvas chanted the Bhrama Net Suttra, all I know is that cats and white oxen actually exist on this earth.
    It makes no difference when they were written. They have been tested and verified by generations of practitioners. And that's where faith comes in, for you to take in what they say, and then test it yourself. Otherwise, we could just reject the whole corpus of texts, because "we don't know".

  46. #46

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuken
    Well said, well said! The Buddha is our guide, however there are (at least) three paths (that are all one) The Sravakayana (sometimes called Theravada or Hinnayana) the Mahayana (Zen and Pure Land Schools) and the Vajrayana (Tantric schools or "thunderbolt" vehicle) each having their own texts. If I were studying and practicing the Sravakayana I would not reference Mahayana texts any more than I would reference a field guide to alaska while hiking here in Okinawa. They are all part of the one vehicle, but with different means whereby, and (as I have learned the hard way) it may become important along the way to understand there is a reason for the three classifications. Not sure if that was clear, let me know.
    Well Fuken, I don't know where to start. Maybe I miss something in this response, please let me know if that's the case. In your previous post you said that we should according to Mah?y?na act with nobility, yet you call other parts for "lesser"? Is that nobility? Yes, it could be! You are calling things as they are, aren't you?
    I think you are purposefully misunderstanding the meaning of lesser vehicle, it is not a slight, it is the nature of the practice.


    The Therav?da and H?nay?na are not the same thing. H?nay?na consists of all the early school, and perhaps most notably the Vaibh??ika-Sarv?stiv?da. Therav?da is but one of the early schools.
    Yes, but as they are really the only one surviving, they are often assumed to be one and the same.
    I suspect you already know this as well.

    In Mah?y?na, the pali canon are studied and revered.
    This is your opinion, it is mine that we should understand the difference between pepsi and coke.

    Since the Mah?y?na s?tras are often written as teachings succeding the pali canon, it is wise to first have an understanding of the suttas. So, reference to pali suttas is indeed valid.
    Again, I disagree with you here, I grew up on the Dhamapada and still cherish it, but it is not useful at all if you are studying the Lotus Sutra. It could even be seen as a hinderance, along with the rest of the teachings of the Sravakayana.

    If you compare the difference between suttas and s?tras to field guides of Alaska and Okinawa, well, you clearly have a strong opinion of what constitutes lesser and greater, and seems to cherish this dualism.
    That seems crass to me. But we enter dualism as soon as we open our mouths. (or type something out, in this case. As one who appreciates the Sutras I would expect you to appreciate the analogy.

    I do not, even though I certainly fall into this thinking myself!
    But, if you want, I can stop quoting suttas and move on to s?tras! All the more fun!
    Joy...

    the La?k?vat?ra s?tra is devoting numerous chapters to the "Erroneous views" of philosophers, and brahmans, "like simple-minded ones they are". Most notably those who have a wrong view of what constitutes dharma. In Vimalak?rtinirde?a s?tra, a clearly polemical work against the h?nay?nist view, Vimalak?rti makes fun of the h?nay?nists personified by ??riputra, with all their petty rules that hinders them from seeing the true dharma.
    And the Surangama addresses demonic states of mind of practitioners who think they understand the dharma... Again, so what?
    This seems a distraction from the main debate, which was if I can even remember, weather or not the precepts were a hard and fast set of rules or not, I am in the camp that says they are not.

    It does not matter if it is a sutta or s?tra, there is always the need to call things what they are.
    Indeed.

    Oh, and that quote from Mah?parinirv??a s?tra I agree with completely! It says the same thing I say about the precepts.

    Last but not least, yes, buddhadharma points out ultimate reality. Ultimate reality exists not depending on your view of it. Smaller rules for a samgha can be replaced, the graver ones (no matter if it's sa?gha rules or precepts) can not.
    I agree, but fail to see the point of addressing it, it does not change what has already been addressed.

    Let me ask you a question: how much are you willing to reinterpret the precepts? Until they become what you have always wanted them to be?
    What do you think I want them to be, what do you want them to be?

    For me, it is as I have already made clear, the precepts are not a grounds for causing harm to another by action of body, speech, or mind.

    When they fit with your current line of work, lifestyle, actions? Where do you draw the line?
    Right here __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____________

  47. #47

    Re: Self-Defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuken
    I think you are purposefully misunderstanding the meaning of lesser vehicle, it is not a slight, it is the nature of the practice.
    No I am not. I most often encounter the word "lesser" in that context by early Mahayanists who wanted to distance themselves from earlier schools. Nowadays there is no need for this kind of description of their practice. That's just my opinion though.

