October 29, 2023


Buddhist View on Injustices | Ajahn Brahm

Buddhist View on Injustices | Ajahn Brahm
Ajahn Brahm Podcast
Buddhist View on Injustices | Ajahn Brahm

Oct 29 2023 | 01:02:12


Show Notes

There are many problems in the world related to ideas of injustice. Ajahn Brahm offers an entirely different, Buddhist perspective on the problem of injustices, and leads people towards making peace with the problems of the world, and with our selves.

This dhamma talk was originally recorded using a low quality MP3 to save on file size (because internet connections were slow back then – remember dialup?) on 7th November 2003. It has now been remastered and published by the Everyday Dhamma Network, and will be of interest to his many fans.

These talks by Ajahn Brahm have been recorded and made available for free distribution by the Buddhist Society of Western Australia under the Creative Commons licence. You can support the Buddhist Society of Western Australia by pledging your support via their Patreon page.



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Episode Transcript

AB20031107_BuddhistViewOnInjustices {This is an AI generated transcription – expect errors!} Okay, sir. Here we go. I really just recently come back from a trip to Sydney, and Melbourne is returning yesterday afternoon, and this afternoon I gave a talk at her Notre Dame University in Fremantle. And I'm going to tell you some of the things which I said over there about the idea of. Justice and his opposite injustice in the Buddhist perspective. Because I do really feel that Buddhism has much to offer to the world. I in a way of seeing some of life's events, either on the grand scale or on the personal scales in a different way. Whenever we have perceptions of injustice that always gives us rest in the Western world, gives us something to do some business to so-called right the wrongs, to set things correct. Try and do things in the world, especially when the injustice is exercised on oneself. And you can see just how many problems in the world, many struggles in the world over the concepts of injustice. A has much problem in the human being over ideas of injustice. That's it. So wanted to investigate this idea in terms of Buddhism. And in a very deep state, very deep sense. You can actually say that there is no such thing as injustice in Buddhism. Which is a very powerful thing to say. Often I say these things just to stir people up in order to make them see things from a different way. We say this in a sense no such thing as injustice, because in Buddhism we have this very powerful, all pervading law of karma. And the law of karma is basically that we get what we deserve. So the happiness we experience or the unhappiness we experience or are causes there is just in the sense that the laws of the world, the laws of science, the laws of nature are not being corrupted by somebody. That is fair. Sometimes people don't understand that because they need to stretch the way of looking at the world as to see another way of understanding, to see happiness and suffering, the success and failure, the pain and the pressures of life. It's always the case that when something goes wrong in our life, we need to have some sense of understanding of why. Why is it the young kids can dive cancer? Why is it that some people are born into poverty? Why is it that all these things happen to me? Whatever it is, we demand answers and also we demand some sense of fairness in our world. Life has to be fair. But the point is that where we don't know all the rules of the game, we only have a part of the picture. We don't have the big picture. I think that's where we get misunderstandings. A good story about what we mean by this. About the law of karma is an old story, which came from my experience of teaching meditation in prisons. It's an old story, but can be repeated because it shows actually what a real understanding of karma is and how perceptions of injustice can actually be serve misperceptions. Their particular story was when, after teaching for quite a few months in one of the prisons in West Australia. One of the prisoners asked for a personal interview, and during their personal interview after the main session, he told me that the crime for which he'd been put in jail for he did not commit he was innocent. He quickly added that most prisoners would say that anyway, but he respected me. They said that an atom bomb. I would not lie to you. I did not do that crime. I was innocent, I was falsely accused and falsely convicted. And of course, if that happened to you and somebody told you that they'd been treated too so unfairly, I think you two would think as I would. Well, I was thinking at the time, what can I do to help that guy? Because now in a jail, you've got very few opportunities to redress wrongs. So I started to think, what have I done? What can I do? Sorry, what can I do to help the guy? When I was thinking of all the people I could ring up the campaign which I could mount or whatever. This fella, this old criminal, smiled at me in the most cheeky of smiles and interrupted my thoughts when he said, but I turned brown. You know, I was innocent for this action. But I've done so many other things which I wasn't caught for. I think this is fair. And meaning. And it was a very powerful insight into a powerful story, which gives us insight into the law of karma and also perception of injustice. Because a perception of injustice is when we think it's unfair that we've been treated wrongly, that it's not right. It's not just. It's not even. But that's only when we've got a certain proportion of the pitch. We haven't got the full picture of what's really happened. Sometimes. So we read in the newspapers or see on the news about innocent victims being killed in Baghdad, or innocent victims being blown up in the twin Towers, or innocent children being kidnapped or harmed or hurt. And sometimes you wonder, is there such a thing as innocence? Or is it the case that somewhere some time though he did commit some acts, some karma, which led us to take some of those responsibilities? An example of that is the man himself. When I was in Thailand study with Agent Cha, who actually came up to complain to my teacher. He was complaining because he'd been drafted into the Thai army, and while he was on some sort of patrol on the border, sir, there was a skirmish and he'd been shot and wounded. They claimed to complain about his bad luck for having to take a bullet in the arm. And all I would say is what to expect. That's what happens when you join an army. You're liable to get shot at. That makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? If you join an army, the chances are that someone's going to shoot you from time to time. That's understandable, but the next person who came to see Agent Cha was a wife complaining about her husband. And I don't. Cha continued on the same way. So what do you expect when you get married? That's what husbands are like. This is say when you have children, sometimes you can play in all. My child is given me so much problems. What do you expect? That's par for the course. When you have a child, will you have a husband when you have a wife? His par for the course when you get sick. Oh, no. That's when you have a body. You're going to get sick. So is it unfair? And just so you get signals. There's that case of a 95 year old lady never been sick in her life. Went to a hospital, was diagnosed with cancer, and when she came out, her comment was why me? There are some kind of reason that we think like this where we look at the big picture, as always, why not what you expect? So what happens when you have a body? You're going to get sick when you get married. You have sometimes problems when you have children. Here's par for the course. So is it unfair? Or is it not unfair? In a small picture. We think it is unfair to Sly when we get caught for something we didn't do. We think that's unfair. But really, what did you do? Maybe there were other occasions you got away with it like that. Criminal. Many other times he'd robbed houses. He always told me. Never robbed people, always wealth, houses. And. You can see the psychology of that. But sometimes he got away with it. This time somebody else had robbed the house and found the stuff in his, his, his place. And so he got put in jail for it. So you can see what's happening here. Sometimes when we don't get caught, we never say that's unfair. But when we do something, we know, when we get called for something we haven't done, we think that's really unfair and that's unjust. So this is actually where we have to see a bigger picture. And that bigger picture is provided by the Buddhist idea of common rebirth. When you only look at one part of the jigsaw puzzle, it never really makes sense. No one politics or puzzle, just this life. It does not make sense. And just this life. Why? Some people have a good time and other people don't. Why? Some people are rich and other people are poor. Where some people get cancer or Mis or some of these terrible diseases. Sometimes good people were some sort of crooks and villains, selfish people. They seem to be healthy. Why? If you look at the big picture, then we can start to see the workings of the law of karma. Well, to understand the workings of the law of karma, one has to go deep into the whole process of karma. You see, in this life, I think all religions realizes the consequences of actions as a Christian or a muslim or Hindu or Buddhist. We see that we have to have some consequence of our actions in an afterlife. That it's fair in Christianity or in Buddhism that someone who has been a good boy and a good girl hasn't been too naughty, will actually get some happiness after death. You expect that even atheists, they always say at a funeral services, I'm sure he's gone off to be with Auntie Joan and hope he's happy ever after. We all have the idea that. Goodness has to have some sort of reward. We have the idea that goodness has to have a consequence. Is not only fair to understand that selfishness or hurting others also must have some sort of consequence. It is a consequence of our actions and our deeds, which is what the Law of calm is all about. Because it actually how it works. It works on this thing we call the stream of consciousness the mind. When I talk about the stream of consciousness or the mind. I mentioned I made that mistake again. Call it the scream of consciousness because sometimes it is screaming inside there, thinking too much, worrying too much, being anxious, being afraid. But what I really meant was the stream of consciousness, that stream of consciousness, that flow. Her sensory experience, which you can perceive has been going on all day. We'll take a small break this evening when you go to sleep, and we'll continue again tomorrow. You can see that that stream of consciousness does carry with it your characteristics, your potentials, and then those characteristics in those potentials, it involve the. Results of one's previous actions. You just see that in ordinary ways of a person has been studying hard at school when they were young, and they don't have to work so hard when they're old. In theory anyway. Only I don't know about my career. If I'd have only known when I was studying hard at school and university, maybe a month for the rest of my life, I wouldn't have done so much homework. But nevertheless. And just even actually doing that, that hard work there sacrificed and doing things. So actually was good, even just to train my mind to be disciplined and to work hard. And perhaps that is something which is useful in all walks of life, especially being a monk. So but what we're saying here is that that stream of consciousness, just like. Well, it's trying to describe like a river. That river metaphor for the stream of consciousness. For the mind. You can actually see that in a river. There's no. Two moments when the river is the same because there's water continually flowing through it. What really defines the river is not so much the content within the river, but the channel. We know it's the River Swan because it's in that same place between North Perth and South Perth, or wherever else it is. Day after day after day. But you could notice a stream, a river. If anyone knows any geography would know that that river does change its course. It does meander. It does alter its channel from time to time, especially if there's a flood or there's a drought. Because of his actions. It wears away some banks of flats over other banks and it changes. And when it changes its course that. Affects the flow