Catholicism & Buddhism: War and Peace Essay

Roman Catholics and Buddhism both don’t like violence (war) but believe in peace. Roman Catholics must not love violence instead; they must promote peace whenever possible. They were once taught that pacifists were the enemies of humankind and that war was just a responsibility if it was a ‘just war’.

But now this is no longer an official teaching and that Catholics have a pacifist tradition where churches argue and refuse to participate in violence such as capital punishment and warfare, but Roman Catholics still believe in Just War only for self defense but not to take offense at first, war is wrong for Roman Catholics, but they must use self defense for whatever cause there is to protect the religion, this makes non-violence A MUST to promote peace in order to be a disciple of Christ as Christ says that peace comes from God and not from the world.

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This is peace of soul, peace of mind, peace of heart which surpasses all mere human endeavors and understanding. An example of this from the catechism is: Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons — especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons — to commit such crimes (CCC 2314).

Buddhism possibly has the best record of all religions for non-violence, Buddhism is just as similar as they reject violence and clearly are pacifists from their teachings as Buddhists say ‘it is better to be killed than to kill’. The Buddha has advised everyone not to kill, whereas if a person is threatened, they are not allowed to kill out of self-protection only try to use their words to talk out of it.

Some Buddhists are very active in promoting peace, where during the Vietnam War; some Buddhist monks burned themselves to death in self sacrificing protest against the war, showing their commitment towards peace as how they follow the five precepts. There is a story about Buddha, where there were two clans fighting over water rights as Buddha was born in one of the clans, they were about to go to war just as soon as Buddha convinced the two clans saying that Human life was more important than water rights. Following examples show what Dhammapada wrote: “Victory breeds hatred.

The defeated live in pain. Happily the peaceful live giving up victory and defeat. (Dp. 15, 5)”. This shows how similar both Buddhism and Roman Catholics are towards their belief in peace to promote it and that war will not solve anything besides cause more trouble as they both see it as the wrong thing to do. The Similarity between the two religions shows peace is their main aspect and war would not resolve any conflict, having to only promote peace. Roman Catholics and Buddhism were both taught to love their enemies and not to cause hatred against each other, as peace was the key to solution.

From the teachings of God, he taught us not to hate your enemies, just as Jesus said “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. ” John 13:34. This was one of his most famous teachings, as he taught us not only to love our friends and family, but our enemies as he explained that there is nothing special about loving those who love us back. Since Roman Catholics don’t like war, but are just war, they must be toId to love your enemies during war, no matter what violence; it must not come out of hatred.

Loving you’re enemies give a sign of peace to others, in doing this, this will resolve conflict and war, that is why Roman Catholic’s rarely go to wars in the modern times now. War is not an encouragement in Catholicism to fix things, that’s why from God’s teachings, loving you’re enemies is expected. Jesus said to his followers that you should not take revenge or hate against those who had hurt you, just like how the Jews crucified him, as he still said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. ” Luke 23:34.

Another example is when Jesus said “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do well to those who hate you” Luke 6:27. By doing this, this is creating peace for the world just as God wanted us to do, and not to use violence and create war against those you hate. In Buddhism, Buddha taught his monks to follow the Four Immeasurable which is also called “Brahma-Vihara”. The four immeasurable is: Loving Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity. This allows teaching those who follow him that these four immeasurable or divine states will help towards loving your enemies.

Buddha advised his followers to not to retaliate when provoked, but to practice patience and forbearance at all times this means even during war, a particular reason why Buddhist’s never go to war in order to follow Buddha’s principles. In doing this, you are to learn the truth by your own direct experience and to learn how to control yourself from anger and hatred to have inner peace within yourself and the world. They choose to extinct all of hatred, greed and delusion which they see as the roots of evil.

