Buddhist Anarchism

Discuss the application of the Dharma to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice.
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tellyontellyon
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by tellyontellyon » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:34 am

Soar,
I never called for violence. I suggested a mass movement that could apply pressure. That's not the same as violence.
I have said socialism could be brought about peacefully and legally through the new legal structures of a new form of democracy.

Though, I am not blind to the possibility that the old regime may threaten the new society. I think they would have as much right to defend themselves as anybody else.
“Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?”
― Søren Kierkegaard

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Zhen Li
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Zhen Li » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:35 am

New democracy, I've heard that somewhere before... :P

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Malcolm » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:57 am

tellyontellyon wrote:Malcolm:
'Markets' or 'Trade', and 'Capitalism' are not the same thing. Explaining that is extremely complicated, capitalism are particular paterns of trade that have come to the fore in the modern world. For a proper explanation of this you will have to work through 'Capital' by Marx yourself. Though of course you could short circuit all that by declaring that you simply don't accept Marx's theory... up to you.
As far as I can see, Capitalism, a term invented by Marx, is here to stay. Socialism, apart from the various degrees of "socialism" in the some Western European democracies failed. It is useless to shout at me that true socialism has never been tried. I wouldn't want to try "true Socialism" in a million years, so you can keep it.
Also, "There have always been..." is not a logical argument....
It doesn't need to be an argument, its just a matter of fact.
I haven't said we don't have to look at our minds... but as I said about fixing my car ... we ALSO need a spanner.
We need to work on our anger, jelousy, greed. ignorance and pride... of course that. That goes without saying. That is bleeding obvious....!
If it were so obvious, then why is no one apart from a few Buddhists doing it?
But what is ALSO needed is a changed system.
No, we merely need to change our minds and help others where we can.

People love "systems" because they tell a story. So you have your exploitation story you call Capitalism, and you have your liberation story that you call True Socialism(tm), but they are just abstractions. In truth, no system is perfect because they are only as perfect as the people running them. And quite frankly I see no reason to believe that people will be "better people" under a True Socialist(tm) system, and I suspect that in fact people will be a lot shittier to one another than they are now given the removal of all financial incentives, the only thing left will be social status and hierarchical position.

You can quote the Marxist Dalai Lama all you want, and I can quote the free market loving Dalai Lama right back at you, but what good does that serve?

If we have learned anything, we should have learned that satisfaction of material needs does not lead to greater happiness — this fact is equally true under all political systems. Happiness both mundane and transcendent only comes from inside.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Malcolm » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:58 am

tellyontellyon wrote:
Though, I am not blind to the possibility that the old regime may threaten the new society. I think they would have as much right to defend themselves as anybody else.
I see, you think that the "Capitalist" regime has a right to defend itself? That's novel. I thought you were of the mind that all these people were basically felons with no right to their "means of production".
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

Norwegian
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Norwegian » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:06 am

tellyontellyon,

You wrote:
"To Marxists, the 'state' is an instrument of oppression. It is something alienated from the mass of ordinary people. Even in a democratic republic, under a capitalist 'democracy' the process is still controlled from behind the scenes by varios methods. In other words, whoever you vote for you still have the same ruling class pulling the strings.

Marxists don't think the state i.e. special armed bodies of men, police, prisons, standing army etc) will wither away or minimise.
We see this in the U.S. as much as anywhere, 'defense' spending is massive and the hierarchical structure (the upper levels of the military and civil service) means it is not an army of the people, but floats above them so to speak.

As long as there are the irreconcilable differences in the interests of the opposing classes, the ruling class will require the 'state' machine to maintain its dominance. It won't be allowed to wither away by itself.
Therefore, the state must be smashed, overthrown, dismantled.
"
And here's your buddy Marx:

"In his article, The Victory of the Counter-Revolution in Vienna, Neue Rheinische Zeitung, No. 136, 7 November 1848, Karl Marx wrote: “… there is only one means to shorten, simplify and concentrate the murderous death throes of the old society and the bloody birth pangs of the new, only one means – revolutionary terrorism."

This has nothing to do with Buddhism. It's not compatible at all.

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tellyontellyon
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by tellyontellyon » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:13 am

M:
Clearly I meant the new regime might have to defend itself from some sort of military coup by elements of the former ruling class. I'm not particularly condemning the capitalists themselves... rather the system. We all have a responsibility for the continuation of this system, and we can only hold ourselves to blame for not getting rid of it sooner.

Nor:
Are people having difficulty seeing capitalism as a system... a structure.
I'm not really talking about people as such, more the structures that they operate within.
THAT must be smashed, overthrown, dismantled.


