Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).
zerwe
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by zerwe »

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.

Does Buddhism require you to be a liberal?

Thanks
That's funny almost all of the practitioners I know are very liberal/progressive. Our resident Tibetan monks seem to have largely adopted that view as well. I have heard some monastics caution not to allow politics to create division or become another worldly object of attachment. Personally, I feel like dharma requires an inclusive rather than an exclusive approach and would favor a government that reinforces programs that benefit the largest number of people. So, put whatever label on it you want, but overall IMO it is definitely not a conservative right-leaning philosophy.
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Nemo
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Nemo »

Shakyamuni refused military service and the duties of kingship and from there it just got worse.
He forbade monks from touching money.
Monks ranks were simply based on time since ordination, an idea later taken up by unions.
All monks demanded state sponsorship in the form of alms and he loved sleeping in public parks.
He eventually had a horde of dirty vagrants aimlessly wandering around India, all on welfare.

Sounds like some kind of anarcho commie hippie if you ask me. He makes liberals look conservative.
Today they would put the bum in jail.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Sādhaka »

Buddhadharma is not liberal, conservative, or even moderate.

Dharmic conduct invokes wisdom according to circumstances: Sometimes liberal, sometimes moderate, and sometimes conservative.

I do however think there is a reason that Asian Buddhist cultures have always been conservative leaning. I doubt that the reason is because they were necessarily favoring their old Taoist or Shinto etc. ways over Buddhist ones; although that could be a small part of it.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

I myself hold very left wing political views,
One of my best friends (passed away a long time ago) at our local sangha was politically very conservative.
We both recognized something in our teacher and in the Buddhadharma that far, far transcends the mere, political dualities of the samsara and the human realm in particular.

I think it’s very important for Buddhists who feel the need to engage in social change to to so, but to do so from a position that goes beyond our differences, that brings us back to basic humanity.

I once took part in a 60 hour sit in front of a federal building just prior to the beginning of the first President Bush’s Iraq war. It wasn’t a “protest” in the usual sense. Passers-by were invited to simply stop for one minute (60 second participation in a 60 hour event) and reflect on what was about to happen (the start of a war), think about the importance of not wasting life, and to light a stick of incense, and dedicate that to someone they love.
At the end of the 60 hours, over 300 sticks of incense had been burned. Antiwar activists did it, military people stopped and did it, downtown office workers, people who would probably never go to a “protest” took part in this simple act of one-minute meditation, and they respected what it was about. That’s really important. Even one of the building guards in the morning came out and brought coffee. He said, “I don’t agree with your protest, but I admire what you are doing.”

So, I think Buddhists can be liberal or conservative, but also need to reach for something beyond that.
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Supramundane
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Supramundane »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:49 am I myself hold very left wing political views,
One of my best friends (passed away a long time ago) at our local sangha was politically very conservative.
We both recognized something in our teacher and in the Buddhadharma that far, far transcends the mere, political dualities of the samsara and the human realm in particular.

I think it’s very important for Buddhists who feel the need to engage in social change to to so, but to do so from a position that goes beyond our differences, that brings us back to basic humanity.

I once took part in a 60 hour sit in front of a federal building just prior to the beginning of the first President Bush’s Iraq war. It wasn’t a “protest” in the usual sense. Passers-by were invited to simply stop for one minute (60 second participation in a 60 hour event) and reflect on what was about to happen (the start of a war), think about the importance of not wasting life, and to light a stick of incense, and dedicate that to someone they love.
At the end of the 60 hours, over 300 sticks of incense had been burned. Antiwar activists did it, military people stopped and did it, downtown office workers, people who would probably never go to a “protest” took part in this simple act of one-minute meditation, and they respected what it was about. That’s really important. Even one of the building guards in the morning came out and brought coffee. He said, “I don’t agree with your protest, but I admire what you are doing.”

