Thread: War and Peace: Politics and Buddhism

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    War and Peace: Politics and Buddhism

    Good evening!

    Even though I did not finish my degree on Political Science and International Relations, I did keep as an habit to be a heavy reader of all political news. Also, to read about history, history of conflicts, and all these kind of things. I have contemplated and asked myself in the past few days if it's actually possible to be both a Dharma follower, as also a politician? I guess that it's impossible right? For in politics there is no such thing as "morals".

    What is your personal opinion on all this?

    I feel a bit bad, because still the possibility of a conflict drives my attention, somehow I get "hooked by it" In a dumb way I tend to follow one side, and follow into the delussion of the "us vs them"

    Anyone knows a good book on the life of Prince Ashoka? I believe he was an exception to the rule.

    For example, I'm a big russophile culturally speaking (mainly because of the arts and the people I know) so with the current situation in Crimea I tend to fall into the "us vs them" however, I find it's useless and conflict leads nowhere.


    In a world where we are bombarded day and night with the notion of conflict, patriotism, army, being "trendy" how can I break these chains? Would stop reading about politics all together be a real help?


    Thank you for reading me

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by CatontheRoof
    In a world where we are bombarded day and night with the notion of conflict, patriotism, army, being "trendy" how can I break these chains? Would stop reading about politics all together be a real help?
    Hi Matteo,

    I always remember years ago, at a Buddhist talk, a Tibetan teacher answering somebody's question about should one go on political demonstrations with :

    "First we have to diffuse our own bombs."

    Personally I think that if climate change isn't addressed soon, then there won't be any people left on the planet to get involved in conflict and wars.


    "Climate change is the most serious issue facing humanity today. It is already seriously impacting economies, ecosystems, and people worldwide. Left unchecked, it will cause tremendous suffering for all living beings."


    http://www.oneearthsangha.org/articl...limate-change/

    Kind regards,

    Aloka

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    Regarding Indian history, two good websites for mail order would be:

    Motilal Benarsidas: mlbd.com

    and Landmark: www.landmarkonthenet.com

    The first is a pre-eminent publisher of quality texts in India and the second is a huge book chain. The Landmark store in Bangalore is (if I remember correctly) the largest bookstore in India and well worth stopping at if in the city. The have excellent shipping service so you don't need to carry your purchases whilst travelling.

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    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CatontheRoof View Post
    I guess that it's impossible right?
    Yes. I guess it is impossible.

    For in politics there is no such thing as "morals".
    Worse than just a moral issue; it is about the impossibility of developing a peaceful mind.

    Would stop reading about politics all together be a real help?
    In my opinion the first thing to do is to observe and keep an ethical conduct while developing the needed wisdom from what Buddha taught; then, once the main understandings have ripen, meditate and develop a peaceful mind. After all this has happened then it will be time to see if there is the need to entangle the mind with conflicts.


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    Thank you for the wise advice :)

    What do you believe about the notion of nationality? is it flawed?

    Is patriotism, or a "national identify" something false, that only alienates us from our nature?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by CatontheRoof View Post

    Is patriotism, or a "national identify" something false, that only alienates us from our nature?

    I think its always worth considering the words of the Buddha:


    "Now, Kalamas, one who is a disciple of the noble ones — thus devoid of greed, devoid of ill will, undeluded, alert, & resolute — keeps pervading the first direction [the east] — as well as the second direction, the third, & the fourth — with an awareness imbued with good will.

    Thus he keeps pervading above, below, & all around, everywhere & in every respect the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with good will: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.

    "He keeps pervading the first direction — as well as the second direction, the third, & the fourth — with an awareness imbued with compassion.

    Thus he keeps pervading above, below, & all around, everywhere & in every respect the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with compassion: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.

    "He keeps pervading the first direction — as well as the second direction, the third, & the fourth — with an awareness imbued with appreciation.

    Thus he keeps pervading above, below, & all around, everywhere & in every respect the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with appreciation: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.

    "He keeps pervading the first direction — as well as the second direction, the third, & the fourth — with an awareness imbued with equanimity.

    Thus he keeps pervading above, below, & all around, everywhere & in every respect the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with equanimity: abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.


    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....065.than.html


  7. #7
    Forums Member Abhaya's Avatar
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    Religion and politics generally do not mix, but that does not mean they are always mutually exclusive. As you alluded to, Ashoka Maurya is a prime example of a Dharma practitioner who was also a skilled (and for the most part skillful) politician. The compilation King Asoka and Buddhism: Historical and Literary Studies by Richard Gombrich, scholar of early Buddhist texts and translations, et al. is a good read if you have the time.

    Even while maintaining an interest in politics, it is important not to become attached to national identities (or any identity, for that matter), as such attachment inevitably leads to suffering of some magnitude.

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    Forums Member John Marder's Avatar
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    I'm not politically active but I admire those who are and completely recognise the relevance of politics. We have a saying in my tradition from the Chinese Buddhist teacher Tien Tai that says' No affairs of life and work are in anyway separate from the ultimate reality'. Two things I would like to say about politics are that
    - It is a way of reducing the suffering caused to people by the greed anger and stupidity of other people.
    - if you engage in positive actions to help others, whatever those actions may be, then you can change yourself. You have to flex your wisdom, courage and compassion 'muscles' in order to take those actions and therefore you become stronger in all those respects.

    So referring back to Alokas quote
    first we have to diffuse our own bombs
    I think sometimes we do that by diffusing the metaphorical bombs around us.

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