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Daily Connect: On Killing our Enemy

“In the Shambhala warrior tradition, we say you should only have to kill an enemy once every thousand years.” –Chogyam Trungpa

So, Osama bin Laden is dead. We killed him. There really was no choice. We were clearly in an “us or them” situation and if we didn’t kill him, he was going to continue to do everything in his power to kill us.

As Buddhists, we are supposed to abhor all killing, but what do you do when someone is trying to kill you? Obviously great theologians have pondered this question for millennia and I’m not going to try to pile on with my point of view, which would be totally useless.

Instead, I’ll pose this question: How do you kill your enemy in a way that puts a stop to violence rather than escalates it?

Strangely, I keep coming back to the same rather ordinary conclusion: the answer is in our ability to face our most intense emotions. When we know how to relate to our anger, hatred, despair, and frustration fully and properly, they self-liberate. When we don’t, when we can’t tolerate them and therefore act them out, we create enormous sorrow and confusion.

Look at your own reaction this morning.

Was there even a hint of vengefulness or gladness at Osama bin Laden’s death? If so, that is a real problem. Whatever suffering he may have experienced cannot reverse even one moment of the suffering he caused. If you believe his death is a form of compensation, you are deluded.

There has been an outpouring of misdirected jubilation, as if a contest had been won. Nothing has been won. Unlike winning a sporting event, this doesn’t mean that our team has triumphed. Far from it. There is only one team and it is us.

One of us is gone, one apparently horrific, terrible, vicious one of us…is gone. I don’t feel regret for him or about this. I’m regretful for the rest of us who are now left thinking that this is a cause for celebration. It is not.  It is a cause for sorrow at our continued inability to realize that there is no such thing as us and them; that whatever we do to cause harm to one will harm us all.

When we hate, we cause hate. When we think we have won by vanquishing our enemy, we have lost. In killing Osama bin Laden, “they” lose because one of their leaders is gone. But we lose too, because we have deepened the causes and conditions that lead to more hatred and its consequences. This is not over.

Then, what to do? I don’t really know, but for me, rather than cheering on this day, I’m going to rededicate myself to the idea of brotherhood towards all, even those that want me dead—and not because I’m some kind of really good person. I’m not. Because I know it’s the only way to stay alive—in the only kind of world I want to inhabit.

Perhaps the way to kill your enemy as a way of putting a stop to violence rather than escalating is to shift our view of “enemy” altogether. Our enemy is not one person or country or belief system. It is our unwillingness to feel the sorrow of others—who are none other than us.

So take aim at this enemy completely and precisely. Feel your sadness for us and them so fully and completely that all boundaries are dissolved and we are left standing face to face, human to human, each feeling the other’s rage and despair as our own, one world to care for.

If you’d like to try to generate such a switch, please try loving kindness meditation. Here is audio instruction in the practice.

Follow Susan on Twitter.

“…when you do not produce another force of hatred, the opposing force collapses.”– Chogyam Trungpa

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"no choice."

There is never no choice. Even nonbuddhists know that.

bin laden death

Revenge matters
Face matters
All small things
Are a big deal
With a gallery
Around you
My friends is a big deal
Not who killed who...
Or why?

by an ordinary lankan

Joe Niederberger

Of course there was a choice. The first sentence in Susan's piece is just wrong. He could have been taken alive. If you can't see that, you can't see anything. This was not self-defense. Nor was the Iraq invasion.
You can meditate from now til doomsday but if you can't see the obvious what's it all for.

You can't take someone of this caliber alive.

We had to kill him, period. Imagine the hostage situation we would have to deal with if we had taken him and held him prisoner.

The radicals will surely kidnap every American by the bust they can abroad, including children in Disneyland Paris, etc. - and they would use them as bargaining chips for the release of Osama.

