Saturday, August 14, 2010

What is violence?

Question: (Unedited)
I read your answer to the non-violence question. What is the Buddhist definition of violence? Does violence also relate to harmful verbal communications, actions, and self-mentalities? I have to interview a Buddhist for my Philosophy class. I appreciate your help. Thanks. (You'll probably come across other questions of mine...)

Hi D...,

We don't need a Buddhist definition of "violence".  We need a common-sense definition.  Buddhism is for all to practise.  It is very universal.  So what is violence?  We are fearful of others hurting us.  Actions that hurt others can be considered "violence", in various degrees.  I would consider anything that hurts us and others as "violence".  On the extreme, of course violence means killing people.  On the lower end of the continuum, speech and thought that are hurtful are a sort of "violence".  It's just semantic.  Take your choice.  

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