World War 2
Buddhism

What is the Buddhist view of violence?

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11/29/2007

Buddhists view violence as the response of a confused mind to worldly experiences. Violence is not considered a "sin" but an unskillful means toward the ultimate end of achieving happiness. People commit violent actions out of anger, and they become angry because they are confused about what will make them happy. A simplified line of thinking of a person who commits violence is something like this: I want pleasure, and having X will make me happy. I can't have X because this person or that situation is preventing me. If the person or situation would only be different than it is, I could have X. The person or situation that is thwarting me should be different and so I'm angry, and I will do something about it! So the angry person thinks that by forcing the person or situation to be different s/he will be happy, but true happiness results from recognizing that it is really our grasping at pleasure that causes our suffering, not the fact that we don't get what we think will be pleasurable.