My feeling is

My feeling is, Bin Laden, was fairly evil I can not weep for the death of such a cruel human being. He created this karma for himself. Still, I could never celebrate the death of a human being either. To celebrate such a thing, would be to give up my humanity to his evil. I refuse to give him that kind of power. I am sorry for his family and friends who lost someone they loved. I am unendingly glad that he can no longer do harm to the world. I would prefer that they caught him and put him in jail. But, i don't know what happened in the moment in which he was shot. If he attacked the soldier that shot him first, then the soldier had no choice but to defend himself. I could not and would not fault american troops or any human being for killing him. I think in the USA many have stopped seeing Bin Laden as a human being, a long time ago. They instead see him as a goal to be obtained. So it makes sense when we finally acheive the goal that they cheer and have parties, still blissfully forgetting that a man has been killed a human man.

A discription of our time!Created by us!!!(

"The perverted fear of violence,chokes the smile on every face,and common sense is ringing out her bell,this aint no technological breakdown,oh lord this is the road to hell"!! (From Chris Rea "greatest hits" 1994/song-Road to hell)

Pretty prophetic me thinks!!!

A First Step Toward a More Hopeful Future

When I try to imagine how I might respond to the death of someone who had done horribly violent things to my family and loved ones, I am reminded of and inspired by the reactions of the Amish families and community following the violent hostage taking and murders that took place in their schoolhouse in 2006. These innocent children suffered immensely, being held hostage at gunpoint and watching four of their classmates brutally murdered by a man who ultimately killed himself as well. The parents of these children did not cry out for vengeance. They reached out to the family of the killer and comforted THEM. They set up a charitable fund for the killer's family and mourned with them at his funeral. The father of one of the victims was quoted as saying, "He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he's standing before a just God." Following the incident several Amish scholars explained that the Amish willingness to forgo vengeance does not undo the tragedy or pardon the wrong, but rather constitutes a first step toward a future that is more hopeful. There is a huge lesson here on how we, as compassionate, civilized people can and should respond to violence and tragedy in our midst.

a sad commentary...

It's quite amazing that the people who danced in the streets at his death so quickly forgot how appalled and furious we Americans were when they did the same at the deaths on 9/11. How wise it would be if we set a better example of what we wish and expect of others.


I think it is possible to celebrate someone's death without taking any pleasure in their suffering -- an in fact still feeling compassion for them. In the case of bin Laden, his being killed means that he will have no further opportunity to create bad karma for himself, and will cause no further harm to other sentient beings. That, at least, is worth celebrating, even if other aspects of the situation aren't.

he also no longer has the

he also no longer has the opportunity to stop creating bad karma for himself. The choice is not his. I'm not saying he would have, of course, but who knows? I have yet to be swayed to the idea that murder is ever ok.

It's really two separate

It's really two separate issues, whether he should have been killed or captured, and whether we should celebrate with jubilation. I think we should have gone after him, and I'm not particularly upset that we killed him rather than put him on trial (after all, he has repeatedly claimed credit for mass murder on many, many occasions, and has vowed to commit more in the future, on the order of millions --- he was a legitimate target). But celebrate? No. I am only saddened at all of the deaths before and to come.

great discusion...

As to whether we had to kill Bin Laden and "We really had no choice"... i have really been struggling with this. I guess a similar question is "Would you have killed Hitler?" if you had had the opportunity while he was terrorizing the world? Unequivocally, i answer, Yes. Tho i disagree with the comment about there being "type A people' who are pure evil, there are certainly people who are singularly capable of transforming their personal issues into massive and violent outcomes, and taking them out of the picture alleviates the situation to a large degree.

Is Bin Laden a Hitler?   I don't know. Killing Bin Laden certainly doesn't end the threat of terrorism he reigned over. It gives a martyr to the cause of fundamentalist Islamic jihadists, and I don't think the question today is whether there will be retaliation, but when. As the terror alerts go up today, I certainly feel less safe, not more safe. Dropping my son off at school, I felt sad about the increased police presence there (he goes to the same school as the Obama girls), and police were evident everywhere as I drove to work thru DC. Will Bin Laden's terror movement die out without his leadership and inspiration? I hope so. But retaliation seems likely.

But it is worth looking at the causes of unrest... what turns people to this movement? Why do they hate the west and the US? What other ways can diplomacy and  understanding be fostered? We are giving 3 billion dollars a year to Pakistan alone... can some of this money be used effectively to increase understanding rather than tension and mistrust? I think of Greg Mortenson's book Three Cups of Tea and I think it has to be possible.

