Compassion, Self-Sacrifice, and Karma in Warfare: Buddhist Discourse on Warfare as an Ethical and Soteriological Instruction for Warriors
2. The Wheel-Turner’s Conquest in the Golden Age of Dharma
3. Compassionate and Self-sacrificial Killing
4. A Discourse on Warfare in the Satyakaparivarta
Conflicts of Interest
|P ed.||Pāli text critically edited|
|PTS||Pāli Text Society|
|Skt ed.||Sanskrit text critically edited|
|T||Taishō recension of the Chinese Buddhist canon|
|Tib. D||Sde dge recension of the Tibetan Buddhist canon|
|Tib ed.||Tibetan text critically edited|
|Tib. S||Stog Palace recension of the Tibetan Buddhist canon|
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The Sanskrit text is not extant. In this paper, I have used its Tibetan translation, the Derge (sde dge) recension (abbreviated to D), the Stog Palace recension (abbreviated to S), and Jamspal (2010a) (abbreviated to J). J is a critical edition based on the Derge, Peking, Narthang, Lhasa, and Stog Palace recensions, but it contains some problems, such as mistakes in transcription. Therefore, I used D and S, which I consider preserve most significant readings, as well as J. Jamspal (2010b) provides a loose English translation of J, which I have not used in this paper. As for Jamspal (2010b), see also Silk (2013).
In its Tibetan translation this scripture is entitled ’Phags pa byang chub sems dpa’i spyod yul gyi thabs kyi yul la rnam par ’phrul ba bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo (the Sanskrit is Āryabodhisattvagocaropāyaviṣaya-vikurvāṇanirdeśanāmamahāyānasūtra), which I translate as “A Mahāyāna scripture entitled ‘Noble Exposition of Transformative Manifestation within the Domain of Means in the Bodhisattva’s Field of Activity’.” Zimmermann translates this as the “Sūtra which Expounds Supernatural Manifestation [that is Part of] the Realm of Stratagems in the Bodhisattva's Field of Action” (Zimmermann 2000, p. 177); Jenkins, as “The Noble Teaching through Manifestation on the Subject of Skillful Means in the Bodhisattva’s Field of Activity” (Jenkins 2010, p. 60); and Jamspal, as “The Noble Revelation of Transformational Activities by Skilfful Means in the Range of the Bodhisattva” (Jamspal 2010b, Introduction, p. xix). This text is quoted in Śāntideva’s Śikṣāsamuccaya (eighth century CE), named Āryasatyakaparivarta (āryasatyake parivarte, “in the chapter of respectable Satyaka,” 165.17). See also Jamspal (2010b, p. 207, note 26) and Silk (2013, p. 160). Following the Śikṣāsamuccaya, I have named this scripture Satyakaparivarta in this paper because it is concise. There are two Chinese translations of this text: “佛説菩薩行方便境界神通變化經” (translated by Guṇabhadra, fifth century CE, Taishō Daizōkyō [abbreviated to T] 271) and “大薩遮尼乾子所説經” (or “菩薩境界奪迅法門經,” translated by Bodhiruci, sixth century, T 272). The name (Ārya-)Satyakaparivarta roughly corresponds to the latter, “大薩遮尼乾子所説經.” As Zimmermann (2000, pp. 177–80) argued, chapter 6 of the Tibetan translation of the Satyakaparivarta, which expounds a king’s ethics of rule, is not included in the Chinese version translated by Guṇabhadra and is contained in the Chinese version by Bodhiruci. A possibility exists that the chapter of royal ethics was composed between them (around the fifth-sixth centuries).
As for the date of compilation, see Zimmerman (2006, p. 231). See also footnote 1 in this paper.
In this paper, I conduct a study of thoughts, rather than a socio-historical study, since historical sources such as inscriptions are not sufficiently available to fully conduct such an investigation regarding the Satyakaparivarta.
The Tibetan translation of the protagonist’s name is Gcer bu pa'i bu bden smra. Jamspal considers its Sanskrit to be Nirgranthaputra-Satyavādin (Jamspal 2010b) and Jenkins considers its Sanskrit to be Nirgranthaputra-Satyavaca (Jenkins 2010). As mentioned in footnote 1 above, the Śikṣāsamuccaya suggests that his name in Sanskrit is Satyaka (however, no word clearly corresponds to the Tibetan smra). His original model is Nigaṇṭhaputta-Saccaka, an interlocutor of the Buddha in the Pāli Cūḷasaccakasutta and Mahāsaccakasutta (Majjhimanikāya, 35 and 36, respectively), whose Sanskrit is Nirgranthaputra-Satyaka. Following Zimmermann (2000), in this paper I have called him “Satyaka.” The title “Nirgranthaputra” suggests that he is a non-Buddhist ascetic, a Jaina monk in particular, but his discourse mostly consists of Buddhist concepts. Zimmermann (2000, p. 185) points out that such characteristic of him reflects a multireligious society in ancient India, which frames the world view of this scripture. The Tibetan translation of the king’s name, Caṇḍapradyota, is Gtum po rab snang.
To my knowledge, the Satyakaparivarta is the only such text. Some Buddhist discourses related to warfare, such as a narrative of King Aśoka in the Aśokāvadāna (see Section 2 below), praise a pious Buddhist king or warrior engaged in warfare, but they do not articulate whether he attains rebirth in heaven after death. Some Buddhist discourses, such as a narrative of King Duṭṭhagāmaṇi in the Mahāvaṃsa (P ed. (Geiger 1908, p. 25)), tell that a pious Buddhist king or warrior engaged in warfare attained or will attain rebirth in heaven, but they do not explicitly say whether his engagement in warfare really does not have any negative karmic effect (such as rebirth in hell) on him in some future life. According to the general Buddhist view of karma, a karmic effect may occur in some future life after the next life. Therefore, it happens that a warrior, who attains heaven in the next life, will suffer in some afterlife the negative karmic retribution for his engagement in warfare in the present life. Previous studies of Buddhist discourse on warfare did not consider this distinction fully. I will discuss these discourses in detail on another occasion.
See also footnotes 1, 2, and 4 in the present paper. The other important study is Jamspal (2010b, introduction, pp. xxxii-xlii), most of which is, however, a duplication of his loose translation of the text (see footnote 1). See also my recent publication, Sugiki (2018), in which I analyzed why a king, who is told never to punish criminals by death, is allowed to kill his enemy on a battlefield in a particular situation in the Satyakaparivarta. As for this, see also footnote 72 in the present paper.
Zimmermann (2000, pp. 199–209). As for his findings, see also Section 4 below.
For example, Collins (1998, pp. 419–420), Schmithausen (1999, pp. 57–59, 62), Jenkins (2010, p. 71), and most recently, Jerryson (2018, p. 18). Jerryson begins his argument to summarize the Buddhist scriptural teachings of violence (including ethical teachings of warfare) with, “The first section introduces examples from the Buddhist doctrine that provides spaces to justify violence.”
Rajjasutta, P ed. (Feer  1960), Saṃyuttanikāya, Sagāthavagga, 220.127.116.11 (p. 116, l. 17–l. 20): atha kho bhagavato rahogatassa paṭisallīnassa evaṃ cetaso parivitakko udapādi // sakkā nu kho rajjaṃ kāretuṃ ahanaṃ aghātayaṃ ajinaṃ ajāpayaṃ asocaṃ asocayaṃ dhammenāti // (“Then, when the Lord was in solitude in a lonely place, a reflection arose in [his] mind thus: ‘Is it possible to exercise kingship corresponding to the dhamma: without killing and without causing [others] to kill, without conquering and without causing [others] to conquer [or to confiscate], and without feeling sorrow and without causing [others] to feel sorrow?’”). See also Bodhi (2000a, p. 209) for translation.
