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Thread: Zen, War, Violence and Peace

  1. #1

    Zen, War, Violence and Peace

    Hello Everyone!

    After watching Jundos "war koan" broadcast, I felt the need to start a new thread here dealing exclusively with that topic in the broadest sense, since in my humble opinion it is both a very unpleasant and at the same time very rewarding "can of worms". These are just personal thoughts and I do not intend to preach to anyone....just to kick this off:

    On the one hand we have things like the precepts and the general buddhist notion of non-violence, even up to the point of self-destruction. Even in our times (especially in Tibet) we can find a whole lot of examples of buddhist practitioners whose compassion for all sentient beings was so great, that they rather chose to die and/or suffer than to hurt another fellow human (and thus sentient) being.

    On the other hand we have had situations in human history like the second world war/Holocaust, where complete non-violence on the parts of a whole bunch of countries and ethnic groups would simply have meant annihilation. During numerous times of me discussing the question of "when is violence appropriate" with people, they have pointed me to the most popular example of "ahimsa" (non-violence), that was Gandhi. One thing a lot of people who take a rather superficial look at this phenomenon don't seem to realise however (and I don't mean for one second that I have it all figured out 100% either), that during the later years of the British Raj rule over India, things like an international free press were already in existence and part of the system....which is not to say that imperialist rule was always great during that time!

    The bottom line however is this, had Gandhi tried his same approach in a country ruled by a completely totalitarian egime like Hitler's Germany, Stalin's soviet union and the like....they just would have executed him and all his doubt there at all, even if it had meant killing thousands or tens of thousands.

    Now obviously as part of the Mahayana one could take the "easy" way out and think: "Okay, I know there are millions and millions of other worlds, Pure lands etc. because it says so in the sutras....and thus I'd rather die and let interdependent-origination take care of everything rather than to generate bad karma."

    But doesn't that mean abandoning this world for what ultimately can be pretty selfish reasons?

    It's a razor's edge between ego and non-ego, peaceful deeds and foolishness....sometimes they're many of these things at the same time. It's a razor's edge and we're all walking on it.

    To give things a more personal perspective, I did serve in the German air-force for a year (yep, us Germans, we still have a national service year....though it's down to nine months now methinks), swore an oath to protect the freedom of the German people and for a long time toyed with the idea of pursuing an officer's career. I know how to disassemble, clean, reassemble and fire an 7.62 caliber assault rifle. The first time I shot with one really gave me a lot of respect for this kind of weapon. Hiding behind trees won't do you any good in such a case (unless it's a giant redwood I guess)....the 7.62 goes right through like a hot knife through butter. I used to love weapons, the machismo everything...about it. It took me years to re-examine and discard all the absolute bullshit that our popular culture drills into us in the west. Weapons are great, weapons are sexy, violence is how the cool guys take care of things....etc.

    Magdeburg during the thirty years war, Verdun during WWI, Stalingrad, My Lai, Danang the list is almost as long as human history.

    I would never in my dreams tell other people what to do with their lives,but in the last couple of years, with my dharma study and practice becoming ever more in-depth (although still far too shallow...), my outlook on war and the like has changed almost 180%.

    There has never been a good war and never been a bad peace. Not my line, but it rings true. Even the most righteous war efforts usually hit those hardest who are the weakest and the poorest. Collateral damage we call it in propaganda new-speak. Archaic notions of warriorhood, courage and fidelity are still invoked to inspire people to support modern day warfare, which has next to nothing to do with iron-age hand-to-hand combat and is very often nothing more than a sophisticated high-tech mass killing. Even worse, our governments expect us to trust their judgements, when it is possible for western nations to invade Iraq based on alleged intelligence that turns out to be complete BS.

    No, I am not an anarchist and I also think it's great that Mr. Hussein is no longer ruling his country (though I am opposed to the death penalty), I don't claim to have all the answers, though I definitely dislike the "do not attack" logic when there is no real constructive alternative.

    warning: random thought coming up,

    ....I remember a good English friend of mine once saying to me that it's a bit ironic the US are sending in Apache helicopters to Kosovo in order to stop ethnic cleansing, when almost all the real Apaches where ethnically cleansed by WASPS less than 150 years ago...

