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Scripturs’ reference to nonkilling/non-violence  Sabbe tasanti daṇḍassa sabbe bhāyanti maccuno, attānaṃ upamaṃ katvā na haneyya na ghātaye. (Dhp.129)  Sabbe tasanti daṇḍassa sabbesaṃ jīvitaṃ piyaṃ, attānaṃ upamaṃ katvā na haneyya na ghātaye. (Dhp. 130)

 Sukhakāmāni bhūtāni yo daṇḍena vihiṃsati, attano sukhaṃ esāno pecca so na labhate sukhaṃ. (Dhp. 131).  Sukhakāmāni bhūtāni yo daṇḍena hiṃsati, attano sukham esāno pecca so na labhate sukham (Dhp. 132).

Yo sahassaṃ sahassena saṅgāme mānuse jine, ekaň ca jeyy-m-attānaṃ sa ve saṅgāmajuttamo. Though he should conquer a thousand thousand men in the battlefield, yet he, indeed, is the nobler victor who should conquer himself (Dhp 103).

Such an approach does always save lives?

The Story of Punna: Sunaparanta

If they revile him … he would then look..though, if they did not actually strike him with their hands … >for not hitting him with clods of earth … >for not striking him with sticks … >for not striking with a knife ... >for not killing him ... >if they killed him, this would simply bring the body, with its disgusting features, to an end. 

Given these emphases, can war and similar forms of violence ever be justified?

ď Ź The Buddha comments on two battles which arise when the evil King Ajatasattu attacks the land of his uncle, King Pasenadi. ď Ź In the first, Pasenadi is defeated and retreats, and the Buddha reflects on his misery:

 Jayaṃ veraṃ pasavati dukkhaṃ seti parājito, upasanto sukhaṃ seti hitvā jayaparājayaṃ (Dhp 201).  Victory breeds hatred; the defeated live in pain. Happily the peaceful live, giving up victory and defeat.

In the second battle, Pasenadi wins. The Buddha said: “A person may plunder so long as it serves his ends, but when they plunder others, the plundered (then) plunder.So long as evil’s fruit is not matured, the fool thinks he has an opportunity, but when the evil matures, the fool suffers. The slayer gets a slayer (in his turn), the conqueror gets a conqueror, the abuser gets abuse, the wrathful gets one who annoys. Thus by the evolution of karma, he who plunders is plundered.” (S.I.85)

Without justifying defensive violence, this points out that the aggression often leads to defensive counter-violence, which can be seen as a karmic result for the aggressor.

The uselessness of war as a way of solving conflicts is summed up in the last two lines . . . “The Buddha saw how fruitless would be Pasenadi’s action in confiscating the army of his troublesome nephew. The effect that it had was to harden Ajatasattu’s resolve to conquer Kosala, which he did eventually do.”

Pasenadi laments to the Buddha the preoccupations of his kingly role, which encourages such things as greed and conquest. The Buddha thus helps him to refocus his mind on wholesome actions by reminding him that, like everyone else, he will grow old and die (S I.101-102)

lec 6 Buddhism and world peace (violence)  
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