Author Topic: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?  (Read 6445 times)

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2018, 05:07:50 pm »
Anemephistus
« on: Today at 04:15:53 pm »
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"I thought on this for awhile".......

No doubt:  Great wisdom from great pain. :dharma:

What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline BlackLooter

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2018, 05:24:39 pm »
 :r4wheel:
Say you were well versed in martial arts before you became a Buddhist and someone was attacking your wife with intent to rape her and she has neither buddhist training or martial art training..

Should you just sit there and let your wife be raped?

By the time you call the police and they show up.. she could already be raped..

I know this is a bit of devils advocate..

But i dont think its as absolute as the buddha taught..
Freedom reigns over everything!

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2018, 06:14:11 pm »
Anemephistus
« on: Today at 04:15:53 pm »
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"I thought on this for awhile".......

No doubt:  Great wisdom from great pain. :dharma:

You honor me sir  :namaste:

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2018, 08:00:05 pm »
:r4wheel:
Say you were well versed in martial arts before you became a Buddhist and someone was attacking your wife with intent to rape her and she has neither buddhist training or martial art training..

Should you just sit there and let your wife be raped?

By the time you call the police and they show up.. she could already be raped..

I know this is a bit of devils advocate..

But i dont think its as absolute as the buddha taught..

I would like to warn anyone who might be made upset by a rather graphic mental depiction of a situation as it evolves stress-fully and violently and includes sexual assault as a parameter to skip this please, and please, others, if you post any piece of this, please I request you post it entirely including this sentence.

I suggested calling the police as a measure to help with liability.

Let's keep the details of your thought experiment, and extend it onward using the wonderful teaching that Elder Ron shared.  To be clear, I actually deal with rapists and murderers and child molesters, feel free to look at my other posts, so I want you to know that I am speaking with only a small model of hypothesis in this. I have arrived on scenes and witnessed horrible things, which I will not be sharing but which give rise to the limited insight I wish to share for what value it may have.  You have chosen a person close to us for this thought in order to increase the magnitude of the stress in the situation, I will address this a little later because there is a certain inherent trait about that which I think might be of interest. Lastly...This comes from experience with violence on my part, as a last and final note, the mental image is ugly and unlovely if you sensitive to such things there is no shame in that at all please, skip this.

So we become aware of this situation: 

Lets give ourselves, the person who's wife is about to be raped, good fighting ability. We see what is happening.
Unless we are at one with our surroundings, we will be moving before we completed our first O.O.D.A loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) we will move in the process of orienting because that's what humans do, especially with training.

Now since the example has made it clear that we know our wife is about to be raped, there is a posture to the situation as we become aware of it, our senses take in information about this scenario and we begin to build a plan, mind you this will take less than a second, with training, far less. We have observed what is happening, we have oriented to the surroundings, now we must decide. This is where the Buddha has spoken in what Elder Ron has shared. We are already in motion. Since it is unlikely that the person is attempting this directly next to us lets give ourselves ten feet to contact, about one second.

Depending on the scenario, what happens in our mind, how resistant our wife is, how aggressive the attacker is and how surprised he is to see us and how surprised we are,  the situation may take on a variety of endless traits.  We could evaluate this forever in a hypothesis, and it would be an ugly evaluation which I would not want to participate in so I will hedge it in a little and we will have the choice of our action since our skill is high and the discussion is about the skills which will give us the ability to make these choices anyway. 

So we get to decide, lets look at two of the ways we could make our decision.

Without the influence of the teaching as a reflex:

We see a person who is trying to take something from someone we love, we feel fear, rage and hate, we love our wife, we want her to be safe. This less than human thing is now attacking her trying to insert himself into her and defile her, and our rage grips us, we give no warning and run at the aggressor blind with fury and we kick him, he is bent down and the swing is full force to his face, exactly where we wanted to place it. We are glad it landed where we wanted it too, it's good, because that will hurt him badly. We are no longer thinking, we can no longer think, our anger is all we are and we look at him and we see our wife crying, screaming, he looks up at us and yells an obscenity and now we stomp on his face several times to make certain he can never do this again because we hate him and he has gone so far that we know he deserves this. We call the police, perhaps we go to prison, perhaps we do not, it will depend on where we live but we will live with what happened either way. In my opinion if we cannot see ourselves in this position from hate then I am not certain we have ever really felt it.

