Date: Tue, 03 Oct 1995 20:22:24 -0400
From: "Steven D. Jamar" [email protected]
Subject: karma, punishment and war crimes
an approach of skilful means //might// counsel non-prosecution in such circumstances (while leaving karma to bring its own natural results to the perpetrators). And yet, and yet… That would signal that war crimes would not be punished and would set a bad precedent. perhaps best would be a delay, to let the peace set in, and then prosecution.
The approach of delay would often not work because the price of peace may be amnesty. Can Begin or Arafat now be arrested for the creation of Israel by terrorism against the British and the creation of Palestine by terror against Israel, respectively? Or should we now let them be old and peaceful and solve the problems of centuries, if they can?
Or in South Africa – some should be tried -but who? Or Haiti – who and how many and to what effect?
Are we seeking deterence, through the WWII Nazi criminal approach of leaving "no place to hide"? Then what of the Khmer Rouge?
Are we seeking to be the instruments of karma? How are we to know that we should be?
Are we exercising compassion and hoping for growth of spirit in our enemies or the enemies of human dignity? Do Gandhi and the Dalai Lama give us the universal spirit and Buddhist answers – peace and perserverence and non-violent pressure?
It would seem to me that compassion and the Middle Way and "right thinking and right actions" would indicate that retribution is not the Buddhist response here. It would seem to me that Buddhism is less concerned with past bad acts than with present good ones and future harmony. If this is so, then a Buddhist approach to human rights issues would be a prophylactic and restorative one, not a retributive one. Establishing norms, education concerning them, and highlighting progress and error would seem more appropriate than tracking down violaters.
Date: Tue, 03 Oct 1995 05:58:13 -0300
From: "Dr. Wayne R. Husted" [email protected]
Subject: karma, punishment and war crimes (by Peter Harvey)
In the light of karmic operation, there appears no need for earthly punishments of any kind. Are we not only increasing our own future suffering by punishing others for that which they will suffer as a result of anyway? This applies to governments as well as individuals. Does karma then preclude war-crime trials?
On the general issue of punishment:
a) judicial punishment might be seen as //one// of the ways karmic fruits come to a person.
b) in any case, letting people get away with crime does them no good: they will probably go on to repeat it. That leaves open, however, what forms of punishment are best.
Capital punishment seems out of tune with Buddhism, though, as it cuts off all possibility of further spiritual growth in a person’s present (rare and precious) human rebirth.
The considerations regarding war-crime trials only differ in the following respects:
i) Should one punish 80-year old Nazi war crimminals, when they //may// be very different persons now (//anatta, anicca//)? ii) What if it does not seem politically expedient to punish war criminals, say in the context of the end of a bloody civil war (eg Bosnia), where prosecution might upset the peace and lead to more deaths?
On i), I would say: yes, still appropriate to punish, just as karma is seen to catch up with people over long stretches of time. Of course, the punishment //might// be relatively mild, if the person now seems full of regret for their past.
On ii), an approach of skilful means //might// counsel non-prosecution in such circumstances (while leaving karma to bring its own natural results to the perpetrators). And yet, and yet… That would signal that war crimes would not be punished and would set a bad precedent. perhaps best would be a delay, to let the peace set in, and then prosecution.
Date: Tue, 03 Oct 1995 13:07:12 -0600
From: "kelly george hirai" [email protected]
Subject: Re: karma, punishment and war crimes (by Peter Harvey)
(everybody’s got a little light, under the sun)
I was always under the impression that there is a place for everybody in this world: that , say there is a person in a state where he would become a murderer that there would be a way to put him in a place or state (of mind or circumstance) that he would not murder, in a way that would not break the laws of society or would not require any special exemptions for those that rule (as rulers are no more (or less) human than anybody else)
…that this should be the goal of justice, not retribution or vengence.
Many civil rights movements in americia have turned their efforts tward the empowering of their members, breaking the glass ceiling, weather it be getting a job at the quick mart, or a seat on the supreme court.
now what is unusual is that those described in the first parapraph require attension to their uniqueness, to find their place in society, where as those in the second paragraph are having problems with their uniqueness in finding their place in sociey. I can’t see equating this uniqueness to the ego as it has nothing to do with one’s desire, its more about their soul, loosely translated as dharma. isn’t this the goal of leaders… to guide the course of our dharma? if they choose to take on such responsablilty.
on a side note i’ve noticed that some jamacian rappers have been substituting for every pronoun the utter, "I", as if remembering past lives or evoking notions of universal compassion. oh wait a minute, maybe their saying the first name of that ethiopian king. hmm… i dunno.
Date: Wed, 04 Oct 1995 07:45:02 -0700
From: "James Kempf" [email protected]
Subject: Re: karma, punishment, and war crimes
With due caution about straying off the topic of human rights, this particular note string seems to be completely ignoring the entire Buddhist martial arts tradition (Chuan Fa) which has been so artfully laid out by Terrance Dukes in his book "Bodhisattva Warriors." The essence of this tradition, which Dukes maintains stems from the ancient Indian Ksyatra warrior caste training system, is that movement meditation and self-defense *without weapons* can be an integral part of a spiritual training program for some people. The philosophical basis of this program comes from Vashubandu’s school. Vashubandu maintains that the prospect of seeing one’s physical body come to harm tends to emphasize the mistaken notion of self, so teaching self defense builds freedom from fear of harm, and thus the ability to see the self for what it truely is.
There are some implications of this philosophy for the current discussion on human rights. One could apply Vashubandu’s reasoning to human rights as well, in that, to the extent that individuals and governments abide by them, they tend to reduce the possibility of physical and mental harm, and thus reduce the tendency of physical and mental harm to cause growth of the self-concept. Additionally, when human rights violations are in progress, a kind of "Rainbow Warrior" concept would apply, so that people engaged in Chuan Fa spiritual training could apply physical means to stop or reverse such violation.
Unfortunately, as Dukes mentions, there are very few training programs that still follow the Chuan Fa tradition today, even in Asia. Most martial arts training programs have become sport or competitive endeavors rather than spiritual training programs.