Sam Vara wrote: ↑
Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:55 pm
Other people's thoughts have certainly been seen as important, and this is (in one sense at least) even more important within Buddhism than in Catholicism. Intention determines action, so is of extreme significance. But there are two important differences here. Buddhism does not express unskilful actions as "crimes". This might be because there is no developed Buddhist jurisprudence
, but the differences are clear. Unskilful actions are not determined as such by human convention; and they often do not have humanly-imposed penalties attached
. Vipaka is not "punishment" in the conventional sense.
In contrast, in theistic authoritarian systems, the legal system is deemed as having divine origin, or is at least sanctioned by God, and as such, is, in effect, deemed the same as God's.
So in such systems, for all practical intents and purposes, being judged by particular people is the same as being judged by God (even though those judges claim that they are not doing their own will, but God's).
In Buddhist and Hindu cultures, there exist folk and some more serious conceptions about what karmic consequences follow for what action. Something like "karmic concordance charts" ("If you do X, you will get karmic consequences Y"). And some people elevate those conceptions almost to the level of law, seeeing themselves as arbiters and enacters of other people's karma ("You did such and such, therefore, I can do such and such to you, and I will be guiltfree for doing so").
There's something that bugs me about that, but I haven't been able to formulate it concisely for days.
The second difference should be seen in the context of the English legal system which I was talking about. There has long been a convention that people cannot be tried for their opinions and ideas. In matters of religion, Elizabeth 1 said "I would not open windows into men's souls", and there has been a jealously-guarded tradition of independence of religious thought which was very well established by the middle of last century.
That then makes England special.
It seems rather to be expected that secular society would have similar concepts, even if somewhat toned down. It seems that the principle of social cohesion demands that people not only peacefully coexist in their verbal and bodily actions, but also in their mental actions. Because otherwise, that peaceful coexistence in words and deeds would be rendered a mere pretense, as there would be no meeting of minds. Which has wide-ranging implications.
Sure. Similar, but not "crimes". Norms and customs and freely-chosen modes of interacting with others do very well here. And there is also the point (again derived from the English liberal tradition) that radical and unorthodox ideas should be actively encouraged and freed from both state and religious supervision in order to enhance human progress and flourishing. Minds can meet in passion and disagreement, with no threat to society at all. As William Blake said, "Opposition is true friendship...One law for the lion and the ox is oppression". That's probably a key difference between European Catholicism and the glory that is English liberal protestantism.
Interesting. I thought that all over the world, if there's one thing that people can't stand and judge severely, it is pretense, fakery. I would think that in most places in the world, few things are regarded as as bad as looking like a decent person, talking like a decent person, acting like a decent person, but not actually thinking like a decent person. I have the impression that to most people, being internally, mentally different (while externally seeming average or normal) is worse than blatant villany. At least where I come from, people feel intensely betrayed if a person seems normal in their appearance, words, and deeds, but then it turns out that they don't think "normal" (such as if they are of the "wrong" religion or without one).
You did have something like McCarthyism in the U.K. in the 20th century too, didn't you?