    To me the key term in all this is the idea of self responsibility. We create our own circumstances to a great degree through our karmic choices, meaning volitional action that results in a cause and effect relationship. Sometimes there is no easy way out of a situation, sometimes what we can either call bad karma/ or shit just happens. Sometimes all there is to a situation is damage control, and that may mean we may also need soldiers. But as Buddhists we should be careful that the Dharma does not become a pot full of playdough that we change everytime our cultural needs and sensitivities seem to collide with some of its key messages.

    The Buddha never claimed that "not killing" would be easy, sometimes it may even be unavoidable....yet IMHO we should not make the mistake and view the "not killing" precept as some kind of ultra-idealistic nonsense which needs to be replaced by "shit happens and sometimes you've got to kill people".

    When shit happens, it will happen, when an extreme circumstance will lead to killing, it will lead to killing. Let's not view the ultima ratio as day-to-day business. Zen has a very bad track record when it comes to inspiring (all the pseudo Bushido stuff comes to mind...), or at least not openly opposing warfare, thus it is down to us to see that in the future the same doesn't happen again.

    Let's do what we have to do and be mindful about it, accepting our own responsibility without hiding behind ideas like "the evil system that f####d us". Is it going to be difficult? Hell, yeah, but then again Buddhism is called the Middle Way and not the way of the least obstacles.



    P.S. As long as this world still needs soldiers, let'shope they are buddhists

  2. #2
    Thanks for the well thought out post.

  3. #3
    Hans that was a great post, I think you've got it pretty much right and I speak as a serving British Paratrooper (Fallschirmjäger)

  4. #4
    After reading We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families and Shake Hands with the Devil, about the Rwandan genocide, I agree with Jundo's position that "all of us have victim and victimiser within us." I don't know who coined the phrase "the banality of evil," but it was rolling through my mind the entire time I spent reading those books. Because very few of the genocidaires were extremists, or sociopathic monsters. Many sounded like quite ordinary people, and seemed nearly as uncertain as their victims as to what had happened and why. "We were overcome by a temporary madness" or "We only did what we were told," who can say these excuses with any real conviction?

    Whenever I think about it would have been like to be present during these atrocities, I always subconsciously cast myself in the roles of Paul Rusesabagina (Hotel Rwanda) or the "Good German." Perhaps that would have been my reaction, I hope so. But there were very few Oskar Schindlers and Paul Rusesabaginas in those times.

    I'm very glad I've never been put to that type of test of character.

    PS - I think "Hine ma tov..." is from Psalms 133:

    "Behold, how good and pleasant it is
    That brothers live together in peace"

  5. #5
    Hi Drut,

    It is an article that certainly includes everything and the kitchen sink, and nothing and no kitchen sink ... Thank you for sending it.

    I could say that, as much an encyclopedia as it is, and seemingly well researched, I might disagree with some of the overt factual statements. I do not think that Master Bodhidharma "attained his enlightment" at the end of his 9 years (confusing the story of Shakyamuni with that I think), and Mr. Herrigel's book is the subject of much controversy, including the fact that due to the language barrier he misunderstood much that was said to him (and imagined quite a bit) and that his teacher was not even a practitioner of Buddhism or Zen (if I recall correctly). The following should be read by anyone who is a fan of that book ..

    But, on the issue of Zen and War, my short response is this:

    -Zen is rather like jello, and can fit most of the molds that life presents. I do think it might be possible to be a "Zen Nazi", for example, but I do not think that the results would be good ... the anger and hate within the individual would derail the train of Buddhist Practice.

    -The Precepts are guides with many grays, few black & whites, and that includes the Precept on taking life. Human beings may differ. If I were to offer my personal take (and that is all it is), sometimes war (not all wars, just some!!) and violence are needed to save lives and decrease violence.

    -On the other hand, the 'morality' of Buddhism, Zen and the Precepts is about as definite and sure (as well as fluid and flexible) as any morality on this planet. We see how, for example, even in Islam, one person's interpretation may call for peace, another person's reading of the same words may allow for taking children's lives.