of the water for years and decades afterwards. In the same way you can see the stream of consciousness, the way we act now. What we do now would affect the channels through which. I thought so. Ideas are emotions will flow in the future. And well to actually see that this is a metaphor to actually explain the workings of karma. We create tendencies, we create character traits, we create emotional tendencies. And those emotional tendencies which we create will give us happiness for a long time, will create suffering for a long time. You know that if one can start to say, restrain one's anger, not be so upset when other people don't live up to your expectations or life doesn't live up to expectations, the more you restrain it, the more those actions are changing the channel of your stream of consciousness from a way of creating problems and difficulties for yourself, to a way of creating more happiness and harmony for yourself. This is why in religions like Buddhism, we encourage a training of the mind, a cultivating of good qualities, to actually to change the channel, to change the river course. Of our of our mind. And if we can train in that way, we find that we can alter the way we live our life, alter the way we react to life, and thereby change what would usually call suffering into more peace and more happiness. Anger is a good example because the more you get angry, the more likely you are to get angry in the future. You can see your creating karmic tendencies. And if you go create that proclivity, that tendency to anger, then you're liable to suffer a lot in the future. You could say that that cause and effect relationship. If you start to do something about things like anger, you actually making good karma, you're changing the course of your destiny. They are changing the course of the river. And of course, many skillful means of overcoming your anger. The story which I was telling in Melbourne recently, was a story of the the man who had an afternoon off work and his wife was busy cooking the meal for that evening. And so she asked her husband, darling, you've got the afternoon off work and I'm short of eggs. Can you please go to the market and get some eggs for me? If the why? The husband says, certainly, darling, I'll get some eggs for you. And so he went into the market for the very first time to buy some eggs. When he approached the market and entered the marketplace, the young man came up to him and started calling him terrible names, starting abusing him, and started cursing him. And the poor husband complained. Why are you doing this for and anything to you? This is not fair. This is not just. Why me? But all the husband's protestations didn't matter a bit. That young man kept on cursing, abusing, calling him terrible names in front of the whole crowd in a market. And the poor husband got so embarrassed and angry and he turned around. And went back home. He was so upset about being unfairly abused. When he got home, his wife said, you're back early, darling. Have you got the eggs? He said, no. You don't ever want to go back to that terrible market again. Those people there are awful. It is so uncivilized. They call you names and I've never done anything to them. Why do they do this to me? This is really unjust. And for all of you wives, whenever your husband comes home from work or the market like that, you know you can't get any sense out of him until you calm him down. You soften him up. And that's what she did. And when he was all softened up that she asked him to make some sense out of this. What was that man like? Describe him to me. And her husband described that man. And the wife immediately recognized him. He said, oh, it's him. You know that he does that to everybody. He curses and gets angry at me and everybody else. Because when he was young. He fell and hit his head and became crazy. The poor young man was never able to finish school or get a proper job or get married. He's out of his mind, is crazy, and just hangs around the market all day and curses and abuses everyone. Don't worry about it. It's not your fault. The guy's crazy. When husband realized it wasn't because the husband had done anything, it was just because the guy was crazy. All his anger and upset disappeared. It wasn't really unjust and unfair anymore. He'd found a reason, a cause. While a man acted that way. There was nothing to do with the husband. So I said, darling, look, I really do need those eggs. Can you go back to that market? And he said, okay, I don't mind. Don't worry if that guy abuses you. Yeah. Poor fellow must be mad. So I went back into the market as soon as he went to the market. The young man came up to me again, cursed him, abused him, told him all sorts of terrible things about himself in front of everybody. By this time, the husband was not at all embarrassed or ashamed because he knew the young man was crazy. He went out to the egg store and the man followed him, abused him, cursing him, telling terrible names. And the lady behind the door said, don't worry about him. The poor fellow who does this to everybody, he's crazy. Hit his head. He's never been the same since. Husband said, yes, I know. And so the mad young man followed the husband all the way out to the market, cursing, abusing, calling him terrible names. It didn't matter because the young man was crazy. When the Buddha told that story, he said, if ever anybody curses you or calls you names, it may be your husband, it may be your wife. Always remember that story. If anyone curses you or calls you names, they dislike that young man. They're crazy. In Buddhism, we call it temporary insanity. So what that means is when you get home, if someone shouts to you. It must mean if it's your husband, you must have hit his head that day. Here. Get our exclusive. But the point is, you don't take it seriously because you see the causes behind it. It's not unfair or unjust anymore. You only get angry if you think it's unfair or unjust. If you can't find a reason behind it. If you find all the reasons behind it. Where is your anger? It's the same when somebody dies. If somebody dies, we find a reason behind it. We don't get so angry at life anymore. It's like when a young person dies a child. So many people get angry. Why did that happen to such a young boy or a young girl? Why did