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Thread: Violence and self-defense

  1. #1
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Violence and self-defense

    I read recently that Buddha said that under no circumstances are we to use violence against another, not even in self-defense. Are we classifying violence as harm-done-in-anger? And if so, is there any martial arts tradition that you can use as self-defense that does not involve anger and therefore, would be acceptable? If not, am I to resign myself to death if attacked?

    Gassho,
    Lisa

  2. #2
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Hi Lisa... many members including Jundo's wife practice Aikido which is about repelling an attack by harmonising with the attacker to subdue the attack... it's what attracted me to it...aikido also is great for thinking about non-thinking since if you think things tend to go a bit wrong!!! I know!!! Anyway have a look at a local club, Ki based clubs practice a softer version and it's a great practice! Gassho.
    Last edited by Heisoku; 06-23-2012 at 10:19 AM. Reason: spelling!!
    Heisoku
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  3. #3
    Hi Lisa,

    The subject of self-defense comes up from time to time ... for example, in this good thread ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post34848

    and here (a thread featuring Fuken, our Buddhist Marine on active duty) ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...7-Self-Defense

    ... and each year in our preparations for Jukai, as we consider the Precept on Preserving Life ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...om-Taking-Life


    In a nutshell, the Suttas and Sutras offered many opinions on these questions (having been written, of course, by men of many opinions), and modern teachers are of many minds of this. From the above linked thread ...

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    I find this fascinating. Do you, Jundo, know if these teachers actually saw taking lives as a path or a goal (which it could be considered to be if you take lives in order to prevent a greater loss of life)? I have a hard time imagining support for this stance in any buddhist school (but I could be wrong!).
    From the opinions of Buddhist teachers from various traditions which I have read, I would say that almost all who saw the need for some response involving the taking of life saw it as a "necessary evil" ... not as a path or goal in any positive sense. Sometimes we must break a Precept to keep a Precept. And given modern warfare, most of the teachers were aware that this might include the unavoidable taking of civilian and other "non-combatant" lives in order to save a much greater number of lives.

    I believe that the following responses, some by the Dalai Lama, are representative of the diversity of opinion.

    http://www.tricycle.com/p/1487 (the comments which follow are also very interesting)
    http://www.tricycle.com/feature/war-...utside-the-box
    http://india.indymedia.org/en/2003/09/7833.shtml

    Thich Nhat Hanh may have been most representative of the "any violent response only leads to increased violence" opinion ...

    http://www.peaceiseverystepla.org/PeaceMessage.htm

    The Buddha also seems to have been of two minds on this. On the one hand, there are some writings in which he is framed to say that killing is never skillful.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/a...ngmessage.html

    On the other hand, in other Sutta he did seem to countenance a nation having an army for certain limited purposes, and its discreet use.

    http://www.beyondthenet.net/thedway/soldier.htm

    http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma6/militarycanon.html

    Almost all the Buddhist teachers I can think of (including me too, for what it is worth) would say that we must also bear all the Karmic consequences of our volitional words, thoughts and acts, no matter whether we had a "reason" for killing or not.

    You may kill the cat, but you still likely have to pay the price in some way.

    A Tibetan teacher (Chagdud Tulku) relates this famous Jataka legend about a previous incarnation of the Buddha ...

    (In a previous life, the Buddha was Captain Compassionate Heart, sailing with 500 merchants. An evil pirate, Dung Thungchen (Blackspear) appeared, threatening to kill them all. )The captain, a bodhisattva himself, saw the [pirate]'s murderous intention and realized this crime would result in eons of torment for the murderer. In his compassion, the captain was willing to take hellish torment upon himself by killing the man to prevent karmic suffering that would be infinity greater than the suffering of the murdered victims. The captain's compassion was impartial; his motivation was utterly selfless.
    I am not sure about the effect of our Karma in lives to come ... but I do know that we likely will bear the effects of our actions in this life in some way. I have a friend, an ex-policeman, who had to kill someone in a perfectly necessary and justified act to save lives. Yet, my friend still carries that with him to this day.

    No, taking lives is never a "good" thing.
    It is important to remember too that Buddhists do not generally believe in "bad people", only in "people who do bad things" because they themselves are victims of greed, anger and ignorance within. The real evil doer is "greed anger and ignorance".

    Even if one is required to act in self-defense ... of one's own life, the life of another, or to protect society as in the case of a policeman or soldier ... one should best not feel anger even if forced to use force, one should nurture peace as much as one can, avoiding violence as much as one can, using violence as little as one can even when needed.

    Yes, most all flavors of Buddhism teach that, even should one be forced to break a Precept in a big or small way, one should bear the Karmic weight, reflect on having had to do so, seek as one can not to do so in the future.