    Anyway, I will give the article another read sometime in the coming days.

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6
    Good day to all...

    I'm trying to catch up on past posts and found this one to be very interesting. I would like to view your dharma talk on war, Jundo, but wasn't able to determine where to find it. Would you please let me know?

    Sorry for the length of this post but this is an issue that sits down for breakfast with me every day. I would love to hear other's thoughts if you'd be willing to share them (especially from any of you who have or have had military experience.)

    I wanted to respond to this quote by Jundo -

    -The Precepts are guides with many grays, few black & whites, and that includes the Precept on taking life. Human beings may differ. If I were to offer my personal take (and that is all it is), sometimes war (not all wars, just some!!) and violence are needed to save lives and decrease violence.

    As mentioned in my intro, my eldest son, Ian, is currently serving his second tour in this war. One of the misconceptions that I have continually run into is the one whereby people seem to assume that if you are a soldier you are somehow "ok" with killing another human being. In some people's brand of ignorance the fact that my son is in a war which has required that he has had to kill other people is "regretable" but it's what he agreed to when he raised his hand for the assignment. (Although, he enlisted prior to 9/11.)

    In one sense, this is true. "Killing others in time of war" is certainly one possibility all our troops agreed might need to be engaged in when they signed their names on the dotted line. The military gives out no clause that reads "I agree to kill other human beings if I am in a wartime situation unless that just doesn't work for me in any given moment."

    Speaking for my son, if I may, what I know is that he is very much not "ok" with the fact that he has taken another life. When he returned from his first tour he could hardly look at me for days. He couldn't sleep unless he drank himself into oblivion and he slept during the daylight hours rather than at night. And now he's back out there doing what he has to do...again.

    He has only allowed me to have one conversation with him about his experiences. He asked what the whole "Buddhist thing" is about killing. (I didn't raise my kids with any religious leanings and they weren't interested in Buddhism.) I told him something very much along the lines of what Jundo wrote. I told him that the best advice I could give according to my limited understanding of both Buddhism and war was that it was one thing to pull the trigger with hate in your heart and quite another to do so with regret for what you are doing. I told him that, if he could find the way to do what he had to do without hate, then that might help. I also told him that that was a huge order, I wasn't sitting in that seat with him as he watched his buddies shot down or he was giving orders to his men, and I would probably never truly understand what he was experiencing.

    I told him that nothing he did in the name of soldiering would ever make me think less of him or not love him. I honor and support him for doing what he has been asked to do according to his beliefs.

    He's no hawk, he's no fan of Bush and this government, but he believes in his path as a soldier and that he is trying to serve others in this life in the way that seems right for him.

    Gray thoughts for a gray day...

    In Gassho~


  7. #7

    Thank you ... what can be said by someone not a mother, not a soldier's mother?? It is so eye opening when we hear a story of our teachings and Practices being put to the test right in the heart of life like this. That is when, I think, they truly must prove themselves.

    My talk is this one I think, about being merely on the theoretical side of these issues (and not on the real battlefield of life as your words reflect): ... -xxix.html
    (sound is a little soft)

    Gassho and Peace, Jundo

  8. #8
    Hi, all.
    I have nothing meaningful to add to this thread, but I wanted to express a sincere appreciation for Hans' bringing this topic up. I also admire the thought and wisdom that went into everone's posts. I think that practice that doesn't address and engage real-world issues (war, famine, injustice, etc) is not a much of a practice (even if the result is that we don't know what we should do).


  9. #9
    Well, I don't really know if I should post anything here, but...

    I think it's hard to have the answers. Every choice will be different for every person , perhaps. There is no rule book. In the end, perhaps it is just a matter of trusting your heart and what you feel is right. If what you do causes a bad effect on yourself and others, then maybe it was not the right thing to do. In practice there is no right and wrong really, just what you feel to be right and honest.

    If you were to say to me "I will take action against this threat" well, that's your choice. If you were to say " In the midst of this threat I will be an example for those to follow towards a peaceful nature" well, that's your choice to. No one can preach what is right for someone else.

