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Thread: Mass Shootings

  1. #1

    Mass Shootings

    Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn has a series of Koans that his students would work through...one of them, Ko Bong's Three Gates has within it this particular koan:

    The whole universe is on fire. Through what kind of samadhi can you escape being burned?
    Here in the US, it is as if every day now there is another mass shooting, another day where people lives are taken, unexpectedly and without reason.

    Looking at my news feed this morning, I saw a new report for a shooting that has happens in a Walmart in Oklahoma. Seeing it, my first reaction was:

    "sigh..another one..." and I kept scrolling.

    Then I caught what just happened.

    This violence is becoming more and more frequent to the point that I can actually feel myself becoming de-sensitized to it.

    And honestly, I do not like that.

    Yet, what can be done?

    I sit. I offer Metta. I pain, feel uneasy. Feel confused. Upset. At peace with it all.
    Yet, is it enough?

    This world is perfect and complete exactly as it is. Not a single leaf is out of place. It is all the great Dharma Body of the Buddha. It is all the ineffable Thusness that IS.
    Yet, at the same time, it is burning. It is crumbling and can fall apart at any moment.

    Perfection and chaos.

    The whole universe is on fire. Through what kind of samadhi can you escape being burned?
    I sit. I offer Metta.
    I get out and scream at the injustice.


    Sat/LAH

    Seiryu
    Humbly,
    清竜 Seiryu

  2. #2

    Tairin
    Sat today and recited Metta for all those who suffer from the violence of mass shootings

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post



    I sit. I offer Metta.
    I get out and scream at the injustice.

    Here is another one of his:

    A man came into the Zen Center smoking a cigarette, blowing smoke in the Buddha-statue’s face and dropping ashes on its lap. The abbot came in, saw the man, and said, “Are you crazy? Why are you dropping ashes on the Buddha?” The man answered, “Buddha is everything. Why not?” The abbot couldn’t answer and went away.

    ----------------------------

    If the offender is attached to emptiness, then what can we do to ensure it does not happen again? The offender may not hear sitting, metta being offered or screaming at the injustice. Nothing matters to him. How can we teach him?

    Gassho, Jishin, ST

  4. #4
    We all burn together.

    So sorry for another mass shooting, Seiryu.
    It is horrible that they occur so frequently with no action to stop them.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  5. #5
    The Buddha taught a way out of the burning house. Not how to repair it. Samsara 2.0 may seem like a good idea, and perhaps there will be some significant improvements. But nothing lasts forever. Times of violence and times of peace are both impermanent. Exit Samsara all together and dukkha ends.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  6. #6
    I don't ignore these killings. But my city is full of this violence, has been for many years. It earned an unfortunate nickname as a result.

    If I focus on it too much, I am overwhelmed by it. Also, I had been involved on a gun violence task force at my synagogue last year, ways to reduce gun violence locally, but it was too much for me. This subject is very close to me and in my neighborhood.

    My way of countering it, is to offer love, peace, kindness, compassion, even a smile (friendliness) wherever I can. I'm serious. Living in a city with such anger and apathy all around, that is my antidote with "random strangers" -- and my own family .... even my most angry relatives.

    At least I try to. I'm human also. A smile can mask many things.

    Gassho
    Kim
    Rt

    Sent from my SM-G930U using Tapatalk
    no destination, no goal

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Byrne View Post
    The Buddha taught a way out of the burning house. Not how to repair it. Samsara 2.0 may seem like a good idea, and perhaps there will be some significant improvements. But nothing lasts forever. Times of violence and times of peace are both impermanent. Exit Samsara all together and dukkha ends.
    If what the Buddha taught was to be interpreted as mere escapism, then one can simply splatter one’s mind endlessly in psychoactive substances till the body goes.
    To see Samsara as different from Liberation is to tie an anchor on one’s leg and fall into the ocean. No way out.

    If what the Buddha taught was to be interpreted as to leave the burning house, not to repair it, then one yet does not see that as soon as one leaves one burning house one enters immediately into another.

    Exit Samsara...

    Where will one go where Samsara is not?
    Where will you go where you are not?
    Who will exit?
    Who will remain?

    “Times of violence and times of peace are both impermanent.”
    Is this very Truth not itself exiting Samsara?

    When peace comes, one response. No hindrance.

    When violence comes, another response. No hindrance.

    Its too easy to simply turn one's back on the world using spirituality as a buffer, a shield.

    The house is burning.

    Do you let it burn, or do you put it out?

    SAT/LAH

    Seiryu
    Humbly,
    清竜 Seiryu

  8. #8
    The world was always violent, in the Buddha's time, in ancient China and Japan, and today. There have always been people who acted in violent ways, driven by anger, desire for conquest, mental illness and other causes.

    Some say that we might actually be living in the least violent time in human history, with the least chance of a citizen of this planet meeting a violent end per capita. Others dispute the findings, but we are not significantly worse than we have ever been. We have always been so. While the actual chance of our, or someone we know, being a victim of violence may have decreased, the "if it bleeds, it leads" media certainly has brought the violence right before our eyes each day. There are no news stories about stores and street corners where folks have gone peacefully about their day, but endless repetition on our screens of stores and street corners where shootings have occurred. Millions of children go to and from school each day without incident, but the ... rare ... school shooting has millions living in terror.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Be..._of_Our_Nature

    That said, any one death in violence is tragic and should be mourned.