they get cancer? Why did they get. Run over by a car. Why did that cliff collapse upon them? Email course. The answer is that this is nature. It's not that someone's made a mistake. That somewhere, somehow unfair. Just like when the storm blows through a forest. That storm usually takes the old leaves from the trees, but also takes green leaves as well. Young green leaves, that's nature. To take some green leaves as well as old leaves. It's the nature of life that death happens not just to old people, but to middle aged people and young people as well. That's nature. So there's nothing has gone wrong. Is no one to blame. This causes and effects here. So why do we get angry? It's not an innocent child anymore. My wife gets born. This is part of life. So when she starts to see just what's actually happening. And one doesn't need to get angry when one doesn't get angry. There's no need for this terrible thing called revenge. A lot of the times that revenge and violence in our community, in and in our life, in our societies, all come from the idea of injustice. This man has clearly terrible names. Therefore I've got a right. To sort of hurt him back. An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. A curse for a curse. To give as good as you get, or even better, give worse to teach them a lesson. When there's a perception of injustice. In many societies we have almost a need for revenge. And you can see that happening in your family. In your relationships. Someone hurts you and you feel that you've got a right to hurt your partner back. When that perception of injustice has actually been seen for what it is the misperception. Then you can actually probably see there is no need for hurting back for revenge. When you see where its clauses come from, you see the cause of that hurt and you realize you don't want to make more causes for more hurt. That's why in Buddhism there's no such idea as injustice. It's just causes and effects. And we understand that we are making those courses for our future effects. So we make sure that the courses we put in place right now are not going to cause more pain and suffering, which is why if we receive hurt and or harm, we never give more hurt or harm as our response. Revenge has no part in Buddhist practice. When I say revenge has no part in Buddhist practice, we still have the idea of rehabilitation, solving the problem, doing something about the situation, but not out of anger or ill will, which wants to hurt someone who's hurt me. A good example of that was the destruction of the Buddha statues in Afghanistan by the Taliban 2 or 3 years ago. And I think many people were quite surprised as how passive the Buddhists were when that happened. When the Taliban destroyed two very beautiful and very highly loved Buddha statues. There was no mosque, was invaded and destroyed. There was no Islamic icons were damaged at all. Even though that the Buddhists, as it were, were hurt or harmed, it was decided not to create more hurt or more harm by destroying somebody else's icons. Instead, there was always this wonderful sense of forgiveness. And of course, I was very proud at that time of the Buddhist world, understanding that people could destroy Buddha statues, but they could never destroy the Buddhist wisdom and compassion, which was far more important than any Buddha statue. It was what the Buddha statue was there for the first place anyway, to teach people, encourage people to be forgiving, to be kind, to be compassionate, to be even nonviolent. Buddha statues were destroyed, but what they represented was still there and still remained. And you can see what a powerful effect I would have. What a powerful effect it has, when actually people have that same idea to the so-called injustices of life. If your wife treats you so-called unjustly well, if your children are treated unfairly or your job treats you unfairly. To ask yourself, is it really unfair or not? But it's not unfair because it's always wonderful opportunities to learn. You all heard that simile which I give of the truckload of dung? I go over it very quickly. Truckload of dying. Some of the things which happen to you in life are very unpleasant, like dung being delivered to the front of your door. And many people complain. Why me? Why have I got this time? What did I do to deserve this? The point is, you're stuck with that dung. You can carry it around with you. Put it in your pockets, snap your shirt down your skirts, trousers and you find if you carry around down, you lose a lot of friends. Turning around. Dang means getting negative, complaining, getting angry, being revengeful about some of the things which happened to you. The point is, even if you can't see that you ordered that, Doug, maybe a long time ago, and you've forgotten it had been your previous life. But you you ordered it. It's your fault. You may not be able to know, but what's the point? If you can see or you can't see who ordered it and why it's come to you? The most important thing is actually to dig into your garden. Because it's a dying of light. The difficult things which happen to us in life, which we understand is where we grow. There are tests. That's fertilizer. For spiritual qualities of compassion and wisdom and peace. Understanding. And after the time, people who understand what life is all about think it's never unfair, but it's a privilege. To have difficulties come to you from time to time in life. If you didn't have those difficulties come to you. If you weren't tested, you would never grow as human beings and become strong in your wisdom and your compassion. This is my. My own father died when I was 16. My mother was stuck with two young teenagers with a very low income. It was a tragedy for her at first, but I still maintain to this day that that was the best thing which ever happened to my mother. She was always just an appendage of my father. Never really an individual in her own right. Always subservient to my father. Because my father had a very strong personality. She had a much more meek and mild personality. But after my father died, she grew spiritually amazingly, sir. And I could see that her independence, her spirituality, grew because she made use of the dung of losing her husband after only 120 years of marriage. And saying that there's many other examples