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RE: Re: Re: An Old un-Theosophical prejudice.

Jan 20, 1999 10:42 AM
by Dallas TenBroeck

> Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 20:37:14 -0800
> From: "Richard Taylor" <>
> Subject: Re: Re: Re: An Old un-Theosophical prejudice.

Jan 20th 1999

Dear Rich:

Two thoughts occur to me.

1. The Bodhisattva in question may have sacrificed his well-being
for that of others.  There are Jataka stories of the Buddha which
parallel this in a way, though not exactly, because the "Life
that was to be the Buddha" usually sacrificed himself and not
anyone else.

If this was truly a BODHISATTVA he would be aware of karma and
able to determine whether the present or the future lives of the
500 were better terminated by the pirates now, or allowed to
reincarnate.  In other words, he would not interfere with Karma
unless this was necessary.

Those who value this life over all other things would choose the
way of killing the Pirate chief.  I note that the story does not
narrate the outcome of the murder-as to whether the 500 were
saved or not.

2. The "lower mind" can advance many arguments which are focussed
on self-preservation.  They seem to be virtuous, or to exemplify
the sacrifice of the one for the many.  Only those who are truly
impersonal and know about the mortality of each spirit-soul could
decide, on viewing Karma as a whole what was the best action for
them in those circumstances.

These ideas occur to me as possible answers to be considered


In a message dated 1/19/99 8:54:48 PM, Leon wrote:
<<But, what about those whose evil actions are not done out of
ignorance, and
whose sole aims are to deny the "Light" and attain the
"Darkness", or to gain
all material things for themselves at the expense of others?
redeemable in those who, for their own selfish purposes,
slaughter millions
without a qualm or who have "intent" to harm others either
emotionally or physically?  >>
I used to have a great deal of trouble with the idea of using
violence to defend oneself and even for defending helpless
people.  But I think this can in fact be justified for one with
the right motive and attitude.
There is a Buddhist story about a bodhisattva who found himself
on a ship boarded by pirates who were planning to slaughter 500
people.  The bodhisattva took it upon himself to kill the leader
of the pirates, knowing that evil karma would ensue for himself.
However, the bodhisattva thought that this evil karma was far
outweighed by the importance of saving 500 lives.  Furthermore,
the bodhisattva considered that he saved the pirate from the evil
karma of having killed 500 people.  The "murder" of the pirate
leader was considered a very good deed, even for the pirate
himself (in his next life).
I hope I told the story right (I don't have a copy of it here in
front of me) but the point is clear-the bodhisattva (according to
the Buddhists who circulated this story) felt that in this case,
the motive justified the "evil" action of murder.  I agree with
Leon that we need to defend the truth.  I only hope I am never
personally placed in a position by karma to decide if I must take
someone's life.

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