And it's also worth remembering that the US armed and funded both Sadam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden (when he was part of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan) without thinking through the consequences, when the Cold War against the USSR was our priority... strange karma that these 2 leaders became the US' primary enemy once the USSR unraveled. Cycles of violence just repeat... how do you unlock them? How do you step out of that?


By stopping. There is always a choice.



three cups of tea

are you aware of the controversy over whether the book? 60 Minutes and Sebastian Junger have raised serious questions about how much of the money was spent to build and staff schools and how much went to generally enrich mortensen.

that is sad.

eep... i did not know of the controversy, but am sad to learn of it. I suppose it does not change the inspiration the book has been to many, even if some of it is fiction, and the author profited unfairly. We have two young kayaker friends who at age 24 were ispired by Mortenson's work to do something similar in a remote part of Tajikistan, and have been building a school there and bringing books. And I had a chance to meet and work with Susan Roth last year who co-authored the children's version, Listen to the Wind, which we used to teach our students about the projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan (and our ability to help people across the world). I am very sorry to hear that it is based on a fraud.

But i guess i am thinking more of the fact that if we are going to affect change and move out of the cycle of violence, what actaully works is simply being in the same space with those we consider the "other" or the "enemy" in some way that allows our shared humanity to connect. I am inspired by the work of Paula Green of the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, who does reconciliation work in areas of conflict around the world. Bringing people to the same table and helping them find a way to actaully listen to each other and find that what they want is fundamentally, as you said, to be safe and happy. Also the work of Fleet Maul and others who run Bearing Witness retreats in Rwanda. And Paul Haller in Northern Ireland... similarly bringing people from opposite sides of a conflict together to listen to each other.

It seems no different than the smallest detail of our everydays lives. Can we listen to others when we are in disagreement? Can we really hear where they are coming from? But I feel like if we can begin with the attention to those smallest moments, every day, then we can also begin to see the way to listen as a culture to the grievance of another culture or group of people... no one is right or wrong. But there is hope in the putting away of arms and just... being together. listening to each other. and hopefully understanding something that reveals our interdependence and our unseparateness.

Thank you

for giving voice to my feelings. I was feeling alone yesterday.

bin laden's motives

in my very first meditation retreat, I was told that all people want to be happy and safe (along with healthy and at peace). I haven't learned anything over the years that does a better job of explaining why people do what they do and how, at the core, they are just like me. zealots want, as much as anyone, to be safe and happy, and for their loves ones to be safe and happy. most of us are deluded about how to get that -- we think that ipads or chocolate or being thin or being drunk or whatever will do it. extemists think that killing/oppressing everyone who disagrees with us will do it.

I don't understand bin laden's thinking or actions. but I do believe that his motive -- to be happy and safe -- is the same as mine. and yours. from there, we differ wildly.

The only way to look at it

your words are so true and is a wonderful way to achieve peace to us all. Meditation is the way to understand our most complexing questions as well as simple day to day things. Learning compassion, from my own experience, changed my world for the good. I commit myself fully to the "Three Jewels" of Buddhist life.

I've written before about the

I've written before about the sad, regretful necessity of some wars, some violence --- which isn't necessarily a Buddhist position but it is something I feel from my own samurai background. But my reaction to the death of Bin Laden was not jubilation or celebration; for one thing, his death isn't the end of terrorism, it's not the end of this struggle we've been engaged in, it's just one more stage of it. For another, it's still a death. And finally, his death only reminds me of all the death that preceded it, caused both by him and by our reaction to him, both justified and not; and the deaths to come. It's a somber, sad moment to reflect on what just happened and what is still happening to us and to the world. A weapon is an ill-omened instrument, even when there is some justification in the use of the weapon. It's always something to regret. "Conduct your victory like a funeral", said Lao Tzu. That's how I feel today.

