Facebook page for this blog, I am working on a post about karma and its relevance to being gay. A lot of stuff to read about that first, and life is filled with distractions. But another distraction of sorts that has been on everyone’s minds of late is the use of violence as a means to accomplish a goal, such as ridding the world of someone like Osama bin Laden.
It is ironic that I’ve been reading “Buddhist Warfare” at the time all this discussion arises, at the very time of bin Laden’s assassination, because regardless of your point of view on the matter, I think we must recognize that his death was via assassination. It was an extra-judicial killing, an act that we as Americans have loudly condemned when committed elsewhere in the world by other governmental regimes.
And in reading “Buddhist Warfare,” I get it that Buddhists have over hundreds of years found ways to justify violent acts through what I call suspect interpretations of the Dhamma. Even I, as pacifistic as I believe myself to be, am realizing that total resistance to violence is not always the right path to take.
Kyle, who writes The Reformed Buddhist, left a comment on the Facebook page for My Buddha is Pink that has been oft repeated by many, and that is if we act with true compassion, then a violent act may be committed because the act, in fact, was committed with Right Intention.
That idea just drives me freaking crazy. It bugs the hell out of me because on one level, I see the truth in that assertion; but it also freaks me out because such a statement can be so easily misunderstood and abused. We all suffer from greed, hatred and delusion, and of the three, delusion is the most difficult to deal with because how does a deluded mind understand that it is deluded?
This recalls for me a legend told by many Plains Indians among a canon that is known by American Indians as Coyote Tales. In this case, it is the story about The Wolf, which I shall present as follows.
Old Many Coyote was wandering about the plain when he saw The Wolf up ahead loping about the prairie. Knowing that The Wolf was a difficult character to deal with, Old Man Coyote turned and hastily retreated.
Old Man Coyote next encountered a rabbit. Feeling benevolent, Old Man Coyote warned the rabbit that he should take shelter and hide because The Wolf was near.
“I am not afraid,” replied the rabbit. “I will befriend The Wolf and he will let me be.”
“You are wrong,” said Old Man Coyote. “He is The Wolf, and he is what he is.”
Shortly after Old Man Coyote left the rabbit, The Wolf arrived and pounced upon the rabbit. As The Wolf was about to eat the rabbit, the rabbit began to plead for its life.
“Oh, Mr. Wolf, you are so strong and intelligent, please have mercy upon me and spare me my life,” said the rabbit. “Why eat me? I am such a small morsel. I have never done anything to harm you nor have I ever said anything bad about you.”
The Wolf paused and considered the rabbit’s words. He then replied, “It may be true that you have not said anything bad about me, but it is also true that you have never said anything good about me.”
Just before The Wolf swallowed the rabbit, the rabbit cried out, “Old Man Coyote was right! The Wolf can justify anything with his mind.”
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