What is More Deadly?

A friend on Facebook posted:

“What’s more deadly, a gun or a thought? A gun gives the opportunity but its the thought that pulls the trigger.”

I replied by quoting: Matthew 5:20-22

20 For I say unto you that unless your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.21 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ and ‘Whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.’22 But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool,’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

I think that Jesus did not mean ‘hell fire’ in any literal sense; he meant hell in the sense of a mental/emotional state. True non-violence is not just abstaining from violent acts but also from violent thoughts. There is a Zen Buddhist story that illustrates this sense of being in emotional hell:

A samurai asks a master monk to teach him about heaven and hell. The monk immediately slaps the samurai! Enraged, the samurai draws his sword and chases the monk around the room, intent on killing him. Finally cornering the monk, the samurai—face still contorted in rage—raises his sword for the killing blow… “That!” says the calm monk, pointing to the samurai’s anger-flushed face, “is hell!” In a flash, anger flees from the samurai’s face, replaced by confusion. “And that,” declares the monk triumphantly, “is Heaven.”

The thought, actually habits of thought, lead to action, to a will to kill. A gun or any weapon is a manifestation of that will, a symbol and a tool of that will; in a sense the weapon is the thought. A weapon is not just a gun or sword or bomb it can be a word; the ‘thou fool’ that Jesus refers to is also a weapon.

The weapon, shaped by thought, goes on to shape our thoughts and reinforces our will to kill.

I always found this scene to be the most disturbing in the Kill Bill films: