Is Buddhism destructive?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
alfa
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Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by alfa » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:54 pm

:namaste:

Buddhism may be good for individuals. As Buddhists, we may be able to accept things as they are because we know the four noble truths. That way we find peace.

But is Buddhism destructive to society? Consider the plague that wiped out half of Europe. If the Europeans had been Buddhists, they would've thought disease is inevitable in samsara, death is inevitable, etc. etc. No renaissance. No technological advancement.

What I am saying is: while buddhism is good for individuals, is it dangerous to society as a whole? Will society stagnate without any progress?
:anjali:

dharmacorps
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:30 pm

Maybe I am alone here, but I am not sure your question makes sense, can you please elaborate on how the dhamma could be destructive? The kind of reaction to the black death you are describing is nihilism or fatalism, not Buddhism.

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Nicolas
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by Nicolas » Fri Aug 02, 2019 5:37 pm

"Society" in the abstract doesn't feel, doesn't experience dukkha, and only feels and experiences dukkha insofar as it is composed of individuals who feel and experience dukkha.

From a Buddhist perspective, "societal progress" (as is commonly understood, i.e. medical and technological advancement) is something worldly, only useful to alleviate dukkha and create comfort for society's individuals. But this alleviation is only temporary, as at best it only lasts one lifetime. We're interested in the complete eradication of dukkha, which is much more important than temporary alleviation of dukkha.

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cappuccino
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by cappuccino » Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:22 pm

Lay people are Buddhists - yet they create

Or if not create, then participate in normal life

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Bundokji
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by Bundokji » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:26 pm

You are equating accepting things as they are with inaction.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

Caodemarte
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:02 pm

Given the historic role of Buddhists in building bridges, treating the sick and serving as physicians, feeding the poor, teaching, etc. this question does not really make sense in a historical context.

SarathW
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by SarathW » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:26 pm

alfa wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:54 pm
:namaste:

Buddhism may be good for individuals. As Buddhists, we may be able to accept things as they are because we know the four noble truths. That way we find peace.

But is Buddhism destructive to society? Consider the plague that wiped out half of Europe. If the Europeans had been Buddhists, they would've thought disease is inevitable in samsara, death is inevitable, etc. etc. No renaissance. No technological advancement.

What I am saying is: while buddhism is good for individuals, is it dangerous to society as a whole? Will society stagnate without any progress?
:anjali:
:goodpost:
I am pleased you ask this question.
It is not the Buddhism destructive, it is not knowing Buddhism properly is destructive.
Buddha equates this to a holding a snake in his tail instead of its head in Alaguptama Sutta.
I have seen this is happening in Sri Lanka.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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robertk
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by robertk » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:26 pm

20190803_092322.jpg
I took this photo 5 minutes ago - clearing some brush off my little farm.
As was said already, laypeople go about their lives normally, doing all sorts of work.

Dan74
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by Dan74 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:50 pm

I guess the OP mistakes equanimity for apathy and indifference. Buddhism is subtle and easily misunderstood.

But I do think that in many ways it would be subversive if the majority embraced the Dhamma in earnest. For starters people would consume a lot less and not place current importance on material goods and career success. Might even help save the environment and ameliorate many of our social ills..
_/|\_

SarathW
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by SarathW » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:17 pm

Actually, Buddha supports wealth creation for laypeople with right mindfulness.
Wealth creation is prohibited only for the monks.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

alfa
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by alfa » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:52 am

Dan74 wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:50 pm
I guess the OP mistakes equanimity for apathy and indifference. Buddhism is subtle and easily misunderstood.

But I do think that in many ways it would be subversive if the majority embraced the Dhamma in earnest. For starters people would consume a lot less and not place current importance on material goods and career success. Might even help save the environment and ameliorate many of our social ills..
Even if it's equanimity, what's the philosophy behind this equanimity? That things are impermanent, there is dukkha, this is samsara, etc. With this attitude, can we ever fight back? Consider ageing. It's likely that a buddhist, even a buddhst doctor, will say ageing is normal and inevitable. The buddha has said so. That's that. A buddhist will not even think of ways to stop ageing. So the misery of old age - aches and pains, illnesses etc. - will continue. Just one example.

