The 4 Freedoms Library

It takes a nation to protect the nation

[I have transposed this discussion from the room Wall, so that it can be read more easily.  The comments from other people have a label at the front with their name]

Some of the Buddha's last words were, when he was questioned about what to do if they found problems with the teaching, that they should just adapt it as suits the circumstances.  So you have the Buddhist canon, which I am sure is the largest library of pure scripture (not exegesis) of any of the religions, with texts added by the 26 Indian Patriarchs, then the 6 Chinese Patriarchs, then the Japanese teachers, and many others.

And yet, if all that teaching can be burned, the monasteries destroyed and the monks dispersed, as happened at Nalanda, the largest university and library in the world at that time, then Buddhism will die, as has already happened in places like Afghanistan, Northern India and sadly, China and Tibet.

Buddha was born 1000 years before Mohammed, and I don't think that even he could have imagined that such a fiendishly cunning ideology could flourish and win over pure reason, individual choice, and the open society - and yet it is. 

So, it is time for Buddhism to follow the Buddha's words, to change and adapt.  Buddhists worldwide must wake up to this ideological threat.  Now is not a time for selfishly seeking personal enlightenment.  Now is not a time for conceitedly seeking to help others attain enlightenment.  Now is not even the time for relaxing all energies till states of enlightenment and non-enlightenment are no longer distinguishable.

Now is the time for a different type of awakening.  An awakening to the realities of this planet in this solar system in this kalpa is what is required, before these lineages of Buddhism are extinguished.  

I don't expect the Dalai Lama to understand this, nor do I expect many other Buddhist teachers to act upon it, but at the end of the day, like it or not, its what is now required.

Tags: Are, Buddhists, Islam?, against, fight, in, the, useless

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"Its a trick because you put the idea out there, then disown responsibility for it, and play games around its ambiguity.  But you've already had an effect on your audience."

Claiming that I'm engaging in trickery, disowning responsibility and then playing games around something that I've discussed?

Actually an example of that would be this... 

1. "So please ask some of your friends who are native English speakers, or at least very fluent, what they think about that exchange, if they think it was fair or healthy?  Most people (ambiguous hearsay that is being disowned) I've asked think your behaviour was unfair."

My response was to reply accordingly.

If you could show me just exactly where I've done this, which prompted this remark regarding the conversation  being discussed (that would be I believe the context of this statement) I would very much appreciate that.

Or perhaps it's just an "ambiguous" feeling on your part.

Thank you!

Brother Mark:)

Alan and Mark

This thread is beginning to distress me, when I see two good minds wasting so much time and precious words over a remark I made.

Let me remind both of you that Buddhist and Hindus are under a bigger threat than Christian and Jews, the latter two are given a choice, convert, pay the tax or death because they are people of the book, where as the former two are unbeliever so they have no choice, they have only death.

Wouldn't it be more productive to agree to disagree over the issue of my comment, and find common ground by putting your good minds together to find where in buddhist scripture where Buddhist are justified in defending themselves with violence, It is there somewhere othere wise we would not be seeing monks in Thailand, or buddhist soldiers

Also Didn't Buddha forbid soldiers from joining the sangah, so as a measure to protect Buddhism ?

I agree with Shiva.  A meta-discussion is not going anywhere. And I can see how Shiva would not want a comment from him to be the basis of it. Can we just assume good faith on the part of everyone involved in this discussion?  And let's avoid sarcasm and innuendo (and please upbraid me if I start to be sarcastic!)

Shiva and Joe,

Thank you. I initially thought that the matter was deemed resolved between us, and I believe that this should be the correct understanding.   

With metta,

Brother Mark:)

Sorry my question above is a bit unclear

The question should be, Didn't Buddha forbid soldiers from going into the monastery so that they avoid can avoid fighting in the Kingdom of Magadah, when several generals entered the Sangha ?

To expand this, by him forbidding soldiers to evade fighting,  was he endorsing buddhists to fight ? 

I can accept the fact, that monks are excused from fighting, it is accepted almost every-where that the clergy are not required to take up arms, but are required to give spiritual support to those that are obliged to fight.

