Mahayana and The Trolley Problem

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Mahayana and The Trolley Problem

Post by mechashivaz » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:42 pm

I think most all know the basics of this thought experiment but for those who don't here is there quick of it:

Five people tied to one track, one on the other. The trolley is set on a track to hit five people but you have the option to pull a lever which diverts trolley onto track with only one person.

What if you muddy the equation on a sentimental or "useful person" level? Ex: On one person track place any: mom,dad, spouse, child, etc or some one who would save countless lives were they to live. What about one's teacher or guru? The equation can be fiddled with even to the other end: the five on the track to be hit are all highly esteemed and or good people who will continue to do good and the one on the other track is a hobo (no offense, it was my child hood dream).

I find nothing is a good choice and it's a miserable thought experiment :lol: I take a utilitarian approach until it gets sentimental or more variables are know. So what's the take from fellow Mahayana practitioners?

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Re: Mahayana and The Trolley Problem

Post by Grigoris » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:53 pm

Why think in boxes? Blow up the tracks!
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Mahayana and The Trolley Problem

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:15 pm

The Trolley Problem regularly comes up on the Philosophy Forum where it inevitably produces pages of wheel-spinning. My view is, you will never know what you will do until you're confronted with the problem, and it's a problem you're never really likely to be confronted with. It's a thought-experiment, which might be useful in a classroom setting to draw out and discuss various perspectives on altruism and ethics but I think from the Buddhist perspective pursuing it is prapanca. (Sorry if I'm being a wet blanket.)
No wisdom can we get hold of
No highest perfection
No Bodhisattva, no thought of enlightenment either
When told of this, if not bewildered and in no way anxious
A Bodhisattva courses in the Tathāgata's wisdom.

Prajñāpāramitā Sutra ~ Conze Translation

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Re: Mahayana and The Trolley Problem

Post by Virgo » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:28 am

mechashivaz wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:42 pm
So what's the take from fellow Mahayana practitioners?
You have to examine the mind that is looking for an answer.


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