With the teaching as a reflex:
 
We see a person who is trying to harm our loved one and we run at them with the desire to make them stop. Our mind is racing, We scream "STOP!" (perhaps this will make him run, it often does and we are done) he does not stop and we see that this persons face is open to an attack but so are his ribs, his face might kill him and out of pity for his life we strike him in the ribs and break them. He falls and we pull our wife away. We hold her and we call the police, the attacker is gasping for air and trying to move we tell him to stay down and get away, we may place several more blows to him if he attempts to move in our direction at all yelling at him to stay away, each careful and aimed in a way that he will recover so that he does not die and cannot hurt anyone. We wait for law enforcement to arrive, if he runs, we are still safe and we know this, eventually he can no longer fight. He goes to trial and gets judged and he goes to prison. We will not sleep okay for awhile, but we can live with what has happened.

I mentioned that I might say something about using a person close as an example. There is a limited spectrum of emotions, all of us by the time we get to a certain point have felt them I think. We might think they will be stronger for this person or that person, but honestly, once we hit "hate" or "love" we are pretty much maxed out. Full hatred in action, I've seen it, murderous rage, over cake...one piece of prison cake...the same rage that we would feel when our wife is being raped and we kill the person doing it...it's all just hate. We judge it's validity but as I understand it, the teaching which the Buddha gave left no room for having hate, only removing it. Using love like that which we have for our spouse, to fuel concepts about what might bring us closer to hate because of threats to what we love seems exactly the opposite of what should be done, but I wanted to fully explain he main point before I offered this for contemplation as a side note.
 

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2018, 11:44:43 pm »
Getting the Message Regarding Justifiable Violent Action in Self Defense:

Quote
the Buddha drew some very sharp lines:

"What is unskillful? Taking life is unskillful, taking what is not given... sexual misconduct... lying... abusive speech... divisive tale-bearing... idle chatter is unskillful. Covetousness... ill will... wrong views are unskillful. These things are called unskillful...

"And what is skillful? Abstaining from taking life is skillful, abstaining from taking what is not given... from sexual misconduct... from lying... from abusive speech... from divisive tale-bearing... abstaining from idle chatter is skillful. Lack of covetousness... lack of ill will... right views are skillful. These things are called skillful."

— MN 9

Quote
Killing is never skillful. Stealing, lying, and everything else in the first list are never skillful. When asked if there was anything whose killing he approved of, the Buddha answered that there was only one thing: anger. In no recorded instance did he approve of killing any living being at all. When one of his monks went to an executioner and told the man to kill his victims compassionately, with one blow, rather than torturing them, the Buddha expelled the monk from the Sangha, on the grounds that even the recommendation to kill compassionately is still a recommendation to kill — something he would never condone. If a monk was physically attacked, the Buddha allowed him to strike back in self-defense, but never with the intention to kill. As he told the monks,

"Even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves."

— MN 21
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Shogun

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2018, 02:59:34 am »
I thought on this for awhile when last you shared it. I really appreciate that by the way. It helped a lot and was very relevant!

 I am not very wise and the Dharma is very wise, but it seems to me like It speaks of not harboring Ill will,  and instructs us to keep our minds full of kindness and pity for those who wish to do us harm and who are unkind to us.   We should love them and have great wishes for their well being. We should not ever let their ill will and evil make us think that they deserve less than loving kindness.

I have not attained this to the fullest, or even a majority extent but as one who uses force more regularly as a tool than others might, I think it is completely true.

Forgive the distinction, but I feel like wishing to harm someone is not the same as being able to stop them from causing harm to themselves or others. We say "self" defence but what about the defense of others, of those who wish to do harm to themselves?

