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PHIL 431- Reflection Paper 2: Overview

Aug 26, 2023

Reflection Paper 2: Overview

In this paper, I want you to come up with a Buddhist-inspired theory of when violence is appropriate. That is, I want you to think about what you know about Buddhism and Buddhist ethics, and create some rules around when it is or is not appropriate to resort to violence. I want this to be a real theory of violence, grounded in actual real-life situations, rather than simply pie-in-the-sky ideals. Think hard about the times when violence is inappropriate and when it is appropriate (from a Buddhist perspective) and then come up with a theory about what the difference is.

As before, the paper should be roughly 3 pages in length [5 pages for grad students], and follow standard academic structure. 

Instructions & Paper Format

This is an argumentative essay, and the goal is to convince your reader (in this case me) that your opinion is correct. To do that, it is usually best to follow a traditional academic essay structure. This means that your essay should have a short opening paragraph, with a clear thesis at the end. Then a couple paragraphs in the body, each of which makes a clear point in support of your overall thesis and each of which backs up that point with evidence. Finally, your paper should have a brief conclusion in which you recap the arguments made throughout the paper, restating your thesis in the process. Remember that this is a short paper, so while you need to make sure you have a clear thesis, do not waste space with unnecessarily long introductions or conclusions!

This type of essay—with an introduction and thesis, arguments in the main body, and a conclusion that restates the thesis—is tried and true in academic writing. Following this format helps you make your point clearly and persuasively. It also tends to keep your essay tight and organized. So while you are not forbidden from using another writing style (such as stream of consciousness), I will say that sticking to this format usually produces the best, most persuasive, results.

Reflection Paper 2: Overview

Thesis Statement:

The religious tradition of Buddhism highlights the concept of “Ahimsa” which relies upon the understanding of non-violence. This is where it can be reflected on how Buddhist theories can be evaluated as the theory of violence.  


According to the beliefs and philosophical values, the major concept of Buddhism glorifies the power of the awakening mind and the power of peace in life. This religion spread the importance and the concept of peace throughout the world over centuries. The prime concept of Buddhism started over two thousand and five hundred years before (563 B.C.E) and it is one of the major religions in the world. The belief of Buddhists shows the major truth and purpose of an individual’s life. According to the practices and beliefs of Buddhism, the shown directions and teachings by Buddha are the ultimate directions to reach self-enlighten and the path of redemption, from violence.

Buddhism is known for its values of peace and this religion spreads the motive and the purpose of peace in life and the end of all sufferings in the spider net of the delusional world. They also essentially focus on the concept of helping all living beings as long as there is a spark of life. History represents various proofs of several conquests by the successors, travelers’ successions of invasions, destructions of wars, the rise of emperors and there is the active involvement of religions even it including Buddhism. Several ancient texts state that the purpose of Buddhism is to spread peace, but many proofs show that they had taken actively participated in defense methods like martial arts and samurai training in the past for the protection of Dharma.  There are a few major concepts that are the main roots of the center of Buddhism highlighting the vitality of peace and the enlightened path of ultimate knowledge and truth. Buddhism reformed through the ages and it was defined and bloomed differently in various regions of Asia mainly (Southeast Asia) and South Asiatic countries. Although according to several Buddhists, they have refused to be armed to take violence under any circumstances few cases have shown exceptional movements and participation in the violence, several movements including protection of justice and others. Lately, it has now been argued that Buddhism does not spread peace or violence but the belief in peace in individuals and the purpose of life.

In this reflective paper, I would want to address the Buddhist-inspired theory related to violence, which is based on war. Thus, from the text, it can be understood that Lord Buddha has given good details about non-violence. Buddha has been an inspirational pathway to actually avoiding killing. In this context, Lord Buddha wanted to remove society from further animal sacrifice or harming the animals.  Apart from this, I have learned that Buddhism has narrated the notion stating that According to Victoria (2006), Buddhist monks are supposed to oppose an individual when they are facing difficulties, while they are not supposed to do any rebellious action the defend or kill the person. Further research has mentioned the historical notes, which narrated the basic theories related to the topic, which state that Buddhist monks have been violent and have committed certain things with aggression, based on the socio-political motivation which is self-inflicted for the ascetics based on their religious tradition. As religious practice forbids acts of violence, and Lord Buddha’s teachings and scripts consist of resolving conflicts. Moreover, based on contemporary violence promoting violence has been one of the prohibitions within the society based on Buddhist teachings, as he taught us to follow the paths of Ahimsa.

