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Buddhism

paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20498
    ∞

There's so much violence in the name of religion, it kinda makes for a bad sell on those religions. So I tried to think of what religions don't seem to have any wars ....

Any wars or violence from the Buddhists?


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Ivan Jouikov
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Joined: Jul 22, 2003
Posts: 269
When I used to beat up buddihsts in high school, they tried to resist. So yes, they are aggressive as well. Try joining the nerd religion, those guys are wonderful - soft to the punch, and no consequences.
Jim Yingst
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That a... unique interpretation of "aggressive" you have there, Ivan. :roll: As to Paul's original question - well, Japan in WWII comes to mind. That is, being predominantly Buddhist doesn't necessarily stop people from going to war. However I can't think of any particular cases where Buddhists went to war over religion. In this respect, Buddhism seems to do fairly well. Though it may just be that my knowlege of history isn't extensive enough to find an example...


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Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
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Joined: Jul 08, 2003
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  34

I don't know about wars, but a quick Google shows that Japan has had a long history of persecuting Christians, including what were basically pogroms in the 1500s and 1600s. Following Christianity rather than Shinto was a crime punishable by death even during WWII. Curiously, you can apparently be an adherent of both Shinto and Buddhism simultaneously.

Random quote, from http://www.sspx-schism.com/JapaneseCatholics.htm#Pagan%20Shogun%20ejects%20European%20foreigners :

For more than 200 years, the persecution of Catholics continued in Japan. During this time, a number of Catholic missionaries tried to sneak into Japan, but all were discovered, and died after frightful tortures or imprisonment.

In 1640, the Tokugawa Shogunate established the "shuman aratame yaku", which was the Office of Religious Inquisition. Each year the "Inquisition" required every Japanese citizen to trample a cross or holy picture under foot. The "Inquisition" also established a census system, whereby every Japanese citizen had to be listed as a member of one of the government approved Buddhist temples.


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Damien Howard
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Joined: Apr 01, 2003
Posts: 456
The reson you can be both a follower of Shinto and Buddhism is that Buddhism is not really a religion. It is meant to be a philosophy or way of life. Then later some one turned it into a religion. But to this day there are still two groups, those who see it as religion and those who see it as philosophy as Buddha originally intended.

At least this is what I've gathered from talking to people. I'm too lazy to research it myself

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Richard Hawkes
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Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 1340
Buddism and violence:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/ethics/war/buddhism.shtml

But Buddhism, like the other great faiths, has not always lived up to its principles - there are numerous examples of Buddhists engaging in violence and even war:

- in the 14th century Buddhist fighters led the uprising that evicted the Mongols from China

- in Japan, Buddhist monks trained Samurai warriors in meditation that made them better fighters

- In the twentieth century Japanese Zen masters wrote in support of Japan's wars of aggression. For example, Sawaki Kodo (1880�1965) wrote this in 1942:"It is just to punish those who disturb the public order. Whether one kills or does not kill, the precept forbidding killing [is preserved]. It is the precept forbidding killing that wields the sword. It is the precept that throws the bomb."

