Buddhism and Self Defense
Posted in the Buddhism Forum
#1 Dec 20, 2013
Now there are several Buddhists, who are Mara in desguise, who are constantly questioning a Buddhist's right to self defense. The following should completely destroy any notions of excess pacifism for lay Buddhists, lay Buddhist soldiers are called to defend monks and nuns from onslaught of "non believers" - lay Buddhists cannot desert the military service to become a monk:
From The Mahavagga of The Vinaya:
4. Then the Magadha king Seniya Bimbisâra went to the place where the Blessed One was; having approached him and having respectfully saluted the Blessed One, he sat down near him. Sitting near him the Magadha king Seniya Bimbisâra said to the Blessed One:'Lord, there are unbelieving kings who are disinclined (to the faith); these might harass the Bhikkhus even on trifling occasions. Pray, Lord, let their reverences not confer the pabbaggâ ordination on persons in royal service.'
Then the Blessed One taught (&c., see chap. 39. 7, p. 196 down to:), thus addressed the Bhikkhus:'Let no one, O Bhikkhus, who is in the royal service, receive the pabbaggâ ordination. He who confers the pabbaggâ ordination (on such a person), is guilty of a dukkata offence:
#2 Dec 24, 2013
A ruler is required to provide protection to both people and animals in the kingdom:
AN, Book of 3:15
In this case, the world ruler, the just and righteous king, relying on the law of righteousness (Dhamma), honouring it, regarding it highly and respecting it, with the law of righteousness as his standard, banner and sovereign, provides lawful protection, shelter and safety for his own dependants. He provides lawful protection, shelter, and safety for the warrior-nobles attending on him; for his army, for the brahmins and householders, for the inhabitants of town and countryside, for ascetics and brahmins, for the beasts and birds.
A world ruler, a just and righteous king, who thus provides lawful protection, shelter, and safety for all, is the one who rules by righteousness only. And that rule cannot be overthrown by any hostile creature in human form.
#3 Mar 26, 2014
In this world, householders, since we are under "worldly laws" or Lokatiya Noble Eightfold path, wars are a given. Time and time again we must prepare to protect our freedom and values from evil beings, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose -- sometimes you need to take refuge and meditate until you are ready to fight again!
Buddhism is not about being in tune so action is taken at the right time!
#4 Mar 26, 2014
This is called Sama - or in tune. When we take actions in tune, we make fewer mistakes.
Being in tune also means developing Dhamma strength and one pointed mental focus.
We must master all things, including merit and demerit.
Buddhism is about creative and brilliant solutions to seemingly difficult problems.
#5 Apr 7, 2014
Here Lord Buddha said, there is a time for everything including war, everyone should abide in practicing Dhamma and strike when the time is right:
 "There is a time," etc.--A story told by the Master at Jetavana, about the king of Kosala. This king started to quell a border rising at a bad season of the year. The circumstances have been described already 1. The Master as before told the king a story.
Once on a time, the king of Benares having started for the field of war at an unseasonable time, set up a camp in his park. At that time an Owl entered a thicket of bamboos, and hid in it. There came a flock of Crows: "We will catch him," said they, "so soon as he shall come out." And they compassed it around. Out he came before his time, nor did he wait until the sun should set; and tried to make his escape. The crows surrounded him, and pecked him with their beaks till he fell to the ground. The king asked the Bodhisatta: "Tell me, wise sir, why are the crows attacking this owl?" And the Bodhisatta made answer, "They that leave their dwelling before the right time, great king, fall into just such misery as this. Therefore before the time one should not leave one's
dwelling place." And to make the matter clear, he uttered this pair of verses:
"There is a time for every thing: who forth from home will go
One man or many, out of time, will surely meet some woe;
As did the Owl, unlucky fowl! pecked dead by many a crow.
"Who masters quite each rule and rite; who others' weakness knows;
Like wise owls, he will happy be, and conquer all his foes."
 When the king heard this, he turned back home again.
