The Buddha Path Of ‘The Man With The Iron Fists (2)’?

In ‘The Man With The Iron Fists 2’, is this interesting dialogue. Li Kung says, ‘We are desperate people, Thaddeus. I need to liberate us from the ruthless Beetle Clan. And when that fight comes, my people need a way to protect themselves. I know you forge the best weapons. Will you make them for us?’ Thaddeus (the blacksmith with fitted iron fists after losing his hands) replied, ‘I’ve made many devices that killed many men. Even my hands have become weapons. I’m on a path to [the] Buddha. And making weapons is not on that path.‘ Li continues, ‘Doesn’t Lord Buddha protect the weak and punish evil?’ Thaddeus says, ‘I’ll fix these [mining] tools for you, and then be on my way. How you use them is up to you.’

Here are some 4 reflections on the above – [1] Defense is alright, as it protects lives, while offense, especially with hateful vengeance that harms lives is not, as it feeds fuel to the fire. However, it can become ambiguous when offense is seen as and done in the name of defense. The intention that powers the action has to all the more be clear during such murky situations. [2] Expressing repentance and determination to walk the path to Buddhahood, Thaddeus wanted to give up creation of weapons. It is true that the Buddha taught that the creation of weapons is an unskilful livelihood to avoid, as such products are meant to harm or even kill, destroying that most immediate and precious to sentient beings – life itself.

[3] Anything can be weaponised. Even absent hands can be weaponised into iron fists. Even bare hands can become tools for creating instruments of destruction. Yet, these same instruments can be used to protect too. All hands and tools are thus essentially empty of any fixed nature, to be mindfully used. [4] Having perfect peace of mind, the Buddha does not ‘punish evil’ in the sense of seeking vengeance. Instead, he seeks to awaken the evil to the error of their ways via compassionate education. The classic case is how he calmed and transformed the mass-murderer Angulimala, without laying a single finger on him. However, he did use some supernormal powers to prevent Angulimala from creating more negative karma by harming him. The deterrence was not to enrage him, but to offer him the opportunity to reflect. As Thaddeus put it, ‘You shouldn’t take kindness for a weakness. Sometimes it takes more courage not to fight than to fight.’

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