Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 2016
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by No_Mind » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:32 pm

Can having strong political views co-exist with serious pursuit of Buddhism?

excess details below can be skipped

I have avoided politics of my nation for about 18 months but now I need to have a view due to prevailing circumstances.

By absolutely liberal terms of reference it is right wing view. But it is not right wing in my opinion.

Rather the strongly right-of-center government has decided to stop appeasing Muslims in a very calibrated way and I don't think they are wrong. I am not Islamophobic but little fed up of the secular liberals and their gluteus-kissing of Muslims for 70 years.


:namaste:
"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”― Albert Camus

SteRo
Posts: 911
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by SteRo » Wed Dec 18, 2019 2:16 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:32 pm
Can having strong political views co-exist with serious pursuit of Buddhism?
No because "strong views" of any kind are likely to be self-identity views. Thus cultivating such views is cultivating self-identity views which undermines serious pursuit of dhamma.

alfa
Posts: 416
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:43 pm
Location: India

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by alfa » Wed Dec 18, 2019 3:48 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:32 pm
Can having strong political views co-exist with serious pursuit of Buddhism?

excess details below can be skipped

I have avoided politics of my nation for about 18 months but now I need to have a view due to prevailing circumstances.

By absolutely liberal terms of reference it is right wing view. But it is not right wing in my opinion.

Rather the strongly right-of-center government has decided to stop appeasing Muslims in a very calibrated way and I don't think they are wrong. I am not Islamophobic but little fed up of the secular liberals and their gluteus-kissing of Muslims for 70 years.


:namaste:
All views, secular or spiritual, prevent liberation. If liberation is your only goal, then politics is best avoided. :anjali:

User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 6032
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by Ceisiwr » Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:11 pm

Ideally it’s best to be apolitical if you want to develop your practice to high attainments, IMO. Not something that is easy to do in my experience.
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

unknown
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:09 pm

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by unknown » Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:43 pm

Would Buddhism even exist if followers of Buddha refrained from politics and abandoned identity view?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but when giving political advice, Buddha never advised lay people to avoid politics and abandon identity as a way of dealing with others. Advice to Vajjis seems to go in quite the opposite direction. Ideal for the king is to protect the Sangha and build strong country. When giving advice to Vajjis, the whole point was preserving the tribe and making it stronger.

In my mind, abandoning politics and identity view completely is reserved for monks and very few advanced lay followers. If people lack supportive conditions for it, it would make them and people around them suffer. If everybody could do what monks do, then there would be no need for the Sangha. Perhaps, even the monks could give brief political advice like Buddha did. But I'm not sure about that.

If you have hordes of invaders coming to your realm, abandoning politics and identity view would be a horrible thing to do.

This doesn't mean that fighting to protect yourself is ever wholesome. But it could prevent worse thing from happening.

The best way for the ruler would be to make his country so strong that the invaders would think twice about attacking it.

User avatar
Will
Posts: 1287
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:26 pm
Location: California

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by Will » Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:44 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:32 pm
Can having strong political views co-exist with serious pursuit of Buddhism?
[/color]

:namaste:
Certainly - if by 'strong' you mean 'clear'.

If politics are primary over Dhamma in your mind, and coupled with strong attachment, then retrogression is likely.
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Tathāgatas.

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 6866
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by DooDoot » Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:30 pm

Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:11 pm
Ideally it’s best to be apolitical if you want to develop your practice to high attainments, IMO. Not something that is easy to do in my experience.
Having strong political views assists in "dispassion" :ugeek: when one discerns the masses of eḷamūga puthujjana have contrary political views. The old Masters, such as Maha Boowa & Buddhadasa, had strong political views. Since the Buddha taught some political views, obviously holding similar views is beneficial for right view and dispassion in this world of eḷamūga puthujjana who promote Liberalism.
There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in associating with evil companions, namely: any gambler, any libertine, any drunkard, any swindler, any cheat, any rowdy is his friend and companion.

DN 31
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

Caodemarte
Posts: 975
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by Caodemarte » Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:30 am

Buddhism cannot tell you what political views are correct. It does teach that intention is what matters. If you support kindness to all, wish to help all, reflect compassion and non-hatred, AND ACTUALLY DO then you are on the right track. If the opposite, well, that is the wrong track. So avoid anger and cultivate thoughtfulness and charity in your views. Above all, do not twist Buddhism to support ego driven politics of hate and aggression (found on the right and left and middle). IMHO, that is the best you can do which is all we can do.
Last edited by Caodemarte on Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 22081
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:33 am

Greetings,
Caodemarte wrote:
Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:30 am
Buddhism cannot tell you what political views are correct. It does teach that intention is what matters. If you support kindness to all, wish to help all, reflect compassion and non-hatred, AND ACTUALLY DO then you are on the right track. If the opposite, well, that is the wrong track. So avoid anger and cultivate thoughtfulness and charity in your views. IMHO, that is the best you can do.
:goodpost:

Well said - a great example of Right Effort in practice.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 6866
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by DooDoot » Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:52 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:30 am
Buddhism cannot tell you what political views are correct.
Buddhism tells us what is morally correct, socially, and thus politically. Politics is merely an extension of social behaviour.
Caodemarte wrote:
Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:30 am
If you support kindness to all...
The above sounds like Cultural Marxism or the buzz word "tolerance". Buddhism does not support evil-doing. For example, do you kindly support Nazis, White Supremacists & Antisemites? :smile:
316. Those who are ashamed of what they should not be ashamed of, and are not ashamed of what they should be ashamed of — upholding false views, they go to states of woe.

317. Those who see something to fear where there is nothing to fear, and see nothing to fear where there is something to fear — upholding false views, they go to states of woe.

318. Those who imagine evil where there is none, and do not see evil where it is — upholding false views, they go to states of woe.

319. Those who discern the wrong as wrong and the right as right — upholding right views, they go to realms of bliss.

Dhammapada
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

SarathW
Posts: 13306
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 19, 2019 1:04 am

Can having strong political views co-exist with serious pursuit of Buddhism?
In my opinion the only strong political views you can have for a serious pursuit of Buddhism is the Sila.
However this is only for yourself but not for others.
Do not try to impose your Sila on others.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 6032
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by Ceisiwr » Thu Dec 19, 2019 2:59 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:52 am
Caodemarte wrote:
Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:30 am
Buddhism cannot tell you what political views are correct.
Buddhism tells us what is morally correct, socially, and thus politically. Politics is merely an extension of social behaviour.
Caodemarte wrote:
Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:30 am
If you support kindness to all...
The above sounds like Cultural Marxism or the buzz word "tolerance". Buddhism does not support evil-doing. For example, do you kindly support Nazis, White Supremacists & Antisemites? :smile:
316. Those who are ashamed of what they should not be ashamed of, and are not ashamed of what they should be ashamed of — upholding false views, they go to states of woe.

317. Those who see something to fear where there is nothing to fear, and see nothing to fear where there is something to fear — upholding false views, they go to states of woe.

318. Those who imagine evil where there is none, and do not see evil where it is — upholding false views, they go to states of woe.

319. Those who discern the wrong as wrong and the right as right — upholding right views, they go to realms of bliss.

Dhammapada


We should have kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity towards Nazis, white-nationalists and anti-Semites. If we are to be political I feel that involves being tolerant of them, which brings us to classical liberalism in terms of our politics.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

User avatar
Ceisiwr
Posts: 6032
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by Ceisiwr » Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:01 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:30 pm
Ceisiwr wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:11 pm
Ideally it’s best to be apolitical if you want to develop your practice to high attainments, IMO. Not something that is easy to do in my experience.
Having strong political views assists in "dispassion" :ugeek: when one discerns the masses of eḷamūga puthujjana have contrary political views. The old Masters, such as Maha Boowa & Buddhadasa, had strong political views. Since the Buddha taught some political views, obviously holding similar views is beneficial for right view and dispassion in this world of eḷamūga puthujjana who promote Liberalism.
There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in associating with evil companions, namely: any gambler, any libertine, any drunkard, any swindler, any cheat, any rowdy is his friend and companion.

DN 31


Strong political views, or views in general, are a factor of the path? Doesn’t sound like Dhamma to me.

The source of your error is in equating freedom with hedonism.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
“Lust is a maker of signs. Aversion is a maker of signs. Delusion is a maker of signs.” MN 43

"Rooted in desire, friends, are all phenomena; originating in attention, are all phenomena”
— A. v. 106

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 22081
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:05 am

Greetings all,

Please remember what the topic is...
No_Mind wrote:
Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:32 pm
Can having strong political views co-exist with serious pursuit of Buddhism?
... the actual political views themselves are off-topic. If you insist on discussing them, please do so at Dharma Wheel Engaged instead.

I don't want to move this to Hot Topics, where each individual post requires moderator approval, but if people can't help themselves, we will.

:thanks:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

chownah
Posts: 8627
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Political Views and Buddhist Practice

Post by chownah » Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:18 am

No_Mind wrote: Can having strong political views co-exist with serious pursuit of Buddhism?
Beginners sometimes have strong views (whether they are political or not) and I think that beginners are often serious in their practice......but I think that as one progresses the way one views the world changes.

Maybe it is better to ask the question "is there a time when strong views (whether they are political or not) become an impediment in following the path. The buddha taught to train only for calm and it seems to me that people with strongly held views (whether they are political or not) are not very calm.

chownah

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 374 guests