How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Discuss the application of the Dharma to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice.

0 to 9, with 9 being the most, how supportive are you of Buddhist communities engaging in politics?

0
9
17%
1
6
12%
2
0
No votes
3
1
2%
4
1
2%
5
5
10%
6
1
2%
7
0
No votes
8
1
2%
9
28
54%
 
Total votes: 52

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skittles
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How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by skittles » Sat Mar 05, 2016 6:01 am

There are many reasons for Buddhists to use their numbers to organize politically. The reasons are, more or less, encompassed by, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

I'm not asking about monks and nuns endorsing politicians, which I think is a bad idea. I'm asking about Buddhist communities campaigning to get representatives they actually trust into offices and change laws.

What are your thoughts as Buddhists?
"My main teacher Serkong Rinpoche, who was one of the teachers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, explained that having a protector is like having a very strong and vicious dog. If you are a strong person, you could go sit and guard your own gate every night to make sure that thieves don’t attack, but usually people wouldn’t do that. It’s not that we don’t have the ability, it’s just: why bother? You could post a dog there instead." - Alex Berzin http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... rs_ab.html

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Virgo
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Virgo » Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:02 am

Of course, you have to fight for your rights (non-violently) no matter who you are. Buddhists should be motivated by wholesome mental factors to help others.

Kevin
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Grigoris
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Mar 05, 2016 9:51 am

Depends on the politics.
"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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Ayu
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Ayu » Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:42 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:Depends on the politics.
:good: That's why I cannot vote.
I think, human rights, anti-racism, anti-governmental-crimes etc are "Buddhist" topics for sure. But as a Buddhist one has to apply Buddhist means. Like this a Buddhist fight might not look like a political fight.
Depends.
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Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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byrneklay
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by byrneklay » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:37 am

Buddhists should engage in politics because they are people who are effected by political decisions. Buddhism itself has nothing to do with that. Buddhism has nothing to do with liberal politics and it has nothing to do with conservative politics. As individuals we hold our convictions. I believe that Buddhism has helped me look at my deeply held convictions in different ways, but whatever my opinion on this or that is just my opinion. It isn't Buddhism.

I don't see anything wrong with Buddhist groups going out into the world and doing nice things for other people if it seems like a nice thing to do. But the intention must be to do something good for all people and not be compromised by any political pandering. Buddhism is for all people of any political persuasion. No exceptions.

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Boomerang
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Boomerang » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:20 pm

Political engagement is good when it is motivated by altruism. It's not good when it's motivated by attachment.

There is a difference between a person who happens to be Buddhist engaging in politics, and engaging in politics with the idea that it's a dharmic activity. It's difficult to make politics into a dharmic activity.

I think any Buddhist who wants to get involved in politics should remind themselves that samsara is never going to be perfect. Understanding this, should think very hard about what exactly you are fighting for, and be honest about your level of attachment.
Last edited by Boomerang on Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:28 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Grigoris
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:22 pm

Boomerang wrote:Political engagement is good when it is motivated by altruism. It's not good when it's motivated by attachment.
...or hatred.
"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."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Saoshun
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Saoshun » Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:03 am

It's a must, buddhist should be leading in politics. As Master Nan Hui Chin said "Monastic should be leader of society". but I would say spiritual and real developed people should be leaders of society because of clarity but my understanding of involvement is rather like satya yuga stuff rather then "vote or not to vote" reasoning.

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Bhikkhu_YinRi
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Bhikkhu_YinRi » Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:08 am

Political Discussions are unlike other discussions. They have the potential to cause such tear in even the closest of family.

Even a loving family can turn against each-other over differences of opinions in political stances.

I don't concern myself with such matters personally.

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Zhen Li
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Zhen Li » Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:06 pm

As boomerang put it, from the Buddhist perspective we have to realise that politics as an activity in and of itself is useless. Creating worldly benefit is of no use to Bodhisattvas if it is not ultimately at the service of the Dharma. A country that achieves perfection will be in that state impermanently, by its very nature, and as such, it should not phase us when we see them slip, or when we see poor countries rise. This is simply the nature of things.

The first of the eight realisations of great beings in the Sutra of the Eight Realisations is:
Realize that this world is impermanent, that nations are unsafe and unstable, that the four elements cause suffering and are empty, and that there is no self within the five skandhas; that all things that arise must change and decline, and that they are but false appearances without any stable essence; that mind is the source of evil, and that form is a congregation of wrongdoings. Contemplate all of this, and gradually you will disentangle yourself from the cycle of birth and death.
I would not, however, say that a Buddhist should not be interested in political good. We should encourage morality in society in general, including politicians. Sometimes skilful means might entail occasionally endorsing a candidate or saying a word or two, but I would say it is going too far to be engaged oneself. You might as well build sandcastles or paint a picture of the ideal country in the sand. There's far more useful things one can do with one's time, which actually make a difference.