So, I think Buddhists can be liberal or conservative, but also need to reach for something beyond that.
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good post.

could it be that even in politics everything is connected? i.e. both parties that everyone fights over so vociferously about are actually exactly the same and take turns holding power; the differences they flaunt are actually cosmetic.

case in point: the Iraq war was a travesty from the beginning. the Afghan war should have been a pure special forces op and the Iraq war should never have happened. but note how both sides have kept that war going... Obama promised to end it... he didn't but in fact stepped up operations; Trump also promised to pull out of the Middle East, but in fact is stepping up operations and increasing troop numbers.

could it be that once the President takes power, he realizes he is just a figurehead and has no real power?

or is it just a smokescreen when they talk about peace/reducing military budgets?

remember what happened to Jean Paul Sartre when he decided to apply his philosophy to politics. he totally discredited himself. he found himself supporting Marxism... i think Buddhists should stay away from politics. there's no way you enter into the dirty world of politics and keep any morals.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Supramundane wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:33 am ...remember what happened to Jean Paul Sartre when he decided to apply his philosophy to politics. he totally discredited himself. he found himself supporting Marxism...
You might need to explain your reasoning for saying "he totally discredited himself". Supporting Marxism does not equal being wrong, or discrediting oneself. And this -
French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980), the best known European public intellectual of the twentieth century, developed a highly original political philosophy, influenced in part by the work of Hegel and Marx. Although he wrote little on ethics or politics prior to World War II, political themes dominated his writings from 1945 onwards. Sartre co-founded the journal Les Temps Modernes, which would publish many seminal essays on political theory and world affairs. The most famous example is Sartre’s Anti-Semite and Jew, a blistering criticism of French complicity in the Holocaust which also put forth the general thesis that oppression is a distortion of interpersonal recognition. In the 1950’s Sartre moved towards Marxism and eventually released Critique of Dialectical Reason, Vol. 1 (1960), a massive, systematic account of history and group struggle. In addition to presenting a new critical theory of society based on a synthesis of psychology and sociology, Critique qualified Sartre’s earlier, more radical view of existential freedom. His last systematic work, The Family Idiot (1971), would express his final and most nuanced views on the relation between individuals and social wholes. Sartre’s pioneering combination of Existentialism and Marxism yielded a political philosophy uniquely sensitive to the tension between individual freedom and the forces of history. ...

7. Conclusion

Sartre’s contributions to twentieth century political philosophy are substantial. Sartre developed a unique political vocabulary that combined the personal redemption of existential authenticity with a call for systematic social change. Like Hegel, Sartre argued that freedom is the most central normative value and sought to reconcile the pursuit of individual freedom with the need for social institutions. Sartre’s analysis of colonialism, racism and anti-Semitism eloquently bridged the gap between theory and practice, and significantly enriched the categories of traditional Marxism. Justifiably, Sartre will be long remembered as both a systematic political philosopher and a trenchant social critic.
- does not look like "discredited" to me. (Source = https://www.iep.utm.edu/sartre-p/)
:thinking:
i think Buddhists should stay away from politics. there's no way you enter into the dirty world of politics and keep any morals.
That's an overstatement, I think. There have been exceptions.

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

Post by Supramundane »

in the final analysis, i think he made a blunder.
his lover at the time forced him to go into politics; he had no interest in anything except philosophy before he met her.

it wasn't a good decision haha

he was prone to making bombastic statements like, "Soviet intellectuals are the freest in the world", raising eyebrows even in Moscow lol.
he stood outside Police Departments handling out marxist and anti-government texts, begging to be arrested so that he could have his day in court (they never would, of course).

it was an embarrassing phase of his life.

you are right that there are politicians that make good contributions. i am getting older and have seen way too much hehe.
i shouldn't be so cynical.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Simon E. »

In the end Satre,like all philosophers,was a mere cataloguer of samsara. The only distinguishing issue between them is whether their philosophy is simply incompatible with Buddhadharma or VERY incompatible with Buddhadharma..
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by tkp67 »

Supramundane wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:33 am could it be that even in politics everything is connected? i.e. both parties that everyone fights over so vociferously about are actually exactly the same and take turns holding power; the differences they flaunt are actually cosmetic.
A few points.

The nature to subjugate fellow humanity to fill one's own agenda is what gives it that feel. There are a number of conflicting but very similar interest in politics/government.

In "ecosystem systems" all things are at least loosely connected but that doesn't mean everything is effected equally or even effected at all by causation within.

Chaos brings opportunity and disruption is a tool to create opportunity. This means there does not need to be a specific design to controlling to achieve an outcome.

Information in today's age is harder to hide. This changes tactics. Now the method of operation is to discredit information or the source of information. Overwhelming the masses with conflicting information that evokes emotional attachment has become a tool.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Queequeg »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:49 am I myself hold very left wing political views,
One of my best friends (passed away a long time ago) at our local sangha was politically very conservative.
We both recognized something in our teacher and in the Buddhadharma that far, far transcends the mere, political dualities of the samsara and the human realm in particular.