Cakkavattisīhanāda (Cakkavattisīhanādasutta), P ed. (Carpenter  1947), Dīghanikāya 26 (pp. 58–79). This text tells a story of the first wheel-turner Daḷhanemi and his successors, some of whom are also wheel-turners. For translation see Walshe (1987, pp. 395–405) and Collins (1998, pp. 602–15). See also Zimmermann (2006, p. 217). Collins (1998, pp. 480–96) gives a soteriological interpretation of this story: The ultimate purpose of the Cakkavattisīhanāda is to induce in its audience a sense of detachment from the passage of time in the world of transmigration and a sense that timeless nibbāna (or nirvāṇa) is the only significant thing to seek.
For example, Mahābhārata, Skt ed. (BORI), 13.13.2-5: kāyena trividhā karma vācā cāpi caturvidham / manasā trividhaṃ caiva daśa karmapathāṃs tyajet // prāṇātipātaṃ stainyaṃ ca paradāram athāpi ca / trīṇi pāpāni kāyena sarvataḥ parivarjayet // asatpralāpaṃ pāruṣyaṃ paiśunyam anṛtaṃ tathā / catvāri vācā rājendra na jalpen nānucintayet // anabhidhyā parasveṣu sarvasattveṣu sauhṛdam / karmaṇāṃ phalam astīti trividhaṃ manasā caret / (“There are three kinds of deed in terms of the body; four kinds in terms of the speech; and three kinds in terms of the mind. He should abandon the ten [bad] ways of deed. He should completely abandon all of the three sins with the body: murder, theft, and [having sex with] another’s wife. He should not speak nor have in mind the four with the speech: false, harsh, malicious, and likewise cheating words. O King of kings! No coveting others’ property; having affection for all sentient beings; and [having faith in the law of karma that] deeds bring [their respective] fruits: He should do [these] three kinds of mental [deeds].”). The Buddhist Mahāvairocana (Mahāvairocanābhisaṃbodhivikurvitādhiṣṭhānasūtra) states that non-Buddhist practitioners and the world also observe the Ten Good Deeds or Precepts (Mahāvairocana, Chapter 18, Tib. D 494, 218r7-218v1: bcom ldan ’das ’jig rten pa mu stegs byed rnams kyang dge bcu’i las kyi lam ’di rnams yang dag par blangs te gnas lags na …: “O Lord! Even worldly people practicing non-Buddhist traditions correctly accept and abide in these courses of Ten Good Deeds, …”).
As for “to continue to be governors of their territories,” the text is yathābhuttañ ca bhuñjatha (P ed. (Carpenter  1947), 6 [p. 62], l. 19–l. 20, etc.), which Collins translates “(continue to) govern as you did before” (Collins 1998, p. 484 and p. 605). I follow Collins’s interpretation, not others’ interpretations such as “moderate in eating.” (Collins’s interpretation is also in accordance with the Satyakaparivarta’s explanation of the wheel-turner’s conquest. Satyakaparivarta, D 146, 103v2-v6/ S 246, 62.7-63.5/ J 78.12-79.2.) Collins notes that its commentary explains the yathābhuttañ ca bhuñjatha to concern taxation (Collins 1998, p. 485).
Abhidharmakośakārikā and -bhāṣya, Skt ed. (Pradhan 1967), 3.95-96: cakravartisamutpattir nādho 'śītisahasrakāt / suvarṇarūpyatāmrāyaścakriṇaḥ te 'dharakramāt // ekadvitricaturdvīpā na ca dvau saha buddhavat / pratyudyānasvayaṃyānakalahāstrajitaḥ avadhāḥ // In my translation below the English words supplemented in parentheses are based on the comments in the Bhāṣya―“The wheel-turner does not appear [in ages when people’s duration of life is] less than 80,000 years old. They possess wheels [made of] gold, silver, copper, and iron, [respectively]. In order from the lowest [they are conquerors of] one, two, three, and four continents, [respectively]. And, like Buddhas, two [wheel-turners do] not [appear] together [in the same age]. [They] conquer [rival kings] by coming to (pratyudyāna) (i.e., rival kings willingly come to the wheel-turner with a golden wheel to become his follower), by coming himself (svayaṃyāna) (i.e., the wheel-turner with a silver wheel himself comes to rival kings and makes them his follower), through quarrel (kalaha) (i.e., the wheel-turner with a copper wheel conquers rival kings through quarreling with them), and with weapons (astra) (i.e., the wheel-turner with an iron wheel conquers rival kings with weapons). [All of them conquer] without killing.” See also Strong (1983, pp. 51–52).
Cakkavattisīhanāda, P ed. (Carpenter  1947), Dīghanikāya 26, 14 (p. 68, l. 16–l. 18) and 24 (p. 75, l. 19–l. 21): asītivassasahassāyukānaṃ manussānaṃ cattārīsaṃ vassasahassāyukā puttā ahesuṃ. … asītivassasahassāyukesu bhikkhave manussesu ketumatiyā rājadhāniyā saṃkho nāma rājā uppajjissati cakkavatti dhammiko dhammarājā … (“… the people who lived for 80,000 years had children who lived for 40,000 years, [which happened when a new king did not give necessities to those in need and therefore could not become a wheel-turner]. … O monks! When people live for 80,000 years, in the royal city of Ketumatī a king named Saṅkha will be born; [he will be] a wheel-turner, a righteous dhamma king, …”). See also Walshe (1987, pp. 400, 403) and Collins (1998, pp. 608, 613) for translation.
Mahāsudassana, P ed. (Rhys Davids and Carpenter  1947), Dīghanikāya 17, 2.7 (p. 189, l. 9–l. 12) and 2.13 (p. 196, l. 3–l. 8): atha kho ānanda subhaddāya deviyā bahunnaṃ vassānaṃ bahunnaṃ vassasatānaṃ bahunnuṃ(bahunnaṃ) vasa(vassa)satasahassānaṃ accayena etad ahosi: ciradiṭṭho kho me rājā mahāsudassano, … (“Then, O Ānanda, after the elapse of many years, many hundreds of years, and many hundreds of thousands of years, this occurred in [the mind of] Queen Subhaddā: ‘It is really a long time since I saw King Mahāsudassana. …’”); rājā ānanda mahāsudassano caturāsītivassasahassāni kumārakīḷikaṃ kīḷi, caturāsītivassasahassāni oparajjaṃ kāresi, caturāsītivassasahassāni rajjaṃ kāresi, caturāsītivassasahassāni gihībhūto dhamme pāsāde brahmacariyaṃ cari. So cattāro brahmavihāre bhāvetvā kāyassa bhedā param maraṇā brahmalokūpago ahosi. (“O Ānanda! King Mahāsudassana indulged in boyish sports for 84,000 years, he exercised the viceroyalty for 84,000 years, he exercised kingship for 84,000 years, and, being a layman, he performed the practice of chastity in the Dhamma Palace for 84,000 years. Having performed the Four Brahman-abodes, after death with the breakup of the body he was reborn in the world of Brahman.”) See also Walshe (1987, p. 288 and p. 289) for translation. Mahāsudassana is the Buddha in one of his past lives. The text does not mention clearly the duration of life of common people in the age of Mahāsudassana. However, considering his queen’s duration of life mentioned in the passage quoted above (hundreds of thousands of years), it seems that common people also lived a very long time during that age.
Abhidharmakośakārikā and -bhāṣya, Skt ed. (Pradhan 1967), 3.95ab. As for its text and translation, see footnote 16 in the present paper.