Do you think I'm talking about 'dismantling' people? Like lego?

Are people being deliberately obtuse or what?
“Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?”
― Søren Kierkegaard

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Rickpa
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Rickpa » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:32 am

Malcolm wrote:The problem is not markets, nor capital, nor capitalists, communists, socialist, anarchists, fascists, racists, and so on. The problem that we humans are immature, and we need, as a species to grow up.
This is where we really need to start. So long as we meet greed with envy, and meet those who don't share our attachments with hate, we are simply compounding harms.

Russell
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Russell » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:46 am

tellyontellyon wrote:Soar,
I never called for violence. I suggested a mass movement that could apply pressure. That's not the same as violence.
I have said socialism could be brought about peacefully and legally through the new legal structures of a new form of democracy.

Though, I am not blind to the possibility that the old regime may threaten the new society. I think they would have as much right to defend themselves as anybody else.
Ok thanks for clarifying, although I dont really know what you mean by these things. I still think you are aiming way to high and your methods are not clear about how they will overcome resistance nonviolently.

I guess from a political theory point of view what would really help are good penetrating analyses of current specific situations, seeing just what is possible as a stable next step, and then coming up with various nonviolent ways to implement that. Probably this is what many political thinkers do if they ever give up on their youthful ideals, but I have no idea !! ?
Last edited by Russell on Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Norwegian » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:55 am

"A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists." - Engels, On Authority, 1872

"Above all, during and immediately after the struggle the workers, as far as it is at all possible, must oppose bourgeois attempts at pacification and force the democrats to carry out their terroristic phrases. They must work to ensure that the immediate revolutionary excitement is not suddenly suppressed after the victory. On the contrary, it must be sustained as long as possible. Far from opposing the so-called excesses – instances of popular vengeance against hated individuals or against public buildings with which hateful memories are associated – the workers’ party must not only tolerate these actions but must even give them direction." Marx, Engels, Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League, 1850

"The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution." Marx, Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848

So tellyontellyon - you might not approve of this kind of revolution or action. But Marxism and Communism certainly does. And this is why I just cannot bother to take such systems seriously. It just replaces one kind of pain with another kind of pain.


Here are some comments that I think are more relevant to consider and reflect upon in this day and age, than communism, anarchism, etc:

"Everybody always says we need peace and if there is no peace we cannot find happiness. But how can we have peace? There will only be peace when there is the evolution of the individual. What does evolution mean? Evolution means that we know how our condition is and how many different kinds of limitations we have relatively. If we are not conditioned by them, it means finally we are getting into our real nature. This is the principle of the Dzogchen teaching."

and

"We have good intention towards all sentient beings, and even though we cannot apply something gigantic for all sentient beings, in this moment we are human. We live on this globe. There are so many people. So it is very important that you know how the principle of the Dzogchen teaching is. Knowledge of Dzogchen teachings goes beyond limitations. Try to get into its real nature. I always say that we should develop evolution – that means developing my knowledge, not remaining in dualistic vision too much, not being conditioned by that. And developing my knowledge then that becomes a good example in this society.

Many people say that we need peace in this world. But how can we have peace in the world when everyone is limited and will not open up a little, always thinking of ‘me’ ‘we’ etc. Political parties are the same, countries are the same. If we need peace, we need evolution and evolution must develop in the condition of the individual, not revolution. We always have the idea that we want to change someone. This is called revolution, but it doesn’t work and it has no benefit.

Evolution means that one by one we know the principle of the Dzogchen teaching, we relax, we should do our best and work with people according to the circumstances. We know that limitation is negative, but relatively, if we do not apply limitations, we cannot live in this society. Everything is limited - this is our condition, our dualistic vision. We are not yet in the state of Samantabhadra and for that reason, we must be present.

We know that everything is limited but it is indispensable. I eat two or three times every day. This is also a limitation and I cannot go beyond that because I have my physical body and I should respect it. But I know that this is not really the main point. It is relative. For example, when I die I don’t need food. My consciousness continues but my body finishes in the cemetery.

We know that everything is relative. We cannot see ‘relative’ - “Now I am not going after limitations, I don’t want ‘relative’”. We should pay respect and work with ‘relative’. We must be very aware of it. This is related to the teaching.

Some people say, “Try to do evolution”. But nobody does evolution. People cannot understand what evolution is. But if you do practice, if you discover your real nature, knowing what the relative condition and the real condition is, then you can do it.