Martial arts can give a person a weapon or a tool. If the world were a place where people did not try and slice themselves to death, we might not need a shotgun sock round to knock them over in order to save them and to reduce the risk of them either dying or killing. The important thing is the mindset of the person who is holding the tool. Do they have a desire to save the people involved, are they trying to preserve life and do they feel love for others...have they tried everything they can to avoid using any physical  force to control the situation and when they did was it motivated by a feeling of concern for everyone involved? 

There are those who are eager to use force and to cause hurt. In my experience we think that if we fight better we will be ready to fight them and then we will prevail in some way. This is not a correct way to do this in my opinion.  If we learn how to save others and we care about people and we act out of a concern for others and try to help them and understand the need for actions under the right circumstances which do not involve anger or hatred then maybe this is more proper. If you live in the United States, call the police and carefully exit the situation.

I have never used force out of anger, I have been frustrated by the need to do it, but not at the person who is subject to it, they are mostly a subject of pity for me...and of contemplation and and understanding, some of the men I work with are not as good at this though and that is difficult.

So I guess I would say that it is a matter of intentions to the OP. Will you lose your loving kindness, your pity and your concern, will others anger and hate drive you to create reasons for "defense" or is your understanding such that when faced with the evil hatred of the world your intentions can maintain the proper integrity of a Buddhist despite the outward look of violence, will your actions save the subject of the force as well as the person they threaten? Be careful there can be repercussions for actions in life that are not desirable for getting involved without authority.

I hope you live in a way where such a thing will never matter to you, if such a thing becomes a concern, keep your mind calm, look and speak if there is time, use your understanding of the teaching and try to bring peace with every fiber of your being and engage your heart fully. If that fails do your best to keep your actions in control and motivated out of the desire to genuinly help.

Personally.... Talk.... And call the police... And try to exit the situation.
Thats why the warrior monks of old always tried to use non-lethal force to defend themselves.  Personally, in that situation, Id look at it from the perspective of trying to stop someone from harming me, not trying to do harm to them with ill-will in my heart.
IMO, theres a difference in wanting to harm others will ill will in your heart and trying to stop others from harming you. 

Offline Chaz

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2018, 04:04:43 am »
:r4wheel:
Say you were well versed in martial arts before you became a Buddhist and someone was attacking your wife with intent to rape her and she has neither buddhist training or martial art training..

Should you just sit there and let your wife be raped?

By the time you call the police and they show up.. she could already be raped..

I know this is a bit of devils advocate..

But i dont think its as absolute as the buddha taught..

Absolute in what sense, oh wisest of the wise

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2018, 11:48:18 am »
Getting the Message Regarding Justifiable Violent Action in Self Defense:

Quote
the Buddha drew some very sharp lines:

"What is unskillful? Taking life is unskillful, taking what is not given... sexual misconduct... lying... abusive speech... divisive tale-bearing... idle chatter is unskillful. Covetousness... ill will... wrong views are unskillful. These things are called unskillful...

"And what is skillful? Abstaining from taking life is skillful, abstaining from taking what is not given... from sexual misconduct... from lying... from abusive speech... from divisive tale-bearing... abstaining from idle chatter is skillful. Lack of covetousness... lack of ill will... right views are skillful. These things are called skillful."

— MN 9

Quote
Killing is never skillful. Stealing, lying, and everything else in the first list are never skillful. When asked if there was anything whose killing he approved of, the Buddha answered that there was only one thing: anger. In no recorded instance did he approve of killing any living being at all. When one of his monks went to an executioner and told the man to kill his victims compassionately, with one blow, rather than torturing them, the Buddha expelled the monk from the Sangha, on the grounds that even the recommendation to kill compassionately is still a recommendation to kill — something he would never condone. If a monk was physically attacked, the Buddha allowed him to strike back in self-defense, but never with the intention to kill. As he told the monks,

"Even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves."