#6 Apr 8, 2014
In this Jataka King Pasenadi, a devout Buddhist, asks Lord Buddha about advice against an uprising:
 "A foolish monkey," etc.--This story the Master told at Jetavana, about a king of Kosala.
One rainy season, disaffection broke out on his borders. The troops stationed there, after two or three battles in which they failed to conquer their adversaries, sent a message to the king. Spite of the season, spite of the rains he took the field, and encamped before Jetavana Park. Then he began to ponder. "Tis a bad season for an expedition; every crevice and hollow is full of water; the road is heavy: I'll go visit the Master. He will be sure to ask 'whither away'; then I'll tell him.
It is not only in things of the future life that our Master protects me, but he protects in the things which we now see. So if my going is not to prosper, he will say 'It is a bad time to go, Sire'; but if I am to prosper, he will say nothing." So into the Park he came, and after greeting the Master sat down on one side.
#7 Apr 12, 2014
Dipi Jataka tells you how to recognize an evil person. Such a person will not be moved by kind words or love or compassion -- he/she only wants to kill or destroy you - and it is advised the only way to handle this is to openly fight such a being:
Twas thus the she-goat cried for grace: but blood must satisfy
The beast that grips her throat; the bad will shew no courtesy.
Conduct, nor right, nor courtesy, the bad man will display;
He hates the good: to face him then tis best in open fray.
#8 Apr 12, 2014
Buddha shows how this goat tried to use kindness and loving words to prevent the panther from killing her, but the panther was intent on killing her and the goat did not fight and was killed.
However, the goat "manned up" next time and attacked the panther and escaped:
She looked all round, and saw the panther. "He is there because he wishes to kill and eat me," she thought; "if I turn and run, my life is lost; I must play the man," and so she tosses her horns, and sprang straight at him with all her might. She escaped his grip, though he was quivering with the thought of catching her: then running at full speed she came up with the other goats. The Elder observed how all the animals had behaved: next day he went and told the Tathāgata, "So, lord, this she-goat performed a feat by her readiness in device, and escaped from the panther."
Fighting is also a device we humans have (as well as animals) and it is appropriate to use when faced with an evil adversary!
#9 Apr 16, 2014
The Bodhisat was borna as a war horse, but became severely injured during combat -- he refused to stop fighting:
Ajanna Jataka 24
No matter when or where, in weal or woe,
The thorough-bred fights on; the hack gives in.
So a true Buddhist must fight on making evil give in!
#10 Apr 21, 2014
As the Bodhisat, he had fought wars - but so accomplished was he in Dhamma and righteousness, with perfect skill that victory resulted in minimum casualty and destruction.
Foolish Buddhists are projecting Buddhism as a pacifism--Buddha's teachings are about perfect clarity of mind. Here the Bodhisat uses a mighty threat and fear tactics to destroy the enemy army:
"Countless are my banners," etc.-- This story the Master told whilst living at Jetavana, about this same gadabout mendicant.
At that time, the Master, with a large company round him, sitting on the beautifully adorned throne of the truth, upon a vermilion dais, was discoursing like a young lion roaring with a lion's roar. The mendicant, seeing the Buddha's form like the form of Brahma, his face like the glory of the full moon, and his forehead like a plate of gold, turned round where he had come, in the midst of the crowd, and ran off, saying, "Who could overcome a man like this?"
The crowd went in chase, then came back and told the Master. He said, "Not only now has this mendicant fled at the mere sight of my golden face; he did the same before." And he told an old-world tale.
Once on a time, the Bodhisatta was king in Benares, and in Takkasilā reigned a certain king of Gandhāra. This king, desiring to capture Benares, went and compassed the city about with a complete army of four divisions. And taking his stand at the city gate, he looked upon his army, and said he, "Who shall be able to conquer so great an army as this?" and describing his army, he uttered the first stanza:--
"Countless are my banners: rival none they own:
Flocks of crows can never stem the rolling sea--
Never can the storm-blast beat a mountain down:--
So, of all the living none can conquer me!"