    The case I usually mention is that friend of mine, a Buddhist policeman, who had to kill someone in the line of duty in order to save an innocent person held hostage. It was a perfectly justified, necessary shooting. However, from that day he always felt a kind of mental scar, a heavy weight ... even though he knew he had to do the right thing. He always felt the need to bring peace into the world in some measure to make up for what he had had to do.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-23-2012 at 08:37 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Over my dead body will I allow anyone to rape, assault, or kill me!!! No man has the right to use his control and power over me and never will. I would do whatever it takes to get me and my kids to safety if we are in a dangerous situation. If I end up using my martial arts skills, hopefully I'll be able to use the least amount of force to get away safely.

    In my martial arts school, we are taught numerous methods to prevent attacks, fight only in self-defense and use the equal amount of force 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 unless they attack you. If they attack you, use the self-defense necessary to get away.

    Martial artists learn to use enough force to get the attacker down on the ground so you can get the heck out of there. Now for a woman defending herself against a larger and stronger man, we need to hurt them bad enough to give us time to get away. If we don't, they might get angry and attack us more. Or they can out run us and attack us again. There are many self-defense techniques available ranging from a lethal defense to the throat or to an arm-bar submission. But in real-life, there are only seconds to respond. There's no time to think, "Well I am a Buddhist and if I use this or this technique, it will cause the least bit of harm." Women need to be fierce and ferocious in self-defense and it may involve hurting the attacker. Or you might scare them enough to the point where they run away.

    I believe we can still be Buddhists with the right and ability to protect ourselves. It is important to be here in life for our family and to help all sentient beings.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  5. #5
    Hi Lisa,

    I'm no expert on martial art traditions, but in my experience I would suggest most would promote calmness and clarity of mind when defending yourself, to be angry would put you at a disadvantage.

    Gassho
    Gary
    Drinking tea and eating rice.

  6. #6
    And here is another take on violence found in the suttas:

    "Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.
    It's a pretty high standard but ennobling nonetheless. May this be of benefit!

    Gassho,

    __/\__Mike

    Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...021x.than.html
    Last edited by Khalil Bodhi; 06-23-2012 at 01:08 PM. Reason: Formatting
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183

  7. #7
    Let me add that I think that defending oneself is not at variance with the above. There's story about Sharon Salzberg being attacked by a man in a back alley and Munindra-ji telling her she should have whacked him with her umbrella with a heart full of loving-kindness (I'm badly paraphrasing so forgive me). Mettaya.
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183

  8. #8
    Hello Lisa,

    Thanks for the question ... it is an interesting topic. I too practice Aikikai Aikido and from my experience, (as I practice with two teachers with two different forms) it comes down to your own intentions. The one teacher I have is a pre-war (more aiki-jujutsu) Aikidoka and the other is a post-war Aikidoka. The pre-war is very much a "Marshall" form based on the sword (we use the bokan or wooden sword) and intended to kill. Where the post-war form is more "Big & Flowing" and based on the Jo (long staff).

    Like Heisoku said "aikido also is great for thinking about non-thinking ...".
    I enjoy the flowing Aikido as it teaches me to be humble and respectful of my uke (partner). Without my partner I am not able to practice, so I always have their health and best interests at heart.

    I hope these ramblings help you out Lisa ...

    P.S. I feel that practicing a Martial Art is to help us prevent or de-escalate violence through our own state of mind.
    Last edited by Shingen; 06-23-2012 at 02:17 PM. Reason: added additional thoughts
    真 眼

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

  9. #9
    Is it just me or are there a disproportionate number of Aikidoka here vs. on the average city bus? Anyhow, I, too, practice Aikido (for the past 23 years). I'll go out on a limb here and say that violence in self-defense is rarely if ever justified: with the caveat that our definition of "violence" needs to be adaptable. If I were attacked physically and responded using my martial arts training, the result might not be what I would call violent even if my attacker ended up on the ground with some bumps and bruises.

    I blogged on the issue of violence and anti-violence a couple of years back when the monks and nuns of the Bat Nha monastery in Vietnam were being evicted (http://sandworms.org/?p=35); I won't quote myself here, but I will say that we shouldn't (I think) become too comfortable with our definitions of what constitutes violence, or coersion, or self-defense. As soon as we do, we begin to think that our definitions have some independent existence and a whole world of you and me, right and wrong emerges.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Hi Lisa,

    I'm no expert on martial art traditions, but in my experience I would suggest most would promote calmness and clarity of mind when defending yourself, to be angry would put you at a disadvantage.

    Gassho
    Gary
    Yes, I agree Gary. It is important to stay relaxed. Being tense inhibits your ability to respond quickly and effectively. A calm mind with awareness helps to react wisely.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  11. #11
    Treeleaf Unsui Daido's Avatar
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    Are there any martial arts systems that do involve anger. Anger is a personal choice, a personal responsibility that we must take credit for... in my opinion.


  12. #12
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for your responses; I am reassured. I will read up on those threads, Jundo, and your post, Tedmac.