    Of coarse Zen (as you probably know) has taken many shapes in past history. Can we learn anything from that?

    I believe it was Hans who said on the zazen show (not an exact quote) "we can just try our best" (sorry Hans if I really misquoted)

    In Highschool. There was our city Cornwall, and across a bridge in the U.S. there was a Indian reservation. The Indians used to come over to Cornwall and cause trouble. They would especially cause trouble for Skateboarders. My friend had a gun pulled on him once. Just for the way he dressed. I was punched in the face and threatened with a knife. Once they surrounded our school and were going to beat anyone who came out wearing plaid or looking like a skater.

    What did we do about this? Well, we talked a lot, but I never really had hatred for them. Some of my friends as well. I just couldn't understand why they were doing this. We took the punches most of us. I've always observed people fighting throughout my life. I got into a fight twice in my life. I broke a beer bottle over my friends head once after he treated some of our friends like sh*t. I cried after. I've always felt terrible about people fighting and hurting each other. There has always been the hurt feeling inside me saying "why?" "Don't do this."

    Of course that was a long time ago, I guess, but the memories remain. So, it really is a grey area. Some will take the punches, and some would rather give. I don't know.

    Sorry for rambling.

    Gassho Will

  10. #10
    Will wrote:
    I don't know.
    You too, huh?


  11. #11
    I think this is one of those ever-evolving topics that we need to contemplate for a while, every now and again, just to clearly see how we look at it at that point in our lives... I know my take on this has gone through many revisions, and I'm sure there are subtleties that I will notice later on that I don't quite see now...

    Thanks for the wonderful starting post Hans, and thank you very much Lynn for giving us an immersive view from a perspective that isn't seen enough...

    Deep Gassho to All,

  12. #12
    Good day, all...

    Thanks for the pointer to the posting on your blog, Jundo. I am afraid I was not able to watch the vid, and I thank you for the head's up on the images. Right now, I am not able to view war related movies or TV shows, especially if there are graphic scenes.

    Jundo, would you expand a little on your commentary? (sorry for throwing out some concepts that might be new to some of you):

    "Our Precepts guide us to avoid violence and the taking of life. Though some good can come from even the worst events, war is a tragedy. Yet some wars may be unavoidable evils, and the taking of lives, and the defense of nations, may be required for the saving of lives. If a soldier fights for his society with such intent in his heart, and if his actions are what are necessary to realize that intent, then he breaks no Precept (I think). "

    I would like to think this is so, but I don't know. I agree with the intent part and this is very much what I told my son. What I don't know is: does intent negate the breaking of it? I suppose it might be semantically driven as in one form of Precepts which is worded, "I vow to do my best to refrain from..." and then each Precept is inserted: killing other sentient beings, saying that which is untrue, mis-using my sexuality etc. Then, you sort of have a little wiggle room with them.

    I haven't seen the issue of karma raised, and maybe that's not something we want to go into here, but the consequences of taking life are the consequences of taking a life. That karmic action has been set into motion. Does intent of action modify karmic consequence? I know that you can participate in sange, but does that "wipe the slate clean" as it is suggested with the Catholic act of confession? Is it even useful to wonder about this or is it enough to simply accept the consequences of one's actions and allow that you will not be able to do anything to undo or modify the act (as in offering merit since merit is not a grace bank account that is a quantifiable thing?)

    These are questions I have sat with a lot.

    I thank Jordan for his postings. They were particularly heartshared for me. One thing with regard to Rev. Master Jiyu: she actually did have a first hand experience of war as she was in London when it was bombed. At the time she was a teenager. She became separated from her family for a time, lived in bombed out buildings with friends, stealing food to live, and watched a very good friend who got caught in barbed wire die right in front of her. She, herself, had numerous inujuries from schrapnel all over her body. She survived, but could never sleep when thunder storms came through. That song Jordan posted is extremely beautiful when sung and I never made it through one singing of it without tears by the end.

    I agree with you, Greg. This is, indeed, a topic that is ever evovling. It finds us in so many different frames of mind when we touch it across time. We are so lucky that there is so much compassion built into the Precepts that they allow us to use them in a kaliedoscopic way.