— MN 21

I prefer the word force instead of violence. The concept of force is just that, physical intervention, it may look "violent" because it shares visual features but the intention is not violence but to stop violence. Violence has, as one of it's definitions: an unwarranted or unjust use of force, I don't mean to be a pain over words but the concept is very particular and subtle. I have been exposed to a lot of violence, so it is important to see that when one intervenes to stop violent action that they are not simply running in with more violence.  Otherwise we might use violence to stop a person, but then who will stop us? With necessary force, once the need has stopped so does the force.

Violence cant be a tool, it's a weapon, we use it to do damage to each other, I would say it is unskillful to become violent, but force is a tool, we pick up our children with the same type of force we can use to stop someone from hurting another person, its the measurement that's different, yes our feelings will be different too but if the actions are just as clear and present and based on proper judgment and caring about the outcome for everyone, it will be better.

Honestly it has been my experience that training brings clarity to these things. It's better to live in a way that we don't have to face these decisions, but if that is not possible then it is better to actually know what to do and be properly trained than to have to resort to instinct, instinct can be regrettable because there is no skill in it. We don't get to make a choice if we go with instinct but feel we must act. We act then we get an outcome with instinct, hopefully its not too bad.

If the OP is looking for a martial arts instructor I would find one with good Buddhist morals who teaches the ethics of combat as much as the art of how to apply the physical force involved. Verbal deescalation training is not optional though it may go by a different name or vehicle of understanding, learning how to talk your way out of tension is really good. Not letting ego and self get to you and preventing the escalating tension from reaching force is good. Is there a door? Use it! Is he trying to rob you? Give it to him! Can you walk away, Do it now!  The point where force becomes the reasonable choice comes into play where where threat of harm is unavoidable and we did not foster the circumstances in the direction which they have taken, we have eliminated all other options and nothing else is reasonable or will work, and there is an immediate threat of harm for which no other measure will be effective, and even then the force should never be more than that force which is minimally required to make the situation safe. My opinion is that A good instructor should include these things and much more. 

I have seen too many who practice out of a love for violence and the ability to dominate others in practice and too few who see what they are doing as a way of walking a path that is good for everyone. Ego and arrogance and foul unlovely tempers about how great it is to beat people up while watching people on TV beating each other up seems to be kind of common where I am at. 
Often this is evidenced by posturing and speaking poorly of others and challenging them, looking to create opportunities to use violence.  Often they temper this and learn how to focus it into violence in the ring to stay out of trouble and this path is better than having it untempered, but if one was to choose a stream to enter, I would pick an instructor from the first description.

 


Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2018, 07:39:58 am »
I wonder what Buddha meant when he taught this?:

The Parable of the Saw
"Monks, even if bandits were to savagely sever you, limb by limb, with a double-handled saw, even then, whoever of you harbors ill will at heart would not be upholding my Teaching. Monks, even in such a situation you should train yourselves thus: 'Neither shall our minds be affected by this, nor for this matter shall we give vent to evil words, but we shall remain full of concern and pity, with a mind of love, and we shall not give in to hatred. On the contrary, we shall live projecting thoughts of universal love to those very persons, making them as well as the whole world the object of our thoughts of universal love — thoughts that have grown great, exalted and measureless. We shall dwell radiating these thoughts which are void of hostility and ill will.' It is in this way, monks, that you should train yourselves.
"Monks, if you should keep this instruction on the Parable of the Saw constantly in mind, do you see any mode of speech, subtle or gross, that you could not endure?"
No, Lord."
"Therefore, monks, you should keep this instruction on the Parable of the Saw constantly in mind. That will conduce to your well-being and happiness for long indeed."
That is what the Blessed One said. Delighted, those monks acclaimed the Teaching of the Blessed One.


He seems to be adopting a pacific position here.
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Offline meez

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2018, 09:36:20 am »
It's interesting, in the parable it doesn't mention defending yourself, but to refrain from letting evil and hatred into your heart.  Is it possible to protect yourself from the evil of bandits or others trying to bring you harm while having compassion for them (instead of anger/hatred)?  In my view it is.