Cakkavattisīhanāda, P ed. (Carpenter  1947), Dīghanikāya 26, 21–22 (p. 73, l. 3–p. 75, l. 3): dasavassāyukesu bhikkhave manussesu sattāhaṃ satthantarakappo bhavissati, te aññamaññam migasaññaṃ paṭilabhissanti, … te tiṇhena satthena ― esa migo esa migo ti ― aññamaññaṃ jīvitā voropessanti. atha kho tesaṃ bhikkhave sattānaṃ ekaccānaṃ evaṃ bhavissati ― mā ca mayaṃ kañci, mā c’amhe koci, … atha kho tesaṃ bhikkhave sattānaṃ evaṃ bhavissati ― mayaṃ kho akusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ samādānahetu āyataṃ ñātikkhayaṃ pattā, yan nūna mayaṃ kusalaṃ kareyyāma. kiṃ kusalaṃ kareyyāma? yan nūna mayaṃ pāṇātipātā virameyyāma, idaṃ kusalaṃ dhammaṃ samādāya vatteyyāmāti … te kusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ samādānahetu āyunā pi vaḍḍhassanti vaṇṇena pi vaḍḍhissanti. … dasavassāyukānaṃ manussānaṃ vīsativassāyukā puttā bhavissanti. … yan nūna mayaṃ adinnādānā virameyyāma, kāmesu micchācārā virameyyāma, musāvādā virameyyāma, pisunāya vācāya virameyyāma, pharusāya vācāya virameyyāma, samphappalāpā virameyyāma, abhijjhaṃ pajaheyyāma, vyāpādaṃ pajaheyyāma, micchādiṭṭhiṃ pajaheyyāma, tayo dhamme pajaheyyāma adhammarāgaṃ visamalobhaṃ micchādhammaṃ; yan nūna mayaṃ matteyyā assāma petteyyā sāmaññā brahmaññā kulejeṭṭhāpacāyino, idaṃ kusalaṃ dhammaṃ samādāya vatteyyāmāti. … vīsativassāyukānaṃ manussānaṃ cattārīsavassāyukā putā bhavissanti. cattārīsavassāyukānaṃ manussānaṃ asītivassāyukā puttā bhavissanti. … cattārīsaṃvassasahassāyukānaṃ manussānaṃ asītivassasahassāyukā puttā bhavissanti. (“O monks! When people live [only] for ten years, there will be a seven-day period of ‘sword-interval.’ They will think each other as wild animals [or deer]. … With [their] sharp sword, thinking ‘He is an animal! He is an animal!’ they will kill each other. However, O monks, this [thought] will occur in some of those sentient beings: ‘Let us not [kill] anyone, let anyone [not kill] us! …’ … Then, O monks, this [thought] will occur to those sentient beings: ‘As we took the [path of] bad deeds, we have so long experienced the loss of [our own] relatives. What if we do good? What good [things] should we do? Why don’t we abstain from killing? Let us take this good deed and go on.’ … Because of [their] taking good deeds, they will increase life-span and will also increase beauty. … The people living for ten years will have children living for twenty years. … ‘… Let us abstain from taking what is not given; abstain from sexual misconduct; abstain from telling lies; abstain from malicious speech; abstain from harsh speech; abstain from idle chatter; renounce covetousness; renounce ill-will; and renounce wrong view. Let us renouce three deeds: improper desire, iniquitous greed, and wrong practice. Let us respect [our] mothers and fathers, ascetics and brahmins, and the elders of [our] families. Let us take this good deed and go on.’ … The people living for twenty years will have children living for forty years. The people living for forty years will have children living for eighty years. … [In this way children have longer live-span] … The people living for 40,000 years will have children living for 80,000 years.”) See also Walshe (1987, pp. 402–3) and Collins (1998, pp. 610–12) for translation.
My interpretation presented here is different from that of Collins (1998, pp. 485–86), who introduces an interpretation of the wheel-turner’s warless conquest found in the Sumaṅgalavilāsinī as a commentary on the Mahāsudassana: Rival kings surrender to the wheel-turner without fighting for resistance because they know that no one can defeat him by force of arms, and after surrender, only the wise, not everyone, in the conquered territory accept his command. However, the commentary’s interpretation does not take fully into consideration the discourse that all people are morally good in the age when a wheel-turner appears. It seems to be an interpretation from a somewhat realist viewpoint.
Cakkavattisīhanāda, P ed. (Carpenter  1947), Dīghanikāya 26, 3 (p. 59, l. 31–p. 60, l. 9), etc: ‘bhuttā kho pana me mānusakā kāmā, samayo dibbe kāme pariyesituṃ. …’ atha kho bhikkhave rājā daḷhanemi jeṭṭhaputtaṃ kumāraṃ sādhukaṃ rajje samanusāsitvā, kesamassuṃ ohāretvā, kāsāyāni vatthāni acchādetva, agārasmā anagāriyaṃ pabbaji. (“‘I have enjoyed human pleasures. Now is the time to seek heavenly pleasures. …’ Then, O monks, having installed [his] eldest son the prince thoroughly as a king, King Daḷhanemi shaved off his hair and beard, put on yellow robes, and went forth from home to homelessness.” [Wheel-turners after Daḷhanemi also do the same after retirement.]) See also Walshe (1987, p. 396) and Collins (1998, p. 603) for translation.
Mahāsudassana, P ed. (Rhys Davids and Carpenter  1947), Dīghanikāya 17, 2.13 (p. 196, l. 6–l. 8). See footnote 18 in the present paper.
For example, Aśokāvadāna, Skt ed. (Mukhopadhyaya 1963), p. 41, l. 17–p. 42, l. l. 11: susīmenāpi śrutaṃ bindusāro rājā kālagato ’śoko rājye pratiṣṭhitaḥ / iti śrutvā ca ruṣitam (ruṣiṭaṃ) abhyāgataḥ / tvaritaṃ ca tasmād deśād āgataḥ / aśokenāpi pāṭaliputre nagare ekasmin dvāre eko nagnaḥ sthāpitaḥ / dvitīye dvitīyas tṛtīye rādhaguptaḥ pūrvadvāre svayam eva rājāśoko ’vasthitaḥ / … paritaś ca parikhāṃ khanayitvā khadirāṅgāraiś ca pūrayitvā … / sa yāvat pūrvadvāraṃ gataḥ / aśokena saha yotsyāmīti / aṅgārapūrṇāyāṃ parikhāyāṃ patitaḥ / tatraiva cānayena vyasanam āpannaḥ / yadā ca susīmaḥ praghātitas … / (“Susīma also heard that King Bindusāra had died and Aśoka had been enthroned. Thus heard, he got furious and hastily returned [to the capital] from that place. Meanwhile, in Pāṭaliputra, Aśoka deployed a naked [warrior] at the first gate of the city, the second [warrior] at the second [gate], and Rādhagupta at the third [gate], and King Aśoka himself stood at the east gate. … And all around [Rādhagupta] dug a ditch, filled [it] with charcoal of acacia wood, … He (Susīma) arrived at the east gate with an intention to fight in battle against Aśoka. He (Susīma) fell into the ditch full of charcoal, and just in that [ditch] he got an evil result unfortunately. And when Susīma was [thus] killed, …”). See also Strong (1983, 209–10) for translation. Although it is not in war, Aśoka killed many hundreds of opponents by punishment even after he became “Dharma-Aśoka.” As for this see Jenkins (2016, p. 150). Strong (1983, pp. 52–53) focuses on the similarity between the wheel-turner with an iron wheel in the Abhidharmakośa and Aśoka in the Aśokāvadāna, but the differences between them that I mentioned should not be ignored.
Buddhist scriptures also teach three ways to save warriors from killing opponents in war, by which they do not acquire the negative karmic potential leading to rebirth in hell. They are (1) to retreat completely from the role of warrior, (2) to solve problems with rival kings without resorting to war, and (3) to not kill enemy warriors while fighting in battle. The second and third ways acknowledge the warrior’s role in settling problems with opponents as far as he does not kill the opponents. I will discuss these in detail on another occasion.
Hara (2001) examines teachings found in the Brahmanical Smṛti literature on the virtues and fates of warriors who were wounded or killed in battle: Wounds that one incurs by enemies in battle are bodily ornaments of the heroic warriors; dying with his body woundless is not praise-worthy; the blood from his wounds purifies the heroic warrior from all sins that he committed in the past, and enduring the pains from wounds is the highest asceticism (tapas) for him; it is a warrior’s ideal that he dies on a battle-field being seriously wounded by his enemy’s weapons; to die in battle is his highest dharma or duty; if one wins the battle, one gains the enemy’s territory, and if he is killed, he is promised to attain heaven (and dying in Kurukṣetra is particularly rewarding); warriors slain by the enemy’s weapon are termed as śastra-pūta (purified by a weapon), and being sanctified by a weapon, they attain heaven (the enemy’s weapon annihilates his sins); warriors are expected to die on a vīraśayana (also called vīrasevitaśayana, "a bed of a hero," viz., a bed of arrows with a pillar of arrows) on a battle-field; a wounded heroic warrior refuses surgeons’ treatment and being taken home; it is condemned for him to die at home; and, according to the Medhātithi, if the king cannot die in battle, he may burn or drown himself, and Kullūla says that he may kill himself by starvation.
Yodhājīva, P ed. (Feer  1960), Saṃyuttanikāya, Saḷāyatanavagga, 8 (42), 3, 6 (p. 309, l. 4–l. 9): yo so gāmaṇi yodhājīvo saṅgāme ussahati vāyamati // tassa taṃ cittam pubbe hīnaṃ duggatam duppaṇihitam ime sattā haññantu vā bajjhantu vā ucchijjantu vā vinassantu vā mā ahesuṃ iti vā ti // tam enam ussahantaṃ vāyamantam pare hananti pariyāpādenti // so kāyassa bhedā param maraṇā sarājitā nāma nirayā tatthupapajjati // (“O headman! If he, as a warrior, strives and exerts himself in battle; if his mind is already inferior, depraved, and misdirected [with the thought] ‘Let these sentient beings be killed, bound, annihilated, perished, or never exist’; and then if others kill him and finish [him] off [while he is] striving and exerting himself [in battle], then, after death with the breakup of the body he is reborn in the hell named Sarājita.’”) See also Bodhi (2000b, pp. 1334–35) for translation. Schmithausen (1999, pp. 48–49) points out that a similar idea can be found in multiple texts, such as the Abhidharmakośa: A warrior with an intention to kill in battle is sinful even if he was conscripted and even if the purpose of his battle is to defend himself, his friends, and his country from invaders. See also Gethin (2007, p. 72).
The “skill in means,” the Sanskrit for which is upāyakauśalya and which is also expressed by scholars as “skillful means,” is an important concept in Mahāyana. There are various forms and views of skill in means, but it basically means the effective compassionate practices of a bodhisattva that benefit the bodhisattva and others.
My phrase “compassionate and self-sacrificial killing as a skill in means, which is carried out as the last resort to benefit others and which ultimately benefits both oneself and others” is coined from a line (snying rje chen po de dang thabs mkhas pa des, “because of that great compassion and that skill in means”) in the Upāyakauśailya (Tib. D 261, 305r7-v1) and is derived from consideration of the content of this practice. This form of compassionate violence was studied by many scholars such as Tatz, Fujita, and recently Jenkins. See footnotes 34, 37, and 38 in the present paper.
Herein, I collectively label all forms of Buddhist violence entirely or partially motivated by compassion, “compassionate violence.” A form of it is the “compassionate and self-sacrificial killing,” which I distinguish from another form of compassionate violence, the compassionate killing without a strong factor of self-sacrifice (which can be found in some Tantric texts). “Self-sacrifice” means an intention to sacrifice oneself. I will discuss several forms of compassionate violence in detail on another occasion.
Upāyakauśalya, Tib. D 261, 303v7.
Upāyakauśalya, Tib. D 261, 303v5-305v3. For translation, see (Tatz  2016, pp. 73–74). Tatz (Tatz  2016, p. 1) says that its date of compilation is the first century BCE. For analyses of the discourse of compassionate and self-sacrificial killing in the Upāyakauśalya see, Fujita (1995, p. 145), Harvey (2000, pp. 135–36), Gethin (2004, pp. 188–89) and (Gethin 2007, p. 70), Jenkins (2010 , pp. 315–16), Okano (2010), and Jenkins (2016, p. 145). Gray (2007) deals with an extended version of the narrative in a different Tibetan translation (Tib. D 82, 60r1-61v2) of the Upāyakauśalya. As for this version, see Tatz (Tatz  2016, pp. 73–74) (translation), Harvey (2000, p. 136), and Okano (2010, pp. 152-154).
Upāyakauśalya, Tib. D 261, 305v1. This is not an unintentional killing.
Upāyakauśalya, Tib. D 261, 305r7-v1. Literally, it is “because of that great compassion and that skill in means.”
The first seven of the Ten Good Deeds are (1) to not kill, (2) to not steal, (3) to not commit sexual misconduct, (4) to not tell a lie, (5) to not speak malicious words, (6) to not speak harsh words, and (7) to not speak idle talk. (However, if a bodhisattva is a renouncer, he is not allowed to transgress the third precept in any way.) The first three (1-3) are traditionally classified as body actions and the other four (4–7) as speech actions. The text does not mention cases of transgressing the last three of the Ten Good Deeds, namely, (8) to not be covetuous, (9) to not be malicious, and (10) to not have wrong views, which are traditionally classified as mental actions (Bodhisattvabhūmi, Śīlapaṭala, Skt ed. (Dutt  1978), p. 113, l. 18–p. 115, l. 20). Thus, there are cases in which a bodhisattva can act contrary to the good deeds regarding body and speech if his state of mind is neither covetuous, malicious, or delusional.
However, in terms of the doctrine of three poisons (viz., desire, hatred, and delusion), Asaṅga also teaches this: Sins (āpatti) mostly come from hatred (dveṣa), not from desire (rāga, indicating affection or compassion for sentient beings [sattvapreman] in particular). He further says that a bodhisattva can do what is forbidden to do as long as he does it out of compassion for sentient beings (Bodhisattvabhūmi, Śīlapaṭala, Skt ed. (Dutt  1978), p. 125, l. 9–p. 125, l. 14). This also explains in part why a bodhisattva’s compassionate and self-sacrificial killing is possible. See also Jenkins (2010, p. 68) and Jenkins (2011, p. 310).
It should also be noted that Asaṅga presents a different view in his different work. In his Mahāyānasaṃgraha (Tib ed. (Nagao 1987), 6.5), Asaṅga explains as the peculiarity of the profoundness (zab pa nyid kyi khyad par) of the bodhisattva's precepts that if a bodhisattva transgresses any of the Ten Good Deeds (not confined to seven of the ten) with skill in means, it is not sinful, rather quite meritorious, and he attains clear enlightenment soon.
Bodhisattvabhūmi, Śīlapaṭala, Skt ed. (Dutt  1978), p. 113, l. 18–p. 114, l. 2: asti kiṃcit prakṛtisāvadyam api [yad] bodhisattvas tadrūpeṇopāyakauśalyena samudācarati yenānāpattikaś ca bhavati bahu ca puṇyaṃ prasūyate / yathāpi tad bodhisattvaś cauraṃ taskaraṃ prabhūtānāṃ prāṇiśatānāṃ mahātmanāṃ śrāvakapratyekabuddhabodhisattvānāṃ vadhāyodyatam āmiṣakiṃcitkahetoḥ prabhūtānantaryakarmakriyāprayuktaṃ paśyati / dṛṣṭvā ca punar evaṃ cetasā cittam abhisaṃskaroti / yady apy aham enaṃ prāṇinaṃ jīvitād vyaparopya narakeṣūpapadyeyaṃ kāmaṃ bhavatu me narakopapattiḥ / eṣa ca sattva ānantaryakarma kṛtvā mā bhūn narakaparāyaṇa iti / evam āśayo bodhisattvas taṃ prāṇinaṃ kuśalacitto 'vyākṛtacitto vā viditvā ṛtīyamānaḥ anukampācittam evāyatyām upādāya jīvitād vyaparopayati / anāpattiko bhavati bahu ca puṇyaṃ prasūyate / (“Even if [the act] is one reprehensible by nature, the bodhisattva performs [that act] with such skill in means that he does not become sinful and much merit is brough forth. Accordingly, the bodhisattva sees a robber or thief engaged in committing many acts of ānantarya, being about to kill many hundreds of living beings as well as noble ones – śrāvakas (“ones listening to [the preach]”), pratyekabuddhas (“individually awakened ones”), and bodhisattvas – for the sake of a few things for enjoyment. Seeing it, he formed this thought in mind: “Even if I should be reborn in hells after having taken the life of this living being, I wish I be reborn in hells; this sentient being, having committed ānantarya, should not go straight to hell. With such an intention the bodhisattva ascertains that [his thought] is a virtuous thought or a neutral thought and then, being reluctant [in taking life], with only a thought of compassion for the future, he takes the life of that living being. He is not sinful; rather, much merit is brought forth.”). This translation is from Tatz (1986, pp. 70–71) with some minor changes. See also Tatz (Tatz  2016, p. 16), Fujita (1995, pp. 148–49), Schmithausen (1999, p. 59, footnotes 66 and 67), Harvey (2000, pp. 136–37), Fujita (2000, pp. 110–11), and Jenkins (2010, p. 69).
In his analysis of this discourse in the Bodhisattvabhūmi, Jenkins (2011, p. 302) points out the following: The division between good, neutral, and bad states of mind refers to a common abhidharmic classification that distinguishes between good, neutral and bad states of mind. Only the bad states of mind are affected by the mental defilements, viz., desire, hatred, and delusion (which are the three poisons), and so have negative karmic outcomes.
Tatz (Tatz  2016, p. 16) points out that some commentators on the Upāyakauśalya limit the permission to perform compassionate and self-sacrificial killing only to bodhisattvas of a higher stage, for whom the “skill in means” is an advanced attainment.
Mahāvairocana, Chapter 18, Tib. D 494, 218v6-219r1: de la byang chub sems dpas ched du bsams te srog gcod pa las slar ldog par bya’o // dbyug pa spong zhing ’khon du ’dzin pa spang bar bya’o // des bdag la ci lta ba bzhin du gzhan gyi srog kyang bsrung bar bya’o // gzhan du na gang zag de lta bu dang dngos po de lta bu la bdag gis sdig pa khas blangs la / las de bya ba ni ma gtogs te / de yang ’khon du ’dzin pa med cing snying rjer gyur pa’i yid kyis bya’o // (“In this regard, a bodhisattva should renounce taking a life with the intention [to do so]. He should abandon a stick [or punishment] and be released from enmity (or hatred). He should also protect others’ lives just as [he protects] himself. As an exception, [a case] is excluded [in which] he himself accepts a sin for such person and such matter and carries out that deed: He should carry out that without enmity (or hatered) and with a compassionate mind.”). As for the textual relation between the Bodhisattvabhūmi and the Mahāvairocana, see Fujita (1998). The Mahāvairocana also teaches this in the same context as in the Bodhisattvabhūmi (Mahāvairocana, Chapter 18, Tib. D 494, 218v6-220r5).
Mahāvairocana, Chapter 18, Tib. D 494, 220r6-r7 (byang chub sems dpa’ rgyal srid kyi dbang phyug dang khyi ma dang chung ma dang … yongs su bskor cing …; “a bodhisattva is surrounded by the [work of] governance of the kingdom, household, [his] wife, …”) and 220v2 (de la byang chub sems dpa’ khyim pa ni / khyim na gnas shing bslab pa’i gzhi lnga gzung ste / thabs dang tshul sna tshogs kyis rgyal srid la dbang byed do /; “In this regard, a lay bodhisattva lives in [his] residence, observes the Five Precepts, and rules the kingdom with various means and ways.”), which appear in the passage explaining bodhisattvas observing the Ten Good Deeds.
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. D 146, 101v4-111v7/ S 246, 57.7-85.5/ J 73-101. The title of Chapter 6 is rgyal po'i tshul (“royal ethics”). Its Chapters 5 (entitled rgyal po'i drung du phyin pa or “Coming to the king”) and 8 (entitled yon tan dang skyon bstan pa or “instruction of virtues and flaws”) also provide related teachings. In this paper I have also mentioned some teachings in Chapter 5.
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. D 146, 102v4-104r2/ S 246, 60.5-64.3 / J 75.9-79.14. For example, Tib. D 146, 102v6-v7/ S 246, 61.2-3/ J 76.4-6: des sa chen po ma lus pa gnod par sdo ba ma mchis shing 'tshe ba ma mchis la / chad pa *ma mchis (mchis J) shing mtshon gyis bda' ba ma mchis pa 'di nyid chos dang *'thun par (mthun par J) snyoms pas legs par phab ste / gnas lags so // (whose Sanskrit can be restored from the Mahāvyutpatti, 3636 (Silk 2013, p. 166))—sa imām eva samudraparyantāṃ mahāpṛthivīm akhilām akaṇṭakām anutpātām adaṇḍenāśastreṇa dharmeṇa samenābhinirjityādhyāvasati / (“He resides on this just, great ground, entirely to the boundary with the ocean, thornless and calamity-free, after having conquered [it] equally by the dharma and not by punishment or weaponry.”) and Tib. D 146, 103v7-104r1/ S 246, 63.6-64.2/ J 79.8-11: 'khor los sgyur ba'i rgyal pos skye dgu skyong ba de'i tshe na chos ma lags pa'i 'dod pa la dga' ba la chags pa 'am / mi rigs pa'i 'dod chen gyis zil gyis non pa'am / log pa'i chos kyis 'khor ba de lta bu'i sems can ma mchis te / (“In that age when a wheel-turning king protects the people, there is no such sentient being who is attached to the joy of evil desire, who has given in to [one’s own] inappropriate and strong desire, or who is confused by some wrong dharma.”).
A righteous king in the actual world is distinguished from the “righteous dharma king,” a wheel-turner. He is never called “wheel-turner.” However, in some passages an ideal king in the actual world is also called “righteous dharma king” or “king” modified by the words “righteous” (chos dang ldan pa) and “dharma” (chos kyi) in some way (D 146, 104v6, 109r6-r7, 109v6, 109v7, and 111v2/ S 246, 66.4, 79.1, 80.3, 80.4, and 84.6). If this is not simply a confusion or interpolation that occurred during the course of transmission, it may be expressive of the authors’ implicit message that an ideal king should imitate a wheel-turner as much as possible.
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 5, D 146, 99v4-100v6 and 101r2-v3/ S 246, 52.5-55.5 and 56.2-57.5/ J 65.2-68.12 and 69.4-72.4 and, Chapter 6, D 146, 103r1-r2/ S 246, 61.4-5/ J 76.11-16. For the protection of these sentient beings, a king does not destroy their life environment. The text states this (summarized: Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 6, D 146, 107r4-v4/ S 246, 73.1-74.3/ J 88.8-89.10): A king should not destroy villages, towns, ponds, houses, fruitful trees, crops, or any other things that have been well built because they are common life resources (thun mong gi nye bar 'tsho ba) used by the king and the other sentient beings (sems can gzhan dag), who have not committed any fault (nongs pa ma bgyis pa); because the houses, temples, stūpas, fruitful trees, and the others are inhabited by respective deities (so so'i lha) and sorrow occurs (mi dga' bar 'gyur) if they are destroyed; and because they are also inhabited by various beasts (dud 'gro'i skye gnas su gtogs pa'i srog chags sna tshogs dag, literally “various living beings belonging to the birth of beast”), who have not committed any fault. The king also protects the deities who live in his territory (rgyal po'i khams na lha gang dag gnas pa de dag) by making the bali offering (gtor ma) or offering of particular crops to them.
The text is often obscure which heaven it indicates. Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 5, D 146, 101r5-v3/ S 246, 56.5- 57.5/ J 70.5-71.16 (dbang po’i gnas or “Indra’s place,” mtho ris or “heaven,” dbang phyug ’jig rten or “Indra’s world,” and lha yi gzhal med khang or “divine palace” for heaven), and Chapter 6, D 146, 111v6-v7/ S 246, 85.3-5/ J 101.9-16 (lha yi rgyal srid or “divine kingdom” for heaven).
Satyakaparivarta, Chapter 6, D 146, 104r6-r7/ S 246, 65.1-3/ J 80.9-13: smras pa / bram ze / bstan bcos gang la chos dang ldan pa'i rgyal pos brten cing skye dgu skyong bar *byed pa de (byed pa'i DJ) bstan bcos gang yin / smras pa / rgyal po chen po / de ni bstan bcos gang las mi rigs pa'i chags pa dang / mi rigs pa'i zhe sdang dang / mi rigs pa'i gti mug gi gnyen po rang bzhin nam / rab tu dbye ba'am / phan yon gyi sgo nas bstan pa *ste (te S) / (“[Caṇḍapradyota] said—O brahmin! Which is the treatise that a righteous king relies on to protect the people? [Satyaka] said—O great king! It is such a treatise that teaches an antidote against evil desire, evil hatred, and evil delusion in terms of the inherent nature, classification, or benefit.”). Although it is not stated explicitly in the Satyakaparivarta, this seems to be derived from the traditional Buddhist idea that the three poisons (lobha or desire, dosa or hatred, and moha or delusion) are roots (mūla) of the Ten Bad Deeds and to not have the three poisons is the root of the Ten Good Deeds, found in the Sammādiṭṭhisutta (“Right View Scripture,” P ed. (Trenckner  1993), Majjhimanikāya 9, pp. l. 3–l. 20).
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 6, D 146, 104r7-v1/ S 246, 65.3-4/ J 80.13-16: de la / gnyin po'i rang bzhin ni 'di lags te / 'di lta ste / de'i gnyen por 'gyur ba ma chags pa dge ba'i rtsa ba dang / zhe sdang ma *mchis pa'i (mchis pa J) dge ba'i rtsa ba dang / gti mug ma *mchis pa'i (mchis pa J) dge ba'i rtsa ba lags so // de la gnyen po kun nas slong ba ni 'di lags te / 'di lta ste / bag mchis pa dang snying rje lags so // (“In this regard, to have the nature of antidote [measn] this: Antidotes against those [three poisons] are to not be greedy, [which is] a root of virtue, to not be hateful, a root of virtue, and to not be delusional, a root of virtue. In this regard, what bring [these] antidotes are these: heedfulness and compassion.”) and D 146, 104v5/ S 246, 66.2-3/ J 81.7-9: rgyal po chen po chos gnyis po de dag dang ldan na chos dang ldan pa'i rgyal po skye dgu yang dag par skyong bar bgyid *ces bgyi ba (cas bgyi ba D; ces pa S) lags te / bag mchis pa dang snying rje gnyis lags so // (“O great king! It is taught that if being complete with these two virtues, a righteous king protects the people correctly: heedfulness and compassion, [these] two.”).
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 6, D 146, 104v1-v3/ S 246, 65.5-6/ J 80.17-20: rgyal po chen po de la chos dang ldan pa'i rgyal po'i longs spyod rnams dang bdag nyid kyang mi rtag par rtogs shing dran pa nye bar *bzhag (gzhag D) ste / nyes dmigs su lta zhing nges par 'byung ba 'tshal bas longs spyod rnams la spyod cing rgyal po'i dbang phyug gi dbang bgyid pa 'di ni de'i bag mchis pa lags so // (“O Great King! In this regard, a righteous king understands and is mindful that [his] wealth and he himself are impermanent. Seeing them as flaws, [he] wishes to renounce [them]. By [this he] uses [his] wealth and exerts royal power. This is his heedfulness.”). Heedfulness (or diligence, appamāda in Pāli) was originally an important concept in Pāli scriptures. The Pāli discourse entitled Appamāda (the first of the discourses having the same title, P ed. (Feer  1960), Saṃyuttanikāya, Sagāthavagga, 3.2.7, pp. 86–87) tells that appamāda brings both benefits pertaining to present and future lives. See Bodhi (2000a, pp. 179–80) for translation. The Satyakaparivarta also says that “those who are heedful will be reborn in heaven” in the next life (Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 5, D 146, 101r2-r3/ S 246, 56.2-3/ J 69.7: bag mchis gang lags de ni mtho ris mchi //).
The term skye dgu rnams, which also mean all sentient beings, seems to particularly indicate the king’s people in this context. Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 6, D 146, 104v1-v5/ S 246, 65.6- 66.2/ J 81.1-7: gang la gnas te / ma thob pa'i longs spyod kyi 'bras bu la nye bar mi 'tsho ba dang / *thob pa la'ang (thob pa'ang S) dus ma yin par nye bar mi 'tsho ba dang / dus la bab kyang dbul po rnams la gnod pa bgyis shing *nye bar mi 'tsho ba (mi 'tsho ba J) dang / mu ge'i gnod pa zhig byung na skye dgu rnams kyi skyabs bgyid pa dang / chom rkun gyi gnod pa dang / pha rol gyi dmag tshogs kyi gnod pa dang / gcig la gcig gnod par gyur pa zhig byung na / yang dag par phan 'dogs par bgyid pa dang / dbul po rnams la nor sbyin pa dang / mi srun pa rnams la yang dag par chad pas bcad pa 'di ni / de'i snying rje zhes bgyi ste / (“Being in that [state of heedfulness], [he does] not use fruits of wealth not acquired [viz., fruits of others’ wealth]; [he does] not use [them] in an inappropriate occasion even [the wealth he has] acquired; [he does] not use [them] while harming the poor even if the occasion is appropriate; [he] protects the people [by giving foods] when the harm of famine occurs; [he] helps [the people] correctly when the harm of robbers, the harm of foreign army troops, and anything harmful to each other occurs; [he] gives property to the poor; and [he] punishes criminals correctly. These are proclaimed to be his compassion.”). See also Zimmermann (2000, pp. 189–91).
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 6, D 146, 107r2-r3/ S 246, 72.5-7/ J 88.1-4: rgyal po chen po / chos dang ldan pa'i rgyal pos ni rang gi ris na ya rabs su btu ba'i dge sbyong dang bram ze mkhas pa gsal ba rig pa dang ldan pa de dag gi drung du mchi zhing dus dus su / dge ba ni gang / mi dge ba ni gang / ci byas na legs par 'gyur / ci byas na sdig par *mi 'gyur ('gyur J) zhes dri bar bgyi zhing de dag chos ston par 'gyur ba'i skabs dbye bar bgyi'o // (“O Great king! A righteous king should sometimes visit those ascetics and brahmins, [who are] to be gathered as virtuous men in his territory (ris), [who are] learned, and [who] have clear knowledge, and ask [them] ‘What is good? What is bad? What is good to do? What is a deed [that is] not sinful?’ [He] should provide an occasion for them to preach dharma.”) See also Zimmermann (2000, pp. 185–86).
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 6, D 146, 110v6 and 111r3/ S 246, 82.7 and 83.4-5/ J 98.11 and 99.7-8: dgra rnams la de'i rgyus nyes pa'i 'du shes dang … dgra rnams la de'i rgyus nyes pa'i 'du shes kyis gnas pa ni / de'i rgyu yongs su spong zhing / skye bo gzhan lta ci smos kyi / dgra rnams dang yang mdza' bar bgyid pa'o // (“[A king should have] a thought that opponents have a reason for committing the fault [of hostility], and … Abiding on the ‘thought that opponents have a reason for committing the fault’ [means that] he removes that cause (reason), and he also forms friendships with the opponents; let alone others.”)
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 6, D 146, 109v6-110r3/ S 246, 80.4-81.1/ J 96.7-18: smras pa / bram ze rgyal po'i chos de ltar yongs su rdzogs pa dang ldan pa'i chos kyi rgyal pos *'thab mo'i (thab mo D) g-yul zhig nye bar gnas na ji ltar nan tan du bya / smras pa / rgyal po chen po dus gsum du thabs la mkhas pa'i rnam pa gsum gyis nan tan du bgyi'o // de la dus gsum ni thog ma'i dus dang / bar gyi dus dang / tha ma'i dus so // de la thog ma'i dus kyi thabs mkhas pa ni / gal te rgyal po'am blon po mdza' bar bgyi bas 'grub par gda' na / yang mdza' bar bgyi bas nye bar bzung ste *'thab mo (thab mo D) de zhi bar bgyi'o // gal te phan gdags pa zhig gis 'grub par gda' na yang phan *gdags pas (gdags pa J) nye bar bzung ste *'thab mo (thab mo D) de zhi bar bgyi'o // gal te phyogs mang po yongs su bzung ba dang de bas lhag pa'i dgrar 'gyur ba'i 'jigs pa la sogs pa bstan pas 'grub par gda' na yang / de gnyis bstan pas nye bar bzung ste *'thab mo (thab mo D) de zhi bar bgyi ste / de ltar dus dang po la thabs mkhas pa sbyar bar bgyi'o // gal te de dag mdza' bar bgyi ba dang / phan gdags pa dang / 'jigs pa bstan pa … (“[King Caṇḍapradyota] said—O Brahmin! How should a dharma king, [who] has thus perfectly fulflled the king’s dharma, do earnestly if [the enemy] army for battle is arrayed near [him]. [Satyaka] said – O Great king! [He] should cope [with it] earnestly by three ways of skill in means at three times. In this regard, the three times [mean] the times of the first, midst, and last (viz., the first, second, and third steps). Of them, the skill in means at the time of the first [means this]: If a king or minister is able to achieve [avoiding a war] by forming friendship [with the enemy], [he] should pacify [viz., avoid] the war by means of forming friendship. If [he] is able to achieve [this] by giving gifts [or assistance], [he] should pacify the war by means of giving gifts. If [he] is able to achieve [this] by [his] holding of many directions [viz., alliance with many countries] and by giving [the enemy negative senses] such as a sense of fear of [his] becoming a greater opponent thanks to that [alliance], [he] should pacify the war by means of showing these two [viz., by means of intimidating the enemy with allied countries]. [He] should use the skill in means in this way at the time of the first. If … these [three policies of] forming friendship [with the enemy], giving gifts [to the enemy], and intimidating [the enemy] …”).
The idea that a king wins a battle by capturing the enemy alive (jīvagāha in Pali, jīvagrāha in Sanskrit, srog gzung ba in Tibetan, “capturing alive”), which is used in a positive sense, can also be found in the Alīnacittajātaka (abbreviated to Alīnacitta) and the Bhojānīyajātaka (abbreviated to Bhojānīya). According to the Alīnacitta, Prince Alīnacitta (the Buddha in a former life) won the war against the king of Kosala with the help of his military elephant, which captured the king alive, warned him, and let him go (Alīnacitta [Pāli Jātaka 156], P ed. (Fausboll  1990), p.22, l. 10–l. 15). The Bhojānīya is a story of a military horse (another former life of the Buddha) that defeated the troops of seven enemy kings by capturing the kings alive, making them vow not to be antagonists, and sending them back to their countries (Bhojānīya [Pāli Jātaka 23], P ed. (Fausboll  1990), pp. 178–80, especially p. 180, l. 9–l. 15 and l. 20–l. 23).
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 6, D 146, 110r3-v2/ S 246, 81.1–82.1/ J 96.18–97.14: gal te de dag mdza' bar bgyi ba dang / phan gdags pa dang / 'jigs pa bstan pa *gang gis (gang gi J) kyang bsgo ste ma btub na chos dang ldan pa'i rgyal pos sems gsum nye bar *bzhag (gzhag D) ste *'thab mo (thab mo D) bgyi'o // gsum gang zhe na / ... dang por skye dgu yongs su bskyang ba la sems nye bar gzhag par bgyi'o // gnyis pa ni phas kyi dgra las rgyal bar bgyi ba'i sems so // gsum pa ni srog gzung ba'i sems te / sems gsum po 'di dag nye bar *bzhag (gzhag D) la / dpung gi tshogs yan lag *bzhi pa (bzhi po J) la bka' stsal bar bgyi ste / de ltar dus bar ma la thabs mkhas pa sbyar bar bgyi'o // dus tha ma la ni dpung gi tshogs yan lag bzhi pa de dag dpa' ba tha ma dang / dpa' ba 'bring dang / dpa' ba rab kyi tshul du g-yul bsham par bgyi'o // … de ltar tha ma'i dus la thabs mkhas pa sbyar bar bya'o // (“If [he] is not successful after having commanded even by [all of] these [three policies of] forming friendship, giving gifts, and intimidating, the righteous king can (or should) wage a war with three thoughts in mind. [King Caṇḍapradyota questioned –] What are [those] three? ... [Satyaka said –] First, [he] should resolve to protect the people completely. The second is the mind to defeat the enemy. The third is the mind to capture [the enemy warriors] alive. With these three thoughts in mind [he] should command [his] fourfold army. [He] should use the skill in means in this way at the intermediate time. At the final time [he] should arrange the troops of the fourfold army in the way of [dividing it into] inferior warriors, middle-level warriors, and superior warriors. ... [How to arrange them is explained.] … [He] should use the skill in means in this way at the final time.”). See also Zimmermann (2000, pp. 201–2). As for the translation of the srog gzung ba (*jīvagrāham) as “to capture alive,” see Zimmermann (2000, p. 202, footnote 73) and Jenkins (2010, p. 67).
See footnotes 55 and 57 above.
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 6, D 146, 110v2-v4/ S 246, 82.1-4 / J 97.15-98.2: de ltar thabs mkhas shing g-yul legs par shes pa'i *rgyal pos (rgyal po J) ni pha rol gyi dpung *bkum mam (ngam S) / rma byung yang / des rgyal po la kha na ma tho ba chung zhing bsod nams ma lags pa chung ba dang / 'bras bu myong ba yang nges pa ma *mchis par (chis par J) 'gyur ro // de ci'i slad du zhe na / 'di ltar des snying rje ba dang / yongs su *mi gtang ba'i (ma btang ba'i J) sems kyis las de mngon par 'du bgyis pa'i slad du'o // gang des skye dgu yongs su bskyang ba dang / bu dang / chung ma dang / rigs kyi don du bdag dang longs spyod yongs su *btang ste (btang ba ste J) las de bgyis pas / gzhi de las *bsod nams (bsod nams kyang J) tshad ma mchis pa yang rab tu 'phel lo //. See also Zimmermann (2000, pp. 201–4) and Jenkins (2011, p. 68).
See Section 1 and footnote 9 above.
Zimmermann (2000, pp. 199–200). Jenkins agrees with him.
Manusmṛti, Skt ed. (Olivelle 2005), 7.18–200.
The text is 'thab mo'i g-yul zhig nye bar gnas na. See footnote 55 above. See also the Satyakaparivarta, D 110v5/ S 246, 822.4/ J 98.2-3, where the same text also appears.
