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The Rendering Harmless Doctrine of Compassion - A Buddhist Approach to Violence

The Rendering Harmless Doctrine of Compassion - A Buddhist Approach to Violence

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Published by Charles Day
The Rendering Harmless Doctrine holds that only when understanding and compassion, rather than punishment, revenge, and retribution, motivate our responses to aggression, with the intention of rendering aggressors harmless without hurting them or others, will the cycle of anger and violence end and peace prevail.
The Rendering Harmless Doctrine holds that only when understanding and compassion, rather than punishment, revenge, and retribution, motivate our responses to aggression, with the intention of rendering aggressors harmless without hurting them or others, will the cycle of anger and violence end and peace prevail.

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Published by: Charles Day on Oct 25, 2008
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THE RENDERING HARMLESS DOCTRINE OF COMPASSIONA BUDDHIST APPROACH TO VIOLENCECharles Day*www.desmoinesmeditation.org & click above on “More from this Publisher”The Rendering Harmless Doctrine offers a way to honor and reconcile theduty to defend oneself, family, nation, and world with the religious andhumanitarian principles of compassion, forgiveness, non-violence, andpacifism.All responses to personal, community and global aggression should bemotivated by understanding and compassion—not anger, revenge, or retribution—with the intention of rendering aggressors harmless—not toharm or punish them. Motives, methods, and goals should be compatiblewith ending the suffering that causes and results from aggression and withrestoring peace for all concerned, perpetrators as well as victims.The Doctrine is based on three assumptions. First, individuals—not gangs,mobs, cells, or nations—are responsible for assault, mayhem, terrorism,atrocities, genocide, and war. Second, these individuals, acting alone or asmembers of groups or leaders of nations, can cause such horrific harm thatreasonable persons are morally obligated to stop them, using peacefulmeans and legal authority whenever possible. And third, historydemonstrates, religions teach, and social and psychological studies confirmthat anger begets anger, aggression begets aggression, and war begets war.Responding with anger and aggression causes, aggravates, and perpetuatesthe cycle of anger, violence, and aggression.If any government fails to protect or aggresses against its own citizens, or attacks or supports aggression against another government, appropriatelegal authorities should collectively decide whether, when, and how tointervene. Civil disobedience, economic sanctions, containment, regimechange, occupation, and other measures should avoid harming the innocent,while rendering harmless those responsible for the aggression.In the criminal justice system, capture, arrest, trial, sentencing, incarceration,and rehabilitation should be based on protecting the innocent, acceptedprinciples of law, restorative justice and restitution, mitigating circumstances,and the psychological and criminal history of the individual. The risk of 
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