The Buddha's Politics

A place to bring a contemplative / Dharmic perspective and opinions to current events and politics.
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lyndon taylor
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The Buddha's Politics

Post by lyndon taylor » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:27 pm

I think it helpful to look at the Buddha's advice to the wheel turning monarch, (maybe someone could help pull up the sutta) It doesn't sound like Trump to me at all, nor Obama for that matter, but certainly seems more in line with left wing philosophy of helping the poor than right wing everyone for themselves selfishness. The Democratic party used to be the party of the poor and working class, now they all gear to the upper middle class and wealthy donors and ignore the poor entirely. Something has to give, a party that appeals to the poor and their needs has 25% of the electorate, by ignoring them we get Trump, who ignores the poor and the middle class, to principally help his super rich buddies, and the Democrats haven't presented a much better scenario; they've lost track of the people, and only people like Bernie Sanders seem to still stand for the old fashioned values of what once was the Democratic party. But even Bernie conveniently left the poor out of his Presidential platform, as if support for the poor is some death knell from the rest of America, sad state of affairs.
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, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Sam Vara
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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:43 pm

There are several suttas which deal with the Wheel-Turning Monarch, and the one which would seem to best suit what you are getting at is this one:
But sire, what are the noble duties of a wheel-turning monarch?’ ‘Well then, my dear, relying only on principle—honoring, respecting, and venerating principle, having principle as your flag, banner, and authority—provide just protection and security for your court, troops, aristocrats, vassals, brahmins and householders, people of town and country, ascetics and brahmins, beasts and birds. Do not let injustice prevail in the realm. Pay money to the penniless in the realm. And there are ascetics and brahmins in the realm who avoid intoxication and negligence, are settled in patience and gentleness, and who tame, calm, and extinguish themselves. From time to time you should go up to them and ask: “Sirs, what is skillful? What is unskillful? What is blameworthy? What is blameless? What should be cultivated? What should not be cultivated? Doing what leads to my lasting harm and suffering? Doing what leads to my lasting welfare and happiness?” Having heard them, you should reject what is unskillful and undertake and follow what is skillful. These are the noble duties of a wheel-turning monarch.
https://suttacentral.net/dn26/en/sujato

or something similar. It is, however, worth noting that other versions don't contain the redistributive principle. And some people might want to derive a different political stance from what the Buddha says elsewhere. As someone (I believe it was DNS) said a few years ago here on DW, by emphasising different aspects of the Buddha's teaching, different people can arrive at completely different conclusions.

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lyndon taylor
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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by lyndon taylor » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:05 pm

its interesting when you read the whole sutta in that link, when the king stops providing welfare to the penniless, the penniless resort to stealing, and soon arm themselves with swords and start killing each other, very much the situation we have today.
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, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Sam Vara
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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:05 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:05 pm
its interesting when you read the whole sutta in that link, when the king stops providing welfare to the penniless, the penniless resort to stealing, and soon arm themselves with swords and start killing each other, very much the situation we have today.
Sword crime is a big problem in California? :jumping:

dharmacorps
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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:08 pm

Crime (sword mediated and other) is at an all time low in California and elsewhere. If the president has anything to do with crime rates, then you must see Trump as a master of social policy.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles ... l-time-low

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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:29 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:27 pm
Only people like Bernie Sanders seem to still stand for the old fashioned values of what once was the Democratic party. But even Bernie conveniently left the poor out of his Presidential platform, as if support for the poor is some death knell from the rest of America, sad state of affairs.
For a person that does not follow US politics, this video Bernie Sanders to the Woodshed by a person I trust (and financially support) was clear to me about Bernie's actual political record. It must have been an accurate video because the totalitarian left-wing got it blocked on Facebook (the link is to a Russian 'Facebook' site; which is fine).


lyndon taylor wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:27 pm
I think it helpful to look at the Buddha's advice to the wheel turning monarch...
DN 31 is also important, which explains how workers should be paid sufficiently (which makes economic sense because workers will have money to spend on businesses. But today, the corporates seek to maximize worker indebtedness; making profit from usury).
In five ways should a master minister to his servants and employees as the Nadir:
(i) by assigning them work according to their ability,
(ii) by supplying them with food and with wages,
(iii) by tending them in sickness,
(iv) by sharing with them any delicacies,
(v) by granting them leave at times.

The servants and employees thus ministered to as the Nadir by their master show their compassion to him in five ways:
(i) they rise before him,
(ii) they go to sleep after him,
(iii) they take only what is given,
(iv) they perform their duties well,
(v) they uphold his good name and fame.

The servants and employees thus ministered to as the Nadir show their compassion towards him in these five ways. Thus is the Nadir covered by him and made safe and secure.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nara.html

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Leeuwenhoek2
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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by Leeuwenhoek2 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:03 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:27 pm
the Buddha's advice to the wheel turning monarch ... certainly seems more in line with left wing philosophy of helping the poor than right wing everyone for themselves selfishness.
The Buddha's advice doesn't seem much in line with the right wing -- as you describe the right wing. But from my own experience and from polling date I'm pretty certain that the right and left wing are roughly equal in levels of selfishness as well as compassion/generosity. Former US president Ronald Reagan, for instance, was a big believer in a social safety net. There are differences in how the left and right tend to view what's most important and effective when it comes to building a good society, helping the poor etc.
The difference in means doesn't mean a difference in right intentions.

