Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by Geist, Apr 8, 2005.
I'm pesamistic yes but its the only way to survive.
On the other hand, it is my belief that (as you say) life is suffering which leads me to the quest for liberation, the end of suffering, and a part of that quest is compassion and forgiveness, i.e no to capital punishment.
if you look at life there are things that you can and things you can NOT
there you smile
If capital punishment is not acceptable, then how should people who commit the most horrific crimes, show no remorse, and have every intention of doing so again, be treated? Is the financial cost of keeping someone prisoner for decades simply because no one knows what else to do with them really benefiting society? And what of the fact that most prisoners have some chance of release at some point, where they may reoffend again?
Just to stir the mix...
Incarceration does seem to be the only option, for life if need be.
I think all religions at leasty imply that we should give bad people the opportunity to change their ways. That's what turning the other cheek is about isnt it?
Plus, all religions have a built in justice system anyway (Heaven/Hell or Karma) so as long as we can stop these individuals from killing again we have no real need to punish them further.
Whats the point of prisons though? They get better stuff than most people get in the outside world.
thank you for the post.
well... i suppose it would depend on where you are what the purpose of prison is.
for many beings, the purpose of prison is to punish criminals for their crimes. for other beings, the purpose of prison is to re-habilitate beings with criminal tendencies so that they can be re-integrated into society and become a contributing member.
with regards to what prisoners get... i suspect that, like most beings, you've not actually been in prison. this is a positive thing, i assure you.
also, i would venture to say that the a priori view here is of western prisons, in particular, Europe and America. there are, unfortunately, many prison systems which are far, far worse in the world.
if you have not seen the movie "Midnight Express" i would encourage you to do so. it will, perhaps, give you a glimpse into prison life which you may not have seen before.
the Tibetans whom are imprisoned in their own country by the Chinese invaders suffer deplorable conditions, torture, the forced renunication of their religious vows and so forth. prison for Tibetan Buddhists is a devastatingly long sentence with forced hard labor, unsanitary conditions, brutal torture and, for some, death. there is no desire to "re-habilitate" or reintegrate these beings into society. they are there for punishment for holding religious views which the Red Chinese occuppiers are opposed to.
to turn our gaze to American prisons for a moment.. the situation isn't all that much better in terms of the treatment of the prisoners and their conditions which they live in. i grant that, by and large, American prisoners have it far, far better than prisoners in Tibet.
If its so bad then maybe they should end their own suffering.
Or perhaps do what the Chinese concubines had to do. They were given a silk rope and expected to end it themselves for doing something gravely wrong. Perhaps the only freedom Tibetans have is death and if that is the case it would be a n euthinasia would it not?
thank you for the post.
this is, indeed, the path that they are engaged upon. of course, they are also practicing to end your suffering as well
to what period of Chinese history are you referring?
hmm... please understand... Buddhists don't believe in death, by the same token, we do not believe in birth, either. "constituant parts roll on, this alone is Right Discernment" ~ Buddhagosha.
it is a bit complex... suffice it to say that the ceasing of the physical form, in our view, does not constitute death in any meaningful sense.
your contention that prisoners get better "stuff" on the inside than beings on the outside is what was being addressed.
Late 1800's when Manchu's where in power (Dunno if they still are)
I always thought Buddhists thought of death as a part of living its just another step in life to be taken.
I admit that prisons in the East may not get better treatment and equal rights but its a known fact that poor people in the states try to get back into prison becasue its better for them.
It can also be said that people really don't get reabilitaited through prisons because once they are out there is a slim chance of employment and those people are so used to prison life that they forget how to function properly in the outside world.
thank you for the post.
the Communists are in power and have been since the revolution October 1, 1949. of course, the real atrocities were not going to happen until the Cultural Revolution in 1966.
if it helps... you can think of the various Vehicles of Buddhism like the various groups of Christians... we have the Orthodox (Theravedan), the Reform (Mahayana) and the Mystical (Vajrayana). though it is much different than Christianity for, in our tradition, a being will always start at the same place, the Theravedan Buddhism. depending upon causes and conditions, the being will move into the Mahayana and, finally, into the Vajrayana.
naturally, as this is the view of the Varjayana, other Buddhists may disagree
your view would be more in line with orthodox Buddhist thought. in the Reform and Mystical paths, even such notions as "death" and "life" are seen as ultimately unreal.
have you ever met someone that has spent time in a maximum security prison, from any nation? i'm not really aware of any beings that view prison as being "better" for them than freedom and liberty.
i am aware that some beings become instutionalized and thus have a certain need to be back in the system.
it really depends on the being and the sort of employment that one seeks. it is a fair statement that many prisons are not really interested in rehabilitation and, frankly, there are quite a few people that think prison should be about punishment, not rehabilitation. those folks certainly don't make the situation any easier to deal with.
having been incarcerated before, speaking for myself, i have no desire to return to that sort of situation.
I think that this is possibly a very important point to make - I can't help but feel that Western society has not yet decided if prison is a method of social punishment, or social retraining.