It is all very well during peace times for the clergy of all religions to be luvvy duvvy, but during war it boarders on treachery, and we tare at war just now. Mohammed declared war against every body 1400, and in all those years islam has never attempted to make peace, yet with have all our religious leaders preaching luvvy divvy towards islam

When our religious leaders tell us that islam is peaceful, they are only reinforcing islamic propaganda, they are no better than Lord Haw Haw. When they make speech such this one , 

Islam is the religion of the heart and needs to be protected. We should not generalise Islam as something fearful just due to a handful of miscreants. Jehad is not a medium of attack. There is a need to break this false notion as Jehad actually means to conquer the evil within individuals. Life is not easy and there is no guarantee, young individuals must have a vision to take it forward in a constructive manner,"   Dalai Lama


I would say that not only Buddhism is useless in fighting islam, but all the major religions are to some degree useless, it is Buddhism that is weakest, it need not be, as Alan Pointed out in the case of Sri-lanka and Vietnam. 


You ask a good question, and instead of answering this rashly, this topic deserves more than that as something that encroaches on a much bigger issue.

I shall organize my thoughts on this for a day or two and then give it the attention that it duly deserves. There are many things written and said about this issue by monks and laity alike, as well as non-Buddhists, much of it without actual scriptural support, nor thoughtful consideration.  

Thank you.


Brother Mark:)

Please Mark keep it simple, as I am not well versed in Buddhism like you and Alan, by keeping it simple I may learn more

Also there are others here who are like me, who do not know so much, so the debate between you and Alan most probably went over our heads.


Well we see some pretty amazing things from the blogosphere here on 4F, things like Morrigan blowing kisses to Shiva before, and here, Shiva saying 'please stop fighting because its distressing'!  Those of you who know the past will know how amazing these things are  :-))

OK, so I have an addiction problem.  I can't put these things down, I can't stand (what appears to me to be) inconsistency (if I find it).  So, I'll make a final review of the 'cheap shot' thing, taking as many constructive lessons as possible for the whole community, then I'll leave this room for a while, so as to try control my addiction, and letting BM have the last word this time.

Lesson 1: A negation is an assertion.  A hostile question is also an assertion
We all need to be on the lookout for the implicit assertions.  They sneak in below our radar and establish themselves in the audiences mind, without us even being able to challenge them!  This is a key point for a hostile media interview.  So the statement "it isn't a cheap shot", or 
    ¬(it is a cheap shot)
is an assertion.  I will expand the contents of the brackets later to show how its evaluated to produce a result, and yes, I will use the dictionary definition.  I only didn't use the dictionary definition before in an attempt to save time and focus on the pertinent issues.

So obviously, if you say "its not true that I like chocolate cake" you are asserting that you are either neutral or dislike chocolate cake.

Also, please note that the question:
"If EDL is a non-violent organisation, how do you explain all these videos here of violence at EDL demos?"
notwithstanding the fact that the 15 minute compilation represents the worst from 1000 hours of demos (yes, Swedish TV did that to me).  So that compilation contains the IMPLICIT assertion that it is representative in some way.
Or this one:
"If EDL is law abiding, how do you explain all these hundreds of arrests from previous demos?"
where in fact the majority of those arrests were of the COUNTER demonstrators, but even when I pointed this out, I was still held accountable for those arrests!  So that allegation contains the IMPLICIT assertion that EDL was responsible for those arrests.

But even while you are refuting the allegation, the audience has already accepted the message.  The message was encoded in the question, and has already been transmitted.

The encoding of the message can also take place, not surprisingly, using Codewords.  So when they say:
"The far right EDL is here seen demonstrating in Birmingham"
the message has already been transmitted to the audience, by the codeword "far right", and that message is 
"you don't need to bother looking into this issue, because these are fascists, and all of us have already agreed that fascism, like famine and cancer, is bad".  End of.

Lesson 2: Beware of "even" Poisoning the Well
The logical fallacy of Poisoning the Well is where you throw out an allegation without taking responsibility for it, and by that means besmirch your opponent, without him being able to attack you for it.  
So I can tell you that its not even true that Buddhists have sex with animals, but already the meme is out there, and your mind is now thinking "no smoke without fire", why is he even denying that?, etc.