of how what we think are injustices are really opportunities for us. So often people have told me when I go to cancer support associations, it's amazing how many times people have said the cancer they have was the best thing which ever happened to them. He really starts to make us wonder what is just or what is unjust. This idea of what's fair and fair. Sometimes we can challenge all of those ideas. Roasting is unjust. We complain. We want to remedy. We want to blame somebody. Let's call revenge. We understand that this is just part of life. We can actually have a different attitude. It's hard to do something about it. One of the great proverbs in Buddhism is rather light a candle that complained about darkness. Too often we complain. Instead of actually doing something about it. We're doing something about it is not hurting somebody else, but actually making use of the karma we've got to deal with. Across the world since we hardly any idea of like, revenge or hurting. But when there is a so-called injustice or something goes wrong. The idea is actually to make use of this, grow from this, to make sure there's no more harm or hurt in the future. So the Buddhist response to perceptions of injustice, to hurt or harm in the world is to learn from this, to grow from this, to try and make sure that harm and hurt doesn't occur too much in the future. And we don't stop, hurt, or harm by making more hurt or harm. You don't stop a war. By killing the people who killed your son. You don't end violence. By shooting up terrorists. You just make more reasons for terrorists in the future? I think most people can see what happens when you create the justification for people to actually to take their revenge on you. Sometimes you're saying, am I innocent? Worthy people in the Twin Towers. Totally innocent. Or did they have some sort of contribution to make to their demise? We always say innocent, innocent, innocent. But were we innocent? Are you innocent? Sometimes we always think it's somebody else's fault. What have we done to help others? Have we done enough? Are we really innocent? It's very easy to say we're innocent. Before we see the big law of karma and our contribution to say that, you know, we we elect our leaders. We sort of sometimes because of our actions or sometimes inactions, we contribute to our society. We make our world. Have you been heedless or. Hateful in your duties to society. Your duties to the world. Are you really innocent? So long as you see this, instead of actually just always saying somebody else's fault, let's play of them. We have this other idea of seeing the faults, taking responsibilities, and doing something about it. They're doing something about it. When his perception of injustice is making sure that those the hurt and harm don't come back again. That's why then instead of talking about was just and was unjust. I always prefer to see terms like hurt or harm in the world, he said, as there's so much injustice in the world or is justice in the world. Let's just look upon the words hurt or how it is something which is not so controversial. There is hurt or harm. There is pain in the world, is suffering in the world. Find out where its causes are. And it's to. Maybe. Suppress or end those causes for more suffering in the world. You can see where some of the though some of those causes are. This is the lack of forgiveness, a lack of understanding, the lack of compassion. If we have those beautiful causes of compassion. Understanding. Wisdom, harmony. Forgiveness. Are those conducive of more harm or they conducive of war? Peace in the world? So when somebody hurts us. While the action, does that contribute to peace, or does that contribute to more problems in the world? This is actually how we should think. And we should. See things. And that way that we can become somebody who could us create less of problems in the world, rather than being part of the problem. As we look upon this, with the way the world works, with the way that we react to other people. We also see what happens to ourselves. And somebody asked me and it was quite, sir. Part of this whole idea of justice and injustice. Do gooders feel guilt. The whole idea of guilt is tied up with justice and injustice. For this on a personal level. When we've hurt ourselves, when we've done something wrong which has created harm for ourselves and harm for others. What is most people's response is to feel guilty and what is guilt, but just wanting to hurt yourself even more. His guilt is a form of revenge. How is revenge? Not on somebody else, but on yourself. I made a mistake. Therefore I'm going to take it out on me. If you feel guilty about something. As I've said before in a court of law, as soon as the judge says guilty, the next thing which the judge does is pronounce sentence punishment. And that punishment is to. Take away your happiness. To deprive you. To punish. And this is actually what we mean by guilts in our psychology. If you feel guilty about something, then you deprive yourself of happiness. You punish yourself if you don't punish others, if you don't seek for punishment from others. So when we understand this aspect of revenge, the revenge towards ourself. Self hurt. We can understand that one of the reasons why there were suicides in this world, why there's a lack of self-esteem, why there is this terrible. Guilt complexes inside human beings. Because we've been taught that when we done something unfair, we made a mistake that we need to react with hurting, in this case, ourselves. So when we see that this is not just unjust, injustice is not you've done something wrong. You're still learning. You're a human being who makes mistakes. Acknowledge them, forgive them, and learn from them instead of wanting to punish yourself. And this is not just revenge anymore. Not revenge to yourself. It's not harming or hurting, but seeing what the problem is and solving it in a calm and peaceful way. And if one can do this, the one can actually see just why those perception of injustice which creates war in the world, war in the family and war inside of yourself. I'm not really the right way. We should be going. Real justice is to know that each of these experiences one deserves these things is part of cause and effect. It's not as somebodies mean and been unjust to