Mahayana and War

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
MiphamFan
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by MiphamFan » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:29 pm

Why did Mahayana and Vajrayana masters of the past such as the Great Fifth and Amoghavajra use war magic though?

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Malcolm
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Malcolm » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:34 pm

marting wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:22 pm
Say you think the United States has been the most benevolent actor on the world stage out of all the contenders and you'll be looked at as nuts these days.
I happen to agree with you, which is why the Trump Presidency is such a shame. He has disowned the economic and political stability the US afforded the world (despite a sometimes checkered foreign policy) and has actively aided and abetted the forces of illiberalism to rise to the forefront. But part of that stability was assured because the Soviets and the Chinese had closed economies, and the US dominated the world in trade. With opening of China and the downfall of the Soviet Union, globalization has had the predictable effect of transitioning manufacturing jobs to cheaper labor markets without providing many Americans with jobs in their place. But the ridiculous rhetoric of the Trump administration has been neatly refuted by Dave Chapelle, who pointed out we don't want jobs "to come back" from China because we don't want $9,000 Iphones and $1000 NIkes.

Global trade liberalization is a fact, and we can do it well or poorly, but we cannot sit out the game.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Malcolm » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:35 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:29 pm
Why did Mahayana and Vajrayana masters of the past such as the Great Fifth and Amoghavajra use war magic though?
They used it as a means of coping with their own afflictions, and the afflictions of their patrons.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

MiphamFan
Posts: 977
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:46 am

Re: Mahayana and War

Post by MiphamFan » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:47 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:35 pm
MiphamFan wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:29 pm
Why did Mahayana and Vajrayana masters of the past such as the Great Fifth and Amoghavajra use war magic though?
They used it as a means of coping with their own afflictions, and the afflictions of their patrons.
OK, let's put aside the Great Fifth but what about more peaceful types of war magic just for defence as Amoghavajra used?

He didn't target the invading armies specifically, just did a rite to bring peace AFAIK. The same rite has still been done in Japan.

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Malcolm
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Malcolm » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:50 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:47 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:35 pm
MiphamFan wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:29 pm
Why did Mahayana and Vajrayana masters of the past such as the Great Fifth and Amoghavajra use war magic though?
They used it as a means of coping with their own afflictions, and the afflictions of their patrons.
OK, let's put aside the Great Fifth but what about more peaceful types of war magic just for defence as Amoghavajra used?

He didn't target the invading armies specifically, just did a rite to bring peace AFAIK. The same rite has still been done in Japan.

There are four activities; pacification is the first. We use these four all the time; the target is still the same -- why? It is because of the affliction in our own minds that sentient beings appear to us as friends and enemies.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

MiphamFan
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Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:46 am

Re: Mahayana and War

Post by MiphamFan » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:01 pm

I'm not advocating for war, but it seems like the Mahayana relationship with violence is a bit more complex than the complete condemnation of it in the Pali Canon. There is that famous story of the captain and the potential mass murderer, and plenty of episodes of Mahayana/Vajrayana masters seeming to endorse violent force in some contexts: https://info-buddhism.com/Orientalism_V ... rling.html

marting
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by marting » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:03 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:01 pm
I'm not advocating for war, but it seems like the Mahayana relationship with violence is a bit more complex than the complete condemnation of it in the Pali Canon. There is that famous story of the captain and the potential mass murderer, and plenty of episodes of Mahayana/Vajrayana masters seeming to endorse violent force in some contexts: https://info-buddhism.com/Orientalism_V ... rling.html
I think a simpler explanation is that they were dealing with the real world around them.

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Malcolm
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Malcolm » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:14 am

marting wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:03 pm
MiphamFan wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:01 pm
I'm not advocating for war, but it seems like the Mahayana relationship with violence is a bit more complex than the complete condemnation of it in the Pali Canon. There is that famous story of the captain and the potential mass murderer, and plenty of episodes of Mahayana/Vajrayana masters seeming to endorse violent force in some contexts: https://info-buddhism.com/Orientalism_V ... rling.html
I think a simpler explanation is that they were dealing with the real world around them.
"Dealing with the real world around them" is not karma hall pass.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

marting
Posts: 145
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:37 am

Re: Mahayana and War

Post by marting » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:36 am

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:14 am
marting wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:03 pm
MiphamFan wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:01 pm
I'm not advocating for war, but it seems like the Mahayana relationship with violence is a bit more complex than the complete condemnation of it in the Pali Canon. There is that famous story of the captain and the potential mass murderer, and plenty of episodes of Mahayana/Vajrayana masters seeming to endorse violent force in some contexts: https://info-buddhism.com/Orientalism_V ... rling.html
I think a simpler explanation is that they were dealing with the real world around them.
"Dealing with the real world around them" is not karma hall pass.
Stuff happens and they need to deal with it.