    Thanks to all, once again, for your thoughts and compassion.

    In Gassho~


  13. #13
    Dear Lynn,

    I think that your previous post already spoke quite eloquently on (some of) the consequences of taking a human life. You said that your son was feeling a great deal of remorse, having trouble sleeping &c.

    It sounds like a very difficult situation already, and I don't know if there's anything to be gained in speculating on further karmic repercussions.

    I hope your son's current tour is very uneventful! And that he returns home soon, safe and well in body and mind.


  14. #14
    Hi Paige,

    Thank you for your kindness.

    Actually, my questions regarding the breaking of precepts and the mitigation of karmic consequences was outside the scope of the personal with regard to my son, and more for me. It was actually more directed toward Jundo's sentence about the possibility that one could kill and not be breaking the precept of killing at all.

    This is a piece of the dharma that I have questioned for some time. I guess it speaks to personal responsibility and the difference between sort of kind of acknowledging the precepts when convenient, and simply taking responsibility for breaking them when we do without trying to figure an angle about how we can get ourselves off the hook for it. *And...there are those shades of grey in between where action is required that may be a breaking of the precepts. That's where the compassion comes in. And, in this case, is there actually a point where we can say that an action that seems to break a precept doesn't? (Sort of a "spirit of the precept" and "letter of the precept" type thing.)

    I was hoping that anyone with more experience and understanding of the precepts, intention and karmic consequence would be willing to have a discussion around this. It's been a-rattling around in my blood and bones for some time.

    In Gassho~


  15. #15
    Hi, Lynn.
    I appreciate the earnestness (is that a word? ) of your posts.

    I guess it speaks to personal responsibility and the difference between sort of kind of acknowledging the precepts when convenient, and simply taking responsibility for breaking them when we do without trying to figure an angle about how we can get ourselves off the hook for it.
    My take here (a very unenlightened one probably) is that we will sometimes break the precepts knowingly when a conflict of competing values arises. In my mind, good intent does not absolve the breaking of the precept, but how many days go by in which we don't break a precept? Compassionate intent is valuable and good, but doesn't change the fact that we did, indeed, break the precept. However, no one is keeping score on the precepts. Actions happen and have consequences; how our intent affects these consequences, I have no clue, but I think it is still important to have the spirit of a bodhisattva. When confronted with multiple evils, we often have to choose and we have to take responsibility for our choices, but no one kicks us out of the enlightenment club for violating a precept--we simply forge on, sitting and working on ourselves as best we can. Another part of me (the agnostic part) says that struggling with the question is MUCH more important than the answer. I thought this was what Jundo's War Koan talk was suggesting using different language, but I may be wrong (I'm fully aware that we often hear what we want to hear instead of what is being said). I'll go back and watch the teaching . . .

    Also, I think we might make a distinction between effects of our actions and the precepts that guide those actions. Actions that follow the precepts are thought to be helpful, but what happens in the rare instances where the precepts themselves appear to be in conflict. I'm thinking of the precept "Doing all good acts" vs. "refraining from killing." These could be seen as being in conflict in an extreme circumstance such as war. I might suggest that "Doing all good acts" trumps the ten precepts in this case. But, I honestly can't say how I would view it if I really had to make the hard choices.

    I feel a bit silly responding because I have led such a sheltered life and here I am talking about war and death on a forum with military folks and mothers of military folks. Nonetheless, that is my perspective—which like all things is in a state of constant change.


  16. #16
    Hi Lynn and everyone,

    Sorry that I was away yesterday and did not see your question, Lynn. But I am not sure that I can answer it any better than many of the other people here already have ... or, better said, nobody can answer. That it is why it is a type of Koan.

    My simple perspective is the case where the taking of one life (even an innocent life) may be necessary to save 10, 100 or 100,000 lives (A true situation I recently heard about involves some of the US soldiers who must accept a certain number of 'civilian collateral' in order to kill a 'high profile target'). Some people insist that there is always ONE right course of action for any situation, but I disagree. Many actions have both harmful and beneficial effects. All we can do, sometimes, is stick our finger in the wind and make the choice we believe the best at any moment.

