But I’ve also been reading an anthology of articles that examine how Buddhism carries and Buddhists practice a violent doctrine. It completely befuddles me that there are some who believe in “compassionate retaliation.” Intervening to stop violence or aggression is one thing, but engaging an aggressor on equal terms is simply more violence. That’s my view. If you truly have compassion, you would be unable to respond with aggression, no matter what the outcome.
I began to wonder if my point of view was just a bunch of Pollyannish hokum until I heard an interview with Jimmy Wong on NPR, and then saw a video of him being interviewed on MSNBC. The MSNBC video is below.
This bright young man realized that his initial response to the “Asians in the Library” video was infused with anger. So he waited to craft his clever song, which has become a viral hit just as much as the offending video that started it all.
I guess my point is retaliation doesn’t change anything. All it does is make us feel better for the moment. So maybe a bullied person finally gets fed up and retaliates. The bully stops bullying that person. But did punching out the bully change the bully? Will the bully stop bullying others? Not likely. All the aggressive response did was make the bullied person feel better. And a person who in the past would not act violently suddenly has. An unskillful condition that did not exist now exists. Remember the Four Right Efforts?
For me, it recalls the opening scene from the Daniel Craig version of “Casino Royale.” You know, when the bad guy tells Bond that killing a person gets easier the second time, and Bond replies, “Yes, considerably.”
Here is the original “Asians in the Library” video that created the stir.
And here is Jimmy Wong’s reply.
Thank you Jimmy for a wonderful video and a wonderful song. And gawd, is he ever cute!