I think the causes and conditions of this difference urgently need to be given a lot more attention by Buddhist's when we think about Buddhism and society or politics. I've suggested a starting point in this thread:
Institutionalize Disconfirmation, Viewpoint Diversity, Honest Broker Teams
viewtopic.php?f=54&t=31993

It shouldn't come as a surprise to western 'convert' Buddhists that western Buddhism has a strong left wing tilt. I think that certain historical accidents of causes and conditions are responsible for much of that tilt.
It's generally accepted that diversity in terms of socioeconomic status, race, nationality, gender and sexuality are good things in their own right and under the belief that the inclusion of these perspectives will challenge ignorance and enhance the quality of understanding, our compassion and the impact of social action. But ideological diversity, and more narrowly, political diversity remains too much in the closet IMO. So while the value of other forms of diversity have become widely accepted, ideological diversity isn't respected in the same way.

It seems to me that the Pali cannon teaches that views are more significant than caste, socioeconomic status, race, nationality, gender. From a modern perspective political viewpoints are the lens, the framework through which we understand helping the disadvantaged, race, gender, sexuality and other social issues. Without hearing diverse voices our actions will tend to be guided by a limited and partial understanding. I think we should take note that the Buddha's method of teaching, the path that led to his enlightenment and the eventual acceptance of women as monastics all came about about because of the Buddha's embrace of diverse viewpoints.
Last edited by Leeuwenhoek2 on Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by Leeuwenhoek2 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:25 pm

The situation in western Buddhism, especially western 'convert' Buddhism is quite similar to the situation in universities in the relm of the balance between the political left and right.

https://heterodoxacademy.org/why-should ... -response/

What is Viewpoint Diversity? (3 minutes)

=====================================================
For economic matters see the blog of Julie Nelson -- Professor of Economics; a writer on gender, ethics, economics, and ecology; and dharma teacher in the Boundless Way Zen school.
https://julieanelson.com
These might seem like wildly different activities, but I’ve found more and more interconnections between them. A major theme on this blog is “mixing it up.” In fact, one of the commonalities I’ve found is how certain habits of rigid, categorical, oppositional thinking tend to mess things up, no matter whether we are talking about spirituality or statistics.
A understanding of diverse political viewpoints -- what I like to call a trans-partisan understanding -- tends to breakup such habits. I'd suspect that a trans-partisan understanding strongly supports my equanimity in the face of social-political conflict.

Beyond “Small is Beautiful:” Buddhism and the Economics of Climate Change
In pursuit of climate justice it can be easy—too easy—to grasp onto the idea that corporations are the “Other.” How can Buddhist practice inform the way we think about the economy and economic systems? If our economic systems impact global systems, and thus help spur climate change, surely we need to reform them? In this article, economist and dharma teacher Julie Nelson suggests that we start by examining pervasive myths about the “essential” nature of economic systems.
-- https://oneearthsangha.org/articles/bey ... te-change/

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lyndon taylor
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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by lyndon taylor » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:57 pm

dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:08 pm
Crime (sword mediated and other) is at an all time low in California and elsewhere. If the president has anything to do with crime rates, then you must see Trump as a master of social policy.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles ... l-time-low
IMHO the reduction in crime rate has to do with the banning of cigarettes in jail and prison. You can follow the reduction exactly in time with the bans.
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, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Leeuwenhoek2
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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by Leeuwenhoek2 » Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:00 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:57 pm
IMHO the reduction in crime rate has to do with the banning of cigarettes in jail and prison. You can follow the reduction exactly in time with the bans.
Interesting. A cigarette theory of crime. What is your theory of causation?

And does the theory of causation illustrate anything about "the Buddha's politics"?

... the normal cautions about correlation not meaning causation apply of course ...

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Pseudobabble
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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by Pseudobabble » Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:01 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:57 pm
IMHO the reduction in crime rate has to do with the banning of cigarettes in jail and prison.
:rolleye:
lyndon taylor wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:57 pm
You can follow the reduction exactly in time with the bans.
Correlation =/= causation.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

'Some fart freely, some try to hide and silence it. Which one is correct?' - Saegnapha

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lyndon taylor
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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by lyndon taylor » Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:12 pm

Since something like 90% of criminals smoke, not being able to smoke in jail or prison is a strong deterrent. Nothing really to do with Buddhisms, unless you consider it cause and effect.
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, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:46 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 1:43 pm
It is, however, worth noting that other versions don't contain the redistributive principle. And some people might want to derive a different political stance from what the Buddha says elsewhere.
Also, with regard to the Cakkavattī Sutta itself some people draw a quite different lesson from the redistributive part of it than that drawn by left-wing Buddhists. I remember when the sutta came up for discussion in a Facebook group for Buddhist conservatives and libertarians there were no fewer than five different readings (one socialist and four conservative - MRDA!) proposed and defended.

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lyndon taylor
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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by lyndon taylor » Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:59 am

I think the Buddha was morally conservative, socially liberal. Same could be said of Jesus. Showing compassion for all beings does not involve letting people starve because the government wants to save money on food stamps, etc. Of course conservatives will argue with anything, but they lack compassion.
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, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: The Buddha's Politics

Post by DooDoot » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:04 am

I think the suttas are basically one message and they must be read as a whole. I previously emphasized DN 31 about getting the right employer and employee relationships. This is the key issue because Buddhism is about making good kamma, being virtuous in your work and taking initiative. Those who are born with worldly entrepreneurial giftedness should excel at what they are gifted at; but always maintain social justice towards those of lesser worldly attributes. I think the social welfare principle in Cakkavattī Sutta is a measure of "last resort". In the competitive West, while social welfare is so important today for those struggling; it is not a Buddhist ideal. I think the Buddhist ideal is a proper system that recognises interconnectedness. At least I avoid any kind of Capitalist or Marxist thinking.

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