    If you fail to kill directly the one, you may be killing indirectly 100,000.

    I believe that the following is in keeping with views that I have heard the Dalai Lama express in the past. He is a very wise human being wrestling with these same dilemnas:

    Dalai Lama reserves judgment on whether Iraq war was justified

    By SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press

    (Published: September 10, 2003)

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Dalai Lama said Wednesday that the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan may have been justified to win a larger peace, but that is it too soon to judge whether the Iraq war was warranted.

    "I think history will tell," he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, just after he met with President Bush.

    "In principle, I always believe nonviolence is the right thing, and nonviolent method is in the long run more effective," said the Dalai Lama, who after the Sept. 11 attacks had implored Bush to avoid a violent response by the United States.

    The exile Tibetan leader, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, said the Vietnam War increased suffering and was a "failure." But, he said, some wars, including the Korean War and World War II, helped "protect the rest of civilization, democracy."

    He said he saw a similar result in Afghanistan - "perhaps some kind of liberation."

    "The people themselves, I think, suffer a lot under their previous regimes," he said. But he was adamant that the United States not lose sight of rebuilding Afghanistan.

    The Dalai Lama urged Bush, in a letter on Sept. 12, 2001, to "think seriously whether a violent action is the right thing to do and in the greater interest of the nation and people in the long run."

    Asked whether the Iraq war was just, the Dalai Lama said the situation there is "more complicated" and will take more time before he can judge. ... 5161c.html
    There are consequences from our words, acts and thoughts. Some may be surprising. An act of violence can often have unexpected good results along with the bad (I see this in Japan, where much good came out of a prior war). But, overall, harmful acts can be expected to increase the quotient of harm in this world. We should avoid them.

    And, I think, if we are ever in the situation where we must take a life to save 100 ... then we should feel that weight within us, and carry that person with us always throughout life ... even as we probably "did what was necessary" (I have a friend, a policeman, who was placed in this situation. He acted in a way that was right and proper by all standards, yet he carries it with him).

    I am sorry, Lynn ... as you know already, there are not always 'easy answers', and the universe does not show us one clear and pure path sometimes.

    I oppose all wars ... I am no supporter of the current war in Iraq (although I honor and respect the soldiers who must serve there). Some war may be necessary.

    Gassho, and thank you and your son for your service ... Jundo

  17. #17
    Thank you for clarifying your question Lynn.

    Much as I hate to disagree with our resident super-enlightened being (aka Jundo :P), I don't agree with the idea that we can kill (or lie, or steal...) without breaking precepts. I think that there's a difference between trying to do one's best and be 'a good person,' and actually vowing to uphold the precepts. Most Buddhists don't take the precepts, or even go for refuge.

    But holding the precepts doesn't always allow someone to live harmlessly either - for instance, what about euthanising a sick pet? Maybe stringently keeping the precept in that case is more harmful than breaking it.

    Bah, I'm not even making any sense am I?

  18. #18
    Hi Paige,

    Quote Originally Posted by paige
    I don't agree with the idea that we can kill (or lie, or steal...) without breaking precepts.
    Well, I did not really mean to imply that, and I hesitate to put words on this. If we kill one to save ten, I think we --are-- breaking the Precept. If we do not kill the one to save the ten, I think we --are-- breaking the Precept too. Either road, and we must break the Precept.

    Or maybe we should say that we must break the Precept to keep the Precept?

    Or maybe the Precept, an arrow pointing us in the direction which minimizes harm and maximizes peace, the helpful and healthful ... just is an arrow's pointing and --cannot- be broken. Or, maybe it is a flexible band that stretches to include whatever minimizes harm the most .... I do not care to define it that closely (as the former lawyer I am).

    Instead, I believe that, one way or the other, we sometimes may have to take life to save life or to do mercy ... and though we do the "right" thing, we should also carry the weigh of our actions. Even if we take a life through necessity, that life must be carried with us and we must atone. I do not know if that 'Karmic" burden must be carried into future lives, but I do know that we must carry it with us in this life.

