Buddhism's political utility

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Indrajala
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Buddhism's political utility

Postby Indrajala » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:06 pm

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

Greg
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Re: Buddhism's political utility

Postby Greg » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:25 pm

I think the quote is true as far as it goes, but there is not a major religious tradition that hasn't been politically useful to monarchs at one time or another. Christianity was the state religion of Europe from Constantine forward. Judaism was inextricably tied up with the Biblical kings originally. Islam was spread by the sword. Confucianism was essentially a religion of statism. Shinto was used to legitimize the emperor. The religions that have succeeded and endured are the ones that made themselves politically useful.

If the question you pose is limited in scope to Yarlung Tibet specifically, what I've read is that Buddhism had a few things going for it. First, it was more aggressively missionary than the other traditions you mention. As a result it was much more international than anything else. If you're sandwiched between the great civilizations of India and China (and the rest of central Asia besides), why not adopt the one thing they share in common? Especially when Buddhism is international and sophisticated and your culture is seen as backwards.

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Indrajala
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Re: Buddhism's political utility

Postby Indrajala » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:24 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

Alfredo
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Re: Buddhism's political utility

Postby Alfredo » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:09 am

Why Buddhism? To further political, economic, and cultural ties with India (and to a lesser extent, Central Asia), which endured until the arrival of Islam, when the pilgrimage / trade routes to India were cut off, at which point Tibet reoriented itself to the east.
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dude
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Re: Buddhism's political utility

Postby dude » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:19 am


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randomseb
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Re: Buddhism's political utility

Postby randomseb » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:11 pm

There are many cases on inter-faction strife and even violence between different buddhist lineages and their followers. For example Dogen in Japan had his sangha attacked by followers of the traditionalists. In some places there was strife between monasteries, that originally were offshoots of each other. Buddhism is not a cure-all solution for problems of the world, because said world is peopled by the lost and confused.

Besides, there's a lot of politicking in buddhism in general, what with the whole focus on lineages and texts and names and different paths.. Which is kind of amusing, considering this is an attachment and source of suffering, and a whole load of mental weight dragging one away from raw practice of liberating your mind.

:rolleye:


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