Well written article

I too was disturbed by my fellow Americans cheering his death. : Verses to consider when considering Bin Laden's death - "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls..." Proverbs 24:17 and "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live." Ezekiel 33:11. Perhaps I would feel different had I lost a family member in 9/11. If you want to see something powerful check out. Phyllis Rodriguez and Aicha el-Wafi have a powerful friendship born of unthinkable loss. Rodriguez' son was killed in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001; el-Wafi's son Zacarias Moussaoui was convicted of a role in those attacks and is serving a life sentence. In hoping to find peace, these two moms have come to understand and respect one another.


One final thought.like it or not Bin Laden is just a reflection of all of us. Remember we were once in bed with this so called monster in the 80s when it served our national agenda. It's interesting how when 100,000 Africans machete each other to pieces most in society turn a blind eye or says "Yawn, what a tragedy. The UN should really do something about that". But when we get some perceived or real potential kink in the flow of our oil we'll drop a couple 100,000 troops half way around the world for a decade or more?

What are you talking about?

Last time I checked, bin laden masterminded an attack on American soil. Not a reflection on anyone I know.


Last I checked he was supplied with both the ways and the means by Americans at the highest levels of the executive branch to satisfy multinational military-industrial interests. Not a personal reflection on anyone I know directly, but perhaps a reflection on our collective unwillingness to not participate in (or our laziness regarding) actively reigning in our government and its abuse of powers both domestic and foreign. Eisenhower did warn us more than half a century ago.

To the person who equated bin

To the person who equated bin laden and another poster's sentiments with a string of "just like you"s. Bin laden's sentiments / ideas are not even close to morally equivalent, for the simple fact that his ideas rested necessarily on the denial of humanity to certain others, be they woman, homosexuals, non-fundamentalist radical moslems, jews etc. there is no way he and his ilk would make a good neighbor. not really live and let live type folks.
and the statement that he believed he was helping the palestians is pretty naive. do some research. his orginal grievance was infidels in saudi arabia. he didn't take up the palestinian cause in his rhetoric until after he was on the run. its obvious it was a propaganda move to gain support from the so-called arab street.
i agree that jubiliation was not the right response to his death, but because his deeds and the surrounding issues are very serious, not because he was a fellow human being. so what?

You know, I'm reading these

You know, I'm reading these comments and I am feeling very conflicted because I agree that an eye for an eye would make the whole world blind,..I get it..it's a very clever quote, but you know what? If you really put yourself in the shoes or the people who lost family members, friends, etc., in 9/11 or during all other terriorist acts around the world that were committed by Al Queda under Osama Bin Ladin, you may feel differently. Can you actually empathize with these people? I mean, I could. My first cousin who was only 19 was murdered in cold blood, and to be honest with you...my first reaction was an eye for an eye. And I'm sure that many of you will go in and analyze what I am expressing here by saying so, but it's the truth. Who would be able to turn to a murder and show love, or kindness, or compassion after committing such attrocities as Osama had while ruling Al Queda? I mean, seriously. Just sit and tihnk about it for a minute. Sit and think about being face to face with a man who murdered you brother, mother, son, daughter, sister, nephew, uncle, aunt, cousin, and so on. What would you do in that moment? Show compassion? Really? I sincerely doubt it.

showing compassion

Actually I use to think and act just like you, and have had family effected by worldly acts but one day I did try and think about it in a different way - that is to say "compassion". I can say it worked! I also know that I am mentally, physically better off and so are my family and friends. You have taken the 1st step you are questioning yourself.

The difficulty of recoveriing from a contagious disorder - hate.

I agree that I am not so healthy as to have a completely compassionate orientation in the immediate moment. Hatred and violence are contagious, and as such life threatening for the carrier as well as the one who comes into contact with them. I know because they consumed me for years The quandary then becomes one of not submitting to the mental disorder of resentment, carrying that emotive reaction into self consumption, which only serves to cause me greater suffering. An eye for an eye may offer a sense of vindication, but it is fleeting and does not replace the loss nor heal it. At best the elimination of a threat may remove the fear blocking my restoration. In the end, however, restoration will only come from moving on from that which was the source of sickness, processing the grief and once more embracing life.

