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OfflinePed
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Never to Harm Others
    #2195785 - 12/22/03 03:50 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

Recently I was afforded the opportunity to receive a set of vows called the 8 Mahayana Precepts and the Vows of Refuge. Along with these was a vow of non-harmfulness to all living beings. I'm still only beginning to understand the depth of the vow and how personal it can be, but the vow was taken with a sincere intent to uphold the promise. Since that evening, the vow has been very present in my mind. My views and behaviour have drastically shifted for the better.

Now, certainly I make no claims to having kept this vow to perfection. Out of ignorance, no doubt I committed some action that was of violation of the vow within the first few hours. That isn't what's important. What's important is the sincere intention to keep the vow to the best of my capabilities.

Many of us at this forum are heavily weighted by feelings of helplessness in an upsidedown and hostile world. Many of us find ourselves overcome by our compassion for those trapped in misery, but feel as though there are no options to make a difference for the better. Some of us might be troubled by our own harmful behaviour, but feel bound by attachments and habits. To those people, I think a vow of this nature might do a world of good.

There are those of us who might feel differently, that a vow of non-harmfulness is ridiculous and a waste of time. That's fine too.

And so I'd like to offer the opportunity for any of those willing to take the same vow of non-harmfulness to all living beings. It can be an excellent and meaningful way to celebrate Christmas in these degenerate times of rampant consumerism. The vow would not be taken from me, as that would be absurd. There is no necessity in keeping the vow within the Buddhist context, either. View this however you wish.

If we feel compelled, we can pause for a moment and create a space in our hearts. In this space we can plant the intent, to the best of our capacities, never to engage in harmful acts against living beings. It may be helpful to burn a symbolic candle, or undergo some type of ritual which causes us to feel as though we've just done something significant. If we follow the spiritual advice of any living or dead spiritual guides, it may also be helpful to seek their wisdom as a source of guidance, and to keep us humble. All that matters is that the wish is pure and sincere.

It is a beautiful thing, creating the sincere wish to bring peace to this world by cultivating the intent to refrain from contributing to it's chaos. Personally, I believe that a simple wish made in the hearts of many can dramatically improve the lives of many individuals, their friends and family, and the state of the world overall. It is certainly not a quick-and-easy solution to all our problems, but it is a step in the right direction.


"We all wish for world peace, but world peace will never be achieved unless first we establish peace within our own minds."
-- Geshe Kelsang Gyatso


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OfflineSpecialEd
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: Ped]
    #2195805 - 12/22/03 04:00 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

Along with these was a vow of non-harmfulness to all living beings.




So you don't wash your hands because it kills bacteria?

Or when you become ill you advise the phagocytes in your immune system not to engulf harmful microbiology.

Yeah, it sounds real good to say things like this, but when a crack addict comes at me with a screw driver, I will not vow non harmfulness.

But then again, if every adhered to a non harmful vow, the world would probably be a better place.


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OfflinePed
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: SpecialEd]
    #2195823 - 12/22/03 04:09 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

It's important to keep the vow within the context of practicality, whatever that may mean to you. It would be silly to dismiss such a commitment, which may bring oceans of benefit to ourselves and those we encounter, simply because we are unable to honor it when considering the microflora on our hands, or the viruses which may infect our bodies. We may wish never to harm living beings, but that doesn't mean we have to have the equanimity of the Buddhas.

It is also important to protect ourselves to the best of our abilities. If we are unable to escape a threatening situation without harming others, then it is not necessarily a transgression on our vow to use the necessary defensive force.

What matters is the intent not to harm others to the best of our capacities.


--------------------


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OfflineSpecialEd
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: Ped]
    #2195854 - 12/22/03 04:21 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

I liked your post.

I have read similar things about buddhism requiring the respect of all life forms and I just wondered where they drew the line. Life forms can be a slippery slope when you start drawing lines.


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OfflinePed
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: SpecialEd]
    #2195875 - 12/22/03 04:31 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

There's no cut and dry rule in Buddhism about what it means not to harm living beings. Generally, it would apply to other humans, animals, birds, insects, all visible and tangible forms of life. Bringing harm to these forms of living being is difficult to confuse. If it's done, it is done. This doesn't mean that other forms of life are excluded from the definition 'living being', but there are practical limits to our awareness at this stage.

There are some high Bodhisattvas who would lay down their own lives if that were required to avoid harming even an ant. To some, that may sound absurd. To others, it is an admirable example of the potential depth of realized compassion. Either way, no one is expected to live up to this kind of standard.


--------------------


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: Ped]
    #2195930 - 12/22/03 05:09 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

I took such a vow long ago. It's good to see others doing so :smile:

Being the season it is...I'll retake that vow right now.

I vow that I will not intentionally harm another living organism.


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Offlinefireworks_godS
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: Ped]
    #2195951 - 12/22/03 05:23 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

Too tired and still focusing on Return of the King to get into it now, but I just want to say that I like this thread and will post more tomorrow. :thumbup:

Ped is truely the man. :grin:
Peace.


--------------------
:redpanda:
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

:heartpump: :bunnyhug: :yinyang:

:yinyang: :levitate: :earth: :levitate: :yinyang:


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Invisibleadrug

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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: Ped]
    #2195961 - 12/22/03 05:29 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

No pledge needed. I try to live this way already.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: SpecialEd]
    #2195998 - 12/22/03 05:54 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

...but when a crack addict comes at me with a screw driver, I will not vow non harmfulness.

Even when it is the landlord come at your behest to fix the cabinet hinge?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: Ped]
    #2196015 - 12/22/03 06:04 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

What if you benefit from the harm that others do? Things such as eating meat someone else killed, using cosmetics (animal testing), wearing leather, etc.?

