Nathan's responding to Brad, but I read his piece first, so here goes. Nathan wrote:
[I]t's a little too easy to go there. To make the leap from soft interpretations of the first precept to "we should kill people who commit terrorist acts." [Brad's] desire for punishment is, again, understandable. A pretty human impulse certainly. And yet it's also so Old Testament God. Or a really raw and unprocessed sense of karmic justice that screams Buddhist fundamentalism.
In addition, this who thing about having powerful militaries and police forces so "we" (whomever we are) can practice seems like a nice excuse for fascism. For "just" wars in "terrorist" nations. And for continued oppression of anyone here, in the U.S., who is deemed to be "disruptive" or "potentially" disruptive. Our government, regardless of the political party in power, is quite fond of pre-emptive strikes, "precautionary" measures, and the like. Not that they give a shit about meditation practitioners really. That's really not what they're concerned with. And it wasn't what the governments in medieval Japan were concerned with, nor the various royal factions in India during Buddha's time. Whatever space they "provided" for "safe" meditation practice and Buddhist study was a byproduct of power and resource control. Of oppression of one group by another. Of bloodshed and ecological destruction.
I don't like parts of what Warner wrote there; in particular the idea that Buddhism only flourished because of strong military power. I'll have more to say on that shortly.
I think that's not historically true in general, and WWII era Japan is a case in point: while it's true that there was Yasutani, it's ALSO true that this had pretty much zilch to do with Buddhism. And State Shinto was favored over Buddhism.
It is undeniable though that religion prospers to the extent the powerful allow it to do so. That's true of all culture that is the dominant "culture" of a "society." It does no good to be fixed on decrying it, though; because that's being attached to the culture and to power by different means. Let me put it plainly: decrying the power structures or the use of force or to advocate the use of force with a Dharma justification is the same thing: attachment.
It's not about "Omigod we need fascism!" The true spirit of 武道 - or if you like Western paradigms, military science - really does involve the cessation of violence - it's about, when attacked, doing as little damage as possible to create a peace as deep and long as possible.
And my response to Brad:
Our societies have to be stable before we can engage in our practice. This is an absolutely necessary prerequisite. That means we have to be able and willing to defend our societies against those who would disrupt them. There have to be very strong penalties against doing things like blowing up the Boston Marathon. In his comedy special broadcast this weekend, Louis C.K. made jokes about how great it is that there are laws against murder. “Because if there weren’t, everybody would murder at least one person.” Those who hadn’t murdered anyone, he said, would be seen as weirdos in a society where murder was legal. It was funnier when he said it.
So I, for one, hope they find the piece of shit who did this and rip him to shreds. He deserves it. Whether they find him or not, his own actions will be his undoing. It can’t happen any other way. And yes, this news makes me angry. I wouldn’t be a real human being if it didn’t.Still, society needs to make efforts to resolve matters like this without anger. Because an angry response leads to further tragedies, like the angry response of the people West Memphis, Arkansas that led to the wrongful conviction of the “West Memphis Three.” Still, one can expect anger as a response to something like this. I suppose the worthless motherfucker who perpetrated this bombing intended it that way. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Society has every right to remove him from its midst in any way it sees fit.
No Brad "society" does not have the right to remove the perpetrator from its midst in any way it sees fit; in fact it has the obligation to respond to this even in a way that creates as much of a stable, peaceful, caring and harmonious environment as possible, even if it requires a certain degree of violence to achieve that end. But it should require absolutely no more than is necessary, and it should be understood that this act has meant that we, as a society, have failed in what Sun Tzu would have called the supreme excellence of achieving that peaceful, caring, harmonious, stable society without violence. We have failed. But we are not absolved of the responsibilities that come with our existence.