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Buddhism And Political Views


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#1 draftsman

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 11:09 PM

Good evening ;) ,

Each person has a kind of set of values that are eventually also societal (i.e. they relate also to the arrangement of common matters in the society), so they are also political. There are various ways of theoretical distribution of such political beliefs, more or less conceptually complicated, the most simple being two-sided: left-wing or right-wing orientation. Beside the dogmatical systemization of political views, more interesting seems their psychological origin - and above mentioned right v. left wing orientation seems to be primarily based on the relation of each individual towards the authority.

To simplify: left-wing rejects authority, right-wing accepts authority, in its extreme left-wing is anarchism (no authority at all), right wing fascism (completely blind adoration of authority). I.e. one can easily see this pattern in Slovene right and left wing (why some parties on the left dissolved, how the right wing is under one man's command - united and more dedicated). Left-wing is more about thinking (reason), self-depreciation (humor), ressentiment, social causes, rights of minorities and human rights, right-wing is more about faith, loyalty, respect, taking oneself (too) seriously and about being able and willing to take care of oneself, not depending on others.

So, where do Buddhist beliefs fit in this simple(st) political specter?

Thank You ;) .

Best regards,
Draftsman
In the vastness of the sky, without center or edges, the sun shines, illuminating all things without choosing. This is the way you should help beings. Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdröl (1781-1851)

#2 m_v

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 09:06 AM

So, where do Buddhist beliefs fit in this simple(st) political specter?


Besides that this description is fully unprecise, many times wrong and biased toward leftists, it has no relevance to Buddhism - in ideal case. It is perfectly mistaken to mix or relate Buddhism to politics. It is about liberating mind, and only as much as this purpose is concerned has it anything to do with politics.

I guess you tried to question disciples' faith to the Guru, with this "parallel".
Guru is not a political authority, the faith in the Guru is essential to progress, just like analytical thinking. For most of the people who have engaged in the Buddhist path, first there is spontaneous faith in the Bodhisattva or Guru they see, then they become disciples, accept what the Guru says, keeping it in mind and adjust their behaviour according to His/her instructions, then meditate on the meaning of His/Her teachings. Often, the first time we hear a teaching or a decision by the Guru, we do not have the capabilitiy to understand it fully, or to understand it at all... Understanding is a process, and it comes from analyzis and actual experience. So we put the teaching into the mind, in a neutral position - as far as its analysis concerned - and we apply it to test it in real life. Then we analyze the results. Meanwhile, if we have questions we ask them again. It is all about analyzis and experience.
Many people have no realizations, and also wont have realizations, because they have no faith in what Guru says, dont even give a chance to test what the Guru states, as they are obsessed with their own concepts.
I think it is fine, nobody wants them to follow anyone to whom they have no friendly feeling at least - as a start - and then how far they are from faith or devotion to the Guru, that is though spontaneous, but was always prerequisite on these paths, in India and Tibet too. Faith to Guru as a prerequisite is not man-made thing, it is a law of the Universe, that this kind of quality appears when one has the right attitude on the path toward Enlightenment.
These people without faith and lacking such understanding cannot be called disciples, and they should better consider leaving the Guru, instead of causing many negativities for themselves and others. At least until they find deeper understanding they better relax.

#3 draftsman

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 10:58 AM

It seems that there are two ways of connecting "the political" with "the Buddhist". At some point religious ideas can also be applied on the wider, societal level (like the question of abortion, euthanasia, spread of wealth, use of military force etc.). E.g. Gandhi being a good example of this.

And secondly, there are some characteristics that in a simplified version of political reality can be attributed to the people of left or right-wing political orientation, as the latter is somehow based also on individual's psychology. Some good some bad, depending mostly on the concrete application, I guess. But in any way, this question is not to be generalized on the concrete political situation, as politicians from all sides can be (or even tend to be) corrupt.
In the vastness of the sky, without center or edges, the sun shines, illuminating all things without choosing. This is the way you should help beings. Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdröl (1781-1851)

#4 m_v

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 12:12 PM

It seems that there are two ways of connecting "the political" with "the Buddhist".


Yes, what Buddhism do to politics is:
one, correcting the mistaken decisions(decisions that block from liberation or/and are harmful)
the second is dealing with the psychological disorders, ego based rebellions this correction might generate first in people. For this it applies logic and goodness (as ultimate goodness gives peace to the mind)

#5 Shenpen.Rinpoche

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 10:49 AM

So, where do Buddhist beliefs fit in this simple(st) political specter?

There are surely many definitions about "politic". From a certain point of view, every opinion or action in a society is a kind of politic.
Buddhism in itself has the politic of "kindness" (always trying to genuinly help others) and Wisdom (analysis best solutions over emotional reaction). But Buddhists can have a various range of political opinions, of course, according to their spiritual development or lack of it.

I believe that the cleavage between right and left is irrelevant from a wisdom point of view. There are good ideas and positions from both 'sides'. Too "right wing" ideas (too rigid and fixed on the past history) or too "left wing" ideas (too laxist and permissive) are both in mistake.
Unfortunately, people are are often "clanist", they like to have a club, a circle (not to say a circus). Emotional insecurity and instability which influence people to gather, behave as a group, an entity withing which individual responsibility is blurred.

In brief, for a Buddhist to belong to a "political club", suppose to dictate you what and how to think, indentifying you with specific stereotypes, doesn't make sense. It's narrow-minded and restrictive, where Buddhism aims at opening, broadening, our mind. The goal of Buddhism is: 1. to get rid, free, of limitation, concepts, pre-judgments. 2. to help others. We need Wisdom to understand the true nature of the reality we are in, not to be caught by emotions, to have a clear view; and we need Compassion to always act according to what is helpful for them first.

A Buddhist could be involved into the politic of a country. A good Buddhist might be an excellent politician. Unfortunately, s/he might be very alone with such perception and motivation. Not involved in political circus, trick, blackmailing, bribing, etc. might exclude that good politician quite quickly from this field.
There are other ways to help the politic of a country, it's to teach ethical values to those who will enter the field of politic, or to try awakening those who are already involved. Result limited by the good-will of those persons; but surely worth trying :)
Lama Shenpen Rinpoche
---
"For as long as space endures, And as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide, To dispel the misery of the world." (Arya Shantideva)




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