Some people have conflicts and think egoistically, “That person is creating problems for me, but I am innocent.” That is not true because Buddha said that everything is interdependent, so if you know that, it is not difficult to understand. If you have nothing to do with that person, why do you have problems? If you have a problem it means that there is a relationship. In this case you shouldn’t think that you want to make a revolution. You cannot convince another person at all. You can observe yourself and free your tensions. It is not difficult to discover your real nature, your condition. If you have this kind of problem and free your tensions, you feel much better. You are happy. If you develop your tensions more and more, you feel much heavier and are more charged up and confused.
" -- Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Sönam » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:16 am

Just for fun in that discussion ... which ones are they?

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By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Grigoris
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Grigoris » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:04 am

Malcolm wrote:As far as I can see, Capitalism, a term invented by Marx, is here to stay.
Nothing is here to stay. As I said earlier: the longest running political/social entity (the Byzantine Empire) only lasted a thousand years.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Norwegian » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:16 pm

And yet economy and trading amongst humans, have been around for far longer than that again:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_h ... _the_world

and:

"Trade originated with human communication in prehistoric times. Trading was the main facility of prehistoric people, who bartered goods and services from each other before the innovation of the modern day currency. Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago."

So, whenever there are sentient beings I am quite sure that there will always be something that sentient beings will want to have, and some will already have it or produce it, and in order to get it, you will have to trade for it, or use some sort of currency that has a specific kind of value. I think it will be very hard to get away from capitalism, as it is right now.

Sure, in Star Trek they managed that, but then again in Star Trek they have near unlimited resources and a technology that is beyond our capability right now. And since we seem content to focus on energy sources like oil and gas, I am not sure we'll ever get there. I think in this context, thousand years is nothing.

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rob h
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by rob h » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:17 pm

Have been oddly vacant in this thread, but that's maybe because I don't think getting into political arguments on a Buddhist site fits with me. I actually wonder often if I should've even made the thread, but had no idea it would've gone on like this. (I think the Buddha would kind of shake his head at me with this one, along with all of my other faults.) Anyway, just linking for those interested in what socialism is actually supposed to be, and also for a bit about Lenin, and Russian "socialism" :

phpBB [video]
"A 'position', Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with." - MN 72

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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by AlexanderS » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:53 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:As far as I can see, Capitalism, a term invented by Marx, is here to stay.
Nothing is here to stay. As I said earlier: the longest running political/social entity (the Byzantine Empire) only lasted a thousand years.
Greed has existed since the dawn of man and will continue to exist regardless political systems.

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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Norwegian » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:02 pm

Exactly.

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Malcolm » Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:00 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:As far as I can see, Capitalism, a term invented by Marx, is here to stay.
Nothing is here to stay. As I said earlier: the longest running political/social entity (the Byzantine Empire) only lasted a thousand years.

Yes, and in Marxists terms it also had primitive accumulations of capital, and its primitive accumulations of capital were in turn taken over from Rome, etc., etc.

People and states have always accumulated capital and they always will, markets being markets. Governments have primarily existed for two reasons, to protect citizens and to stabilize markets, and they always will.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Zhen Li
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Zhen Li » Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:47 pm

rob h wrote:Have been oddly vacant in this thread, but that's maybe because I don't think getting into political arguments on a Buddhist site fits with me. I actually wonder often if I should've even made the thread, but had no idea it would've gone on like this. (I think the Buddha would kind of shake his head at me with this one, along with all of my other faults.) Anyway, just linking for those interested in what socialism is actually supposed to be, and also for a bit about Lenin, and Russian "socialism" :

phpBB [video]
I used to love Chomsky, I even have a copy of Failed States signed by him in person. But I don't think anyone will really would take Chomsky seriously after the learn about his opinions on the Khmer Rouge. And what are his real opinions on Lenin? I have no idea what to believe any more, because in Language and Politics p. 110 he said that Lenin was "basically fine." All these popular political writers, often seem to have as little scruples as the politicians they criticise. I can't really appreciate them, but I have compassion for their obvious mental suffering.

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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by treehuggingoctopus » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:18 pm

Chomsky on his controversial treatment of the KR regime:

http://chomsky-must-read.blogspot.com/2 ... stcom.html
AlexanderS wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:As far as I can see, Capitalism, a term invented by Marx, is here to stay.
Nothing is here to stay. As I said earlier: the longest running political/social entity (the Byzantine Empire) only lasted a thousand years.
Greed has existed since the dawn of man and will continue to exist regardless political systems.
That's a statement which is so sweeping that it simply collapses under its own weight. Ignorance, attachment and aversion do seem to be universal. Greed rather obviously is not - as what we know about various supposedly 'primitive' cultures evinces. In any case, there'd be no logical necessity of greed being an inevitable part of human nature even if every single human culture in the history has suffered from greed. Induction is not deduction.
Last edited by treehuggingoctopus on Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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tellyontellyon
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by tellyontellyon » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:19 pm

It sounds sometimes as if I am being accused of putting socialism in place of Buddhism, or accused of saying they are the same thing.
I am not.