Then the Bodhisatta disclosed his own glorious countenance, in fashion as the full moon; and threatening him, thus spoke: "Fool, babble not vainly! Now will I destroy your host, as a maddened elephant crushes a thicket of reeds!" and he repeated the second stanza:
"Fool! and hast thou never yet a rival found?
Thou art hot with fever, if thou seekst to wound
Solitary savage elephants like me!
As they crush a reed-stalk so will I crush thee!"
When the king of Gandhāra heard him threaten thus, he looked up, and beholding his wide forehead like a plate of gold, for fear of being captured himself he turned and ran away, and came again even unto his own city.
This discourse ended, the Master identified the Birth:--"The vagrant gadabout was at that time the king of Gandhāra, and the king of Benares was I myself."
#11 Apr 22, 2014
The Jambuka Jataka warns one to know who you are and your own strength at any time, don't take on more than you can lest you fail!
A jackal once assumed the lion's pride,
And elephant as equal foe defied.
Prone on the earth, while groans his bosom rent,
He learned the rash encounter to repent.
Who thus should challenge one of peerless fame,
Nor mark the vigour of his well-knit frame,
Shares the sad fate that on the jackal came.
But who the measure of his own power knows,
And nice discretion in his language shows,
True to his duty lives and triumphs oer his foes.
#12 Apr 27, 2014
Now does this beautiful teaching mean consult astrologers? No, it means learn your craft well, master it to lead to minimal casualties.
King Pasenadi was a not a person who even knew about how to fight a war, always being defeated by Ajatshatru. Being tired of defeat he finally consults the holy Sangha in the Taccha Sukar Jataka, and he is taught all the formations of warfare:
Mahā-Kosala, they say, in giving his daughter to King Bimbisāra 2, allotted her a village of Kāsi for bath-money. After Ajātasattu had murdered his father 3, King Pasenadi destroyed that village. In the battles betwixt them for it, victory at the first lay with Ajātasattu. And the King of Kosala, having the worst, asked his councillors, "What can we devise to take Ajātasattu?" They answered, "Great king, the Brethren have great skill of magical charms. Send messengers to them, and get the opinion of the Brethren at the monastery." This pleased the king. Accordingly, he caused men to be sent, bidding them go thither, and hiding themselves, overhear what the Brethren should say. Now at Jetavana are many king's officers who have renounced the world. Two among these, a pair of old Elders, dwelt in a leaf hut on the outskirts of the monastery: the name of one of them was Elder Dhanuggaha-tissa, of the other the Elder Mantidatta. These had slept all the night through, and awoke at peep of day. The Elder Dhanuggaha-tissa said, as he kindled the fire, "Elder Datta, Sir." "Well, Sir?" "Are you asleep?" "No, I am not asleep: what's to do now?" "A born fool that King of Kosala is; all he knows is how to eat a mess of food." "What do you mean, Sir?" "He lets himself be beaten by Ajātasattu, who is no better than a worm in his own belly." "What should he do, then?" "Why, Elder Datta, you know the order of battle is of three kinds: Waggon Battle, Wheel Battle, and Lotus Battle 4. It is the Waggon Battle he ought to use in order to catch Ajātasattu. Let him post valiant men on his two flanks on the hill-top, and then show his main battle in front: once he gets in between, out with a shout and a leap, and they have him like a fish
#13 Apr 27, 2014
Taccha Sukara Jataka part 2: advice leads to king Pasenadi's victory in war against Ajatshatru:
in a lobster-pot. That is the way to catch him." Now all this the messengers heard; and then went back and told the king. He immediately set out with a great host, and took Ajātasattu prisoner, and bound him in chains. After punishing him thus for some days, he released him, advising him not to do it again, and by way of consolation gave him his own daughter, the Princess Vajirā, in marriage, and finally dismissed him with great pomp.
There was much gossip about it among the Brethren indoors: "Ajātasattu was caught by the King of Kosala, through following the directions of Elder Dhanuggaha-tissa!" They talked of the same in the Hall of Truth, and the Master entering, asked them what the talk was. They told him. Then he said, "This is not the first time, Brethren, that Dhanuggaha-tissa has shown himself expert in strategy." And he told them a story of the past.
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