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Malcolm
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:13 pm

Virgo wrote:Of course, you have to fight for your rights ...
Kevin

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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Virgo
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Virgo » Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:42 am

Malcolm wrote:
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Hey, everybodies got to have a little fun.

Kevin
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Karma Dorje
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Karma Dorje » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:36 pm

skittles wrote: I'm not asking about monks and nuns endorsing politicians, which I think is a bad idea. I'm asking about Buddhist communities campaigning to get representatives they actually trust into offices and change laws.

What are your thoughts as Buddhists?
In my experience, Buddhists don't really have strong opinions about politics or discuss the topic much. Not sure this would ever fly.
"Although my view is higher than the sky, My respect for the cause and effect of actions is as fine as grains of flour."
-Padmasambhava

bdt
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by bdt » Fri Jun 03, 2016 11:52 pm

I think that Buddhists have an obligation to get involved with politics out of compassion and as part of our aspiration for enlightenment. Just look at the Dalai Lama. He's not just involved on politics, he's a head of state.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:10 am

Karma Dorje wrote:In my experience, Buddhists don't really have strong opinions about politics or discuss the topic much. Not sure this would ever fly.
You must be thinking only of Buddhists in the West. If you look at traditionally-Buddhist countries, virtually everyone involved in politics - from local council level up to national parliamentarians - is Buddhist, in exactly the same way (and to roughly the same extent) that virtually everyone involved in politics in the US is Christian.
And the same considerations surely apply: any politician with no moral compass is likely to be bad for the country, while any whose religion is too dogmatic or sectarian (Cruz, maybe) may be problematic for other reasons.
So the real question is "Why don't Western Buddhists engage with politics." Actually, that should be "Why don't more Western Buddhists engage with politics," because some of us/them do.

:namaste:
Kim

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Karma Dorje
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Karma Dorje » Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:29 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:In my experience, Buddhists don't really have strong opinions about politics or discuss the topic much. Not sure this would ever fly.
You must be thinking only of Buddhists in the West. If you look at traditionally-Buddhist countries, virtually everyone involved in politics - from local council level up to national parliamentarians - is Buddhist, in exactly the same way (and to roughly the same extent) that virtually everyone involved in politics in the US is Christian.
And the same considerations surely apply: any politician with no moral compass is likely to be bad for the country, while any whose religion is too dogmatic or sectarian (Cruz, maybe) may be problematic for other reasons.
So the real question is "Why don't Western Buddhists engage with politics." Actually, that should be "Why don't more Western Buddhists engage with politics," because some of us/them do.

:namaste:
Kim
After all the threads on European immigration, the next POTUS, etc. did I really need to put <snark></snark> tags around my post? :cheers:
"Although my view is higher than the sky, My respect for the cause and effect of actions is as fine as grains of flour."
-Padmasambhava

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:08 am

Apparently.

Care to give me a quick run-down on the proportions of DW members who do and don't engage with politics here? And of non-DW-member Western Buddhists who do and don't engage with politics IRL?

:popcorn:
Kim

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Karma Dorje
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Karma Dorje » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:14 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Apparently.

Care to give me a quick run-down on the proportions of DW members who do and don't engage with politics here? And of non-DW-member Western Buddhists who do and don't engage with politics IRL?

:popcorn:
Kim
Sorry, no. You are confusing me for Ipsos Reid. However, feel free to make up any reasonable sounding number it if makes you happy.
"Although my view is higher than the sky, My respect for the cause and effect of actions is as fine as grains of flour."
-Padmasambhava

Kunzang
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Kunzang » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:04 pm

skittles wrote: I'm asking about Buddhist communities campaigning to get representatives they actually trust into offices and change laws.

What are your thoughts as Buddhists?
It depends on what you mean by "community" but in the US it is against the law for churches and charities to be involved in political campaigning. You can have your tax-exempt status removed. And since "dharma centers" seem to always be in a financially precarious position, why on earth would anyone risk it over politics?
The ban on political campaign activity by charities and churches was created by Congress more than a half century ago. The Internal Revenue Service administers the tax laws written by Congress and has enforcement authority over tax-exempt organizations. Here is some background information on the political campaign activity ban and the latest IRS enforcement statistics regarding its administration of this congressional ban.

In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates.

Currently, the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one "which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office."
read more at: https://www.irs.gov/uac/charities-churches-and-politics

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Virgo
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Virgo » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:07 pm

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