Marxists don't claim to be pacifists, though I believe it is possible for a socialist transformation of society to come about peacefully and support such a peaceful transition.

The question isn't whether Marxism is better than Buddhism.... it is a question of whether Marxism (or Anarchism for that matter) is better than capitalism.

Capitalism is a rampantly exploitative and violent system. Capitalists are most certainly not pacifists; it is a system that demands expansion and competition and leads inexorably to violence.

I think Marx's analysis of capitalism is correct, and the chance of a peaceful transition is far more possible in the modern day. Even in the 19th century Marx saw some possibility of a peaceful transformation in the advanced countries. That possibility is much greater now.

If you don't recognise such an entity as 'capitalism' and don't see any difference between a caveman swapping some rabbit skins for a stone axe, and a city trader speculating on the value of sub-prime mortgages then my arguments will make little sense; but, if you chance to look outside your window and see the destruction, misery and instability caused by this system then you might consider changing it.

For me it is not a choice that we can avoid... fence sitting has consequences too. I agree with the notion that failing to choose is itself a choice, and a cowardly choice at that.

If you honestly think that capitalism is a better system, then be honest and say that. I can respect that.

But if you accept Marx's view that capitalism by it's very nature deprives people of their humanity and essentially robs them by forcing them to give up their labour below its true value, then you will accept there are consequences for allowing this system to continue.

I don't claim socialism as a panacea, only as a way out of the impasse towards something better.

Maybe some of you have not succumbed totally to the brainwashing of the capitalist state and the big business owned media, and are open to the potential of socialism being implemented as it was meant to be. I feel it could become something better than we have now. More democratic and more peaceful; offering the possibility of really addressing the looming environmental holocaust.

I think it can be a compassionate and rational system where people are encouraged to support each other and act in each others interests. That will never happen under capitalism, it sets us against each other.

The soviet union was a tragic failure, but there were reasons for that as I've mentioned before. I don't think things have to be that way. Surely we can learn from our past and from our present and find a way to create an economic system that works for everybody.

Sure, people will still be greedy, etc. etc. But it is easier to overcome greed, envy, anger etc., when you are not watching your children shiver and go hungry.

The poor are often accused of greed or envy or of being 'preta'... well I'm not going to idealize the working class and the poor, but a lot of that sounds more to me like projection and a a self-serving attitude from those who are lucky enough to not have to worry about 'worldly' problems. I say what we need is a little less sanctimonious preaching to the poor that they need to be more 'moral'; and a little more genuine moral behaviour: actually stepping outside of our golden palaces and actually doing something of benefit.
“Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?”
― Søren Kierkegaard

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Malcolm
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Re: Buddhist Anarchism

Post by Malcolm » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:24 pm

tellyontellyon wrote:It sounds sometimes as if I am being accused of putting socialism in place of Buddhism, or accused of saying they are the same thing.
I am not.

Marxists don't claim to be pacifists, though I believe it is possible for a socialist transformation of society to come about peacefully and support such a peaceful transition.

The question isn't whether Marxism is better than Buddhism.... it is a question of whether Marxism is better than capitalism.
I see no evidence that it is.
Capitalism is a rampantly exploitative and violent system. Capitalists are most certainly not pacifists; it is a system that demands expansion and competition and leads inexorably to violence.
Every marxist revolution has ended in slaughter and terror.
I think Marx's analysis of capitalism is correct, and the chance of a peaceful transition is far more possible in the modern day. Even in the 19th century Marx saw some possibility of a peaceful transformation in the advanced countries. That possibility is much greater now.
I don't believe it, I think it is a utopian pipe dream.

But if you accept Marx's view that capitalism by it's very nature deprives people of their humanity and essentially robs them by forcing them to give up their labour below its true value, then you will accept there are consequences for allowing this system to continue.
I don't agree with any of these claims.

I say what we need is a little less sanctimonious preaching to the poor that they need to be more 'moral'; and a little more genuine moral behaviour: actually stepping outside of our golden palaces and actually doing something of benefit.
Buddhism is non-evangelical. But if someone asks me why, despite their best efforts to get ahead, what they need to do, and they want a Buddhist answer, I will give it to them: generate more merit. It may not ripen in this lifetime, but it will certainly ripen in future lives.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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