During the civil wars in feudal Japan, an invading army would quickly sweep into a town and take control. In one particular village, everyone fled just before the army arrived - everyone except the Zen master. Curious about this old fellow, the general went to the temple to see for himself what kind of man this master was. When he wasn't treated with the deference and submissiveness to which he was accustomed, the general burst into anger. "You fool," he shouted as he reached for his sword, "don't you realize you are standing before a man who could run you through without blinking an eye!" But despite the threat, the master seemed unmoved. "And do you realize," the master replied calmly, "that you are standing before a man who can be run through without blinking an eye?"
Self-defense usually involves violence. At first the violence is directed at you, which leads to you reacting, many times with violence. The use of violence by a reasonable and prudent person should be guided by a set of ethics. When faced with violence a person may either evade, by avoiding or retreating, or face the violence.
Avoiding violence may be a reasonable alternative sometimes, but not all violence may be avoided. By constantly avoiding violence, some timid people retreat from society and become recluses. They lock themselves inside their homes, surrounding themselves with burglar alarms, guard dogs, and firearms. However, none of these things make them feel safer. They become more frustrated afraid, and alone.
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