In this very difficult situation, which is the most reasonable?


Imagine you’re a Buddhist father/mother with children and a wife.

A mafia kidnaps you and locks you up with your family and 5 murderers in chains.

The mafia gives you a gun and tells you that if you kill one of the 5 murderers, then you and your family will be freed. But if you don’t kill one of the murderers after 10 minutes, then you’ll have to kill all 5 murderers, and if you refuse to kill those 5 murderers either, then they’ll go and kill your family.

The mafia does this for fun.

What can you do?
Apparently from a Buddhist point of view, the wisest thing to do is not to kill anyone, any of the murderers, even if they are going to kill our wife and children. We mustn’t kill anyone, whatever the consequences.

But the problem is, you know your mind is MUCH TOO full of impurities (like attachment, passions, etc.) to “successfully refuse to kill any of the criminals to protect your family”. You know it’s too hard for you. In other words, even if you resist your impulse to protect your family by refusing to kill one of the murderers, you won’t be able to resist the impulse to kill all 5 murderers to protect your family: your mind is too corrupted by desire and passions.

Which action would be the least karmicallly risky? Would it really be wise to refuse to kill one of the criminals, when we know that afterwards we won’t succeed in not killing all 5?

The underlying reason for creating this topic is that I find it very sad that sometimes respecting the first precept (in this case, not to kill one murderer out of 5) can lead to a situation where we end up seriously breaking the first precept (in this case, to kill 5 murderers, because of our passions for our familly).

Thanks in advance

May all beings be satisfied.

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I personally would not kill any of them because killing even one of them is breaking the precept.
If you were to kill none and die right there, you would go to heaven after death (most likely).
If you were to kill even one and die right there, you would go to hell after death (most likely).
However, it’s only my view and my personal choice at that moment.

Follow the precepts no matter what, even if, you or anyone dear to you were to die while following the precepts, you must do it, that is my view.


Very interesting thank you !!!

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You cannot justify killing. You are only allowed to kill greed hatred and delusion.


Thank you ! Superb wording!

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