- In Sri Lanka the 20th century civil war between the mostly Buddhist Sinhalese majority and the Hindu Tamil minority has cost 50,000 lives.
John Smith
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Posts: 2937
It's hard to connect the belief in the supreme being with the agrression and violence. However, when it becomes an organized religion, the connection becomes obvious. The crowd, united by the common belief, thinks not of God, but of its own power and superiority. They stand (or kneel) side by side, hold each other's hands, pray in unison, all to reinforce their convictions. That's when all hell breaks loose. Anyone not part of their circle is a stranger and potentially an enemy. It doesn't matter who was chosen to be the God of the crowd -- it could be no God at all, such as it was in the atheist Soviet Union. What matters is that the crowd amplifies an idea that is relevant to perhaps one individual mind. The crowd labels the other people as infidels and heretics not because it has the ultimate knowledge of the true God, but to sustain the nirvana of its thinking in the the same uniform way. To survive, it needs to protect its boundaries. The next step is to extend those boundaries, with the same purpose of protection, and here is when the other crowd stands in the way. Invariably, a lot of blood is shed, the victors declare the truth on their side, and the crowd becomes larger with the conquered minds. But then it reaches the saturation point -- when it is too large, the doubts begin to corrupt the unity. Their sense of righteosness and superiority can no longer be satisfied, as there are not many infidels and heretics left. The crowed becomes like a pack of wolves without a prey anywhere around, having no choice but to turn against each other. The crowd breaks and disintegrates into the fractions, each becoming more independent entities, eventually forming their own set of organized religious believes. And so it goes on.
Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
It's hard to connect the belief in the supreme being with the agrression and violence. However, when it becomes an organized religion, the connection becomes obvious. The crowd, united by the common belief, thinks not of God, but of its own power and superiority. They stand (or kneel) side by side, hold each other's hands, pray in unison, all to reinforce their convictions. That's when all hell breaks loose. Anyone not part of their circle is a stranger and potentially an enemy. It doesn't matter who was chosen to be the God of the crowd -- it could be no God at all, such as it was in the atheist Soviet Union. What matters is that the crowd amplifies an idea that is relevant to perhaps one individual mind. The crowd labels the other people as infidels and heretics not because it has the ultimate knowledge of the true God, but to sustain the nirvana of its thinking in the the same uniform way. To survive, it needs to protect its boundaries. The next step is to extend those boundaries, with the same purpose of protection, and here is when the other crowd stands in the way. Invariably, a lot of blood is shed, the victors declare the truth on their side, and the crowd becomes larger with the conquered minds. But then it reaches the saturation point -- when it is too large, the doubts begin to corrupt the unity. Their sense of righteosness and superiority can no longer be satisfied, as there are not many infidels and heretics left. The crowed becomes like a pack of wolves without a prey anywhere around, having no choice but to turn against each other. The crowd breaks and disintegrates into the fractions, each becoming more independent entities, eventually forming their own set of organized religious believes. And so it goes on.


Absolutely. So many times through history we've seen mankind fall back to the primitive instinct of "our tribe best, other tribes bad". These "tribes" may be nationalities, political groups, religious groups etc. We seem to love the idea of being a part of a group, and distrust other groups. To many times politicians, preachers, leaders have used these instincts to sway large groups into doing things which they would not normally do. No matter how civilised we think we are, its all too common for people to slip back into a primitive kind of group thinking and leave that civilisation behind.

Many of the problems that we have in the world - war, racism, sectarianism, etc etc can be boiled down to the old "our tribe verses their tribe" mentality.
Richard Hawkes
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Posts: 1340
Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
... But then it reaches the saturation point ...

Saturation point implies a point where everyone in the world believes the same thing. When has that ever happened?

Originally posted by Joe King:
Many of the problems that we have in the world ... can be boiled down to the old "our tribe verses their tribe" mentality.

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John Smith
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Joined: Oct 08, 2001
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Saturation point implies a point where everyone in the world believes the same thing.

Doesn't have to "everyone", just a sizable number. Think of a population of foxes and the rabbits in a given place. As rabbits multiply, the food for foxes is plentiful, and their population grows, too. At some point in time, the number of foxes becomes too large, the mortality of rabits increases, and their population steadily declines. But just as when you think that there will be no rabbits left, the foxes begin to die, too, until very few predators are left, so the rabbit population begins to grow again. Here is how it looks on the chart:

Richard Hawkes
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Posts: 1340
I like the idea that rabbits are infidels

This analogy equates eating rabbits with converting or persecuting people of different beliefs, yet only a minority of any given religion are involved in evangelising, etc. Most people are too busy feeding themselves (by shooting rabbits? pellets or BBs?).
[ June 21, 2004: Message edited by: Richard Hawkes ]
Jim Yingst
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Saturation point implies a point where everyone in the world believes the same thing.

No, it implies that the number of people leaving a religion, on average, equals the number of people entering the religion. For whatever reason. Eugene suggested a mechanism by which this might happen - a group without significant opposition loses its internal cohesion.

On the other hand, "saturation point" does suggest a stable equilibrium. As opposed to the oscillatory solution subsequently suggested by Eugene.

