Discussion of Political Topics is Wrong Speech

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Re: Discussion of Political Topics is Wrong Speech

Postby tobes » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:03 am

Zhen Li wrote:
tobes wrote:For example, isn't the topic of justice (what is it, how might we achieve this as a polis etc) actually far more important than gossiping about a king or battle? Surely a Platonic treatise on that matter (or something more contemporary) is more exalted than a bunch of people at the bar expressing conceited opinions about Christopher Pyne's evil smile?

It's not gossiping about a king or battle, it's "talking about X" specifically. Gossiping is wrong speech by the nature of the type of speech, not the subject matter. And unless that talk leads to the goal of the path, it's not right speech. Remember right speech is part of the path, we're not talking about a definition of good speech regardless of Buddhism, but as a part of the proper and full practice of Buddhism as expressed by the texts.



Well, surely the goal of the path for Mahayanists is the enlightenment of all sentient beings. So it follows that there is much political content directly connected to that goal. Can a sentient being gain enlightenment without education, food, water or security? No? Are there right now many sentient beings lacking some or all of those things? Yes? Then it follows that those (political and economic) concerns are indeed directly connected to the goal.

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Re: Discussion of Political Topics is Wrong Speech

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:20 am

Tobes wrote:Well, surely the goal of the path for Mahayanists is the enlightenment of all sentient beings. So it follows that there is much political content directly connected to that goal. Can a sentient being gain enlightenment without education, food, water or security? No? Are there right now many sentient beings lacking some or all of those things? Yes? Then it follows that those (political and economic) concerns are indeed directly connected to the goal.

The goal is Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, one can't put the cart before the horse. That isn't to say that in developing the Dāna Pāramitā, one shouldn't give those things: one should. That's giving, with an unattached mind, material goods, fearlessness and the Dharma. It doesn't actually make for a very sustainable political ideology - case in point, Viśvantara - nor is it likely to get one elected. But if one is in a position at any time when one can develop the Dāna Pāramitā, even if that is a political position, then by all means, I don't object - and if one does so under a Buddhist banner, then perhaps you can create in their minds the good affinities with the Dharma which will ripen into future Buddhahood, since doing so isn't likely to make them convert immediately to Buddhism. Which is why one is probably better cultivating in this life, preferably renouncing and becoming a monastic, than becoming a politician, since one is less likely to both be focused on Buddhahood as a politician, and usually not likely to be able to create those affinities as well as a monastic - and many monastic organisations do such charity work where that is achieved much more effectively than through political means.
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Re: Discussion of Political Topics is Wrong Speech

Postby Nemo » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:25 am

Nemo wrote:And where is this mythical enlightened despotism you so long for? Or an existing model superior to the social democracies of Europe? You have confused an imaginary system in your head with reality.

Zhen Li wrote:I'm not going to claim that any form of governance is the best so far conceived.

Edit: Actually, I take that back. Dharmaraja, the kingship of the king of the Dharma, i.e. the Buddha - which leads beings to liberation. Then of course, a Chakravartin. Then, it's all conditioned and inferior.


Again with the mythical system. You do know that Kings die and then their children fight for the throne usually with the most ruthless taking it. You really haven't thought this through. At best you have a solution for a single generation.

Name a currently practiced system that is superior to the social democracies or Europe.
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Re: Discussion of Political Topics is Wrong Speech

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:02 am

Yes, a Cakravartin is just one generation.
Name a currently practiced system that is superior to the social democracies or Europe.

Buddhadharma, it's fruit is beyond time.
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Re: Discussion of Political Topics is Wrong Speech

Postby Nemo » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:32 am

It is not a political system. Do you mean a Buddhist country like Myanmar or Sri Lanka? Try again.
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Re: Discussion of Political Topics is Wrong Speech

Postby Zhen Li » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:49 am

Haha, no I don't mean Myanmar or Sri Lanka, technically those would be Buddhist countries, but wouldn't be "Buddhist" states, but Bhutan and Cambodia would be. Though I would rather not live in Bhutan or Cambodia.

Buddhadharma is metaphorically thought of as a political system with a king, the Buddha, the Dharmaraja. That's my whole argument, that speech relevant to Buddhadharma is right speech, while speech relevant to political ends is not, simply because speech relevant to Buddhadharma is that which has it's fruit as Nirvana - which is not to say that a skilful means sometimes can't be obtained within a political (or other) context in which one engages in right speech.
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