    Gassho, Jundo

  19. #19
    A few things:

    Whatever we do, our actions have consequences. In cases like the ones described, where taking one life saves 100,000 others, consequences will obviously be vastly different depending on the choice made. The one taking that life, if that's the choice made, will suffer from that but also benefit from the fact that he/she saved 100,000 persons. There's no way of getting away from that.
    From a karmic standpoint, intentionally killing one person to save 100,000 others is vastly different from killing one person for personal reasons.

    However, very much related to this is that violence begets violence. The problems of Iraq and the Middle East will escalate, the hatred against Westerners will escalate. It could be that killing one or a few persons will stop the war, but will the hatred stop? No. Will it stop terrorism? No. The only violent way to stop terrorism is to wipe out all actual and potential terrorists and that's neither possible nor something you would want to do, it would have other terrible consequences.

    So, the only way to go forward is to completely re-assess the situation, to evaluate and try to understand why there is hatred. To me, there are three fundamental issues, one is poverty (or, perhaps more important, distribution of wealth), the second is education and the third is religion. I'm not saying that there will be no hatred and wars if these issues are solved, but the whole situation would become different.

    Now, whether that can be done or not is a different matter, but if we do not strive to do that, the future will be bleak.

    Wow... sorry if I'm out of line here...

  20. #20
    Instead, I believe that, one way or the other, we sometimes may have to take life to save life or to do mercy ...
    How about we choose which road when we come to it.


  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Walker

    Wow... sorry if I'm out of line here...
    Not at all! Gassho, J

  22. #22
    This is a topic that I am struggling with as well, as I guess we all are. Thanks Hans for starting the topic, and Lynn for bringing it to our attention again.

    I find that more and more, I really realize that I just don't know. I really, really don't. It is hard enough to understand the consequences of the small things I do on a daily basis, let alone to understand the consequences of enourmous things like war.

    I disagree with the argument that sometimes you kill one person to save one million. Of course it is a no brainer in principle, but I don't think it is a useful argument in reality, because reality is never as clear. There is never a situation where we know for sure that we will save lots of people by killing few. Usually, like Mr Walker says, violence begets violence and more and more people keep getting killed. I also don't think that failing to safe someone is equal to taking direct action to kill someone. Yet, I also don't want to say that violence is never ever warranted. I just feel that that is such an easy position for me to take, from my safe home in my safe country.

    So, I don't know.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by helena
    There is never a situation where we know for sure that we will save lots of people by killing few.
    I was just going to comment on the same thing. When you pull the trigger, you pull the trigger. But until that moment all paths are open to you. And the same is equally true for the "bad guy with the gun".

  24. #24


    It was my experience in war that turned me toward Buddhism. Nevertheless, I struggle. While I certainly can strive to never hurt a sentient being, I also have to say I believe there are some things worth fighting for.
    (I will say that lies, power, imperialism and money are NOT among those things, and that's about as political as I'll ever get.)
    I'd love to say I'll never raise a hand or weapon against another again. But I don't know. Things happen. What I can say is that it is my hope and prayer that if I do raise my hand, it will be in protection, not in anger. And I will never, ever pick up a firearm again.
    LOL Sorry, I have no answers, just more questions. but when it comes to war, I guess the bottom line is that when contemplating man's inhumanity to man, the only real answers ARE the questions.

  25. #25
    Some thoughts on war by Major General Smedley Butler U.S.M.C.

    Gassho, and Semper Fi


  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    Some thoughts on war by Major General Smedley Butler U.S.M.C.

    Gassho, and Semper Fi

    All I have to say on this is...WOW!! I would love to meet this guy and shake his hand! What fabulous ideas, especially the one in which those in govt. who started and support the war pay half their salaries to the families of the soldiers who are fighting it in compensation for the effort!! WOOT!

    And if ever I have another boy child I'm going to name him Smedley Darlington Butler (regardless of whatever the last name is of the father!) That's one smack name!

    Here's a little something I saw yesterday to delight y'all...[/video]]

  27. #27
    Semper Fi! (I like being able to say that now because I raised a Marine.) If you want to know about war ask a soldier not a war protester (sorry war protesters, nothing personal).

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