    Yes, but as they are really the only one surviving, they are often assumed to be one and the same.
    I suspect you already know this as well.
    Yes, I know that, but didn't think you knew. I didn't understand why anybody would want to keep this misconception if they knew, so I figured you didn't. My bad, I apologize!

    In Mah?y?na, the pali canon are studied and revered.
    This is your opinion, it is mine that we should understand the difference between pepsi and coke.
    It is not just my opinion though. It's what I have learned is generally taught. Obviously we haven't been taught the same thing. No biggie!

    If you compare the difference between suttas and s?tras to field guides of Alaska and Okinawa, well, you clearly have a strong opinion of what constitutes lesser and greater, and seems to cherish this dualism.
    That seems crass to me. But we enter dualism as soon as we open our mouths. (or type something out, in this case. As one who appreciates the Sutras I would expect you to appreciate the analogy.
    Well, not all analogies are appropriate. Some, even out of context or misguided. Not saying yours was!

    I do not, even though I certainly fall into this thinking myself!

    But, if you want, I can stop quoting suttas and move on to s?tras! All the more fun!

    Joy...
    This one I don't get. I do not cherish dualism. I sometimes fall into it myself though. If you wanted to, though, I could keep my arguments to the s?tras. I thought that would be more fun for you, since you obviously don't need the suttas for this practice. Right?

    the La?k?vat?ra s?tra is devoting numerous chapters to the "Erroneous views" of philosophers, and brahmans, "like simple-minded ones they are". Most notably those who have a wrong view of what constitutes dharma. In Vimalak?rtinirde?a s?tra, a clearly polemical work against the h?nay?nist view, Vimalak?rti makes fun of the h?nay?nists personified by ??riputra, with all their petty rules that hinders them from seeing the true dharma.
    And the Surangama addresses demonic states of mind of practitioners who think they understand the dharma... Again, so what?
    This seems a distraction from the main debate, which was if I can even remember, weather or not the precepts were a hard and fast set of rules or not, I am in the camp that says they are not.
    Well, you said that that devadatta sutta wasn't valid, and that Mahayana doesn't see it that way. You said that there was nothing like that in Mahayana. I proved to you that there is indeed. It may be off topic though, you are correct in that. Maybe we should move that to a separate thread?


    Last but not least, yes, buddhadharma points out ultimate reality. Ultimate reality exists not depending on your view of it. Smaller rules for a samgha can be replaced, the graver ones (no matter if it's sa?gha rules or precepts) can not.
    I agree, but fail to see the point of addressing it, it does not change what has already been addressed.
    Well, you asked me a question and I answered? You asked "So if I understand you, you think that the Buddha Dharma occupies a fixed position?

  48. #48

    Re: Self-Defense

    Ok, This is getting way off topic, but if no one minds...

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuken
    I think you are purposefully misunderstanding the meaning of lesser vehicle, it is not a slight, it is the nature of the practice.
    No I am not. I most often encounter the word "lesser" in that context by early Mahayanists who wanted to distance themselves from earlier schools. Nowadays there is no need for this kind of description of their practice. That's just my opinion though.
    Not at all, The Sravakayana, is the path where enlightenment is restricted to those on the path to Becoming Buddhas, by way of becoming monks Stream entry through arhatship etc... Laymen are left to make merit by supporting the monks... This is how it has been historically. This is why it is called the small or lesser vehicle. Or at least this is what I have heard...

    Yes, but as they are really the only one surviving, they are often assumed to be one and the same.
    I suspect you already know this as well.
    Yes, I know that, but didn't think you knew. I didn't understand why anybody would want to keep this misconception if they knew, so I figured you didn't. My bad, I apologize!
    No biggie, I'm pretty slow but I've been around a while, not that that means anything.

    In Mah?y?na, the pali canon are studied and revered.
    This is your opinion, it is mine that we should understand the difference between pepsi and coke.
    It is not just my opinion though. It's what I have learned is generally taught. Obviously we haven't been taught the same thing. No biggie!
    I can not imagine how the differences between the schools could be taught like that, that seems so strange to me. Many of the Mahayana sutras The Lotus and Mahaperinirvana off the top of my head, seem to make it clear that the Sravakayana sutras are not to be relied upon.