I think for Pre-meditated murder (murder in the first degree), the option of the death penalty should be available. For other hienous crimes, life without parole is appropriate. Of course there are exceptions to the rule.
Here in Maryland, two people (a man and a teen of 17), went on a deliberate killing spree here and in Virgina, resulting in 10 deaths of innocent people (plus two "lucky" victims who were seriously injured, but not killed), including a 13 year old boy at a school playground.
Though the teen did most of the shooting, he received life without parole, however, the man received the death penalty. The teen's life was spared because society is loathe to execute a "child" (someone under the age of eighteen).
Brian and Vaj are correct in stating that prisons in the US are less and less interested in re-habilitating prisoners, and leaning more towards simply causing punishment.
Being a law enforcement type, I too spent a night in jail, just to see what it was like. It is no picnic I assure you. There is no comfort, and no compassion. There is only fear, and apprehensiveness.
The night shift did not know I was in law enforcement, and handled me quite sternly (as they did everyone else). But the look on their faces when I was let out by the morning shift and given back my uniform and badge, and then told why I was in jail, was precious (think slack jawed, and red faced embarrased).
I looked them square in the eyes and suggested that they would do well to try what I did, to get a better perspective, but I doubt they ever followed up.
You mentioned an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. That would be a very barbaric approach, and not condusive for correcting the behavior of one.
Again, in Maryland here, they make use of "road gangs" (strictly voluntary), wherein the inmates perform community service in order to earn points for early release (and to get out of the prison boundaries for a few hours).
I think that too is a humane approach to help prisoners get their heads screwed on straight.
Anyway, that is my two cents.
In the US, they get three meals a day, and 25 minutes to eat those meals. They get one hour out of 24 to step outside, into the prison yard. They get a 3 inch thick mat on a steel bunk to sleep on. They muster three times a day for role call. They wear a prison uniform. They get shots and medical check ups (but only within the last 15 years). TV, books, and an hour in the yard are privileges, not rights. Some can work in the prison shops (another privilege), for about 50 cents an hour. They get to go the prison chapel once a week, for non-denominational services. They are subject to personal and cell searches at anytime, day or night. Lights are out by 2200, and revely is at 0600. Their mail is screened (both incoming and outgoing). They have no right to privacy. Their toilet is bolted into the cell wall and made of stainless steel with no toilet seat. They must use the bathroom in the presence of other cell mates. Their shower is an open area...again, no privacy.
They are often subject to assault (physical and sexual), and sympathy is lean by the guards and staff.
It is a very forboding world behind the wire and bars.
as the Mahatma Gandhi said...
"an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
Aren't we half blind already?
Ever heard "Love in a Refrigerator Box"? (Austin Lounge Lizards) ...
No, but I have heard of "Love by the refrigerator light" by Alice Cooper (circa 1974)...
well... i wouldn't say that we are half blind already... i think that the Mahatma was being literal with his statement... which is usually how people mean the "eye for an eye" thing.
this is, in my view, simply revenge or retribution which has no place in a correctional system.
if the system is not a correctional system, but a punishment system, then that would have a place.
i suspect that "correctional system" may simply be a euphemism for "punishment system" which everyone knows and they just turn a blind eye to it, until someone they love or care about is wrongfully imprisoned.
then, of course, the rail agaist everything that they used to support and feel ashamed and foolish for their previous position.
Okay, with the execution last night of Stanley "Tookie" Williams in California, I thought I would ressurect this thread. If you are not familiar with Stanley Williams, you can google his name and find lots of information.
I am against the death penalty. I am of the opinion that prisons should exist to rehabilitate, not to punish. I think of it in a similar fashion as parenting. If a child does something wrong, "punishment" should be implemented only as a tool to teach the child how or why what they did is unnacceptable. The same with "criminals."
That Stanley Williams was executed, in my opinion, is unacceptable, unexcusable, and a grave symptom of the ills of our militaristic, patriarchal society. Here is a man who was nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize while in prison, who wrote books for children educating them about gangs and alternatives to gangs, and who may not have commited the murders for which he was executed.
Five times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Chidren's books that educate against gangs and gang violence. If the prison system in California--in this country at large--was at all concerned about rehabilitation, not only would Stanley Williams not have been executed, he would have been spotlighted as an example of the power of prison to rehabilitate. That this did not happen, that instead he was put to death first thing this morning by lethal injection, illustrates that not only does our prison system not value rehabilitation, but also that it does not value human life.
This is outrageous, sickening, and only serves to motivate the many people who strive for compassion, equanimity, and equality in their personal lives and in society to fight against the misguided, repressive, inhuman and at root, very sick powers that be. As is apparent, I count myself among those people. I regret that I was not more active in the outcry against the capital punishment of Stanley Williams that surged in the weeks leading up to his execution. Now that this state crime has gone through, I know I will be raising my voice and my spirit until some sense of spiritual human sanity returns to the majority of people.
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