I think it’s very important for Buddhists who feel the need to engage in social change to to so, but to do so from a position that goes beyond our differences, that brings us back to basic humanity.

I once took part in a 60 hour sit in front of a federal building just prior to the beginning of the first President Bush’s Iraq war. It wasn’t a “protest” in the usual sense. Passers-by were invited to simply stop for one minute (60 second participation in a 60 hour event) and reflect on what was about to happen (the start of a war), think about the importance of not wasting life, and to light a stick of incense, and dedicate that to someone they love.
At the end of the 60 hours, over 300 sticks of incense had been burned. Antiwar activists did it, military people stopped and did it, downtown office workers, people who would probably never go to a “protest” took part in this simple act of one-minute meditation, and they respected what it was about. That’s really important. Even one of the building guards in the morning came out and brought coffee. He said, “I don’t agree with your protest, but I admire what you are doing.”

So, I think Buddhists can be liberal or conservative, but also need to reach for something beyond that.
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Thank you for sharing that. That's inspiring.
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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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Simon E. »

Seconded.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Queequeg »

The following sentiment has been voiced a couple times or more in this thread - that Democrats and Republicans are basically the same... There's a deep criticism of the overall system that can be directed at both parties, and to an extent they engage in similar distasteful behaviors... but if you really think there is nothing different about Republicans and Democrats other than window dressing, I have to wonder what details you are paying attention to and more critically, what details are you completely ignoring?
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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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Sādhaka »

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

Post by tkp67 »

Queequeg wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:04 pm The following sentiment has been voiced a couple times or more in this thread - that Democrats and Republicans are basically the same... There's a deep criticism of the overall system that can be directed at both parties, and to an extent they engage in similar distasteful behaviors... but if you really think there is nothing different about Republicans and Democrats other than window dressing, I have to wonder what details you are paying attention to and more critically, what details are you completely ignoring?
I think there is an important aspect of human nature at play here that exists outside political definitions. Simply stated individual intent and desire drive outcome greater than any descriptive label, political leaning or any other variable. In my perspective that is the important take away.

Not that democrat, republican or the other parties that simply do not get discussed are meaningless.

Rather intent and desire are the real impetus behind outcome.

Be it education, science, religion, philosophy, politics, government, law and even Buddhism. Regardless of how definitive, regardless of the words used, none of these are more potent and trump the capacity of our desires and intent. These things corrupt or benefit humanity according to desire and intent (reflective of conditions and capacities)of the humanity that perceives them.

I think this is why some traditions might put a premium on the importance of being mindful of dharma practice in every moment because anything else is reinforcing moments disconnected from dharma.

All of that said, it will be difficult to confront reality if it is obfuscated. Some with self serving agendas in politics use this very polarization to this end.

What is happening in the government that isn't on the news? Is it serving the country or private interests?
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Blackthorne »

明安 Myoan wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:04 am
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.

Does Buddhism require you to be a liberal?

Thanks
Hello, Blackthorne.

In Mahayana Buddhism, there are the Ten Cardinal Mahayana Precepts. The form I learned them in is:
1. I vow not to kill.
2. I vow not to steal.
3. I vow not to commit sexual misconduct.
4. I vow not to lie.
5. I vow not to consume intoxicants.
6. I vow not to speak of others' errors and faults.
7. I vow not to praise myself and blame others.
8. I vow not to be stingy or withholding.
9. I vow not to harbor or incite anger.
10. I vow not to defile the Three Treasures
Discussing politics or others' political opinions makes it easy for me to break several of the above precepts, so I avoid it.

Some versions of the Ten Precepts include "or encourage others to do so" for each precept.

There's also this advice from Shantideva in Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life:
49. When my mind is haughty, sarcastic, full of conceit and
arrogance, ridiculing, evasive, and deceitful,
50. When it is inclined to boast, or when it is contemptuous of
others, abusive, and irritable, then I should remain still like a
piece of wood.
51. When my mind seeks material gain, honor, and fame, or
when it seeks attendants and service, then I will remain still
like a piece of wood.
52. When my mind is averse to the interests of others and seeks
my own self-interest, or when it wishes to speak out of a
desire for an audience, then I will remain still like a piece of
wood.
53. When it is impatient, indolent, timid, impudent, garrulous, or
biased in my own favor, then I will remain still like a piece
of wood.
54. Perceiving in this way that the mind is afflicted or engaged
in fruitless activities, the hero should always firmly control it
by means of an antidote to that.
55. Resolute, confident, steadfast, respectful and courteous,
modest, meek, calm, devoted to pleasing others,
56. Undistressed by the mutually incompatible desires of foolish
people, endowed with compassion, knowing that they are
like this as a consequence of the arising of their mental
afflictions,
57. Always resorting to irreproachable things for the sake of myself and others, I will maintain my mind free of pride, like an
apparition.
This has helped me develop a better sense for what kinds of conversations will lead to benefit or more problems.
Thank you for applying the dharma to the question instead of assuming I'm stirring the pot or seeking confirmation bias. This was exactly what I was looking for, a clear presentation of what Buddhism teaches.