    If you compare the difference between suttas and s?tras to field guides of Alaska and Okinawa, well, you clearly have a strong opinion of what constitutes lesser and greater, and seems to cherish this dualism.
    No, sorry for this misunderstanding, I was referring to the sravaka path and the Mahayana path, and using a sravakayana text in a basis for argument in a Mahayana forum.. My apologies if that was not clear.

    That seems crass to me. But we enter dualism as soon as we open our mouths. (or type something out, in this case. As one who appreciates the Sutras I would expect you to appreciate the analogy.
    Well, not all analogies are appropriate. Some, even out of context or misguided. Not saying yours was!
    Ah, they can't all be winners, and frankly I am mostly just having fun here and not putting too much effort into this, so the analogy may have been pretty poor, but I enjoyed it at the time.

    I do not, even though I certainly fall into this thinking myself!
    I think something dropped off here, but I think this was regarding duality, conversations without duality tend to be pretty short.

    But, if you want, I can stop quoting suttas and move on to s?tras! All the more fun!

    Joy...
    [/quote]

    This one I don't get. I do not cherish dualism. I sometimes fall into it myself though. If you wanted to, though, I could keep my arguments to the s?tras. I thought that would be more fun for you, since you obviously don't need the suttas for this practice. Right?
    A quiet room is best.

    the La?k?vat?ra s?tra is devoting numerous chapters to the "Erroneous views" of philosophers, and brahmans, "like simple-minded ones they are". Most notably those who have a wrong view of what constitutes dharma. In Vimalak?rtinirde?a s?tra, a clearly polemical work against the h?nay?nist view, Vimalak?rti makes fun of the h?nay?nists personified by ??riputra, with all their petty rules that hinders them from seeing the true dharma.
    And the Surangama addresses demonic states of mind of practitioners who think they understand the dharma... Again, so what?
    This seems a distraction from the main debate, which was if I can even remember, weather or not the precepts were a hard and fast set of rules or not, I am in the camp that says they are not.
    Well, you said that that devadatta sutta wasn't valid, and that Mahayana doesn't see it that way. You said that there was nothing like that in Mahayana. I proved to you that there is indeed. It may be off topic though, you are correct in that. Maybe we should move that to a separate thread?



    Again, because the sutra you were using is from the sravakayana, it is still not valid, however if you had gone for the next few verses after what I quoted in the Mahaperinirvana sutra, you could have totally shot me down... not that it changes my view on the original argument at all....

    Last but not least, yes, buddhadharma points out ultimate reality. Ultimate reality exists not depending on your view of it. Smaller rules for a samgha can be replaced, the graver ones (no matter if it's sa?gha rules or precepts) can not.
    I agree, but fail to see the point of addressing it, it does not change what has already been addressed.
    Well, you asked me a question and I answered? You asked "So if I understand you, you think that the Buddha Dharma occupies a fixed position?[/quote]

    Ah, so are you saying that for you ultimate reality occupies a fixed position? We should definitely start another thread for that one if you do, caus that I want to hear about...

    Back to the original point, and I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am...

    It is my view, that we should not use the precepts as a measure for anyone's practice but our own.

    Do you agree or disagree? Please provide your answer from your own reason and not from a textbook.

  49. #49

    Re: Self-Defense

    Gentlemen,

    Discourse over the finer points of Buddhist philosophy is well and good, I would simply like to say the following:

    The core, the marrow, the body of this practice isn't found in suttas or sutras, but in shikantaza zazen. This is the main ingredient to the soup, without which it is still water.

    As for the validity and acceptance or rejecting the written accounts of the Buddha, such as the suttras, well that's not really the point is it? No one said to reject the finger pointing to the moon, but we should reject the idea that the finger is the moon.

    Lesser and greater are only words. The truth of this practice is found in the stiches of the Buddha's robe, gently rocking back and forth on the zafu; it's validity is seen in the meal gatha, in fetching water, chopping wood.

  50. #50

    Re: Self-Defense

    I'm having trouble following this conversation. Sometimes you just need to take a break and give up everything. So if someone wants your wallet you give it and ask how else you can help them. I am not really a student of suttas or sutras. Relying on practice, I've arrived at a place where I just don't know what this is or what to do. At the same time I have a strong self preservation instinct and trust that I would do the correct action if faced with annihilation. Sometimes I am so clueless, I have to focus on the most simple basic actions just to survive. Maybe that's self defense.

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