Zimmermann (2000, p. 201) interprets abandonment of himself as the abandonment of his life. I agree with him. In his Catuḥśatakaṭīkā, Candrakīrti also discusses abandoning oneself (and one’s wealth) in battle (g-yul ngor bdag … gtong ba) as meaning abandoning [one’s] life (and wealth) in battle (g-yul ngor srog gtong ba) (Catuḥśatakaṭīkā, Chapter 4, Tib. D 3865, 84r6 and 85r3).
See footnotes 27 and 73 in this paper.
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 6, D 146, 111v2/ S 246, 84.5-6/ J 100.3-5: de la gnod par sems pa'i dgra rnams rang rang gi las kyi rnam par smin pa'i nyes pas phung zhing bas pa dang / ma mchis par 'gyur lags so //. Strangely, previous studies have not sufficiently considered this line. This is perhaps because this line appears in the last passage of Chapter 6, which explains the effects that a righteous king acquires and not in the passage that explains the non-sinful and meritorious killing in warfare, which I translated above.
Several Buddhist scriptures, such as Zhi Qian’s Chinese translation of the Arthapadasūtra (Yizujing, third century CE), contain a narrative of the destruction of the Śākyas. Murakami (1996) presents a comparative study of several versions of this narrative preserved in Pāli (such as Buddhaghosa’s Dhammapadaṭṭhakathā), Chinese, and Sanskrit texts. The Arthapadasūtra or Yizujing (T 198, partially corresponding to the Aṭṭhakavagga of the Pāli Suttanipāta) is perhaps the oldest among the extant texts that contain this narrative. See also Schmithausen (1999, p. 49).
A similar idea is also found in a discourse related to death punishment in the Milindapañha (“Questions of Milinda,” second century BCE–second century CE). The protagonist Buddhist monk Nāgasena says that a king’s execution of a robber occurs as a karmic effect of what the robber did in the past (Milindapañha, P ed. (Trenckner 1962, p. 184, l. 24–p. 186, l. 24)). See also Rhys Davids (1890, pp. 254–57) and Nakamura and Hayajima (1964, pp. 157–60) for translations. As for the discourse in the Milindapañha, see also Schmithausen (1999, p. 54, footnote 41) and Jenkins (2010, pp. 64-65 and 2016, p. 133 and footnote 14).
Satyakaparivarta, Tib. Chapter 6, D 146, 111v2-v3/ S 246, 84.6-7/ J 100.5-8: rgyal po chen po chos dang ldan pa'i *chos kyi rgyal po (rgyal po J) de ltar skye dgu skyong ba ni 'jig rten na des pa rnams la nongs pa ma *mchis par (mchis pa J) 'gyur lags te / lus zhig nas gum pa'i 'og tu yang bde 'gro mtho ris kyi 'jig rten du lha'i nang du skye bar 'gyur lags so // (“O Great king! the righteous dharma king, [who] protects the people in this way [explained in this whole chapter], is not faulty in [the eyes of] noble ones in the world. After the destruction of [his] body and death [he] is reborn among gods in heaven, the happy state of existence.”). The phrase “the righteous dharma king” (chos dang ldan pa'i chos kyi rgyal po) indicates the righteous king in the actual world in this context. If J’s reading is accepted, it is “the righteous king.”
In this way, in the Satyakaparivarta, a king’s compassion for his people is always apparent, but his compassion for his opponents becomes obscured in a particular situation. I consider that this is the key to understanding why a righteous king, who may kill or wound opponents in battle, never executes criminals by death or severe forms of physical punishment (viz., destroying the criminal’s physical organ and amputation). This question has puzzled modern scholars (see Zimmermann 2000, p. 204). The Satyakaparivarta gives three reasons for the absolute ban of severe punishment: (1) Executing severe forms of punishment including death is a transgression of the precept against killing. (2) A king must be compassionate: He must punish criminals compassionately like a father’s punishment of his son to educate or reform him. (3) Criminals suffer unhappy destinations after having been executed by death or severe forms of physical punishment. However, why are these reasons not applied in the same way to absolutely prohibit a king from killing in war? To this question, it is necessary to consider who are criminals. Most criminals whom a king can punish under his rule are evil doers from among his people, not people belonging to foreign kings. On the other hand, opponents whom a king may kill in war are warriors belonging to foreign kings. As discussed in Section 4 above, a king is always compassionate to his people, but his compassion to his opponents is obscure. Therefore, a king never kills criminals (his people) in punishment and may kill foreign opponents in a war to protect his people. There are also cases in which a king must punish enemy warriors whom he captured alive in a war. However, unlike the time of war during which enemy warriors rush at him and his people in attack, there is no urgent need of killing the captured warriors, whose freedom of action is much restricted. A righteous king also has some form of compassion for his opponents. He reforms the captured opponents through moderate punishment compassionately and forms friendships with them. As for details of a view of punishment in the Satyakaparivarta, see Sugiki (2018, pp. 6–8; 2020, forthcoming).
As known from his inscriptions in the third century BCE, Aśoka’s goal was to realize his people’s happiness in this life and the next life (the latter of which, the fruit in the next life, was more important to him). He did not mention his own happiness explicitly, but it seems to be implied. Aśoka’s rock edict, no. 6 (Sen 1956), p. 79, l. 13–l. 15 (nāsti hi kaṃmataraṃ sarvalokahitatpā. ya ca kiṃci parākramāmi ahaṃ kiṃti bhūtānaṃ ānaṃṇaṃ gacheyaṃ, idha ca nāni sukhāpayāmi, paratrā ca svagaṃ ārādhayaṃtu.); no. 13 (Sen 1956), p. 103, l. 13–l. 14 (sā hoti piti dhaṃmavijayaṣi. lahukā cu kho sā piti. pālaṃtikyam eva mahāphalaṃ maṃnati devānaṃpiye); and Kaliṅga rock edict, no. 1 (Sen 1956), p. 109, l. 7-l. 9 (athā pajāye ichāmi hakaṃ kiṃ ti savena hitasukhena hidalokikapālalokikena yūjevū ti, tathā savamunisesu pi ichāmi hakaṃ.). I have used translations by Sen (1956, pp. 78, 102, 108), Tsukamoto (1976, pp. 92, 93, 105, 108), and Dhammika (1993, p. 11, pp. 16–17, and p. 18). For a Buddhist example after Aśoka, see the narratives of wheel-turners examined in Section 2 above. For a Brahmanical example, Manusmṛti, Skt ed. (Olivelle 2005), 7.142-144 (kṣatriyasya paro dharmaḥ prajānām eva pālanam / nirdiṣṭaphalabhoktā hi rājā dharmeṇa yujyate //: “For a kṣatriya the highest dharma is certainly the protection of his people because the king, [who] enjoys the indicated rewards, is bound with the dharma.”).
Tikhonov (2013, p. 9) also mentions the difference between Buddhist teachings related to warfare and Christian just war theories: “Codifying the concrete rules of ‘acceptable warfare’ … tends to be entrusted to the worldly rulers, in the spirit of the Buddhist separation between sacred (monastic) and profane realms.” However, he does not discuss in detail the soteriological aspects of those Buddhist teachings.
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Sugiki, T. Compassion, Self-Sacrifice, and Karma in Warfare: Buddhist Discourse on Warfare as an Ethical and Soteriological Instruction for Warriors. Religions 2020, 11, 66. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11020066
Sugiki T. Compassion, Self-Sacrifice, and Karma in Warfare: Buddhist Discourse on Warfare as an Ethical and Soteriological Instruction for Warriors. Religions. 2020; 11(2):66. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11020066Chicago/Turabian Style
Sugiki, Tsunehiko. 2020. "Compassion, Self-Sacrifice, and Karma in Warfare: Buddhist Discourse on Warfare as an Ethical and Soteriological Instruction for Warriors" Religions 11, no. 2: 66. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11020066