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In Buddhism, the main duality considered is generally "suffering" and "enlightenment". Quite different to "good" and "evil" or the "good" and "bad" lens through which we often experience life. Or is it? Evil is a pretty loaded term. Can we ever know whether something is wholly "good" or "bad"? A lot of this is about the stories we choose to tell ourselves. "Good is a point of view Anakin" - is thinking "beyond" good and bad just a trap that leads to us being evil?
Concept: Good and Evil
- Buddhism suggests we have an innate sense of 'good' and 'evil'. If we are looking to be kind, then it just follows naturally right?
- There's no sense of "absolute evil" in Buddhism really.
- In Buddhist reincarnation, a demon can use karma to attain rebirth as something less unpleasant. "The suffering of demons in the hell realms is invoked negatively to warn practitioners to be more diligent in their spiritual efforts—in part to avoid rebirth among these unfortunate beings."
- This is not at all an idea unique to Buddhism
- Beyond Good and Evil - Nietzsche
Parable: The Horse
A farmer and his son had a beloved horse who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbours exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”
A few days later, the horse returned home, leading a few wild horses back to the farm as well. The neighbours shouted out, “Your horse has returned, and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”
Later that week, the farmer’s son was trying to break one of the horses and she threw him to the ground, breaking his leg. The neighbours cried, “Your son broke his leg, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.”
A few weeks later, soldiers from the national army marched through town, recruiting all boys for the army. They did not take the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg. The neighbours shouted, “Your boy is spared, what tremendous luck!” To which the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
- What are some of your favourite resources for further reading on Buddhism? (Alice, Canberra)
- Full Catastrophe Living - Jon Kabat-Zinn
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck - Mark Manson
https://bit.ly/3EVIgPd Jay Mavani: Parable of the horse - Maybe so, maybe not. We'll see.
The full parable of the horse along with an analysis of the parable by Jay
https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195393521/obo-9780195393521-0171.xml Oxford Bibliographies: Demons and the demonic in Buddhism
The summary of a long-read analysis on Buddhist concepts of the demonic