    In my personal experience, the two times I was attacked as an adult, I responded in anger in one case (with my mother) and just took it in the second (with my daughter who stands almost 6') with absolutely no anger... which leads me to think that the level of compassion felt for the person would be the deciding factor. I would like to cultivate the latter attitude and not the former, so to me that means developing compassion for all, even someone whose intent is to kill me.

    If I ever get to a town big enough to offer Aikido, I will certainly start taking lessons, just in case.

    Gassho,

    Lisa

  13. #13
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    And yes, Daido, I mis-spoke when implying that most martial arts involve anger. Having never participated in the practices, that was simply a layman's perception. My apologies.

    Gassho,

    Lisa

  14. #14
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    I have not heard of any systems that involve anger and if they do, it's not a martial art in my opinion. If anything, martial arts teaches us to let go of our anger and be respectful to others. Learning martial arts cultivates our compassion for others in the world.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  15. #15
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    This is an excellent thread with some excellent links, especially for those of us who are still in the military. For the record, I used to study Japanese jujitsu and it also stressed non-anger and controlling your opponent versus pummeling him (if possible of course.)

  16. #16
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Just for the record I have never been 'attacked or threatened' since practising martial arts.
    Just for the record I don't go out much at night either as I did when I was younger so the chances of that happening have diminished! Old and boring works!
    Heisoku
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisoku View Post
    Old and boring works!
    This is my primary self defense technique now days. Most of my jujitsu moves only get used when playing with my son!

  18. #18
    I wish I could find the quote, but I recall reading where Miyamoto Musashi considered his greatest victories to be the ones where he did not have to draw his sword. As I recall, he considered being forced into combat to be a personal failure to manage the situation skillfully enough for both parties to walk away. On the other hand, when circumstances left him no other option, he acted immediately without hesitation, compunction, or malice.

    One thing which occurs to me is choice and responsibility. I'm a big guy with some formal training in modern infantry weapons and tactics; in a violent confrontation, perhaps it might be best for me to choose non-violence. My wife is 5'2" and 100 lbs with no such background; I have no right to make such a decision on her behalf.

    Another thing about choice and responsibility; when I was a paramedic and technical rescue specialist, the First Rule of Search & Rescue was that however dire the emergency you've created for yourself, at the end of the day, everyone from my engine company is going home to their wives and families tonight; no exceptions. I've promised her to come home tonight; and she rightfully expects me to fulfill that vow. I should break that sacred trust for...what?

    What to do? Since time immemorial people have wondered when the time comes whether they will run towards or away from the sound of battle. I've never known anyone to reach a legitimately definitive conclusion until they've actually been placed in that situation. All the rest appears to me to be largely idle speculation.
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Shujin's Avatar
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    Thank you for your post, Piobair. I found it to be measured and well reasoned.

    Gassho,
    Shujin

  20. #20
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piobair View Post
    ...What to do? Since time immemorial people have wondered when the time comes whether they will run towards or away from the sound of battle. I've never known anyone to reach a legitimately definitive conclusion until they've actually been placed in that situation. All the rest appears to me to be largely idle speculation.
    Good point, Piobair. Personally, and so far, any time I've been in an emergency situation, I've been deadly calm. I've chalked this up to having previously explored what my options would be, so that there is little need for panic. I was simply requesting clarification so that if the situation arose, I would would react with right action as well as calm.

    Gassho,

    Lisa

  21. #21
    In the book of my martial art, a samurai technic school, it is written (just to share something):Just win a victory is not a victory. The real victory is to have achieved the goal of not using weapons, not fight, this is wa (harmony), it is heiho (Art of Peace). In the sutra of the essence of evil passions (zuibonnokyo) it says "make hostility to hostility, it is forever to lose all hope of peace. Oppose him simply serenity, it will disappear of itself .. it is a law that comes from ancient times "

    Gassho

    Yang Hsin

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by yang hsin View Post
    In the book of my martial art, a samurai technic school, it is written (just to share something):Just win a victory is not a victory. The real victory is to have achieved the goal of not using weapons, not fight, this is wa (harmony), it is heiho (Art of Peace). In the sutra of the essence of evil passions (zuibonnokyo) it says "make hostility to hostility, it is forever to lose all hope of peace. Oppose him simply serenity, it will disappear of itself .. it is a law that comes from ancient times "

    Gassho

    Yang Hsin
    Hello Yang Hsin,

    This sounds as if it came directly from the Dhammapada, verse 5:

    5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.
    Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...p.01.budd.html

    Gassho,
    __/\__
    Mike
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183

  23. #23
    Hello Mike, the Dhammapada is the Buddha's teaching? Do you know a little about it?
    Thank you for your good job
    Gassho

    Yang Hsin

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by yang hsin View Post
    Hello Mike, the Dhammapada is the Buddha's teaching? Do you know a little about it?
    Thank you for your good job
    Gassho

    Yang Hsin
    Hi,

    The Dhammapada is an anthology of verses attributed to the Buddha, some of them pithy Dharma Teachings and wise sayings gathered from South Asian Suttas and other sources, and some just folk sayings and old Indian mother's advice that came to be attributed to the Buddha somehow. In that way, it is a bit like the sayings of the American Benjamin Franklin such as "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise", but with a Buddhist flavor. Whatever the source of the Dhammapada, it has become, especially in South Asian Buddhist traditions (most of the quotes have a Theravadan Buddhist flavor), a much beloved and cherished collection of quotes and sage wisdom ... such as ...