What about indirect harm such as paying taxes to support a military organization? Or passive harm such as being silent in the face of military aggression or some other injustice?

And what of the plant world? Seems like it would only be ethical to eat fruit dropped from a tree or bush as anything else would be violence to the organism.

My car drove over an ant today. I must say three Om Mani Padme Hums... :nut:


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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Invisibleadrug

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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: Swami]
    #2196042 - 12/22/03 06:17 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

Swami, no one can keep from harming everyone/everything all the time and I'm pretty sure ped knows that too. :smirk:


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: adrug]
    #2196073 - 12/22/03 06:31 PM (13 years, 8 months ago)

I understand that, naturally. My point is that we have our own idea of what that means and ANY line drawn is totally arbitrary.

Some will only kill for food.

Others won't eat meat at all.

Some will kill for their country (itself an arbitrary and non-existent line drawn around a land mass).

Others will file for a Conscientious Objector status if drafted.

All of the above people may consider themselves as following Ahimsa and moral people.

So how and where does one draw the line? How does one follow a vague precept?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: Swami]
    #2196219 - 12/22/03 07:19 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Basically, I will vow to do my best not to DIRECTLY physically harm others.

BTW, are we just talking about physical harm? Cuz I plan on harming George W. Bush in the 2004 election by voting against him.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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OfflineShizpow
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: silversoul7]
    #2196264 - 12/22/03 07:45 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

I'd chime in here with something about how I plan on harming George Bush with a claw hammer in the face first chance I get, except it's illegal to threaten the Emporer, I mean...King? wait wait wait...President!


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If you cut a face lengthwise, urinate on it, and trample on it with straw sandles, it is said that the skin will come off. This was heard by the priest Gyojaku when he was in Kyoto. It is information to be treasured.


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Offlinepattern
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: Ped]
    #2197024 - 12/23/03 02:15 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

Ped said:
Recently I was afforded the opportunity to receive a set of vows called the 8 Mahayana Precepts and the Vows of Refuge.  Along with these was a vow of non-harmfulness to all living beings.  I'm still only beginning to understand the depth of the vow and how personal it can be, but the vow was taken with a sincere intent to uphold the promise.  Since that evening, the vow has been very present in my mind. 




I'm gonna totally beat you up next time I see you! hhahaha

j/k :smile:

Thats really cool and noble of you.


--------------------
man = monkey + mushroom


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Invisiblekaiowas
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: Ped]
    #2197434 - 12/23/03 10:58 AM (13 years, 7 months ago)

this makes me wonder why many of us don't have this intent already within us.  it doesn't make sense really. I mean I never really thought of taking a vow to not harm others before, but I really don't try to harm others. I know I do but its not like I try to.  I guess the difference with a vow would be that I would be focusing more energy on not harming others. 

But why focus on that alone? why not go further?  what's the reason for not harming others?? We all have reasons for doing things we do, sub-conscious and conscious.  saying the reason why you don't want to harm others will help show your mind why following such a vow can be useful.  I don't harm others unless they try to harm me.  the reason I try my best to not harm others is because it would create too many complications.  I feel no need to try to bring myself above others by harming them because why do harm when recieving their love is so much more rewarding. to care, you need that natural intent, and you need to see what makes this person of great value to you. try to walk in others shoes for a while because there is much to be learned about ourselves and others.  there lies the intent.

a vow like this would bring a lot of calmness to the world IMHO  :thumbup:


--------------------
Annnnnnd I had a light saber and my friend was there and I said "you look like an indian" and he said "you look like satan" and he found a stick and a rock and he named the rock ooga booga and he named the stick Stick and we both thought that was pretty funny. We got eaten alive by mosquitos but didn't notice til the next day. I stepped on some glass while wading in the swamp and cut my foot open, didn't bother me til the next day either....yeah it was a good time, ended the night by buying some liquor for minors and drinking nips and going to he diner and eating chicken fingers, and then I went home and went to bed.---senior doobie


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OfflineFrog
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: kaiowas]
    #2197552 - 12/23/03 12:23 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

adrug: No pledge needed. I try to live this way already.



Me, too, but in the spirit of Chrismas....

Quote:

trendal: I vow that I will not intentionally harm another living organism.



Me, too .

Nice thread, Ped.


--------------------
The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.  -Teilard


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OfflinePHARMAKOS
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: Frog]
    #2197559 - 12/23/03 12:28 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

i have an ethical delema with this one, because although i believe in not harming any of gods creatures, i come from a classical hebrew sect and must perform the sacraficial rites every sabbath with my grand father.

Although i think the world would be better without harming any creature, i think this can only apply to humans because YHWH tells us animals are created to be used by us, and he also tells us to sacrafice animals at each day of sam-hara. THIS is the main reason buddhist ideology was put on the scroll of eternal shame by the zionist elders.


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Offlinefireworks_godS
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: PHARMAKOS]
    #2197725 - 12/23/03 02:10 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

Quote:

PHARMAKOS said:
Although i think the world would be better without harming any creature, i think this can only apply to humans because YHWH tells us animals are created to be used by us, and he also tells us to sacrafice animals at each day of sam-hara. THIS is the main reason buddhist ideology was put on the scroll of eternal shame by the zionist elders.




So, what is it that decides that this word of God is more important than what anyone else says? I tell you to not sacrifice animals. Whose words hold more weight? Why?
Peace.


--------------------
:redpanda:
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

:heartpump: :bunnyhug: :yinyang:

:yinyang: :levitate: :earth: :levitate: :yinyang:


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Never to Harm Others [Re: fireworks_god]
    #2197743 - 12/23/03 02:24 PM (13 years, 7 months ago)

It is called "appeal to historical antecedent" or because my forefathers did it or tradition. This is one of the many fallacies of giving away our own power to think and setting others up as experts.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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