Buddhism and justice

Date: Mon, 09 Oct 1995 14:37:25 +0100
From: "peter.harvey" [email protected]
Subject: Buddhism and justice

Damien Keown wrote:
'the Buddha recognised that individuals were owed RESPECT and that it would be wrong (unjust) to treat them in ways incompatible with that resepect..'

As the topic of 'justice' may be coming up this second week, would someone like to give a neat definition of what 'just/unjust' and 'justice' mean in a Western context? This may help us see how the concept may relate to Buddhistm ideas.

Peter Harvey


Date: Mon, 09 Oct 1995 14:24:49 -0400
From: "Sally Clay" [email protected]
Subject: Re: Buddhism and justice

Well, for starters, here is what I found in my online American Heritage Dictionary:

jus'tice, n.

1. The quality of being just; fairness.

2.a. The principle of moral rightness; equity. b. Conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude; righteousness.

3.a. The upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment and due reward in accordance with honor, standards, or law. b. Law. The administration and procedure of law.

4. Conformity to truth, fact, or sound reason.

-idiom.
do justice to.

To treat adequately, fairly, or with full appreciation.

Noun: The quality or state of being just and unbiased. fairness, detachment, disinterest, impartiality, objectivity, justness, objectiveness, disinterestedness, dispassion, dispassionateness, equitableness, fair-mindedness, nonpartisanship.

Noun: The state, action, or principle of treating all persons equally in accordance with the law. equity, equitableness.

IMHO, this all fits very nicely with the Buddhist concepts of equanimity and right action.

Sally Clay
Zangmo Blue Thundercloud


Date: Mon, 09 Oct 1995 16:04:50 -0400
From: "Steven D. Jamar" [email protected]
Subject: Re: Buddhism and justice

As the topic of 'justice' may be coming up this second week, would someone like to give a neat definition of what 'just/unjust' and 'justice' mean in a Western context?

I'll bite:

The OJ verdict was unjust because a murderer went free.

The OJ verdict was just because the state did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The OJ verdict was unjust because the value of the lives of two victims became discounted.

The OJ verdict was just because the state violated OJ's constitutional rights when it did an improper search and seizure without a warrant.

The OJ verdict was unjust because it improperly calls into question the legitimacy of the entire criminal justice system.

The OJ verdict was just because it will encourage the criminal justice system in LA to improve its techniques and to purge racism from the police.

The OJ verdict was just because it was payback for Rodney King.

The OJ verdict was just because it shows a black man can buy justice just like the Menendez brothers.

The OJ verdict was unjust because it will give comfort and courage to wife batterers.

The OJ verdict was just because it shows that a black killing a white woman does not automatically mean a death sentence any more.

The OJ verdict was unjust because it will discourage battered women from seeking help in escaping from abusive relationships.

To use a Zen-like response: Who's asking? Who's answering?

Individualized justice - reward and punishment for individual good and bad acts, respectively. (Single-lifetime karmic consequences?)

Social justice - equality, fairness, even-handedness, inclusion, tolerance, equity not just before the law, but with respect to the greater society.

Cheers,
Steve Jamar


Date: Mon, 09 Oct 1995 20:31:19 -0400
From: "williams" [email protected]
Subject: Re: Buddhism and justice

The OJ verdict was unjust because a murderer went free.

The OJ verdict was just because the state did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
[etc.]

The post was unjust because I don't want to hear about OJ any more.

Sphere


Date: Tue, 10 Oct 1995 13:27:35 -0400
From: "HOLLY, BRIAN" [email protected]
Subject: Re: Buddhism and justice

Sally Clay cites the American Heritage Dictionary - one of my favorites:
1. The quality of being just; fairness.

Are lexicographers reading Rawls? - Brian Holly