On the other hand, William, (2006), has helped me to gather details about disclosing the prime factor that wells on the note of poverty. In this reflection, I will narrate about what I have studied and who has been following the ethics of Buddhism. Moreover, I would want to state that poverty is an ever-changing system that is taking place within the world, while all people want to discover their lives in a different method. Moreover, no proper solution was even given by the Buddhist ideologies on the concept of poverty and poor people. Despite, these ideologies, I would want to mention in detail the suffering of humanity, as most of them faced disparity because of their class system. This course has helped me to identify the learning on the topic, where I could generate the ideas based on Dr. B. R Ambedkar, who stood for the Dalits and conveyed how the society requires to be argued by Blumenthal, (2005). Thus, with the pathway developed by Lord Buddha, Ambedkar eventually followed the narrated social consciousness that indicated his own life story, based on the primacy that thrived on the principles of equality, which depend upon the Buddhist concept which is origination.

Apart from this, I have learned about the ideologies of Zen Buddhism which mainly led to achieving Enlightenment with the intervention of the intellectuals. As stated by Glassman, (1999), the religious tradition tried to develop the society without the urge of slavery but was unable to give a provide solution to change the reason for poverty.     

In the reflective part, I would want to mention the significance of the “Tree ordination”, this is because the installation of this measure has helped individuals to rescue from cutting down trees. As we all know Buddhism is mainly based on relieving an individual, Similarly, Tree ordination is the measure taken by the Buddhist monks to tie orange ribbons on the tree trunks to give a message to all that if the plants suffer then humans would also suffer. As stated Darlington, (2012), actually tries to focus on the suffering taking place on the trees of Thailand, which is facing difficulties because of the controversial notion that plants and trees are suffering in Thailand, while the monks took the initiative to remove the forms of deforestation. Through the studies, I have identified that acres of forests have been cleared under the contract of framing in Thailand. Alternatively, Darlington, (2012), also mentioned that massive floods have also affected Thailand, mainly during the monsoon season. Moreover, in this reflective paper, I would want to disclose that the Thai Buddhists tried to give a call to this problem. Thus, they started wrapping orange clerical robes around the trees. This week, I learned about the significance of ordaining, which is mainly used to protect the trees, under the provocation rituals which acted like the symbol for the monastic movements to aim to bring back the suffering caused to the trees of Thailand. Therefore, this can be another approach to address the environmental structure, under the Buddhist theory.    

In this reflection, I would want to narrate my learnings on the topic that I have learned about Khenpo Tsultrim Lodrö who narrated a promotion of vegetarianism. As argued by Finnigan, (2017), who narrates about the truth that the Tibetan nomads are unable to live their life without the consumption of any wild animals while killing or harming animals is unethical and should not be followed in the Buddhist traditions. In this context, the main propaganda of Buddhism is to spread the knowledge of non-violence, which is likely to be if the people follow the path of Buddhism. Thus, in this reflection, I would want to narrate about the Buddhist theory on violence, that they believe in the wisdom that the Buddhist monks forbid to use of animals’ skin, as this happens to encourage the Buddhists to be motivated and shall not harm any animals. Moreover, comparing this study, Finnigan, (2017), has narrated how Tibetan nomadics have tried to thrive the notion that they can never develop themselves to vegetarianism, while they have been killing and harming the animals of the forest. It is difficult, therefore, if Tibetan Buddhist monk is found to do any harm they are expelled from the monasteries or are taken out in public for a confession about doing such wrong, which means that they are required to feel ashamed of the work done by the monks. Therefore, the Tibetan nomadic tribes thrived to be Buddhist monks, so they had to give up animal killing or hurting animals.  


In this week’s reflective study, I would want to narrate the significance of what I have studied this week. I acquired knowledge of how Buddhists have developed different theories that inspire violence, while at times. Moreover, most of the time, the Buddhists take due care that the world remains free from any violence. Thus, they ensure that none of the individuals are harmed after following the Buddhist tradition. Furthermore, in the later period of extension of Buddhism the several places, it was divided into two forms, one form known as Mahayana and the other form known as Theravada, and these two forms spread all over the world. According to the ancient Buddhist texts, the defining words refer to Buddha as the ultimate awakened self, he transformed himself through the meditation process and achieved the ultimate self-form under the “Bodhi tree” also known as the sacred fig tree. This is how he tried to remove the violence taking place in the world.


Blumenthal, J (2005). Incompatible Visions: South Asian Religions in History and Culture: Essays in Honor of David M. Knipe. Center for South Asia, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Darlington, S. M. (2012). The ordination of a tree: The Thai Buddhist environmental movement. Suny Press.

Finnigan, B. (2017). Buddhism and animal ethics. Philosophy Compass, 12(7), e12424.

Glassman, B. (1999). Bearing Witness: A Zen Master’s Lessons in Making Peace. 1st Pbk. ed. New York: Bell Tower.

Victoria, B. D. (2006). Zen at war. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

William H. B. (2006) “Poverty and the Poor in the Buddhist Tradition,” by Jordan Baskerville and Anne Ruth Hansen. For submission to: The Meaning of Poverty and the Poor in the World’s Religions, edited by (ABC-Clio).

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