Thanks again.
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Queequeg »

tkp67 wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:08 pm
Queequeg wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:04 pm The following sentiment has been voiced a couple times or more in this thread - that Democrats and Republicans are basically the same... There's a deep criticism of the overall system that can be directed at both parties, and to an extent they engage in similar distasteful behaviors... but if you really think there is nothing different about Republicans and Democrats other than window dressing, I have to wonder what details you are paying attention to and more critically, what details are you completely ignoring?
I think there is an important aspect of human nature at play here that exists outside political definitions. Simply stated individual intent and desire drive outcome greater than any descriptive label, political leaning or any other variable. In my perspective that is the important take away.

Not that democrat, republican or the other parties that simply do not get discussed are meaningless.

Rather intent and desire are the real impetus behind outcome.

Be it education, science, religion, philosophy, politics, government, law and even Buddhism. Regardless of how definitive, regardless of the words used, none of these are more potent and trump the capacity of our desires and intent. These things corrupt or benefit humanity according to desire and intent (reflective of conditions and capacities)of the humanity that perceives them.

I think this is why some traditions might put a premium on the importance of being mindful of dharma practice in every moment because anything else is reinforcing moments disconnected from dharma.

All of that said, it will be difficult to confront reality if it is obfuscated. Some with self serving agendas in politics use this very polarization to this end.

What is happening in the government that isn't on the news? Is it serving the country or private interests?
Yeah, that's all well and good.

And then we have to get together to pay teachers, cops and firemen, build and maintain schools, pave and maintain roads, and further - build out social and economic support for members of the society. The lines drawn on these and a host of other issues are real, have real impact on quality of life and outcomes for people in the short and long term. There are real differences on these various policies between the parties. In the end, this is about structuring the material and social world.

Corruption is yet another issue.

The point is, we can stand on some box and look at the world with some soft-focus idealism, but that's kind of useless when things just need to get done.
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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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Queequeg »

Blackthorne wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:13 pm Thank you for applying the dharma to the question instead of assuming I'm stirring the pot or seeking confirmation bias.
Nobody seeks confirmation bias. It just happens. That's part of why its a problem. You should thank people when its pointed out.
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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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Blackthorne wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:13 pm

Thank you for applying the dharma to the question instead of assuming I'm stirring the pot or seeking confirmation bias. This was exactly what I was looking for, a clear presentation of what Buddhism teaches.

Thanks again.
Really? Because what you posted was a thread called "Does Buddhism require you to be a liberal" wherein you complained that conservative positions seem to be unfairly maligned. The only mention of Buddhist teachings was tangential - related to your implication that maybe liberal/progressive users were not following the teachings because they were too critical of conservative views.

Next time perhaps you should just ask what Buddhist ethics teaches, if that was what you were interested in.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by justsit »

Kim O'Hara wrote: Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:09 am
DWE now mostly skews right, because more conservative Western DWT members took their conversations there.
That's not really fair or accurate. The only right-aligned active member is (somewhat ironically) the aforesaid DWT admin, retrofuturist, posting as SethRich.

And, sadly, there are hardly any conversations. DWM members can have more active political conversations right here, where there are simply more active members, and there never were many DWT members interested in social issues. Some of them/us were already members of DWM as well, anyway. And DWE is ... crickets.

:namaste:
Kim
Yes, upon reviewing the posts and membership at DWE, I see that I attributed some posts to very conservative members I thought were from DWT when they actually were not. My apologies. :bow:
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Re: Does Buddhism Require You To Be a Liberal?

Post by ford_truckin »

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.

Does Buddhism require you to be a liberal?

Thanks
According to Dharmawheel, yes. Best not to express your views too openly if you happen to be a conservative. A pro-life, pro traditional marriage stance will get you banned fast even though you can find support for these viewpoints in Buddhist texts. Western Buddhism is very different from traditional Buddhism.
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