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2018, 01:16:10 pm »
It's interesting, in the parable it doesn't mention defending yourself, but to refrain from letting evil and hatred into your heart.  Is it possible to protect yourself from the evil of bandits or others trying to bring you harm while having compassion for them (instead of anger/hatred)?  In my view it is.

I am frequently required to defend others ans less frequently myself with force. I have aversion to what I see, and to the expressions of some people who let hate enter them and enjoy the feeling of anger they get from taking this action. Being surrounded by "cluck that guy" personalities can be trying.

 I have been attacked several times, before I entered this type of work I was already Buddhist. I have defended myself, in one case I placed the suspect in restraints and turned him over to my other officers because I was breathing hard and keeping my anger back with breathing, this was as close as I have been to losing my desire to keep everyone in a situation safe (including the attackers), I had been struck in the eye and caught by surprise. In that, it was the most difficult case, because I had no warning I stopped him and he responded instantly without indication, when I went home I thought about what type of life the man must have lead, to be in prison for drugs, then to have drugs and attack an officer to get away because of drugs. I looked at myself and i wondered who I would have been in his position if not for the teachings and the good things that came into my life which I had only partial control over, and I let it go. There was a trial and he took a plea bargain. He apologized later, I tried to give him the thought that he needed to look deep inside himself at why he was hurting so badly as to behave this way.

I often must act in defense, I try to choose actions which will end the best for everyone because it is what is right. It can be very hard. But I attest with experience in this instance that I have the wisdom to say that it possible and that I do it and will probably have to do it a lot more from verbal, physical and psychological aggression of all manners.

Offline BlackLooter

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2018, 06:17:45 pm »
So it says basically to use as much force as required to end the situation in the most efficient means..

Thats what i believe in basically..

Like imagine your a police officer and someone pulls a gun at you.. and starts firing.. youll have to shoot him in a place that will neutralize the attack..

But to question where that is?

If its in the limbs/extremities than you might not neutralize him.. and if you shoot anywhere else than he might die..

Should you as a police officer actually give up your life for this criminal?
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Offline Shogun

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2018, 01:52:16 am »
So it says basically to use as much force as required to end the situation in the most efficient means..

Thats what i believe in basically..

Like imagine your a police officer and someone pulls a gun at you.. and starts firing.. youll have to shoot him in a place that will neutralize the attack..

But to question where that is?

If its in the limbs/extremities than you might not neutralize him.. and if you shoot anywhere else than he might die..

Should you as a police officer actually give up your life for this criminal?
Which is exactly why the warrior monks of old used force to defend themselves but tried to use nonlethal force.  Right action teaches that you should not kill.  It doesnt say anything about not using force to defend yourself, as long as you dont kill.

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2018, 09:03:54 pm »

Quote
Killing is never skillful. Stealing, lying, and everything else in the first list are never skillful. When asked if there was anything whose killing he approved of, the Buddha answered that there was only one thing: anger. In no recorded instance did he approve of killing any living being at all. When one of his monks went to an executioner and told the man to kill his victims compassionately, with one blow, rather than torturing them, the Buddha expelled the monk from the Sangha, on the grounds that even the recommendation to kill compassionately is still a recommendation to kill — something he would never condone. If a monk was physically attacked, the Buddha allowed him to strike back in self-defense, but never with the intention to kill.

I think the last sentence above, which I've placed in bold, answers the original question. If a person is not skilled in the Martial Arts, or other defensive measures, it's quite likely he will overreact in order to avoid a prolonged combat which he might lose. The overreaction could cause the death of the opponent, like hitting him in the head with a brick, just to be sure.

However, a person who is skilled in the martial arts should be able to defend himself in a more skillful manner by placing a swift blow in the right place to disable the attacker without killing him.

Offline BlackLooter

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Re: Is it right to practice martial arts as a Buddhist?
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2018, 11:39:14 pm »
Yeah so the final question.. is if the person has the skillful means otherwise it goes against the fundamental teachings of the Buddha..
Freedom reigns over everything!

 


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