Cross-Post - Buddhism used to empower Power to misuse power

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Cross-Post - Buddhism used to empower Power to misuse power

Postby l_rivers » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:18 pm

I usually post in the Mahayana thread but I wanted to ask the Theravada group how they deal with the issue of justifying worldly power struggles with Buddhist presumptions.

I know the Mahayana ideas that get twisted, but I don't know what there is in foundational Buddhism that can be used this way.

Burmese Monk Stokes Hatred of Muslims http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/world/asia/extremism-rises-among-myanmar-buddhists-wary-of-muslim-minority.html?hp
TAUNGGYI, Myanmar — After a ritual prayer atoning for past sins, Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk with a rock-star following in Myanmar, sat before an overflowing crowd of thousands of followers and launched into a rant against what he called “the enemy” — the country’s Muslim minority.


This situation, like the active part of Tendai in creating the notion of "Japan as the Land of the Superior Family of Bodhisattvas"* and Zen in the pre-WW2 rationalization of Japanese Militarism responsible for Nanking and the Kamikaze, shows that Buddhism isn't immune to co-option to National Tribalism and the justification of group persecution and murder.

Unfortunately the Lotus Sutra and yogacara presupposition of the notion of gotra, or Bodhisattva karmic lineage makes a "join" for tribal elevation. It is bewildering to me that the Theravada sects can also join into this activity without that hook for the noose so to speak.

What "fracture points" are there in our Buddhism that lay like traps for mis-step? :buddha2:


* The same rational that segregated the Mahayanist from the Hinayana also, I believe, elevates the Japanese over all the other peoples of Earth, allowing a "Skillful means" killing of others to preemptively stop their earning Hell Karma. I quote: “Japan was a nation of people whose religious capabilities were perfectly matured, and so it was appropriate to dispense with taking the Hīnayāna monastic vows, taking the *Bodhisattva precepts in their stead as a more efficient path to liberation, or in Saichō’s terminology, the ‘direct path’.” Keown, Damien (2003-03-27). A Dictionary of Buddhism (p. 244). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
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Re: Cross-Post - Buddhism used to empower Power to misuse po

Postby lyndon taylor » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:47 pm

On the whole, throughout history, Buddhists have I think started less wars than Christians or Muslims, so I don't think you can blame Buddhism more than the true culprit; Human Nature.

Try compareing the conflicts in Sri Lanka and Myamar with the Western killing of Hundred of thousands in three wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This by no means justifies the buddhist killings, but you have to wonder is the problem Buddhism, or Nationalism, and how much more violent might these conflicts have been if the rulers were Christian or Muslim. The point is you can't blame Buddhism for the war; only people in Buddhist countries, if the countries didn't have Buddhism as a religion, I doubt the conflicts would have been less, but I can't say for sure, that's my opinion
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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