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Malcolm
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Malcolm » Mon Feb 05, 2018 4:05 am

marting wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:36 am
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:14 am
marting wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:03 pm


I think a simpler explanation is that they were dealing with the real world around them.
"Dealing with the real world around them" is not karma hall pass.
Stuff happens and they need to deal with it.
Rulers all go to hell. It’s the price they all pay for power in this life.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Javierfv1212
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Javierfv1212 » Fri May 11, 2018 4:00 pm

Malcolm wrote: It depends on your understanding the real situation of samsara. If you don't understand— you join in, pick sides, and go to three lower realms. This is called having a one-lifetime view.
I'd like to add that its not as black and white as this makes it sound. That is, there are many things a bodhisattva can do during a war besides sit there that does not break the precepts or the injuction to right livelihood.

In fact, any role in a military, government agency or NGO which helps people during a war is admissible for a bodhisattva as long as it does not involve killing, convincing others to kill or lying (for example propaganda and so on) and dealing with weapons (weapons manufacture, research, munitions management, etc).

IMO any of the following roles in the armed forces would be admissible as long as one keeps the precepts: field medic, doctor, cook, chaplain, therapist, disaster relief, etc.

There are probably several roles which are pretty grey area, like transportation (where in some cases you might have to transport weapons and munitions) which I would steer clear from.

And of course one can work for NGOs providing relief and so on.

Even if one is somehow put in a combat role due to circumstances outside of one's control (this is not as rare historically as one might imagine, forced conscription and so on), one could still keep the precepts, just aim and shoot over the heads of the enemy with no intention to harm. Its still a really difficult position to be in of course. Hopefully things don't get that bad in my lifetime that I am forced into a position like this, but it has happened historically (Germany and Soviet Union during WW2 is one example).

Due to these possibilities, bodhisattvas in states which have conscription laws should research the status of Conscientious objectors in their countries and understand how the law works, should the need arise to claim such status.
It is quite impossible to find the Buddha anywhere other than in one's own mind.
~Padmasambhava

Amid those who are self-constrained, the Stable One would not posit as categorically true or false
anything seen, heard, or sensed, clung to and considered truth by others.
Since they have already seen this dart to which people cling and adhere,
saying “I know, I see, it is just so,”
the Tathāgatas cling to nothing.
-Kalaka sutta

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Malcolm
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Malcolm » Fri May 11, 2018 5:09 pm

You did not understand my statement. Read it again.
Javierfv1212 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:00 pm
Malcolm wrote: It depends on your understanding the real situation of samsara. If you don't understand— you join in, pick sides, and go to three lower realms. This is called having a one-lifetime view.
I'd like to add that its not as black and white as this makes it sound. That is, there are many things a bodhisattva can do during a war besides sit there that does not break the precepts or the injuction to right livelihood.

In fact, any role in a military, government agency or NGO which helps people during a war is admissible for a bodhisattva as long as it does not involve killing, convincing others to kill or lying (for example propaganda and so on) and dealing with weapons (weapons manufacture, research, munitions management, etc).

IMO any of the following roles in the armed forces would be admissible as long as one keeps the precepts: field medic, doctor, cook, chaplain, therapist, disaster relief, etc.

There are probably several roles which are pretty grey area, like transportation (where in some cases you might have to transport weapons and munitions) which I would steer clear from.

And of course one can work for NGOs providing relief and so on.

Even if one is somehow put in a combat role due to circumstances outside of one's control (this is not as rare historically as one might imagine, forced conscription and so on), one could still keep the precepts, just aim and shoot over the heads of the enemy with no intention to harm. Its still a really difficult position to be in of course. Hopefully things don't get that bad in my lifetime that I am forced into a position like this, but it has happened historically (Germany and Soviet Union during WW2 is one example).