    I usually do not speak of politics in this place, but sometimes I feel that politics and the Precepts overlap enough to speak. The United States needs reasonable gun controls, with semi-automatic weapons banned. I do not think it politically realistic to ban all fire arms in the USA, and even Japan where I live has guns. However, guns can be well regulated. Here in Japan, only shot guns and small hunting rifles are allowed, a purchaser must register, be checked and attend classes, store ammunition separately, prove to the police each year that there is compliance. Most hand guns (except for sports) and larger weapons are banned. It is why I keep my doors unlocked most days. A sign like this can be found about 30 paces from my door ...




    We have violent folks here too, but it is just not the same as back in Miami where I used to live.

    I feel that the Buddha and the Zen folks taught ways to improve the world, and would have fixed Samsara if they could have. They just did not have the means. In the near future, for the first time, we may. My new book, "Zen of the Future" speaks of possible means. The tendency for extreme anger and violence is limited to a tiny minority of the population, and the vast majority of people live their lives without raising a fist or a weapon against a fellow human. It is possible that, in the very near future, we will remove from the human brain and body of the few extremely violent individuals their ability to do violence:

    By the way, I sometimes post the following which shocks people. Now, the following may chase some people away from Treeleaf, because what I am about to say is still too radical. However, we are coming to such a day whether we like it or not:

    I am looking forward to the day in which we can identify within the brains of likely violent individuals the triggers of anger and violent acts, and treat criminal behavior by a means other than incarceration and/or before it occurs. We will be able to "flip 'off' the switches" that trigger violence in violent criminal minds. We will be able to "flip 'on' the switches" that gives rise to a peaceful inner nature, empathy for other human beings, love, generosity and the like. (Brain research is showing that it is rarely if ever just a single region of the brain, or single gene or the like, that would be the trigger for any aspect of human behavior, but a complex interaction. Still, I am confident that we can "flip those switches" someday). We will learn what gives rise to a brain that can commit genocide such as in Darfur, or may walk into a school such as Sandy Hook, and we will learn to treat that brain as if it had a disease to be cured ... much as we treat contagious individuals with typhoid even if against their will, all to prevent their infecting others.

    https://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2...s-domain/?_r=0

    When I was a chaplain volunteer for a Zen group in a maximum security prison in Florida a few years ago, I had a small taste of what our prisons are like. Inhumane. Leaving people in horrible prisons is the cruelty.

    I hope we can soon hold a solution where, someday, violence can be regulated and controlled within the human brain so these individuals can be returned to productive life. For example, how about an implant that would be able to detect hormonal releases and neurological impulses associated with anger/violence and chemically counter-act them before the person has a chance to do harm? That seems a far cry from the "lobotomy" or other crude drug means as has been attempted in the past (in case some may think that is what I am proposing). I would like to see violent individuals robbed simply of their tendency to extreme anger and violence, leaving the rest of their humanity.

    I think the mechanism can be far simpler than we may imagine, and is already being developed. How? It is possible to detect in the blood and nervous system certain chemical, hormonal and other physiological changes associated with anger, aggression and the like. In a violent individual, a devise can be implanted inside the body that, upon detecting such chemical and hormonal changes indicating the onset of an angry mood in the body, would release various mood altering drugs into the body to sooth the individual or otherwise counteract their desire to act upon the anger.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0531082603.htm

    The system to impose such a mechanism would be as we have today: A trial by jury perhaps, with the testimony and agreement of a team of specialist doctors. It is much as we now use to toss people into hell hole prisons for decades or the electric chair. One thing is that the device would likely be removable if some error was made, unlike our situation now in which we are incarcerating and executing some innocents.

    Now why do I support the development of such technology which seems so frighteningly "Clockwork Orange"?

    It is simply because, as a lawyer and former Zazen prison volunteer (and just someone who follows the news), I know that American's current prison system is dehumanizing, itself cruel and violent, and truly ruinous of lives. It is our prisons that are truly destructive of human rights and dignity. I would like to see a system in which people have a choice whereby, in selecting to have such a device implanted, they can opt to stay out of prison and otherwise be able to have a decent and free life.

    Here is one case where it has been done for years, although the methods used until now have been very unsophisticated.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/ar...der-woman.html

    In fact, I am sorry to say this ... but it is only a matter of time, and the technology is around the corner. We had best start talking about the ethics of it all so that (like a gun or a knife) the tool is not misused.

    If someone worries that what I propose is somehow an infringement on "human rights", they should think both of the "human rights" of the victims of violent offenders, and the "human rights" of the violent offenders themselves when locked away for years in the squalid hell holes we call our prisons.
    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-19-2019 at 12:39 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post
    If what the Buddha taught was to be interpreted as mere escapism, then one can simply splatter one’s mind endlessly in psychoactive substances till the body goes.
    To see Samsara as different from Liberation is to tie an anchor on one’s leg and fall into the ocean. No way out.