    "The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men."

    "All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage."

    “When a man dwells on the objects of sense, he creates an attraction for them; attraction develops into desire, and desire breeds anger.”

    “Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has color but has no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not”


    Recommended to all.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-29-2012 at 01:57 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    This thread has seemed to me kinda like suffering about the potential of future suffering. I get asked alot "what would you do if I did this?" to which I respond "please don't do that" In the present moment the right thing happens and there will karma no matter what you choose. Compassion is the most important thing to remember in any dealings with all beings. I have a similar question to this come up often at work (I work for two peace churches), they don't understand how Kung-Fu is peaceful...

    Just my two cents,

    Last edited by threethirty; 06-29-2012 at 02:26 AM. Reason: i forgot something in the first version
    --Washu
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  26. #26
    Hello,

    may I make some general observations, and yeah, this is a bit of a rant, and intentionally so, so please don't continue reading if you are easily offended.

    A lot of us westerners in particular have certain ideas we like to entertain, and will then go out to find authoritative statements to support that view. Sometimes it might be more honest to say " Well, my relgious tradition teaches XYZ in general , but to be perfectly honest I don't think I can live up to that standard."

    One should not try to bend the Buddhadharma into a shape that one personally finds pleasing IMHO, but obviously there is not ONE sacred text that has the power to annull all other lore in our tradition.

    My very subjective bottom line is that we are raised with fighting and war being glorified everywhere, mainstream media outlets that don't show us the knitty-gritty pictures of civilians being blown to pieces and the suffering of those who are "only" the victims of physical assault, rape etc. in a more domestic situation.

    I find most of Japan's Samurai culture to be a highly idealized pipe-dream that might seem like a wonderful source of inspiration to those who nowadays dream themselves into the Samurai's position....but don't think how it was being a peasant at that time. I love Musashi as much as the next guy, but seriously, it took this guy decades to discover that killing dozens of people in times of peace was not really such a splendid idea. Yeah, great. What a wonderful example, and his calligraphy was great too.

    The world doesn't need more people willing to hurt others for whichever reasons, it needs people with a healthy relationship with their own aggression and the guts to stand their ground and endure suffering before jumping on the "pre-emptive strike" wagon.

    If we or our family members get physically attacked, we will all do what we will do...some of us will be paralysed with fear, others will defend themeselves and their loved ones...others might think one second too long about the situation and lose it all.

    Though seemingly necessary at times and the only way out, violence will always be unskillful and should never be viewed as a perfectly okay reaction.


    Gassho,


    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Hello,

    may I make some general observations, and yeah, this is a bit of a rant, and intentionally so, so please don't continue reading if you are easily offended.

    A lot of us westerners in particular have certain ideas we like to entertain, and will then go out to find authoritative statements to support that view. Sometimes it might be more honest to say " Well, my relgious tradition teaches XYZ in general , but to be perfectly honest I don't think I can live up to that standard."

    One should not try to bend the Buddhadharma into a shape that one personally finds pleasing IMHO, but obviously there is not ONE sacred text that has the power to annull all other lore in our tradition.

    My very subjective bottom line is that we are raised with fighting and war being glorified everywhere, mainstream media outlets that don't show us the knitty-gritty pictures of civilians being blown to pieces and the suffering of those who are "only" the victims of physical assault, rape etc. in a more domestic situation.

    I find most of Japan's Samurai culture to be a highly idealized pipe-dream that might seem like a wonderful source of inspiration to those who nowadays dream themselves into the Samurai's position....but don't think how it was being a peasant at that time. I love Musashi as much as the next guy, but seriously, it took this guy decades to discover that killing dozens of people in times of peace was not really such a splendid idea. Yeah, great. What a wonderful example, and his calligraphy was great too.

    The world doesn't need more people willing to hurt others for whichever reasons, it needs people with a healthy relationship with their own aggression and the guts to stand their ground and endure suffering before jumping on the "pre-emptive strike" wagon.

    If we or our family members get physically attacked, we will all do what we will do...some of us will be paralysed with fear, others will defend themeselves and their loved ones...others might think one second too long about the situation and lose it all.

    Though seemingly necessary at times and the only way out, violence will always be unskillful and should never be viewed as a perfectly okay reaction.


