Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

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Blackthorne
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Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Blackthorne »

From the reading I've done and the few practicing Buddhists I know, I would gather that Buddhism leans to the right socially/politically, but online I see a lot 'hate' toward conservative points of view.

Does Buddhism require you to be a liberal?

Thanks
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

No.

Terms like "conservative" and "liberal" are very broad, while Buddhists from traditional countries tend to be culturally conservative, it's hard to link that directly to modern Western-oriented politically conservative movements. As an example plenty of "conservative" Buddhists might be more likely to believe in a strong social safety net than Western (and especially American) conservatives, while sharing some of the same ideas about preservation of traditional values, etc.

That said, I think what you are seeing is that most Western Buddhists come from the counter-culture to one degree or another, and so tend towards the left in some sense. However, there is no requirement that one adhere to any political philosophy to practice Buddhism, it does not work like that.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:17 am No.
+1

Of the Tibetan lamas whose political views I know, most tend towards the conservative.
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PeterC
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by PeterC »

No.

It does, in very general terms, require you not to be an asshole. You may conclude that certain modern political positions are incompatible with that.
Blackthorne
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Blackthorne »

PeterC wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:40 am No.

It does, in very general terms, require you not to be an asshole. You may conclude that certain modern political positions are incompatible with that.
That is why I asked the question. I see a lot of hate being aimed at non liberal or progressive political positions.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Blackthorne wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:48 am
PeterC wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:40 am No.

It does, in very general terms, require you not to be an asshole. You may conclude that certain modern political positions are incompatible with that.
That is why I asked the question. I see a lot of hate being aimed at non liberal or progressive political positions.
This is a rather vague statement. There is ‘hate’ directed towards different political positions all over the internet, the side we notice taking the most flack tends to be our own.

There are plenty of conservative Buddhists, at any rate, and no central authority to tell you that you are not one due to your sociopolitical beliefs.

That said, we are all responsible for deeds done with our body speech and mind, so it’s good to be sure enough of one’s positions that they don’t conflict with the ethics of one’s path. IMO it’s possible to be a number of places on the political spectrum for that.

Also the Buddha himself was outside of the political culture of his time, people shouldn’t try to claim a given political ideology is ‘more Buddhist’ though certainly one can argue the merits of this or that position, and being a Stalinist or a Fascist ( as two examples ) get pretty hard to justify.
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

PeterC wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:40 am No.

It does, in very general terms, require you not to be an asshole. You may conclude that certain modern political positions are incompatible with that.
:rolling:

:good:

Sometimes I think that the western political alignment which is closest to Buddhism (yes, I know both of those are fuzzy concepts) is the conservatism of the 1930s - 1960s, i.e. before it became infected with neoliberalism. Sadly, that kind of conservatism is now extinct, although one of our members is still waving the flag for it - see viewtopic.php?f=97&t=31269

:namaste:
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

Blackthorne wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:52 am From the reading I've done and the few practicing Buddhists I know, I would gather that Buddhism leans to the right socially/politically, but online I see a lot 'hate' toward conservative points of view.
What you say is correct, and of course worldwide the majority of Buddhists definitely lean 'right' (by western standards far right).
But on this website most of the people are westerners, and all of the mods are too, so that's why the culture on this site is what it is.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by tkp67 »

Is being liberal the middle way? Is being conservative the middle way?

Of course to many this questioning might seems odd but it is meant to illustrate a point. These political designations are just that. Our society is just that. Buddhism is just that.

Look at American society and culture the political landscape. Right now It is very polarized. That duality is a proclivity of human nature.

One of the problems with duality is can cause cognitive dissonance or "doublethink". In response people tend to polarize more distinctly or become apathetic to the phenomenon itself.

It seems that the cultural aspect of politics is to evoke emotional attachment to outcome. IMHO this is counter intuitive to buddhist practice.

IMHO the middle way is simply avoiding prescribing to either dissonance or double think. Just because a majority of society and culture expresses polarization doesn't mean that it is necessary, beneficial or required.

For example I am naturally conservative compared to many but believe in people's rights to express diversely so I tend to vote democrat. Policy doesn't force my hand or mind regardless of how many people act as if it does.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Aemilius »

From Guide to Buddhism A 2 Z, On Governance, Kings and Kingship :

"The longest and most detailed ancient Buddhist teaching on governance is found in the Mahàvastu and is an elaboration of the Tesakuna Jàtaka from the Jàtaka (Ja.V.109).He should not act out of favouritism, hatred, fear or foolishness...

"While keeping an eye on state affairs, a king should dispense happiness to all. He should prevent all from committing violence and show that it is righteousness which brings reward. As in the days of former kings, large numbers of immigrants came together to be admitted into the realm, so should you admit them.

"The essence of this and most later Buddhist political theory is the concept that `the wheel of power turns in dependence on the wheel of justice' (balacakram hi nishràya dharmacakram pravartate), i.e. that power drives it legitimacy from upholding and promoting fairness, equality and the rule of law."

https://www.buddhisma2z.com/content.php?id=157

"According to the Hindu myth, the first king of India was Mahàsammata, a name whose origin the Buddha reinterpreted in support of his idea to mean `elected by the many' (D.III,93; Ja.II,352). Thus according to the Buddhist theory, kings derived their legitimacy from general consent, i.e. from the people they ruled. It followed from this that a king retained his right to rule only for so long as his subjects benefited from it. Several stories in the Jàtaka implicitly suggest that people had a right to overthrow a king who was cruel, unjust or incompetent (Ja.I,326; III,513-14; VI,156)."

https://www.buddhisma2z.com/content.php?id=213
Last edited by Aemilius on Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:01 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by SteRo »

Blackthorne wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:52 am Does Buddhism require you to be a liberal?
Buddhism here, buddhism there ... Buddha Dharma does not teach self-identification with worldly standards or conventions.
Blackthorne
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Blackthorne »

Shouldn't we be compassionate to those who hold different political views instead of calling them names, attacking and maligning their character? I've seen the name calling on this forum and the assumption that one who holds to a different political position is an a-hole.