Of course, this is only my opinion based upon my personal experiences as one who has been previously disturbed emotionally by being physically and sexually abused as a child, mugged and raped as a teen, institutionally oppressed as an adult. These episodes and circumstances happened to me. If they rule me today, then it is by my consent to suffer rather than to exercise my choice to recover and heal. To the best of my ability, today, I actively choose the latter, thus participating in creating the world that I would want to live in.

Took the words out of my mouth

Well said! This is exactly my own personal experience - you sure you are not me?


...you have chosen well. I mean that. And I'm sorry for the pain you have had to endure. It sounds like it will stop with you.

I can't say what i'd do in

I can't say what i'd do in that moment. I wouldn't know until it was upon me.

A good friend of mine was watching NY1 last night around 2am. He said he wasn't that into all the USA! USA! USA! woo-hooing they were showing from the WTC site. Then the reporter interviewed a woman whose father was killed on 9/11. The reporter asked her how she felt and she said "I would like all the killing to stop." She didn't say what killing, she said ALL of it. Her dad was "murdered" by Osama Bin Laden and all she wants is for all the killing to stop.

This leads me to something I've talked about with friends a lot today. Laziness. Taking the easy route. Giving into anger and frustration is so easy to do. It is not contemplative, it is not mindful, it is not thoughtful. It is temporary, aggressive, and awful. When I tell people the vigilence and responsibility to this or that (usually in the context of one's Art practice) I speak of reading, researching, thinking, exploring, etc. and this sort of rigor needs to be applied to all things we do.

I appreciate your sentiments, Anonymous. I have certainly thought through this and I don't think that I would want Osama Bin Laden dead. I wouldn't be able to kill him myself. I don't believe in corporal punishment of any sort for anyone. How can a society tell people killing is wrong and then go around killing people?

There's more to this conversation of course. This is all I got right now. I need some shut eye. Have a beautiful evening and morning!

There Are Only Two Types of People - Type A ...

monsters from the Dark Side whom want to control everything and everyone, and the sheep whom allow themselves to be led to the slaughterhouse by the evil Type A monsters.

What we really need to spend our time on is identifying the evil Type A monsters as early as possible and keeping them away from dangerous/sharp/explosive things at all opportunities. It doesn't matter what the source of their evil is because, once they pass beyond the horizon of reason, there is very little likelihood that they will return of their own accord without inflicting harm on themselves or, more typically, others.

As an experiment, please go to places like North Korea, Myanmar, any number of places where totalitarian regimes are firmly entrenched (including many Muslim-dominated nations - this exercise is particularly important if you are female, there), etc. Try to meet with their "leaders" and reason with them and, assuming that you aren't imprisoned for a shortened lifespan, tortured into disfigurement/insanity, or just outright killed, attempt to escape back here to the rest of the real world to let us know how it went. I'm willing to bet you anything that you will not succeed, not because I'm a negative person, but, because I've had to stand up to budding evil Type A people and nipped them before they've bloomed into full-blown monsters.

BTW, Type A behavior includes some forms of obsessive-compulsive disorders, many of which are ultimately destructive, if not lethal. We can try to ignore these kinds of problems but, like the inevitable implosion of badly imagined and/or implemented ideas such as Communism, Medicare, and Social Security, you can pay for them now, or suffer the catastrophic, decades-delayed results later. Unfortunately, your mileage won't vary in this case, and any attempt to make believe that things like gravity are just a matter of conjecture is doomed to cause extreme disappointment, not to mention potentially encouraging danger to yourself and innocent people.

All the Best


Do you really believe in "evil"? Like evil evil? I don't think evil is real. I think confusion is real. Evil, no. It's come up a lot in the X-Files episodes I've been watching as "research" for an upcoming exhibition in LA. Evil is usually associated with a demonic possession and is non-human in origin. This got me thinking that even fictionally evil isn't real, it isn't a human characteristic b/c one would have to be possessed to be actually evil. People do evil things but aren't evil. I mean, I'm getting a lot of info from the X-Files these days so I may be out of the loop on understanding some things. Anyway, I'm just very very interested in whether or not people think "evil" is a real thing. Buddha Nature says otherwise, I think.