Due to these possibilities, bodhisattvas in states which have conscription laws should research the status of Conscientious objectors in their countries and understand how the law works, should the need arise to claim such status.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Javierfv1212
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Javierfv1212 » Fri May 11, 2018 5:32 pm

Ultimately you are correct of course, but this does not invalidate what I said, these options are open for Buddhists in wartime to help beings on a relative level.
It is quite impossible to find the Buddha anywhere other than in one's own mind.
~Padmasambhava

Amid those who are self-constrained, the Stable One would not posit as categorically true or false
anything seen, heard, or sensed, clung to and considered truth by others.
Since they have already seen this dart to which people cling and adhere,
saying “I know, I see, it is just so,”
the Tathāgatas cling to nothing.
-Kalaka sutta

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Grigoris
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Grigoris » Fri May 11, 2018 7:28 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:50 pm
It is because of the affliction in our own minds that sentient beings appear to us as friends and enemies.
:twothumbsup:
"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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Grigoris
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Grigoris » Fri May 11, 2018 7:31 pm

Javierfv1212 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 4:00 pm
just aim and shoot over the heads of the enemy with no intention to harm.
I have a patient (he was conscripted) that did this, but when his officer found out, he was forced to desert. They captured him, jailed him, tortured him and raped him. Now I have to help glue all the pieces back together.
"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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Malcolm
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Malcolm » Fri May 11, 2018 8:38 pm

Javierfv1212 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 5:32 pm
Ultimately you are correct of course, but this does not invalidate what I said, these options are open for Buddhists in wartime to help beings on a relative level.
You still did not understand. Picking sides is what causes one to go to lower realms.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Virgo
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Virgo » Fri May 11, 2018 9:08 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 8:38 pm
Javierfv1212 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 5:32 pm
Ultimately you are correct of course, but this does not invalidate what I said, these options are open for Buddhists in wartime to help beings on a relative level.
You still did not understand. Picking sides is what causes one to go to lower realms.
That's the main point. Which karma that you do whether you are a medic or an infantryman, that is secondary. Though of course being a medic or something like that would be better, nevertheless your actions are supporting the war.

Kevin...

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Javierfv1212
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Javierfv1212 » Fri May 11, 2018 9:30 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 8:38 pm
Javierfv1212 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 5:32 pm
Ultimately you are correct of course, but this does not invalidate what I said, these options are open for Buddhists in wartime to help beings on a relative level.
You still did not understand. Picking sides is what causes one to go to lower realms.
What are you basing this on, if I may ask?

Also, in many cases, you don't "pick sides", a war comes to your part of the world and you just have to respond, in many cases, its impossible for someone not to be already identified with a certain ethnic or national group by merely being born in it, speaking a language, etc. If one can do good by being a medic, providing relief for others etc in a military organization, then there is nothing wrong with this.

If one keeps a mind of bodhicitta towards all beings, it doesn't matter what "side" one happens to be on really.
It is quite impossible to find the Buddha anywhere other than in one's own mind.
~Padmasambhava

Amid those who are self-constrained, the Stable One would not posit as categorically true or false
anything seen, heard, or sensed, clung to and considered truth by others.
Since they have already seen this dart to which people cling and adhere,
saying “I know, I see, it is just so,”
the Tathāgatas cling to nothing.
-Kalaka sutta

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Javierfv1212
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Location: Sacramento, CA

Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Javierfv1212 » Fri May 11, 2018 9:31 pm

Virgo wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 9:08 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 8:38 pm
Javierfv1212 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 5:32 pm
Ultimately you are correct of course, but this does not invalidate what I said, these options are open for Buddhists in wartime to help beings on a relative level.
You still did not understand. Picking sides is what causes one to go to lower realms.
nevertheless your actions are supporting the war.
So is paying your taxes
It is quite impossible to find the Buddha anywhere other than in one's own mind.
~Padmasambhava

Amid those who are self-constrained, the Stable One would not posit as categorically true or false
anything seen, heard, or sensed, clung to and considered truth by others.
Since they have already seen this dart to which people cling and adhere,
saying “I know, I see, it is just so,”
the Tathāgatas cling to nothing.
-Kalaka sutta

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Virgo
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Re: Mahayana and War

Post by Virgo » Fri May 11, 2018 10:15 pm

Javierfv1212 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 9:31 pm
Virgo wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 9:08 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 8:38 pm


You still did not understand. Picking sides is what causes one to go to lower realms.
nevertheless your actions are supporting the war.
So is paying your taxes
Only if you are a Republican.

Kevin...

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