Is it more of an internet problem...to almost wish violence toward people who are not of the same political stripe?
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Queequeg
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Queequeg »

If you're going to accuse people of things, you're going to have to be specific or be guilty of defamation.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

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There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
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Blackthorne
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Blackthorne »

I understand.

When I have more time I'll pull quotes from threads dealing with politics and post them in this thread. It's really disheartening but it should take long to get a bunch. Give me a few days.

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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Malcolm »

Blackthorne wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:52 am From the reading I've done and the few practicing Buddhists I know, I would gather that Buddhism leans to the right socially/politically...
Um, no, this is a misconception. A conservative would be very unhappy with Madhyamaka, for example, since Madhyamaka scholars ridicule monarchy, conservatives will not find this comfortable.

Also, Nāgārjuna, for example, recommends that sovereigns pardon criminals, abolish death sentences for capital crimes, provide universal healthcare and social services, etc.

Most Buddhists I know personally oppose abortion, since the Buddhist theory of conception means that a zygote is a sentient being. However, most Western Buddhists understand that all arguments against abortion are fundamentally religious arguments, and therefor, understand the necessity of not legislating religious values into law.
but online I see a lot 'hate' toward conservative points of view.

As far as rhetoric goes, Donald Trump is a lawless gangster, and those who voted for him should be absolutely ashamed of themselves and what the GOP has become. Lindsey Graham is the new poster boy for GOP fecklessness. Trump is not a conservative.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by tkp67 »

Blackthorne wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:32 pm Shouldn't we be compassionate to those who hold different political views instead of calling them names, attacking and maligning their character? I've seen the name calling on this forum and the assumption that one who holds to a different political position is an a-hole.

Is it more of an internet problem...to almost wish violence toward people who are not of the same political stripe?
Yes but we should also be compassionate to the name caller. We all have the potential to become unreasonably emotionally engaged in dialog.

People engaged in emotion do not necessarily respond favorably to direct confrontational critique. When dialog gives rise to this dynamic it is a great opportunity to exercise compassion and reason.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Queequeg »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:26 pm
Blackthorne wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:52 am From the reading I've done and the few practicing Buddhists I know, I would gather that Buddhism leans to the right socially/politically...
Um, no, this is a misconception. A conservative would be very unhappy with Madhyamaka, for example, since Madhyamaka scholars ridicule monarchy, conservatives will not find this comfortable.

Also, Nāgārjuna, for example, recommends that sovereigns pardon criminals, abolish death sentences for capital crimes, provide universal healthcare and social services, etc.

Most Buddhists I know personally oppose abortion, since the Buddhist theory of conception means that a zygote is a sentient being. However, most Western Buddhists understand that all arguments against abortion are fundamentally religious arguments, and therefor, understand the necessity of not legislating religious values into law.
Well said.

Following up on Nagarjuna's Ratnavali his advice to a sovereign. Those policy recommendations, I think, resonate most closely with many contemporary progressive agendas. If I were to summarize, its a recommendation to a sovereign to rule with deep, profound kindness.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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jake
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

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Moved to the Lounge
Blackthorne
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Blackthorne »

On the weak mindedness of Trump supporters:

“Trump supporters are highly suggestible. They believe whatever they are indoctrinated to believe.”

“The problem is, as has been demonstrated time and again, that for Trump, and for Trump supporters, facts don't matter.”

Hate:

“Maybe they could ban his immigration back into the USA on the grounds that he is making the trip to meet international terrorists”

“From political view, he is the MOST stupid politician I ever heard of.”

I see some hate brought forth on this forum, “Right now, he's bringing so much hate to the world, it's incredible.”

The search function doesn’t really work that well but I found these quotes within a few minutes. I don’t see the need to continue quote mining and I doubt I’m the first person to point out the bias on this forum. I understand the Mod’s have to approve each post but do they need to personally comment on each post they approve? Do you see how that sets up the direction of the convo?

Anyway, thanks. I wasn't trying to cause a fight or stir the pot just expressing my opinion and my first impressions as a new poster.

Stay blessed.
tkp67
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by tkp67 »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:26 pm As far as rhetoric goes, Donald Trump is a lawless gangster, and those who voted for him should shabsolutely ashamed of themselves and what the GOP has become. Lindsey Graham is the new poster boy for GOP fecklessness. Trump is not a conservative.

I hope this doesn't seem a critique Malcolm for it is not. I just feel this is an example that reveals how I think and how I act in response to the OP. if I had voted for trump I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. However if I make the same assumption for someone else who voted for trump aren't I assuming they have encountered the conditions to know my perspective?

That is where it could be seen a bit extreme. I could see that potentially causing that engaging more emotion instead of keeping conversation rooted in reason.

To complicate it however some traditions might deem this as productive compassionate wrath. Can we afford to be silent and not potentially expose ignorance?

The biggest obstacle for me is I often assume people hold the same predicate understanding that validates my own experiential wisdom. Personally I find it better not to assume. This is where equal compassion for all involved goes a long way IMHO. Are people being willingly belligerent in their decisions or are they "innocently" ignorant. I.E. suffering an ignorance they simply do not understand.

Innocent ignorance is like being thirst in a desert, water goes a long way to changing outlook.

Regards
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