These roots of evil may possibly involve in war too, how they must take out the reason for having war as a resolution, because of the roots of evil, as their main general aim is to have eternal peace. As Dhammapada said ‘Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world; it is appeased by love. ’ (Dhammapada I 5) telling us to not use hatred against your enemies who hate you, and to use love. One of Buddha’s most powerful examples that stress the need to love your enemy no matter how cruelly he treats you: “Even if thieves carve you limb from limb with a double-handed saw, if you make your mind hostile you are not following my teaching. Kamcupamasutta, Majjhima-Nikkaya I ~ 28-29. And lastly another example saying that you will only harm yourself from your own hate and jealousy ‘No enemy can harm one so much as one’s own thoughts of craving, hate and jealousy’ (Dhammapada 42) In order to achieve peace, his followers must follow his teachings to have inner peace; peace would not exist unless you have practiced tolerance from Buddha’s teachings. Comparing these two religions, show both not to hate enemies and not to use retaliation as they both say it will cause trouble instead, use love and have patience no matter how much they hurt you.

One of the most important rules towards war and peace that Roman Catholics and Buddhism both believe in is that you should not kill. To Roman Catholics, it is believed to be the deadliest sin and best known commandment. This is applied to capital punishment, war, abortion, and obviously killing and unlawful taking of life. In some way we are in the image of God, meaning, if you kill a person, you are attacking God and what God has created. Jesus prohibits his disciples from killing, but also from getting angry.

Jesus tried creating peace by using the Ten Commandments that God has made involving “Thou shall not kill”. These are the rules that God has placed, not obeying them means that you have sinned, not following God’s rules and end in punishment, but God is a forgiving, loving God. Killing is prohibited but to some Christians it is limited, as they see killing on a battlefield is not a sin as long it is from self defense. If someone was in war and in a situation where their opposition is bound to kill the person, they are allowed to kill in self defense to protect its own life.

But war is not necessary to Roman Catholics as if killing in war is just like taking God’s life as they are within them and the superior of the person’s life, not the person. Instead choose not to kill either so neither both the person and the opposition will not get killed. Stopping war is helping to develop peace, a reason not to use war as a solution. One example shows from the bible is ‘You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement. (Matthew 5:21) Buddhism is exactly the same, and would not allow killing.

Monks are required to keep their precepts strictly without compromise meaning they cannot kill for whatever reason. Buddhists are advised to avoid from anything to do with loss of life or harm to other people. Buddha advised everyone to abstain from killing, if this is not followed, Buddha’s followers believe to be under negative karma meaning having to face the consequences from their broken principles that they did not obey. But although Buddha has learnt this from his own experience, this means that he laid out principles and not rules, meaning that you have a choice to follow the precepts he made.

Buddha believes that killing is not allowed even from self protection. But some Buddhist choose to have a different path in life, allowing themselves to only kill in self defense and protection from others just like Roman Catholics. Some Buddhists fear going to war as they believe in karma, having to kill someone in war will may receive negative karma, meaning a consequence of what you did or punishment. This is why some Buddhist’s do not go to war but also to promote peace, war does not help develop peace so Buddhist tries to convince people not to go to war, instead use other solutions.

Buddhist’s in general focus on peace, which is why they are Pacifists, meaning they are not allowed to go to war. ‘All tremble at punishment, all fear death; comparing others with oneself, one should neither kill nor cause to kill’ (Dhammapada 129). Meaning it is better to be killed than kill to deal with what they have done. Take the example of the first precept which is to undertake the training to avoid taking the life of beings. This precept applies to all living beings not just humans. All beings have a right to their lives and that right should be respected.

Roman Catholic’s believe in the Just War Theory, meaning that they find warfare justifiable just as if to defend their religion against any other religions and there must be a just cause. most of Buddhist’s believe in Pacifism meaning that they believe in no violence at all and refuse weapons. Roman Catholic’s rarely go to war nowadays as they believe that there is other ways to resolve conflict. Their main factor is peace and Roman Catholics try to promote peace but not through war. While Roman Catholic’s first believed in Pacifism when Constantine became Emperor and made the religion official.

This is when Augustine faced the problem and went against the fact that Catholicism were under Pacifism and which he wrote on the Roman doctrine of Justum Bellum and the old testament stories of wards fault on Israel’s behalf, was commanded by God: “So Joshua subdues the whole region… he left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. “ Joshua 10:40-42. Because of Augustine, this has changed Roman Catholics to Just War. Buddhism on the other hand is found to be most commonly known as Pacifists.