    If what the Buddha taught was to be interpreted as to leave the burning house, not to repair it, then one yet does not see that as soon as one leaves one burning house one enters immediately into another.

    Exit Samsara...

    Where will one go where Samsara is not?
    Where will you go where you are not?
    Who will exit?
    Who will remain?



    Is this very Truth not itself exiting Samsara?

    When peace comes, one response. No hindrance.

    When violence comes, another response. No hindrance.

    Its too easy to simply turn one's back on the world using spirituality as a buffer, a shield.

    The house is burning.

    Do you let it burn, or do you put it out?

    SAT/LAH

    Seiryu

    Reading the news is escapism. Don't waste time living in a dream world.

    If you think leaving one burning house is to enter another, you've not found the exit. If you think you can put it out, you are mistaken.

    Gassho,

    Nanrin

    Sat today

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Nanrin View Post
    Reading the news is escapism. Don't waste time living in a dream world.

    If you think leaving one burning house is to enter another, you've not found the exit. If you think you can put it out, you are mistaken.

    Gassho,

    Nanrin

    Sat today
    Guess we are all burning together.....

    Sat

    Seiryu

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    Humbly,
    清竜 Seiryu

  11. #11
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post
    Guess we are all burning together.....

    Sat

    Seiryu

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    Hi Seiryu,


    We are in the Mahayana tradition so I think we are obliged to try to put out the fire if we are able As for gun violence I think we need to try and understand what were the conditions that lead people up to this point. There is usually talk about mental illness but that's a pretty broad term and I'm under the impression that people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence rather than perpetrators. I also think self-harm is more likely than harming others. This isn't to say it can't happen but I don't think its the usual.

    I think the take away is why are these people driven to this extreme and are there common elements that might contribute. I don't have the answer unfortunately.

    Gassho
    Hoseki

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoseki View Post
    Hi Seiryu,


    We are in the Mahayana tradition so I think we are obliged to try to put out the fire if we are able As for gun violence I think we need to try and understand what were the conditions that lead people up to this point. There is usually talk about mental illness but that's a pretty broad term and I'm under the impression that people with mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence rather than perpetrators. I also think self-harm is more likely than harming others. This isn't to say it can't happen but I don't think its the usual.

    I think the take away is why are these people driven to this extreme and are there common elements that might contribute. I don't have the answer unfortunately.

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    Yes indeed.
    *Throws bucket of water*

    My sentiment on this point is not so much what action one must take but not being desensitized to it all....to not see a burning house and go...

    "Another one..." And keep moving...


    Sat
    Seiryu

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    Humbly,
    清竜 Seiryu

  13. #13
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post
    Yes indeed.
    *Throws bucket of water*

    My sentiment on this point is not so much what action one must take but not being desensitized to it all....to not see a burning house and go...

    "Another one..." And keep moving...


    Sat
    Seiryu

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    Hi Seiryu,

    I find I'm not often moved much by news of tragic events like this happening. But when I see bodies or crying family members I cry as well. So being desensitized and depending on the extend might be beneficial. If there isn't anything you can do that pain will just wear you down. If your wore down too much will you be able to help those who you can help. At least that's what makes sense to me.

    Gassho

    sattoday/lah
    Hoseki

  14. #14
    I am equally horrified by these mass shootings. But also I am disturbed by shootings that are happening en-mass.

    During the Iraq War, there was an email going around talking about the number of service men/women who had been killed in Iraq that month was 12. During the same time period 80 people had been murdered in Washington DC alone. The conclusion was that the US should invade Washington, DC.

    This had me curious so I looked it up. Do you know that more Americans killed other Americans during the Vietnam War than the entire number of US Soldiers who lost their lives in Vietnam? And this wasn't by a little. It was a staggering amount higher. The problem isn't limited to guns or the US either. A couple years ago some person broke into a school in China and attacked a bunch of people with an axe. The UK is apparently spending over two billion dollars a year in medical costs because of people glassing( cutting someone with a broken bottle) each other.

    On the other hand and in the light of what Jundo has often explained about the relative safety of modern humanity; I have also read that though violent crime in the US is actually down 15% from what it was 10 years ago, the reporting of violent crime is up 600%. When we tune in, do we contribute to the wishes of those who commit mass atrocities?

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat/lah
    Grateful for your practice

  15. #15
    There's very little that I can do about living in an angry Balkanized society awash in alienation and anomie with a thanatotic fetish for mass murder machines; it is what it is. I offer what solace or refuge I can to those who I encounter, trying as best as I can to be peace in my community. In extremis, I've armed myself commensurate with my training, expertise, and experience; my weapon of choice is a large medic bag under the back seat with enough stuff to treat multiple gunshot wounds.


    "I will always pray for the person who holds the weapon, pray that this person finds compassion and recognizes the humanity he or she shares with the person who may be at the other end of that weapon's sights."
    Archbishop Desmond Tutu
    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.

  16. #16
    Hey Seiriyu, you ask what can be done?

    Cultivate situational awareness.
    Inside a building, know where the exits are.
    Practice running.

    Sat/lah


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    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

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