For those who liked the example with bunnies and wolves, you may enjoy this treatment of the population dynamics of Sunnydale, California. (Also here but the graphs don't come out as well.) Enjoy...
Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Originally posted by Richard Hawkes:
I like the idea that rabbits are infidels


I think you were referring to Foxes 1, 13-16:


13:And lo! The Holy One appeared before the congregation of the holy foxes and spake thus:

14:"Go forth and eat the rabbits, for they are sinners who have lost the love of the Holy One. Their multitude of sins will now be punished by the righteous crusade of the dutiful foxes, who art most loved by the Holy One.
15:"Know now of the source of the rabbit's transgression. When the world was young the Holy One created the rabbits and placed them through out the world. To them the Holy One gave one commandment only; that they should live a life of simplicity and respect. The weak willed rabbits ignored this commandment however. They spent the entirety of their day multiplying with one another and indulging in sinful practices. Thrice the Holy One appeared to them and demanded they cease, and thrice the rabbits rejoined their efforts.
16:"It is time now for the worshipful foxes to remove this blight of sin from the face of the world. No longer can the disrespectful rabbits continue to reproduce in such an insolent fashion, for they are the infidels."
Ellen Zhao
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Joined: Sep 17, 2002
Posts: 581
The last several parts from the article What is an Agnostic? written by Bertrand Russell:

Do you regard all religions as forms of superstition or dogma? Which of the existing religions do you most respect, and why?
All the great organized religions that have dominated large populations have involved a greater or less amount of dogma, but "religion" is a word of which the meaning is not very definite. Confucianism, for instance, might be called a religion, although it involves no dogma. And in some forms of liberal Christianity, the element of dogma is reduced to a minimum.

Of the great religions of history, I prefer Buddhism, especially in its earliest forms, because it has had the smallest element of persecution.

Communism like agnosticism opposes religion, are agnostics Communists?
Communism does not oppose religion. It merely opposes the Christian religion, just as Mohammedanism does. Communism, at least in the form advocated by the Soviet Government and the Communist Party, is a new system of dogma of a peculiarly virulent and persecuting sort. Every genuine Agnostic must therefore be opposed to it.

Do agnostics think that science and religion are impossible to reconcile?
The answer turns upon what is meant by `religion'. If it means merely a system of ethics, it can be reconciled with science. If it means a system of dogma, regarded as unquestionably true, it is incompatible with the scientific spirit, which refuses to accept matters of fact without evidence, and also holds that complete certainty is hardly ever impossible.

What kind of evidence could convince you that God exists?
I think that if I heard a voice from the sky predicting all that was going to happen to me during the next twenty-four hours, including events that would have seemed highly improbable, and if all these events then produced to happen, I might perhaps be convinced at least of the existence of some superhuman intelligence. I can imagine other evidence of the same sort which might convince me, but so far as I know, no such evidence exists.

--Bertrand Russell




Buddhism itself has many branches, all the branches I know in India and China are pretty mild, I don't know about branches in other parts of world.
[ June 22, 2004: Message edited by: Ellen Zhao ]
Helen Thomas
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Posts: 1759
The Sinhalese are buddhists : and are/were at war with Tamil hindu Tigers.
They fought over land. - around the city of Jaffna


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Vinod John
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Joined: Jun 23, 2003
Posts: 162
Originally posted by Helen Thomas:
The Sinhalese are buddhists : and are/were at war with Tamil hindu Tigers.
They fought over land. - around the city of Jaffna

This could be tough to say, because lot ot things seperate the people other than religion. Language could be one, and there is also a huge racial difference between the two group. This fight, I think, is more because of difference in race, language and power (because one is majority) than religion.
paul wheaton
Trailboss

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20498
    ∞

Are any of these folks making war in the name of Buddha?

It seems that recent militant folks are hollering that they are pushing violence in the name of God. And the crusades were a similar sort of thing.
Paul McKenna
Ugly Redneck
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Posts: 1006
Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
Are any of these folks making war in the name of Buddha?


Nope, the Sinhalese are not warring in the name of Buddha. They simply dont like Tamilians, god only knows why. The Sri Lankan war is not a war in the name of religion but for racial and linguistic reasons.


Commentary From the Sidelines of history
John Smith
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Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
Originally posted by Jim Yingst:
For those who liked the example with bunnies and wolves, you may enjoy this treatment of the population dynamics of Sunnydale, California. (Also here but the graphs don't come out as well.) Enjoy...[/QB]


And for those who enjoyed that, and willing to explore further, here is the logistic equation that is sometimes used to model the population growth: f(x)=r*x(1 - x). When iterated, this deceptively simple looking equation results into a lot of complexity. Try it in your spreadsheet for r=3.56994 and the intitial value of x=0.5.
Jim Yingst
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Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
[PW]: Are any of these folks making war in the name of Buddha?

Not in Sunnydale, at least. They've got other issues.
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
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