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Esho
10 Jul 10, 01:43
Hi all,

Dazz issued a topic entitled Self Immolation. The thread has shown some different opinions about this issue. One of them, given by Stuka, points toward the antiethical nature of Buddhism involved in politics or political struggle.

I have read here and there issues that pretend to guide people into a concept called Social Engaged Buddhism where politics and political struggle are at first sight. So, I feel that many people are misleaded from what Buddhist teachings are about.

Zazen or sitting meditation has to be done in a way that what happens during zazen has to be brought into daily life. One of the main teachings zazen can give us is to shift our life from a "drama centred lifestyle" to a "nondramatic lifestyle". In the first one we are the main character or our own drama; so to say, a life with a fattened ego which is against the "teachings of renouncement" as told by Stuka in that same thread:


Buddhist monks have no business involving themselves in politics; it is completely antithetical to the Buddha's teachings of renouncement.

In the second case, in a non dramatic lifestyle we learn to live life as it is what means no to be attached to the endless thread of thoughts that occur in our minds. During zazen thoughts should be seen with some sort of interest but not with our personal drama life style. Personal drama lifestyle is rooted in guilt, idealisms and selfcenterd leanings that are pitfalls for the development of mindfulness.

Any comments are wellcome...

:hands:

stuka
10 Jul 10, 02:33
I agree completely, dear Kaarine, the Buddha's teachings are all about learning to be drama-free. "Personal drama" is all about one's papanca-laden clinging to experience and self-view through ignorance. And there is no bigger personal drama indulgence than senselessly martyring oneself in the name of "being the little guy fighting City Hall".

Aloka
10 Jul 10, 07:32
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Regarding the subject of 'socially engaged Buddhism', I found this article (dated 2004) :



What's Buddhist about Socially Engaged Buddhism

by David R. Loy


What makes socially engaged Buddhism Buddhist? Is it enough to say, «Buddhism emphasizes compassion, so I try to live compassionately»? Compassion is essential to Buddhism, to be sure, but that sentiment does not by itself distinguish socially engaged Buddhism from socially engaged Christianity, or any other socially engaged form of spirituality. If every major religion emphasizes compassion, at least in principle, we want to know: is there anything more specific to say about the type of social engagement that Buddhism encourages?

The first answer – and the most important answer – is: no. When we respond to social problems, there is no need to think that we are involved in such activities because we are Buddhist. We do them because we are responding compassionately to the situation, as should anyone, Buddhist or not, who is sensitive to what that situation calls for.

Yet the question returns when we consider, for example, what most needs to be done. There are so many social problems, and none of us can address more than a few of them. So what should we focus on? Sooner or later we begin to distinguish between a particular problem and the larger social context that it is a part of, or caused by. How should we respond to that larger context? Because the broader perspective can quickly become quite speculative, it is not something that Buddhists want to think about constantly, for it can affect our mindful focus on the here-and-now that meditation practices encourage. But we do sometimes need to think about such issues, if our social engagement is to be truly consistent with our commitment to Buddhism.


For example, homelessness in the United States is a serious problem that confronts many of us everyday, as we walk down the streets of the cities where we live or work. We don’t help homeless people because we are Buddhist. We help them because they are not separate from us and they need help; and ultimately, in the act of helping, we do it for no reason at all. Nevertheless, there are broader issues here that need to be considered, by Buddhists as much as anyone else. Why are there so many homeless people, in a country that is by far the richest that has ever existed on earth? Why, for that matter, are there any homeless people in such a fabulously wealthy society? What does that imply about the policies of our local, state, and national governments? If government is an expression of our collective will, what does that imply about us?


(continued at the link below)



Continued here :http://www.zen-occidental.net/articles1/loy12-english.html

Aloka
10 Jul 10, 08:10
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Additionally, I found the following article about the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu



BUDDHADĀSA BHIKKHU & HIS PRACTICE OF DHAMMIC SOCIALISM


By Santikaro


Background

The term 'Dhammic Socialism' was coined by Ajahn Buddhadasa in the late 1960’s in
response to the growing political polarization in Southeast Asia. Through the sixties, Thailand had been pulled into the geo-political mess of which the Vietnam War was the major conflagration. As the sixties developed, growing violence between the Communist insurgency and the right wing military backed by the U.S. resulted in the murders of tens of thousands.