    Gassho,


    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Thank you Hans!

    Gassho
    __/\__
    Mike
    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183

  28. #28
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    I believe violence is very unskillful however if a woman is faced with using self-defense as a last resort to prevent herself from being brutally raped, I don't see that as unskillful but more of an obligation. The same thing applies to protecting their child as long as the defense stops once the attack is controlled. It becomes violent when the person defending themselves proceeds to attack the assailant after the situation is under control which is called turnabout.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  29. #29
    disastermouse
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    Threads like this really make me wanna smack someone. Wait...as a Buddhist, am I allowed to laugh at The Three Stooges? /funny(?) stuff

    In all seriousness, it doesn't matter what the Buddha said if we can't find our way to it. What are the root causes of violence? Kill those (and also the Buddha).

    Chet

  30. #30
    Hello Chet,

    I would like to believe that I can understand you. But whether we like it or not (and ultimately I am with you), if we do not carefully look at what certain teachings were, we are running the risk of proclaiming anything that fits our own preconceptions as the Dharma.

    If these questions do not arise in you, it's fine Chet, just practise. If someone is trying to find out about possible teachings that relate to ethical dilemmas etc., it's not always good enough to say just sit. A lot of war-butchers were really good at sitting.

    Most teachings were given for a reason. The raft is to be abandoned after one has completely crossed the river. Up until that point it's pretty important for most practitioners to look at what the old raft builders had to say, even if one discovers that one has to build one's own raft in a slightly different way, due to different circumstances

    Maybe you should look at where the wish to smack someone comes from.

    Nobody here is talking about set-in-stone doctrines.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  31. #31
    Hi,

    I always speak honestly about this ...

    It is my conviction (almost happened once, in fact... and having lived in drug and gun Miami much of my early life, it is not a mere hypothetical) that if I found an intruder in our house anywhere near my children or wife, I would hit him hard with a baseball bat, use a knife or any other weapon handy (I do not believe in guns in the house) ... hit him until he stopped moving (when it comes to PCP and other drugs, that may take some effort) ... then chant for him after. I have no doubt.

    Although he may be a victim of greed, anger and ignorance ... I would not hesitate to stop an intruder including the use of deadly force if necessary.

    Having sat with this question each year as we reflect on the Precept on Preserving Life, I am comfortable with such an action under those circumstances, and I am willing the carry any Karma which may result.

    I don't think it good to play the saint "beyond" all such things, cause this world is ugly sometimes.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-29-2012 at 01:18 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  32. #32
    Hello Jundo,

    I am pretty sure I'd do the same Jundo, the thing is that we might have to accept that sometimes circumstances lead us into a corner that won't allow us to do anything other than the not-so-skillful-and-nice solution.

    If I met a starving tigress I believe I wouldn't sacrifice my body just to feed her cubs.... My point is that we can take the "let's be realistic" approach also too far. One moment it's turn the other cheek, only a few generations later it's warrior monks (doesn't matter whether at Hiei-zan or in a Knights Templar castle).

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  33. #33
    Hi Hans,

    Yes, we must always seek to avoid violence (although not always possible) and to avoid to fall into extremes.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi,

    I always speak honestly about this ...

    It is my conviction (almost happened once, in fact... and having lived in drug and gun Miami much of my early life, it is not a mere hypothetical) that if I found an intruder in our house anywhere near my children or wife, I would hit him hard with a baseball bat, use a knife or any other weapon handy (I do not believe in guns in the house) ... hit him until he stopped moving (when it comes to PCP and other drugs, that may take some effort) ... then chant for him after. I have no doubt.

    Although he may be a victim of greed, anger and ignorance ... I would not hesitate to stop an intruder including the use of deadly force if necessary.

    Having sat with this question each year as we reflect on the Precept on Preserving Life, I am comfortable with such an action under those circumstances, and I am willing the carry any Karma which may result.

    I don't think it good to play the saint "beyond" all such things, cause this world is ugly sometimes.

    Gassho, J
    Thank you for this Jundo ... as yes, I agree, the world is ugly sometimes. I was taught through my Aikido sensei that violence is uncontrolled intention. If you are attacked ... be pure in your attention to protect yourself and loved ones, but also to protect your attacker. Having pure intention for your attacker will help in ensure you don't use excessive force.

    ... and yes, chant afterwards.
    真 眼

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

  35. #35
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    Hello Chet,

    I would like to believe that I can understand you. But whether we like it or not (and ultimately I am with you), if we do not carefully look at what certain teachings were, we are running the risk of proclaiming anything that fits our own preconceptions as the Dharma.

    If these questions do not arise in you, it's fine Chet, just practise. If someone is trying to find out about possible teachings that relate to ethical dilemmas etc., it's not always good enough to say just sit. A lot of war-butchers were really good at sitting.

    Most teachings were given for a reason. The raft is to be abandoned after one has completely crossed the river. Up until that point it's pretty important for most practitioners to look at what the old raft builders had to say, even if one discovers that one has to build one's own raft in a slightly different way, due to different circumstances

    Maybe you should look at where the wish to smack someone comes from.

    Nobody here is talking about set-in-stone doctrines.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Almost all of that was said in jest, Hans. I'm feeling the levity in Leviticus. It's not that I don't think we should measure ourselves against our forebears, it's that pure mimicry won't win the day. Smiling at the neighbor I hate won't do much but make me smile creepily. Being able to see myself as him might turn my heart.

    In the end, I don't think we disagree as much as we seem to.

    Gassho.

    Chet

  36. #36
    Hi.

    In my humble opinion it is an issue of not misusing force and violence ,and this doesn't have to be in physical form, but can take other forms as well.
    And if you look onto what, according to Legend, The buddha did say i believe you will find that there are instances where he says the opposite to what Zenharmony brought up.
    But for me, it's not as simple as black and white situations, and if a man pulled knife on me i would show him, if able to, my "black-belt-in-100-yard-dash"-skills, if not i would show him some other skills...
    It all depends on the circumstances, but we should do the best we can to avoid harm, even though it sometimes means we need to deal it.

    At the end of the day, what matters is what you do, not what you think you might.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Treeleaf Unsui
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

  37. #37
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen View Post
    But for me, it's not as simple as black and white situations, and if a man pulled knife on me i would show him, if able to, my "black-belt-in-100-yard-dash"-skills, if not i would show him some other skills...
    Fugen
    I would show him some other skills
    some other skills
    other skills
    skills

  38. #38
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Student to Teacher: I would like to learn self-defense

    Teacher replies: Which self is it that you would like to defend?

    Often the type of response/technique employed reflects the ego of the person involved: the "stand your ground" legal debate in the U.S. is a reflection of that fact. Many of these cases would be avoided if the party claiming they "stood their ground" had disengaged and walked away. Possession of a weapon or and/or skills often leads one to a different calculus in making decisions to engage/respond/walk away. There are many brown belts and newly minted dan-rank students who are itching to see if "this stuff works." I have heard many say "I won't start something but boy, I will finish it."

    What has been left unmentioned in this discussion are the legal ramifications of self-defense actions. One of the responsibilities of learning defensive techniques is to understand the legal ramifications of their applications in various scenarios. Not sexy, not cool or flashy, but vitally important. The more "credentialled" one is in a martial art(s), the higher the responsibility attached to any use of force (the old "these hands are deadly weapons" scenario). Credentials can be a dan certificate, a concealed carry permit, a completed course in tactical pistol.... etc.

    The number of episodes in which potential options are reduced to "fight your way out of a corner" are so few in reality .... our perceptions and egos under the influence of adrenaline produce tunnel vision and focus upon a fight or flight option. The purpose of training is to produce the ability to manage one's emotions and reactions so as to control the engagement (as well as the terms of the engagement - terrain - position - psychology) and produce alternate outcomes.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 06-29-2012 at 03:34 PM.

  39. #39
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    The number of episodes in which potential options are reduced to "fight your way out of a corner" are so few in reality .... our perceptions and egos under the influence of adrenaline produce tunnel vision and focus upon a fight or flight option. The purpose of training is to produce the ability to manage one's emotions and reactions so as to control the engagement (as well as the terms of the engagement - terrain - position - psychology) and produce alternate outcomes.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    For women, it's best to avoid situations that potentially can put you in danger. Being aware of your surroundings, trusting your intuition and projecting confidence are important actions to avoid being attacked. If you can walk away or talk your way out of it, great. If not, well do what you need to do to get away safely.

    Rape, domestic abuse, sexual abuse and violence against women is not a rare occurrences. I know a handful of friends who have suffered from these terrible experiences. Here are some stats:


    • A woman is raped every 46 seconds in America... that's 78 rapes each hour!
    • Every day, four women are killed by their abusive partners
    • 25% of girls and 17% of boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 18 years old
    • 14% of all American women acknowledge having been violently abused by a husband or boyfriend
    • 75% of domestic homicides occur after the victim has left the perpetrator
    • 28% of all homicides of women are domestic violence related
    • 95% of reported domestic assaults the female is the victim and the male is the perpetrator
    • 75% of every rape is committed by a man that the victim knows
    • 25% of rapes take place in a public area or a parking garage
    • one in four college women have survived rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
    • 1 of 6 U.S. women and 1 of 33 U.S. men have experienced an attempted or completed rape. (according to Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault)
    • 60% of all rapes or sexual assaults in the United States are never reported to the authorities


    And the list goes on and on....

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  40. #40
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Ekai,
    Thank you for providing this data. My statement was not intended to minimize the seriousness and frequency of violence against women.

    It would have been helpful for me to have been clearer in the perspective I was addressing, which was primarily "stand your ground" situations, undeniably from a subjective, and male perspective. Your comments regarding awareness/control of surroundings and environment are spot on not only for women but men as well.

    My comments regarding legal perspectives of use of force stand on their own I believe.

    Thank you for providing this clarification.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 06-29-2012 at 09:22 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

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai View Post
    For women, it's best to avoid situations that potentially can put you in danger. Being aware of your surroundings, trusting your intuition and projecting confidence are important actions to avoid being attacked. If you can walk away or talk your way out of it, great. If not, well do what you need to do to get away safely.
    There is the flip side to this that men can mindful of. For example, if a man is walking down a dark street late at night, and you see a woman walking toward you.. cross over to the other side, and spare her the anxiety. There is a sense of physical safety that men take for granted in most situations... and we can be oblivious to what it is like to feel unsafe.

    Gassho, kojip

  42. #42
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    There is the flip side to this that men can mindful of. For example, if a man is walking down a dark street late at night, and you see a woman walking toward you.. cross over to the other side, and spare her the anxiety. There is a sense of physical safety that men take for granted in most situations... and we can be oblivious to what it is like to feel unsafe.

    Gassho, kojip
    Great idea!
    It reminds me of something similar I've learned in a course once. The instructor gave some sound advice should one ever get pulled over by the police.
    He said immagine the state of mind you would be in(if you were the police officer)when approaching a vehicle(especially at night). With so many unknowables(who you or any of your passengers are, if anyone is armed....etc) it is easy for them to be in an agitated state brought on by this heightened level of anxiety. They certainly aren't going to be in a good mood and you could easily leave the encounter without concidering his emotions only to drive off with your ticket whilst writing him off as a big jerk. That's one way to do it. But the instructors advice was to pull over turn on the lights inside the car and wait with your hands on the steering wheel(passengers on the dashboard). The affect of this is quite disarming for the stress level of the officer. First he can see into the inside of the vehicle better and 2nd he knows exactly where your hands are and that they hold no weapons. Now that he is more secure your encounter is surly going to be more pleasent. The instructor did mention that doing this, he felt, has gotten him out of tickets. But most importantly in my opinion is considering the officers level of fear. Just doing this as a service to alleviate that little bit of stress in the life of a fellow person who really has a stressful job!

    Gassho,
    Hoyu
    Last edited by Hoyu; 06-30-2012 at 04:35 AM.
    Ho (Dharma)
    Yu (Hot Water)

  43. #43
    I work in a prison system as a supervisor. Violence is an everyday occurrence. Perps tend to believe that what they are doing is rational or in keeping with what they feel is the morally correct position. Hans has outlined that rationalization process very nicely. My response is always to step in and stop that process. Frequently that simply means using force and overwhelming force at that to stop the physical process. But Karma being what it is, the intention is not stopped simply because the perp is physically restrained. About that I can do little. Certainly I try to 'reason' with the person; I ask them what their intention was, why they chose that line of action and try to show an alternative. But with the case of gang members, my being on the 'otherside' prevents my really being heard.

    It is their rationalization process that needs to be broken through. And the same exists for the victims. Often the victims are those who have been repeatedly violated. I am not blaming the victim here, they are not responsible for the actions of the perps. But when you see an individual who has been assaulted for the 6th time in as many months or days, I begin to look at their motivations; why are they doing what they do to provoke this. Sometimes it is a mirror of the perps: that is the only way to be, exist: a deeply held belief that they are here so others can abuse.

    Again it goes to Karma and intention: the attachment to something that is in fact self-harming.

  44. #44
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    The purpose of training is to disrupt the rationalization process or existing emotional conditioning so that the mind is opened to alternative choices and courses of action. Only when this rationalization process is disrupted can intention be revealed and confronted.

    Charst46, thank you for your post.

    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

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    The purpose of training is to disrupt the rationalization process or existing emotional conditioning so that the mind is opened to alternative choices and courses of action. Only when this rationalization process is disrupted can intention be revealed and confronted.

    Charst46, thank you for your post.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Very true yugen. Thx for your insight. We are animals who when threatened lash out. This instincsual reaction has to be recognized and controlled. This is the start of self defense. Whether to turn the other cheek, run, or nuetralize/ disable the other depends on the situation.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  46. #46
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    There is the flip side to this that men can mindful of. For example, if a man is walking down a dark street late at night, and you see a woman walking toward you.. cross over to the other side, and spare her the anxiety. There is a sense of physical safety that men take for granted in most situations... and we can be oblivious to what it is like to feel unsafe.

    Gassho, kojip
    Great chivalry! That's a very nice suggestion. I will have to tell my husband that one. He is a very big guy and can look intimidating at times without intending to be.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  47. #47
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ekai View Post
    For women, it's best to avoid situations that potentially can put you in danger. Being aware of your surroundings, trusting your intuition and projecting confidence are important actions to avoid being attacked. If you can walk away or talk your way out of it, great. If not, well do what you need to do to get away safely.
    Would you not give this same advice to a man Ekai?
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  48. #48
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho View Post
    Would you not give this same advice to a man Ekai?
    Yes, sorry Dosho. This applies to both men and women.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  49. #49
    Member BobSpour's Avatar
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    Hi Lisa

    I am new to the forum but have been involved in both teaching and studying the martial arts and Self Protection since 1966. As a practicing Buddhist I feel it is important to resolve confrontations through Dialogue or even better Avoidance.
    If it does have to get physical this would be as a last resort and should be approached with the correct intent. I teach Muay Thai as my main martial art but have been involved in Traditional Shotokan and Goju Ryu Karate. None of these will help in a physical confrontation! I know this may seem like an odd thing to say but the longer I have practiced the "martial arts" I have realised that they have less to do with fighting and more the student about learning some fancy moves. Very few people can make these martaial arts 'work' and in fact those that do are rare. Those that do never needed the martial arts anyway and were gifted with a powerful set of mental tools. Tools that allow them to be decisive and aggressive with little thought for personal safety. In fact it is these attributes that make them successful.

    Knowing this, through personal study and real life experiences I teach my students to develop high states of awareness. For myself I have found Zazen the most useful. Through sitting we learn to simply be. I found that this could be extended into a general mindfulness when on the move. Allowing me to be casually aware of my environment, others and my own internal processes. Being in the moment.Many of my students having used this have said how much more confident they have felt and this in turn apparently makes them a 'hard target'. Most attacks are opportunistic and the attacker will single out a victim dependant upon their appearance.Do they look scared, does their physiology betray their fear? You very rarely find a predator attacking the most confident animal in the herd. Just the opposite. There are many ways you can develop this Awareness and I would be more than happy to help anyone with these issues if they are interested in these methods. PM me and I would gladly help.
    Incidentally the few violent encounters I have been involved in were those I chose to get involved in. Others were being assaulted and I felt they needed my help. I did not attack with anger but feigned aggression. I have learned that anger/aggression is of no use and often leaves you with moral issues after the event. You end up beating yourself up after the event!!! Not good! I have worked with many victims of physical assault over the years to great effect...quite a few of them were high ranking martial artists who had a very bad experience with the efficacy of their chosen art.

    Sorry to ramble on but as well as Soto Zen my other distraction is Self Protection!

    Gassho

    Bob

  50. #50
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobSpour View Post
    Hi Lisa

    I am new to the forum but have been involved in both teaching and studying the martial arts and Self Protection since 1966. As a practicing Buddhist I feel it is important to resolve confrontations through Dialogue or even better Avoidance.
    If it does have to get physical this would be as a last resort and should be approached with the correct intent. I teach Muay Thai as my main martial art but have been involved in Traditional Shotokan and Goju Ryu Karate. None of these will help in a physical confrontation! I know this may seem like an odd thing to say but the longer I have practiced the "martial arts" I have realised that they have less to do with fighting and more the student about learning some fancy moves. Very few people can make these martaial arts 'work' and in fact those that do are rare. Those that do never needed the martial arts anyway and were gifted with a powerful set of mental tools. Tools that allow them to be decisive and aggressive with little thought for personal safety. In fact it is these attributes that make them successful.

    Knowing this, through personal study and real life experiences I teach my students to develop high states of awareness. For myself I have found Zazen the most useful. Through sitting we learn to simply be. I found that this could be extended into a general mindfulness when on the move. Allowing me to be casually aware of my environment, others and my own internal processes. Being in the moment.Many of my students having used this have said how much more confident they have felt and this in turn apparently makes them a 'hard target'. Most attacks are opportunistic and the attacker will single out a victim dependant upon their appearance.Do they look scared, does their physiology betray their fear? You very rarely find a predator attacking the most confident animal in the herd. Just the opposite. There are many ways you can develop this Awareness and I would be more than happy to help anyone with these issues if they are interested in these methods. PM me and I would gladly help.
    Incidentally the few violent encounters I have been involved in were those I chose to get involved in. Others were being assaulted and I felt they needed my help. I did not attack with anger but feigned aggression. I have learned that anger/aggression is of no use and often leaves you with moral issues after the event. You end up beating yourself up after the event!!! Not good! I have worked with many victims of physical assault over the years to great effect...quite a few of them were high ranking martial artists who had a very bad experience with the efficacy of their chosen art.

    Sorry to ramble on but as well as Soto Zen my other distraction is Self Protection!

    Gassho

    Bob
    Thanks for sharing Bob! I agree with your comments on avoidance, awareness and how much confidence you project towards others.

    Yes, a tornado kick would not be very effective in a real life situation.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

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