– 梵网经: 第三十二损害众生戒
If [as] Buddhas’ [Bodhisattva] disciples,
[they] must not sell
knives and staves, bows and arrows [i.e. all weapons]…
– Brahmā Net Sūtra: Thirty-Second [Secondary Bodhisattva] Precept
Against Harm Of Sentient Beings (Śākyamuni Buddha)
In a thought-provoking social experiment using reverse psychology, a pro gun control group (States United to Prevent Gun Violence) opened a gun ‘shop’ in New York City – to guide potential gun owners in ‘buying’ their first guns. Do check out the public reactions at www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nAfWfF4TjM Of course, the true intention is to urge these newbies to think twice about getting any gun. ‘Customers’ walk in to realise that each gun comes tagged with a dark history. There was a revolver a 5-year-old found in his parent’s bedroom used to shoot his 9-month old baby brother, a semi-auto a 2-year-old found in his mother’s bag that he shot her with in a supermarket, another used for a school massacre and the list goes on… Why let tragic history repeat with any gun?
While it is true that most might buy a gun for self-protection, every gun stowed supposedly out of sight yet for quick access makes it easy to be accidentally used unmindfully or deliberately abused in rage. The more guns lurk around in your homes, cars, offices and such, the more chances are there for trigger-unhappy deaths and injuries to occur. Gun ownership does increase risks of homicides, suicides and accidents. What makes things worse is that some do steal and smuggle previously registered arms for crime. True gun control arises from ensuring guns are not made easily available in the first place, and to reduce ‘loose canons’ already around.
With yet another student shooting incident in US, while those pro gun control would see it as another literally ‘grave’ reminder of the need for stricter gun control, those pro guns claim that if teachers had guns in those gun free zoned schools, students could have been saved. This is shaky reasoning, since statistics already show that the mere presence of guns increase the potential of needless deaths. Imagine teachers’ guns being snatched and stolen to pose more danger. Even a teacher whipping out a gun to take down a gunman might be mistaken by another teacher to be the gunman, who gets gunned down instead! Wild West chaos ensues.
Between 2003–2013 in US, 346,681 people were killed by gun violence, which is more deaths than by terrorists (312) in the same period. The first is a shocking 112 times more than the latter. More guns are clearly not the long-term solution for gun problems. Having pockets of gun free zones is not enough for the security of all. What required is a move towards a gun free nation, and world. As such, the Buddha was wise in ruling trade in arms as an unskilful livelihood. Imagine having gun shops everywhere, and there always being some who will buy bigger guns than yours. With an arms race on home ground, how much safety can you buy?
Although the cause of harm by weapons
are the Three Poisons of greed, hatred and delusion,
to create conditions to be harmed by them
is also to support growth of the Three Poisons.
With less sellers and buyers of weapons,
which express the Three Poisons,
there will be less harmed by weapons,
and less to be protected by weapons.
Should I Support Weapon Creation?
Welcome To The Wild Mild West
Ten always meet in a bar.
One day, one came with a gun.
He explained that it was for personal security.
There are now 6 chances (with the six-shooter) of being shot.
Fearing being shot,
the next day, all ten came with guns
They explained that it was for personal security.
There are now 60 chances of being shot.
Fearing being shot,
the day after, more in more bars came with guns.
Although all explained that is was for personal security,
the guns now created interpersonal insecurity.
Fearing being shot,
one day, one proposed doing away with guns.
Soon, from too many chances of being shot,
there was no chance of being shot.
Fear of harm can become harmful.
True security for all comes from cultivating
true loving-kindness, compassion and understanding for all.
This is the way to dissolve hatred, fear and ignorance… and guns.