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Buddhism, Patience and Non-Violence

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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by Jeffrey Hays


Patience is a great Virtue especially to Mahayana Buddhists. One passage from the Manual of Zen Buddhism goes: “However unnumerable Sentient beings are, I vow to save them! However inexhaustible the Defilements are, I vow to extinguish them! However immeasurable the Dharmas are, I vow to master them! However incomparable Enlightenment is, I vow to attain it!

Mahayana Buddhists see Patience in terms of Moral Patience to endure Suffering and hostile acts of others and Intellectual Patience to accept ideas—especially ones that seem so unfathomable and unpleasant like the non-existence of all things—before understanding them.

Buddhism teaches inner peace leads to outer peace.

Buddhism beliefs in sanctity of Life and non-violence have their origins in Hinduism and Jainism See Hinduism and Jainism.

Buddhism and Violence

The view that non-violence is a dominate belief is a bit of a myth. Robert Thurman of Columbia University told the New York Times, "There is a Buddhist theory of War, of self-defense, and there is also a kind of theory of surgical violence. The optimal ideal thing is non-violence. But sometimes you have to do a little violence to prevent a larger violence. The Buddhist have Thought about this are they are not simplistic."

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There lots of examples of violence committed by Buddhist. Largely Buddhist Cambodia produced the Khmer Rouge. A miliary junta rules in Buddhist Burma. In Sri Lanka, Buddhists are engaged in a low-intensity civil War with Hindu Tamils and Monks have supported Sinhalese militia that murdered thousands of class enemies.

William Dalrymple of the Paris Review talked with an elderly Tibetan Monk named Tashi Passang in Dharamsala who took up arms to defend Tibet when the Chinese invaded Tibet: When asked, can one be both a Monk and a resistance fighter? Tashi said, “Once you have been a Monk, it is very difficult to kill a man. But sometimes it can be your duty to do so. I knew that if I stayed in a Monastery under the Chinese there was no point in being a Monk. They wouldn’t let me practice my Religion. So, to protect the ways of the Lord Buddha, the Buddhist Dharma, I decided to fight...Yes, nonviolence is the essence of the Dharma. This is especially true for a Monk. The most important thing is to Love each and every sentient being. But when it comes to a greater cause, sometimes it can be your duty to give back your vows and to fight in order to protect the Dharma.” [Source: William Dalrymple, Paris Review, Spring 2010]

Patience is a great Virtue especially to Mahayana Buddhists. One passage from the Manual of Zen Buddhism goes: “However unnumerable Sentient beings are, I vow to save them! However inexhaustible the Defilements are, I vow to extinguish them! However immeasurable the Dharmas are, I vow to master them! However incomparable Enlightenment is, I vow to attain it!

Mahayana Buddhists see Patience in terms of Moral Patience to endure Suffering and hostile acts of others and Intellectual Patience to accept ideas—especially ones that seem so unfathomable and unpleasant like the non-existence of all things—before understanding them.

Buddhism teaches inner peace leads to outer peace.

Buddhism beliefs in sanctity of Life and non-violence have their origins in Hinduism and Jainism See Hinduism and Jainism.

Buddhism and Violence

The view that non-violence is a dominate belief is a bit of a myth. Robert Thurman of Columbia University told the New York Times, "There is a Buddhist theory of War, of self-defense, and there is also a kind of theory of surgical violence. The optimal ideal thing is non-violence. But sometimes you have to do a little violence to prevent a larger violence. The Buddhist have Thought about this are they are not simplistic."

There lots of examples of violence committed by Buddhist. Largely Buddhist Cambodia produced the Khmer Rouge. A miliary junta rules in Buddhist Burma. In Sri Lanka, Buddhists are engaged in a low-intensity civil War with Hindu Tamils and Monks have supported Sinhalese militia that murdered thousands of class enemies.

William Dalrymple of the Paris Review talked with an elderly Tibetan Monk named Tashi Passang in Dharamsala who took up arms to defend Tibet when the Chinese invaded Tibet: When asked, can one be both a Monk and a resistance fighter? Tashi said, “Once you have been a Monk, it is very difficult to kill a man. But sometimes it can be your duty to do so. I knew that if I stayed in a Monastery under the Chinese there was no point in being a Monk. They wouldn’t let me practice my Religion. So, to protect the ways of the Lord Buddha, the Buddhist Dharma, I decided to fight...Yes, nonviolence is the essence of the Dharma. This is especially true for a Monk. The most important thing is to Love each and every sentient being. But when it comes to a greater cause, sometimes it can be your duty to give back your vows and to fight in order to protect the Dharma.” [Source: William Dalrymple, Paris Review, Spring 2010]

“So your Desire to protect the Dharma ultimately led you to kill? “It was not that I wanted to murder individual Chinese soldiers. I certainly did not have bloodlust I took no pleasure in killing. But I knew that the Chinese soldiers were committing the most sinful of all crimes trying to destroy Buddhism. And I knew that in our scriptures it is written that it can be right to kill a person, as long as your intention is to stop that person from committing a serious sin. You can choose to take upon yourself the bad Karma of a violent act in order to save that person from a much worse sin.” [Ibid]

“In our scriptures there is a story about a man called Angulimala who had killed nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine people. He hung a finger from each corpse on a garland around his neck. He hoped The Buddha would be his thousandth victim. But on meeting the Lord he converted and became a Monk. Many people opposed this, but the Lord Buddha insisted his repentance was genuine, and that he should be allowed to atone for his misdeeds. I think that if Angulimala could be forgiven, then maybe so could I. ”

Source

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