During this time Buddhist monks were routinely threatened into refraining from political comment, a silencing compounded by decades of cultural belief persuading most monks that politics and other ‘worldly affairs’ were none of their concern.

This was the climate in which Ajahn Buddhadasa began talking about Dhammic
Socialism. Since the forties, when he came to national prominence, he was one monk who had not feared to discuss politics. Previously, he did so primarily in terms of democracy, which was not the Thai system of government. During the sixties he began to assert, openly and forthrightly, that Buddhism is basically socialist in nature. He was the first major figure in Thailand to do so (some Burmese leaders had used the term “Buddhist Socialism”) and the first to approach the topic with the particular meaning he gave it – something he continued to do for the rest of his life.

continued here:

http://www.liberationpark.org/arts/tanajcent/TW_3.pdf

Snowmelt
10 Jul 10, 10:24
Simply following the Dhamma can change a person to the extent that they become a light to all around them. While social engagement is certainly not to be dismissed out of hand, simply letting go of one's baggage can be of enormous benefit to those with whom one associates. One needs to be wary, I think, of believing that one can not be of great benefit to the world without engaging in some explicit, overt, community activity. Also, I would not like to see anyone reproach themselves because they are not so engaged - it may simply not be the way they approach life. According to the Suttas, the Buddha himself considered not engaging with humanity, considered remaining in solitary bliss to the end of his days. When he did engage "socially" his engagement consisted predominantly if not completely in purveying the Dhamma, which I consider the greatest gift one can give. When I am in doubt about such matters, I have a very strong tendency to consider the example of the Buddha himself, in preference to that of anyone else.

It may seem defeatist to assert that the world will always have pressing and important issues to be solved, but I tend very strongly to think so, in great part because the Bodhisatta himself was driven to find a solution to that fundamental fact about this world, that it is and will always be fraught with suffering. While working to alleviate suffering through social engagement is greatly desirable (and also inevitable, because that too is the nature of the world) the one true, final solution to suffering is to my mind found through the Dhamma alone.

I also think that the idea of social engagement found in the quoted article does not originate in Buddhism but in the Western Enlightenment movement, and that the author is attempting to enlist Buddhism in its service. It is based on the idea of "progress", which ignores the fact that, ultimately, each of us is the author of and responsible for our own suffering. It is by working inside our own mind that we become free from suffering, not by working in the world.

Esho
13 Jul 10, 01:11
I also think that the idea of social engagement found in the quoted article does not originate in Buddhism but in the Western Enlightenment movement, and that the author is attempting to enlist Buddhism in its service.

Yes, of course dear Snowmelt... Social engagement has it own name... "Social Engagement" or "Social Activism" or "Environmentalism" or whatever and I have found, very dishonest, that many "Buddhists" gurus had stolen that names and bring it into Buddha teachings telling us that it is Buddhism.

For example, Environmentalism has more less more than a century working and existing as a genuine social movement which brought into light the understanding of interconnectedness that also is a central concept of Ecological sciences that saw light in 1869 with Ernst Haekel. Then Buddhist gurus like Thich Nath Hanh have built a huge Buddhist sect as if this concept were of his own understanding when there are many others before him like Eugene P. Odum that have developed real understandings around the concept of interconnectedness.


each of us is the author of and responsible for our own suffering. It is by working inside our own mind that we become free from suffering, not by working in the world.

Absolutely dear Snowmelt, and this is in accordance with what was previous posted by you...


Simply following the Dhamma can change a person to the extent that they become a light to all around them.

And what I love most from your quote is the word... "Simply"

Thanks,

Namaste

Esho
13 Jul 10, 01:23
there is no need to think that we are involved in such activities because we are Buddhist. We do them because we are responding compassionately to the situation, as should anyone, Buddhist or not, who is sensitive to what that situation calls for.

I agree with this completely...

So, I have been involved into social activism since I was very young and that fact do not made me a Buddhist... I become a Buddhist when I started to practice the four noble truths and the Eightfold Noble Path so to develop discernment, mindfullness and awareness in a such a way that my life has changed dramatically and now I see social activism with a very different scope; bringing tools for discernment to people and not to pretend to change social reality.

:hands: