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Buddhism and Guns

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  • Dheerayupa Sukonthapanthu
    replied
    Originally posted by Jerrod Lopes View Post
    Nibbana is not making the world perfect, but making yourself without kamma, blameless. Attachment to views and identities such as; American, pacifist, LGBT, straight, violent, smart, stupid....these are all samsara. Letting go of identities is dhamma...

    How can we know what others should do if we don't know what to do for ourselves? To make merit, doing good in deeds and thoughts is far more powerful than any restrictive laws we could pass that only further a delusion of security and safety. Instead of trying to get rid of all the guns and the violence, rid yourself of the fear of them and the attachments to the root views and attachments that cause the fear.
    Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

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  • Jerrod Lopes
    replied
    I am from America, have owned guns, have carried guns at work for my job in the past, am part of an American military organization, and used to be a Buddhist. Now I just follow the Buddha and have no guns, save one that belongs to my girlfriend. My views are as follows: guns and shootings are not new and have been sensationalized in a massive way of late. Turn off the TV and throw away the newspaper if you desire peace. Unless you plan on being enlightened in this lifetime, don't submit yourself to harm by not defending yourself. Your family and loved ones depend on you being around. This world, much as we would like it to be, is not perfect and never will be. There is no utopia and never will be. This is samsara. To quote the band Green Day's lyric "everything isn't meant to be okay". This is an enormous part of the path the Buddha laid out. Nibbana is not making the world perfect, but making yourself without kamma, blameless. Attachment to views and identities such as; American, pacifist, LGBT, straight, violent, smart, stupid....these are all samsara. Letting go of identities is dhamma. I don't think we should get caught up in what our country should or shouldn't do. We have enough ahead of us to know what we individuals should or shouldn't do. How can we know what others should do if we don't know what to do for ourselves? To make merit, doing good in deeds and thoughts is far more powerful than any restrictive laws we could pass that only further a delusion of security and safety. Instead of teying to get rid of all the guns and the violence, rid yourself of the fear of them and the attachments to the root views and attachments that cause the fear. Just my thoughts.

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  • Sarah Myers
    replied
    Hi, Amy!

    I'm American as well, so I understand the really deep-seeded in-fighting among people about not only gun control, but fundamentalist religious beliefs and the LGBT community. This hit me hard - I'm part of the LGBT community myself.

    In terms of guns for self-defense, I think that's usually not the best idea; it's letting fear rule you for one, and it's also got its own problems (children accidentally shooting others, someone else getting the gun, etc). The only plausible reason to own a gun is to harm something else (e.g., home invaders, hunting). I spent time as a child in a household that was very pro-gun and pro-hunting. They kept their guns locked up unless they were hunting for food (which they would do once or twice a year).

    I don't understand why someone would need to own an assault rifle, period: they're awful for hunting and were designed to kill lots of people.

    I think that here in the States there is an attachment to the view that one person's freedoms outrank the safety of the many. It reminds me of all of the "toilet laws" going around. No trans person has ever attacked anyone in a bathroom; in fact, trans people of color have an absurdly high likelihood to be attacked. But the comfort of people who are against trans people is more important than trans people's safety.

    I've been trying to get away from the fear that comes with so many people in my community being murdered. But this was the eight mass shooting in this country this week, and something has to give in terms of laws. I always ask people who own guns: what would change if you didn't own one?

    There has to be a middle way on this that can be guided by love and compassion. Unfortunately this issue is centuries old, and involves things like toxic masculinity, lobby money, and a lot of people thinking that LGBT rights are "done" or "good enough". It's not just one thing our country has to sort through, it's a great big tangle.

    But thank you for bringing this up. It means that there's more people out there who want to stop this.

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  • Mara Pacers
    replied
    Hi Amy, I feel for you being caught up in the maelstrom of emotion, discord, media frenzy etc... I have had many debates with people from within the USA about this issue. Unfortunately I think the situation has moved beyond a logical solution. There is so much manipulation of facts and emotion by the many interest groups and politics, that all make it more difficult to resolve.

    I'm from Australia and went through the gun regulation process here.. Must be 20 -30 years ago.

    In my view the answer to your question boils down to intention. Unless one only intends to shoot targets, then the intention of owning a gun is to do harm. if the intention is to harm/kill someone in self defense.. It is still the intention to do harm. The purpose of guns is to kill and wound. There are many ways to defend oneself without this. This is my logical response.

    In complex and emotionally fraught issues such as this one, I find the best approach is to reduce it, to distill it down to the simplest and most basic level. Otherwise ones mind just keeps racing around all the myriad added on issues and it is impossible to think about in stillness. Reductive analysis.
    You can also try to switch off the thinking altogether and listen to what your heart or your inner knowledge tells you.
    My heart response is that the world would be better without guns. It is a valid position in itself... No need to reject it because it might seem impossible to achieve.

    Wishing you peace and equanimity
    Mara
    Last edited by Mara Pacers; 15th-June-2016, 05:06 AM. Reason: Spelling

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