you. This is part of life now. Accept it. Learn from it and grow from it. Become a better person as a result and create a better family as a result. We create a better world as a result. And then we understand what karma is all about. Our happiness, all our unhappiness, is in our power. It's not somebody else's job. We don't blame other people. You should never allow anybody else to control your happiness. So often our happiness is given up to the power of other people. We allow the people to make us unhappy, allow the world to make us unhappy. For our family to make ourselves unhappy, allow our deeds sometimes to make us unhappy. We are should take more control. In a more positive and wise way. When we say this is no revenge, he should never be looked upon as being just absolutely passive. Because this is not what I've been saying here or was saying. He is having a positive forgiveness, a positive acceptance or accept the past and we make use of it. We do something with it, we dig it in. If we got some, does some really wonderful things. So we celebrate those as well. Celebrate the good, digging the dung of the bad, and that way that we're making use of this thing which we call life. So that way, whenever we faced sort of a situation where we think this is unfair, this is unjust, perhaps that that is almost justifying a punishment, justifying revenge. And we find really it just does not help at all. I gave examples this afternoon, even on a national level, of citing what happened in Cambodia. We see many, many years of the Khmer Rouge. Uh, the genocide which happened in that country, the killing, the maiming, the murdering, the torturing, which went on for so many years. The response of the many of the Cambodian population to that genocide, to that pain. Was forgiveness that in go. Understanding that. Trying to dwell on that past. Trying to get revenge. For most people would say is an injustice, would not be conducive to progress, to prosperity, to getting on with their lives in the future. Many of the Cambodians who survived that would just like to learn from that past and just to go on and not linger with wanted to have trials and prosecutions of the so-called war crimes. Commit committed by the Khmer Rouge at that time. And many of the Cambodians did suffer greatly. Many of these one of the Cambodian men in England. Who supports a monastery. So, says the woman. Sorry. Her husband just took a mango from a tree without permission, and one of the cameras just took out his gun and shot him in the head in front of her. Without any trial, what we would call terribly unjust. What would you do in such a situation? If you got angry and upset without really help or help at all without getting that husband back, would that help you without actually help matters in the future? Very often. People who. Have seen such a tragedy. Usually want to get their own back and go and kill the person who killed my husband. And then a person. You kill their brothers and sisters. They want to kill you back. You see how tit for tat revenge does not help create peace or any solution to violence in the world. Instead of that, we can have the positive forgiveness, find out where the cause of the violence is and do something about it. And of course, one of the best. Examples I have of that is the communist threat in Thailand during the. Uh, late 70s, early 80s, where there was insurgents within the country, Thai people who were fighting the government. And they were supplied with arms from outside the country, from the vehicle. Protect our cameras just across the borders. And they had lots of support from the local poor Thai villages, with the Thai government at that time did not go in with gunships trying to kill and destroy the communist insurgents. They had a. Strategy of nonviolence, a strategy of forgiveness and amnesty, and a strategy of trying to find out what are fighting for. What was the the gripe was the problem. I in many problems with the idea of injustices with poor people in a poor land, paying taxes, getting nothing back in return. So the government did something about it. They did put in irrigation systems, dams, roads, electricity, schools, clinics, and even the poor villages. And you can see what happens when. The problem becomes solved as the poor parts of Thailand became prosperous. The villagers stop supporting the insurgents living in the the mountains because. The Thai government did not seek to exact revenge upon those Thai insurgents who had killed policemen, who killed army, who had even captured and tortured monks. Even when I was on wandering, I heard the story is quite frightening because I was in those mountains and wandering where some of Ajahn Fran's senior monks were staying in the jungles, and they just ran into the communists. And the communists sort of took the two senior monks and tortured them to death. Let all the other monks go to actually to tell what had happened. And when the local villagers heard that two very highly respected monks have been tortured to death in front of the other monks, they all just got their hoes and machetes from the local villages, and they were going off into the jungles to try and capture those, catch those communists and to take revenge. And it was the Thai government. The military stopped them forcibly saying, no, no, no, that's not going to solve anything. Non-Violence went to such extremes. And of course, what that meant. There was no need for the communists to seek revenge. There was no cause for them to keep on fighting. It's a great cause when they've killed my brother or my husband. Of course we feel. Yeah, this is unjust. I've got to take revenge. Tit for tat. Who had never gave the course of events. And the amnesty, which is the same as forgiveness. Whenever you want to give your arms up, there's no punishments at all. Just keep your arms up. Just go back to the village, to the university, wherever. And that's how they solve that problem. Little by little, they. Soldiers, insurgents gave themselves up and rejoin society again. And the most impressive part of that story, which they are told nearly a few months ago, the most impressive part of that story is when the leaders, the head of the insurgency, gave themselves up. They were given good jobs in the civil service. But more than that, right