Do you think Bin Laden killed Americans just 'cuz he thinks it's awesome to murder people or do you think he has some kind of nationalistic/spiritual beliefs that he was fighting for? Do you think he thought he was wrong in doing what he did? Do you think he did it out of sheer evil or that he did it to fight what he thinks is a giant evil empire?

All stuff to think about. Thank you for your comment, Anonymous. Contributing to this conversation is so important ;)

Evil Is As Evil Ones Do

In my diatribe (as others may see it), I was using "evil" as an adjective, not a noun. As with belief in Heaven, Hell, God, Satan, angels, archangels, etc., evil is a form of chosen or delusional behavior. In the case of chosen evil behavior, it's simply a matter of deciding that the rules of society just don't apply to them, or they select which rules should apply to everyone else (there is now some evidence of a genetic predisposition to such behavior, e.g., absence of so-called "empathy" genes in psychopaths, which may work in concert with environmental factors that trigger anti-social behavior). In the case of delusional behavior, I defy anyone to honestly state that they've never heard of people who've done horrific things because "voices" told them to do them, or due to equally bizarre "reasons" (in contrast to the experience of the vast majority of other people). This is often described as psychotic behavior in this, and in other various forms, typically caused by schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorders, extreme phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, etc., all of which are recognized medical conditions (for which there are each classifiable evidence and diagnoses).

Bin Laden was _not_ acting out of some kind of rational nationalistic/spiritual belief, as evidenced by his abandonment by his own family, country (Saudi citizenship revoked), and all Muslims, but the most radical of violent Islamic zealots. Even the Iranian government has jailed Al Qaeda members (including in cooperation with U.S. military and intelligence organizations), in recognition of the real threat that Al Qaeda posed to all established governments of all kinds (Al Qaeda has stated that any government that doesn't adhere to and apply extremely conservative and Qoran-literal Wahabi Islamic law is illegitimate). Many former casual followers among the poor in the Muslim world have become disenchanted with him for his obvious disregard for the lives of Muslims of all stripes, rich and poor, pious and secular, when targeting "infidels".

If I had to make a diagnosis, I'd say that Bin Laden was yet-another spoiled rich punk who started out looking for something more exciting to do than drive around the Saudi Arabia desert in fancy cars, getting drunk out of sight of the public, and doing whatever he wanted to women, just because he could afford to, and the Wahabi interpretation of the Qoran conveniently made it all nice and legal (at least for the latter behavior). At some point, he went off the deep end, believing that convincing angst-stricken young people (some poor as dirt, some nearly as educated as he was) to kill large numbers of people (regardless of nationality, age, gender, race, religion, etc.) as well as themselves, would result in rewards such as unlimited sex with 72 virgins in some lofty-sounding Afterlife. I'm not sure what the Qoran says about what happens after one defiles each virgin the first time - do they turn back into virgins again? If sex with so many inexperienced women is so good, why are there so many experienced prostitutes making so much money for their pimps here in the Presentlife? I don't recall hearing him explaining a lot of the fine print in those suicide mass murder schemes.

Let's face it, Bin Laden was a murderous, conspiritorial, cowardly criminal kingpin, plain and simple, and was killed while resisting arrest by using high-powered automatic weapons, and reportedly wielding a woman as a human shield. So much for the parts of the Qoran that state that women are to be held in high regard and protected, albeit being owned by a man, and part of that "protection" being a prohibition from leaving the home, becoming educated, etc., at least in the Wahabi interpretation.

This is all very clear and

This is all very clear and well written. Thank you for your point of view and thank you for going further into your understanding of evil (as an adjective and not a noun - language is fascinating, as are rules). Lots to sit with.

Does Evil Exist?

On the subject of Evil, I refer those interested to the book "People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil", by M. Scott Peck. No, this is not an ad. Somebody referred me to this book and I found it to be a fascinating discussion on whether true evil really exists. Product description in Amazon is "A description of the author's experience of psychiatric therapy with patients who appear manifestly evil which attempts to show that a spiritual or even religious dimension is required to aid in the understanding of human nature.

Does Evil Exist?