santa100
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by santa100 » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:55 am

alfa wrote:What I am saying is: while buddhism is good for individuals, is it dangerous to society as a whole? Will society stagnate without any progress?
No, and no. And it is for that exact reason that the Buddha tailored His vast teaching to make it suitable to people from all walks of life, rich and poor, prestigious and humble, intellectual and illiterate, lay and ascetics, etc. If you've read many suttas, I'm sure you can see the differences in contents between those suttas for householders versus those for ascetics. It doesn't require the mind of a Buddha to be able to see that society will quickly plunge into chaos and even total collapse if military leaders start to conduct themselves like monks, and monks like military leaders. This was also why the Buddha not only emphasized the truthfulness of speech, but also the timeliness/appropriateness of it:
MN 58 wrote:[So too, prince, such speech as the Tathāgata knows to be untrue, incorrect, and unbeneficial, and which is also unwelcome and disagreeable to others: such speech the Tathāgata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathāgata knows to be true and correct but unbeneficial, and which is also unwelcome and disagreeable to others: such speech the Tathāgata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathāgata knows to be true, correct, and beneficial, but which is unwelcome and disagreeable to others: the Tathāgata knows the time to use such speech.613 Such speech as the Tathāgata knows to be untrue, incorrect, and unbeneficial, but which is welcome and agreeable to others: such speech the Tathāgata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathāgata knows to be true and correct but unbeneficial, and which is welcome and agreeable to others: such speech the Tathāgata does not utter. Such speech as the Tathāgata knows to be true, correct, and beneficial, and which is welcome and agreeable to others: the Tathāgata knows the time to use such speech. Why is that? Because the Tathāgata has compassion for beings.”/quote]

sunnat
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by sunnat » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:35 am

'be able to accept things as they are because we know the four noble truths'

It's by accepting things as they are, in the right way, that we come to know (bhavanamayapanna) the four noble truths.

Buddha made discoveries that only lately scientists are catching up with. If the Europeans had been practicing as Buddha instructs they would have approached the plague rationally, seeing clearly. As it was, the plague set European society off on a dance of religious fervor.

Practice as Buddha taught is good for individuals irrespective of anything outside. However the destruction of negative kamma affects the outside.

What is a stagnating society? There is a continual flux. Society is continually changing. Always anicca.

edit add: equanimity is the core of the path. The Middle Way between suppression and unfettered expression.

edit 2. typo
Last edited by sunnat on Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

justindesilva
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by justindesilva » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:20 am

sunnat wrote:
Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:35 am
'be able to accept things as they are because we know the four noble truths'

It's by accepting things as they are, in the right way, that we come to know (bhavanamayapanna) the four noble truths.

Buddha made discoveries that only lately scientists are catching up with. If the Europeans had been practicing as Buddha instructs they would have approached the plague rationally, seeing clearly. As it was, the plague set European society off on a dance of religious fervor.

Practice as Buddha taught is good for individuals irresponsible ctive of anything outside. However the destruction of negative kamma affects the outside.

What is a stagnating society? There is a continual flux. Society is continually changing. Always anicca.

edit add: equanimity is the core of the path. The Middle Way between suppression and unfettered expression.
If one reads " Vasetta sutta" as explained to brahmins Vasetta & Baradvaja it is explained to explain the vanity of class system. Yet lord Buddha explains that people has to be gauged by the skills of damma that has been adopted by them. Lord Buddha utters the words " kammana vattathi loko kammana vattathi paja............." .
This explains that the civic ( people in this world) and the world ( climate etc) is processed by kamma, where as this kamma holds the world like the pin on the axle of a charriot.
Considering this, look at the west and the adverse whether conditions faced by them while they have a luxurious life of pleasure. Though the Easterners ( not Moslems) lead a life of a spiritual nature with so called suffering owing to a life style of minimum needs like walking barefoot , meals with minimum taste, sleeping on non cushion beds etc. the harm done by them to climate is minimum. Tibet with their most difficult life style has proved to be the best climate protector in the world.
Lord Buddha's advice of Noble eightfold path protects the happiness of the world and people. I remember somewhere in Vasetta sutta the preaching in the need of observing pancaseela by lay people.

SarathW
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Re: Is Buddhism destructive?

Post by SarathW » Sat Aug 03, 2019 9:08 am

Learn what sort of luxury life Buddha had!

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=24377&p=350409&hilit=
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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