at this moment, two of them are serving as ministers in the Thai government. There were communist rebels, insurgents responsible for killing of soldiers and many other people, and now they are ministers serving the government. This is actually another way of dealing. With a problem instead of giving violence to violence. Instead of thinking this is unjust, therefore that will justify violence, we see another way. This is why also the Buddhists were opposed to any death penalty. Doesn't matter what a person has done. Just killing them doesn't really help. They're just going to come back again the next life. Just as bad. And even worse. So there's a problem there. In an interesting book, which I read as a student, as a book called Eragon, which means nowhere backwards by a person called Samuel Butler. And by juxtaposing, by changing around the two things called sickness and crime and making a crime out of sickness and the sickness out of crime. He envisaged a society when a person got sick, they were sent to jail. When they did a crime, they were sent to the doctor. It's a lot of sense to be made in that, because in one of the scenes there was a poor man who had a cold and he was in front of the judge, and the judge was summing up before handing out the sentence, saying, sir, this is not the first time you've appeared before me with a cold. You're a repeat offender. I told you the last time, you should take better care of your health, eat better foods, and you've just been heedless. It's your fault. Isn't it sometimes your fault if you get a cold? And aren't you a danger to society? Spreading all those germs and bugs around? Shouldn't you be put away for the safety of others? So he sentenced him to about three years in jail for being a repeat offender. Catching colds. Now you can see this. This one senses some justification behind that, isn't it? Because aren't you responsible for your health? This heedless ness makes you ill. Isn't because you've been eating junk food, not exercising, working too hard. The catch? These colds. You spread those germs. Your danger to others. And when a person embezzled some money from the company, they were just sent to a doctor to explain to them and give them some nice medicine, some herbs so they didn't actually embezzle the next time, and try to explain to them just the results of this, you shouldn't do this anymore to. So strategies, some medicines or some practices so they wouldn't embezzle the next time. Cry was looked upon as being a sickness. Which could be cured through some sort of therapy. There's interesting because of that juxtaposition, you started to see that. Why is it that we treat crime in one way and sickness in another way? I don't say that. And he wasn't saying that you should actually send sick people to jail. But should we send criminals to jail for punishment? Who should we send them for therapy to? Hospitals. However, those hospitals were, uh, constructed. Wouldn't that be a much better metaphor? The moment we want to punish, we want revenge. Someone has robbed me. They've entered my house and started my goods. And because of our conditioning, we think the right thing to do is to get our own back in there. They've hurt me. Therefore I am justified hurting them back. Put it away so I know. There's no justification for hurting another person back. Because it's not conducive to any long lasting, beneficial solution to anybody. It has to be forgiveness and then dealing with the problem, not just passively allowing it to happen, but not fighting back. With anger, with whirlwind violence. So this is actually just how Buddhist look. Justice and injustice. And its corollary to the revenge and the violence of our world trying to get our own back. Giving hurt for hurt. Giving harm for harm. And seeing the result of that, both in our world, in our family, in our relationships, and also inside of ourselves. The Buddha said, hurt harm never ceases with more hurt or harm. Analysis with that forgiveness without love. And so put us always been non-violent. I've always, never sort of really bought into this idea of justice and injustice or even evil. There is no such thing as evil in Buddhism. Is only stupidity not seeing things clearly. If we see things clearly. Then we don't create harm in the world or harm for others. In fact, we become peacemakers in this world. We become healers in this world. We become people who create harmony in this world rather than divisions. We create the people who give alternatives. To anger. To revenge. To punishment. And surely our world is in such great need and such philosophies. It's not only the nations are fighting each other. It's not only this terrorism's terror terrorist planning attacks in the world. Is terrorists in your office planning a verbal attack on you when you go back there on Monday? Sometimes is terrorist in the family destroying your happiness and peace? And more importantly, there's a terrorist inside of yourself. With some feeling of injustice will not allow you to feel happy, to feel free and be at peace with yourself. So very, very careful about your idea of justice and injustice. And be careful to never to. Respond to perceptions of injustice, with violence, with anger, with revenge. There is another way, and that way needs to be followed. Otherwise is no hope for our community, for our world, or for you. So that's the talk this evening on justice and injustice. Any comment on that? And. Any comments on the talk on justice and injustice? Even I know it's very hot in here this evening. But you deserved it. Somewhere along the line, they was fair. What you found? Yeah. Go on. Mm. 7s Yeah. Yeah. And they're not innocent. Somewhere along the line. They've done something there and maybe they got away with it last time. Now it's coming round to them. It's karma again. The idea of karma means, you know, complaining about what happens to you. Instead you say, well, there's somewhere down the line, I must have done something. And this is some rewards, so don't complain about it. So I accept this happening to me. It's not something that's gone wrong. Even if you know they were innocent or they didn't deserve such a long sentence, they got it. So I just read in the newspapers this morning, Pauline Hanson has been released from jail, but she deserved to go