On the subject of Evil, I refer those interested to the book "People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil", by M. Scott Peck. No, this is not an ad. Somebody referred me to this book and I found it to be a fascinating discussion on whether true evil really exists. Product description in Amazon is "A description of the author's experience of psychiatric therapy with patients who appear manifestly evil which attempts to show that a spiritual or even religious dimension is required to aid in the understanding of human nature.

Beautiful sentiments

Thank you Susan. You put so eloquently the feelings I've been having all day but did not quite know how to express.

Self-satisfied posturing

The statement that "if you believe his death is a form of compensation, you are deluded", strikes me as particularly vile. You are talking about someone who was the head of a violent, hateful cult dedicated to crushing human hopes, that was brutally racist, hated women, oppressed homosexuals and considered the death penalty appropriate for anyone who strayed even slightly from its ideological path. I'll make no bones about despising anyone who follows such a cult, but I have equal contempt for all the simpering dimwits here who think that offering "understanding" to such people will bear any fruit. Do not for a moment think that all your love-and-peace posturing is of any use to the millions of people living empty lives under totalitarian regimes. Just grow up, you idiots.

"I will mourn the loss of

"I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

A Tibetan Lama in a Chinese

A Tibetan Lama in a Chinese prison in an interview upon being freed after years and years of abuse and torture at the hand of his captors was asked hat the worst part of being in prison was and he said "there was one time when I almost lost compassion for my jailors, that was the worst part." I paraphrased that from a story Ethan told me once.

I hear you on the issue of self-satisfaction many "Buddhists" appear to communicate. However, in no case is murdering another human being justifiable. Bin Laden would've been far more valuable if he stood trial, if he was incarcerated, etc., than he is now dead (can't get information from a dead person) and martyred (that can't be good news for Americans world wide).

"Just grow up, you idiots," made me laugh out loud! Not the best way to communicate anything and using something as juvenile as name calling to tell people to grow up is almost as ironic as the Osama Bin Laden killing event is in the first place!

No one is talking about

No one is talking about offering anything understanding. Just about ceasing all contempt.

What Dr. King Said.

Almost exactly what the Buddha said in the Dhammapada:

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
--Martin Luther King, Jr

Oh jeez. I just posted this

Oh jeez. I just posted this quote before I read all the rest of this enormous and amazing thread. A little Dr. King doubling up never hurt ;)


"what He said..

One of the most articulate pieces I've read today

Thank you, Susan.


Exactly. The USA may have needed to kill Osama. We don't need to rejoice in his death. 

We need to take care of our world, and sometimes that means death. We might need to kill, but not to hate.

And if we do feel glee or satisfied vengenance, that is something to look at in ourselves. Without hatred.

Almost everyone I know expressed some level of uncomfortability with joyfully rejoicing over the death of another. We are all human. We have emotions. What do we do with them? Thanks for this clear description of what you do, and what I try to do as well.


a roshi once told me that killing someone might be the most compassionate action possible if it means saving others' lives and heading off greater suffering, but you have to be sure it's the right thing to do and you have to be willing to take on the karma of the act. this may have been that case. but I don't think that as a country we're looking at the karma, or we wouldn't be celebrating.

actually, I don't know anyone who's celebrating or who's comfortable with the jubilation. those who lost people in 9/11 and the subsequent wars seem to be most acutely aware of the pain and that one more death doesn't end that.


What you said. Exactly.

lovely Ellen...

...and as I said on my FB wall, Susan's comments are particularly poignant for someone like myself who does not think that a blanket condemnation of killing necessarily fulfills the highest ethical obligation to reduce harm in the world.

I guess I don't belong on

I guess I don't belong on this website because I do not believe the he was one of "us." There is nobody in my "us" that thinks anybody in our "us" should kill people simply because they have different beliefs. His death may not "compensate" for any of the death, pain and suffering he caused, but I can be sure that he himself will never encourage another person to inflict that kind of hatred on anyone ever again. And him being gone is one small toward the world of peace, love and understanding you are so eloquent a proponent of. No, we can't all just get along. There are some people, like bin Laden, who will never let that happen, and you're naive if you think otherwise.

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