From Buddha’s experiences, he did not have to fight in physical wars, instead to stand up against evil. A true Pacifist like Buddha would use words to persuade someone who wants to attack. People who follow Buddha choose to follow his principles and that is not to part take in war as his advice to his followers, not as a commandment or rule but to not cause war and to make peace which is makes Buddhism clearly pacifists within its teachings also not having any scriptures giving any support to the use of violence as a way to resolve conflict.

Being Pacifist shows a sign that peace is the solution to all problems, Buddhism is chosen to be Pacifist for this reason as they believe peace can be rewarded for being pacifist and extinguish war. War means nothing to Buddhist as they see that it will not help their problems, instead they use verbal ways to resolve things. An example to support Buddhism being Pacifist is when. Ven Thich Nhat Hanh (Buddhist) says “Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals.

I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life. ” –Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh. Another example would be one of Gautama Buddha’s quotes as he says “To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others”. The first of the five precepts that all Buddhists should follow is “Avoid killing, or harming any living thing. ” Saying that Violence is definitely not allowed as they are Pacifists.

Comparing both Roman. Catholic’s and Buddhism is that they may be almost similar as that Roman Catholics definitely do not support war as so does Buddhism, but Catholics must protect its own religion and have a justifiable reason to go to war, when Buddhism is not allowed violence at all strictly. Buddhism is based on a beliefs who is lead by Gautama Buddha, he made principles in order to promote peace for the future, not rules and commandments that has to be followed which has no lawgiver, Roman Catholics are different as We follow God who is the lawgiver and gives us teachings and commandments and rules in Catholicism for peace and forgiveness.

Roman Catholics believe in One Triune God meaning God consisting of three persons. The three persons are the Father, The Son and Holy Spirit. At first God created the universe, leaving commands for his messengers such as Moses who left the 10 commandments to follow God’s rules. These 10 commandments must be followed, but during war, as the commandment say “You shall not murder” you are only allowed to kill in self defense or in a tough situation when your life is threatened and during war your life is always at risk so it may be acceptable.

Following this rule will allow to develop peace, but only one of the commandments has to do with war, but as long it is in self defense, God will forgive. The 10 commandments were made for moral imperatives and to create peace in God’s world as he promised to receive the gift of eternal life to keep God’s commandments. These Ten Commandments are: ONE: ‘You shall have no other gods before me. ‘ TWO: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. THREE: ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. ‘ FOUR: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. ‘ FIVE: ‘Honour your father and your mother. ‘ SIX: ‘You shall not murder. ‘

SEVEN: ‘You shall not commit adultery. ‘ EIGHT: ‘You shall not steal. ‘ NINE: ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. ‘ TEN: ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s. If you follow these Ten Commandments, you will have eternal after life as Jesus Christ said: “… If you want to enter into life, keep the Commandments” Matthew 19:17. Buddhism does not have a God to follow, though Buddha learnt from his own experience throughout his life, to learn the values and preach his teachings to his followers such as the five precepts which were known as principles not as rules, meaning that these are things you should be advised to follow in the future and have a choice whether to follow the 5 precepts or not, as it is based on beliefs.

Buddha believed that human suffering could be overcome by following a particular way of life. The 5 precepts will lead that way of life for the followers and in doing this; they believe it will prevent from misfortune and to reach their ultimate goal which is to reach Nirvana for from state free of suffering and forever peace, it is a cycle of reincarnation and it can only be experienced directly. Buddha has a special duty to work for the establishment of peace in the world.

Same goes with Roman Catholics as Buddhist also only have one precept that has to do with war which is “Refrain From Killing”, but as Buddha as the monks leader, they have their own choice whether to follow it or not, the 5 precepts were only to be made so that you make the right choice in the future. War is not considered at all in Buddhism as what Buddha said, Buddha said that war or violence will only cause more conflict, peace must be attained at all times which is the reason why the 5 precepts were made.