There are many ways of poisoning the well, but the use of the word "even" is one of the more subtle ones, so keep your eyes out for it.

Now I'll start a new post to make final comments on the initial issue.

Brother Mark,
this problem is not with the concept of cheap shot per se, the problem is to make that fit in with some kind of consistent world view coming from you.  I will try explain.

Lets use the first definition as it is more specific.  But it needs the word "unfair" to be explained.  Consider this statement to a Roman Catholic priest:
"We have to question your motives, because after all, the RC church now has a big history of child abuse".
This is not a cheap shot, because people would think it a reasonable shot to make.

Consider this one to a blind respondent:"You obviously haven't read this because you're blind and it takes so long to go thru things in Braille", would be a cheap shot.  This is a cheap shot, because it would be considered very bad taste to not try to be helpful and considerate to someone in those circumstances.

An unfair comment, it seems to me, is one where the weakness is judged to be 'hors de combat', i.e. not something to be brought into the fight, and we have general agreement about those things.  

So yes, we now move to, if you will allow me to try make some progress with this definition weakness, and get:

  • Cheap shot:  a critical statement that takes advantage of a known weakness of the target deemed to be 'hors de combat'

Now we reform this into propositional logic:
cheapshot = (is-a-criticism-using-weakness-W) & (W-is-a-well-known-weakness) & (W-is-hors-de-combat)

Here the weakness W would be that "Buddhist monks run scams" 

Now, if cheapshot is false, then since
                ¬(a & b & c) implies ¬a or ¬b or ¬c
at least one of those 3 assertions must be false.  Lets try review these:

  • a: (is-a-criticism-using-weakness-W): both Shiva and BM think this is true
  • b: (W-is-a-well-known-weakness): Shiva is asserting this.  BM is denying this
  • c: (weakness-W-is-hors-de-combat): Shiva is denying this. Surely BM would deny that "Monks running scams" is something we've politely decided to turn a blind eye to, so he is also denying this.

So Shiva is asserting:  a & b & ¬c
BM is asserting:          a & ¬b & ¬c

The only difference between them is in the assertion or denial of b, so Shiva is asserting that "Monks run scams" is a well known weakness, and BM is denying it.  Shiva then goes on to give some evidence for his belief.  So that part is all consistent for both parties.

The problem is to find out what it is that BM is complaining about.  The complaint seems to be that "monks run scams" is a cheap shot, but then it transpires that BM's complaint is that it was an attempted cheap shot which was so cheap that it failed.

However, look at Shiva's assertion:   a & b & ¬c,
i.e. Shiva NEVER INTENDED HIS ALLEGATION AS A CHEAP SHOT.  It was always a genuine fair shot.  I read it that way, and I think most people here read it that way.  I wanted to hear evidence for it, but I never thought it was something that we're all supposed to politely ignore.

BM's response is logically correct, but it was a linguistic complexity that caught Shiva out.  In Buddhist terms, I would call BM's behaviour "unkind".  In a final post, I will say what Shiva's reply should have been, if he were to avoid the correction from Brother Mark.

Brother Mark said:

Cheap shot:  2: a critical statement that takes unfair advantage of a known weakness of the target

The unfair advantage category wouldn't apply here because as something un true as the generalize statement that was being made, wouldn't have an unfair advantage. Therefore it wouldn't even qualify as a cheap shot.

cheap shot:  n.   An unfair or unsporting verbal attack on a vulnerable target.

To reiterate ...the reason why I didn't consider it an unfair or un sporting comment  is because I simply thought that it was incorrect in the first place. This is why I made the statement of it not even qualifying as a cheap shot. Unfair or unsporting doesn't mean un truthful...then again, if you don't believe that this was a case of "unnecessary roughness" then you would have to agree with me also!

Thanks very much for the analogy of the boxers.  I would have used it more, but when you start to weave in assertions and denials it gets harder.  I still found it very useful though.

As regards your reply below, with respect, I think you are wrong, and if Shiva hasn't committed suicide from boredom by now, he can tell us whether he attempted a cheap shot or not.

