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  • hardie karges 8:45 am on May 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , justice, , Mosaic, moses, , REVENGE, Roman, sanatana   

    Buddhism and the Mosaic of Laws It Competes With… 

    Repay every aggression with kindness, sooner rather than later. Because in this way, not only can society progress and history advance, but wounds can heal, and toxic attitudes can change. This is one of the prime conceptual bases of religion, of course, all the best ones, that you don’t have to respond “eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth,” lex talionis, Roman if not Christian. Because that predates Jesus Christ and his subsequent Christians, going way back to the early Jews, Moses, and the Mosaic law that sits there like concrete, composed of gravel and mud, shards and pieces, cobbled together in an elaborate composite of moral, civil, and ceremonial considerations not unlike the various bodies of law(s) and customs that have subsequently been handed down from the example of it.

    There’s only one problem: that ain’t religion, not most of it. That’s law and politics and culture and custom, almost everything BUT religion, except the parts of it that can be considered ‘moral law.’ And those are almost indistinguishable from the Buddhist precepts: Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, etc., and even then, the attitude most truly religious that they can muster is for the Christians to have no other god before God (Allah), and for the Buddhist to not claim any form of enlightenment that they really can’t deliver–boom. It was up to Jesus to bring true religion to the Jews, just like it was up to the Buddha to bring true religion to sanatana dharma (Hinduism).

    The Muslims kept the ‘eye for an eye,’ famously, of course, and in that sense distinguish themselves form Christians. The Jews did likewise for most of history, only shifting to the more liberal Christian orientation recently, c. 1948. The rest is history. But that’s politics. We want religion. And the lex talionis doesn’t preclude that, of course, it only limits its reach, which is not so bad, all things considered. And the main thing to consider is that it is NOT a proclamation of revenge, in fact just the opposite. Because it limits retribution to the original damage, and, in effect, prohibits the punitive damages that could be considered as revenge, i.e. more than simple punishment, and far more than actual damages. But true religion always tries to heal the transgressor with love and kindness, not revenge or even justice. Religion transcends justice. It should be better than that.

    Note: the word ‘dharma’ has often been translated as ‘law’…

  • hardie karges 9:30 am on May 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: REVENGE,   


    “Eye for an eye” is a much misunderstood phrase, typically considered to be encouragement of revenge as the highest form of justice. In fact it is an admonition to limit compensation to no more than actual damages, in other words, NO REVENGE, or at least, no punitive damages. This is a lesson a few American lawyers should consider. Some Thai females take the example to a new extreme, whacking off the genitals of a partner who has done them wrong, or so the urban legends go. Sometimes it can be sewed back on, if it can be found, but not always. One tale even has the unit sent flying to parts unknown by hot air balloon, a forlorn member of a very select club sent on its way to never-never land with no return ticket. Welcome to the lives of the cheap and dirty, humanity laid bare for pubic consumption, the American dream, docile natives in service to their superiors. As weird as Interzone is, Thailand is even weirder. Like Navajos in turquoise, Thais like to wear their bank accounts around their necks, 24 K gold redeemable in cash on demand. Most have never had credit cards, and for good reason. They run up a huge bill, and then wonder why the credit gets cut off, and the bills keep coming. Very few Thais use checks for the same reason, so nobody will take them. They bounce, and bounce, and bounce. This is the futile system, in God we trust, as long as he pays cash. But I digress.

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