By placing principles and giving teachings and advice to his followers, he is promoting and establishing peace. The 5 precepts are: 1. Refrain From Killing 2. Refrain from Stealing 3. Refrain from Lying, Slandering, Gossiping and Spreading Rumours 4. Refrain from Sexual Misconduct 5. Refrain from Taking Intoxicants As Buddha has said “I reached in experience the nirvana which is unborn, unrivalled, secure from attachment, undecaying and unstained. This condition is indeed reached by me which is deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand, tranquil, excellent, beyond the reach of mere logic, subtle, and o be realized only by the wise”. Saying that He has been through all experience as a spiritual teacher to reach the Nirvana and to follow his teachings and you will be able to reach Nirvana too. Comparing both Buddhism and Roman Catholics is different because as Buddhism is only based on beliefs from a spiritual teacher to reach for peace as goes for the same for Roman Catholics only though that they have only one Almighty God who placed rules and commandments to follow for peace and everlasting life.

Buddhism self sacrifice themselves in order for peace to be claimed and will do whatever it takes to eliminate the problem, when in Catholicism, self sacrifice or suicide is not allowed under any circumstances as it is against the religion. Anyone who is Roman Catholic is unable to self sacrifice or commit suicide knows that it’s not allowed towards the Holy Scriptures. Suicide is caused by the choice of the taking of one’s life, to Roman Catholics; you must preserve your own life that God has created.

In Catholic Church teachings, a man does not take total control over his own life since the owner one must be superior over his life which is God. God is the master and superior over a man’s life from what he created. Committing suicide intentionally is taking control over God’s superiority and right of ownership, in doing this you are not constructing peace, rather killing and making violence against God’s creation which is against the 10 commandments which is made for peace even if committing suicide in order to get peace back such as protesting against war is against the Holy Scriptures.

St Paul reminds us, “You have been purchased, and at a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:20) . From the Catechism tells us “Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of Life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for His honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of” (The Catechism of the Catholic Church #2280) .

Buddhism does not see death as the end of life, therefore suicide to them is no escape from anything. In the early times of Buddhism, Buddha accepted suicide to escape from suffering as long it is not done in Hate, Fear, or anger such as for example a irreversible painful illness. Buddhism believes after the end of someone’s life, it continues on to the next world which is Nirvana which allows Buddhist to be free from suffering in the world and live in peace.

Some people suicide to protest against war or government that goes against peace, such as Vietnamese monks that protested against the government in which they self sacrificed themselves by burning themselves to fight for peace. Sources to support this is when de La Vallee Poussin wrote: “We have therefore good reason to believe (1) that suicide is not an ascetic act leading to spiritual progress and to nirvaa. na, and (2) that no saint or arhat– a spiritually perfect being– will kill himself.

But we are confronted with a number of stories which prove beyond dispute that we are mistaken in these two important conclusions. ” Also as Buddha says “”There is nothing intrinsically wrong with taking one’s own life, if not done in hate, anger or fear” (1993:137). ” This shows that suicide is allowed in Buddhism as they believe in the afterlife for peace, in which the case is of committing suicide for peace as the example of protests, when Roman Catholics believe that it is not allowed for that God has superiority of everyone’s life as he created them and to take control.

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Keown, Damien (1996) – Buddhism and Suicide — The Case of Channa. (Internet) University of London, Gold Smiths. Available from: http://www. urbandharma. org/udharma/suicide. html O’Brien, Barbara – War and Buddhism. (Internet) Unknown Publication. Available From: http://buddhism. about. com/od/basicbuddhistteachings/a/war. htm Unknown Author. Buddhist Ethics. (Internet). Unknown Publication: http://www. buddhanet. net/e-learning/budethics. htm Trembath, Kerry (2008) – What is Buddhist Perspective on War and Peace?. Internet) Unknown Publication. Available From: http://www. quangminh. org. au/index. php? option=com_content&view=article&id=172:what-is-buddhist-perspective-on-war-and-peace&catid=28:what-is-buddhism&Itemid=47. Unknown Author – Official Catholic teaching on War. (Internet) Unknown Publication. Available From: http://www. beliefnet. com/Faiths/Christianity/Catholic/2003/03/Official-Catholic-Teaching-On-War. aspx Knight, Kevin – Suicide. (Internet) Unknown