(Picture courtesy of Blogger CK Hon)
Having mixed emotions concerning the death penalty, what is the Buddhist thoughts on this?
Thank you for asking me.
The first of the 5 precepts which Buddhists follow is that of refraining from killing. It is very clear that killing a being (any being for that matter, let alone a human being) is an unwholesome act. No being likes to be killed. Everyone is afraid of being killed. The natural law of cause and effect rules supreme; that an unwholesome act will definitely produce an unwholesome result, sooner or later. Buddhists believe in this universal law of cause and effect. Once we understand this eternal law, we are more "forgiving" knowing that no one can escape any evil deed.
Coming back to capital punishment, this is man-made law; to bring to focus that crime does not pay, here and now, if one is caught. The question is : do we want to play god? or do we want to be all-compassionate? In this worldly affair it is always a very difficult decision.