Brother Mark said:
"A slight modification of option two would therefore have been most correct:

  • you are right, it wasn't even a cheap shot, but I'm now going to try to justify it"

It would not make sense for him to say this and agree with you about it being a failed cheap shot, because he never intended it as such.  As far as he was concerned, it was and always will be a perfectly legitimate criticism, which he is prepared to provide evidence for.  To go back to the dictionary definition where W = "monks run scams":

  • a: (is-a-criticism-using-weakness-W): Shiva is asserting this
  • b: (W-is-a-well-known-weakness): Shiva is asserting this.  
  • c: (weakness-W-is-hors-de-combat): Shiva is denying this. 

For Shiva to have intended it to be a cheap shot, he would have to have asserted C as well, then:
     a & b & c = true

Finally, we get to what Shiva's reply should have been to avoid
agreeing with you (as in "you are right, it wasn't even a cheap shot"), and avoid
(b) being corrected by you (as in "I never said it was a cheap shot ..." ) :

  • you are wrong, I never purported (or intended) it to be a cheap shot

Well, lets take a final lesson from this.  If the English language around a simple statement like this is so ferociously complex, is it any wonder that Islamists, even with their self-contradictory and golden-rule-denying and non-rational philosophy, are able to pull the wool over most people's eyes?

Good night everyone.  I'm leaving this room for a few weeks now.

Brother Mark said:

3. "Please tell me, what form of words should Shiva have used in reply?  I can't find one.  None of these make sense:"

  • you are wrong, it does qualify as a cheap shot, (and I'm sorry for that)
  • you are right, it wasn't even a cheap shot, but I'm now going to justify it
  • you are right, it wasn't even a cheap shot so I'm not going to justify it, so my argument will now fall down for lack of evidence

A slight modification of option two would therefore have been most correct:

  • you are right, it wasn't even a cheap shot, but I'm now going to try to justify it.


Yes Alan some strange thing do happen here, Over the last few years, I have seen Morrigan in many heated debates, and she has never given ground, anybody who upset her the debates turn into a battle royal, So it was surprising that our battle royal ended as it did.

I'm not sure what you mean by that Paul.  They didn't lose any of their country.  Their losses were huge, but they managed to win against two of the world's superpowers

Vietnam was colonised in the mid 19th centry by France. The French were kicked out by the germans in 1940 who handed control over to the Japaniese. After the Japaniese defeat, the French tried to retake control of their old colony. In 1946 the communist Ho chi minh, and his revolutionary army occupied Hanoi and decleared independence. The French didn,t like that and the first indochina war broke out. Many Catholics from the north moving to the south.

The war lasted untill 1954, when the country was split into two, with the comunnists under Ho, taking control in the north, and turned into an athiest state, and the south comming under the control of the corrupt Ngo Dinh Diem. (sorry skimming over the detail, it was very complex)

In the North there were massacures, and in the south, well pretty much the same. Everyone was getting themselves killed for some no good reason.  Diem being just as ruthless as Ho. Which lead to American and French support for him being with drawn.

In 1963 the Buddhist flag was banned, which got the Buddhists out en-masse demonstrating. Diem was eventually killed, which then lead into the second indo china war, or the Vietnam war as we commonally refer to it.

This lasted untill 1975, when on 30th April Saigon fell to the North, and a year later the north and south merged into one big happy Socialist republic.

  Mahayana Buddhism had been the majority religion for centries, with an estimated 85% of people identifying with Buddhism. The most recent figures from 2009, state that about 7.9% of vietnamiese are Buddhist, with 6.6% Catholic.

The modern Vietnam is hardley the Buddhist country it once was. When the French moved out in 1954, the Area was supported by China and Russia, both countries not wanting any western influence in the area. They got their way.

I don,t see where Vietnam saw of two super powers. And although Buddhism hasn't been eradicated, its not the force, (is that the right word) that it was. And although Vietnam has re-entered the international world, it wasn't long ago that Vietnam boat people were drowning themselfs by the thousands in the south china seas trying to get away from their victory in their home land.

The people of Vietnam died in their hundreds of thousands, and their country came under the rule of the comunists. This suited China, and so all is well.


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