for 78 days or however long it was. There's no such thing because if she didn't deserve it wouldn't have happened. Maybe not this lifetime, maybe a previous lifetime or somewhere down the line. His. How many times do we get away with things? And where we don't get. Where we get caught for something we think we didn't do. We think that's unjust. But really, the justice is there evenly all the time. What comes out gets around. And the healthfulness of that is that we don't feel that someone's made a mistake. As a Buddhist and a jury don't feel that you've made a mistake. If you send someone off because of you, that person goes to jail for 20 years and you find out afterwards they were innocent. Circumstantial evidence. You got a wrong. You made a mistake. You don't feel guilty about that. It's just part of nature. This is part of the world. Sometimes we try very best and we get it wrong. That's life. Welcome to life. So instead of complaining about it, we say, how can we use of this? So next time you're in jury service, listen more clearly. To try and sort of be more intuitive so they don't make mistakes again. Don't judge a person just because they're an Arab or because the English. I know you're Scottish. Sorry. Not sorry for Scott, so. Well, we don't charge people like that. We can actually become better people. We learn from our mistakes. Instead of trying to get angry and train problems from our mistakes. They're going. Okay, that's a good question. Anger and violence against potential harm. If it's coming from sort of compassion. In other words, the best for everybody. And it's not coming from revenge. Fine. That's a good strategy. And if I saw somebody who was just about to get run over by a car, try and push him out of the way to protect them, that's violence. And if I saw somebody with a fishbone in the back of the throat, you'd sort of bang them on the back. If someone had hiccups, I'll sneak up behind him and say, boo! But whatever you do. But it's not done to harm them or to hurt them. It is done out of compassion. Just like if you were a dentist, you know you'd take someone's tooth out, you'd hurt them. Create a lot of problems for them. But that's not because you hate them. It's not you trying to hurt them. It's sometimes to help somebody, you've got to be quite firm and sometimes cause pain is where it's coming from. The the motive. The intention is not to harm or to hurt. If I say, why do we put people in jail? Another. People want people to go to jail because they want revenge. They're going to hurt people. I don't want it there to make the people better a person, or to protect society from such people. If it really is, say this like a sex offender who's, you know, for not likely to be able to control themselves. And of course, you do need to say so. So writing compassionate for them, compassionate for others, actually to isolate them from society in some way, but not out of desire to hurt them or to to give them more harm. So it's it's it's where it's coming from. It's a point here. So my sense. Yeah. This amazing just how, because of our conditioning, that someone hurts us and we've been taught conditioned to hurt them back. That sort of Buddhism is giving another different paradigm. We feel justified. Now. If someone bombs Australia, we feel justified in actually killing them back. And doesn't help. This justifies more violence. The other question. Yeah. Don. Don. 7s You can. Now, because you know that everyone could be changed. You know, you're you're asking that if it's a very good question like these curly ones, you're saying that somebody was like a terrorist and they were so brainwashed they couldn't do nothing else? Wouldn't it be compassionate to take him out this life, to give them another rebirth somewhere? Really? But of course. Well, of course, that really doesn't help them at all. And, you know, as a Buddhist, the story of Angry Mala, who was a terrorist, serial killer. And everyone can be changed. And sometimes you do hear stories of that about these violent prisoners in jail who kill, kill, kill, killed. And something happens to them and they so suddenly switched, and they see just another way of looking at life. And then they can start making a contribution to the world, a contribution to society. And to pay back. And some of those people can be a good people. It's good to give people a chance. It's a change from being a terrorist to being a saint. So certainly they should know. Obviously, to make sure they don't create more harm. But it will be wonderful to put some more resources into looking after tourists and even offenders. Too many people go to jail, come out again, and re-offend. Punishment doesn't work when I was at school. But if I got punished, all I learnt was not to get caught next time. It wasn't actually teaching me, sort of, you know, why I was being punished. I just was afraid to get caught. So I was very smart. It just made me smarter, more sneaky, that's all. Yeah. 7s All this terrorist violence creates employment. I think the amount of employment which she actually creates is probably countered just by the amount of all those resources which goes into the bombs and the and the tragedy. There's one person who gets killed. No. By a terrorist. It's amazing just how many millions of dollars it takes. You know it's looking after them hospitals, funerals, problems it causes to their relations. It was just one of the things with Buddhism there was a sense of interconnectedness. If one person gets killed. Hundreds of people cry. And feel sad. If even one person gets wounded. So many people throughout their life suffer. So you see just how many people suffer for just for one person and gets killed or wounded. So is it really worth all that employment? So that's a that's a great. I know you coming from it's a very interesting. It's just like saying just more people should smoke cigarettes. So we didn't have to have too many problems with our taxes for looking after old people okay. So those are spurious arguments. He won't get into that one. Okay, I think that's enough for this evening now. So thanks for listening to the reflections. Some comments about justice and injustice, violence and. To ourselves, to others, to the world. So we now have some.

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