|The Buddha, Kanthaka, and a Christian saint, maybe Mary, maybe Jay (Ginger Mayerson)|
|And this mudra means "peace"!|
"This is how you must train yourselves: neither will my mind become perverted, nor will I utter unskillful speech, but kindly and compassionate will I dwell, with a mind/heart of friendliness and free of ill will."
|Get her! She has a look on her face!!|
Yet, the challenge of Buddhism here is to not retaliate, not to hate, no to grow angry or seek revenge. Instead, it is to show compassion to all people even if they are about to kill you.
It is a challenge that reaches out from other religions also. Jesus of Palestine, suffering the agony of being nailed through his flesh to rough wooden posts, forgave his killers and even felt compassion for them [due to the karma they were accruing] in their blindness.
To answer "yes" is to misread Buddhism and all true religion. Buddhism does not support hopeless passivity in the face of violence and evil. Rather, it encourages a mental attitude which can face and oppose violence without fear or hatred or delusion.
Nowhere in the Buddhist texts is it suggested that we should remain inactive when we or others are suffering. Nowhere does it say we should refrain from action if someone is murdering our son, daughter, neighbor, or colleague in front of our eyes.
In such situations, harm must be relieved, violence denounced, interceding or self-sacrifice might even be demanded, though the Buddhist texts also warn that to meet violence with violence brings a vicious circle of spiraling further violence.
What the Buddhist texts do say is that to hate, to feel anger towards the doer of violence, is self-defeating. It harms both and harms the hater even more than the hated.
In the ancient Buddhist texts, we come across many stories of non-hatred deflecting violence and making it powerless.
One woman, because she refuses to feel hatred, is unharmed when burning oil is poured over her by a jealous co-wife. And when a monk dies of snakebite, the Buddha says he would not have died if he had radiated loving kindness (metta) to the four families of snakes. (See the khanda paritta for protection from snakebites).
Gandhi in India, Oscar Romero in El Salvador, and Michael Rodrigo in Sri Lanka to show that the most compassionate of beings are sometimes unable to escape violent deaths caused by the greed and hatred of others.
- [The fact that the chief disciple Maha Moggallana could not avoid such a death shows the power of past karma to bear its results when it gets the opportunity. This disciple was fully enlightened and foremost in the practice of magic yet could not always avoid karma consequences (vipaka and phala). What then of ordinary unenlightened beings without magical powers?]
To face death without hatred or fear, even towards our killers, is the path of sainthood (arhatship, full enlightenment). These are eternal truths. More