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

Post by catmoon » Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:16 am

If the Dalai Lama were to run for president, I'd vote for him.
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Footsteps
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Footsteps » Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:27 pm

Did they take a bodhisattva vow?

If so, what are they doing sitting on their butts ignoring the plight of other beings when their social standing and particular position in society may be utilized to help the suffering?

Neglecting their vows, that's what. Bodhisattva is more than just sitting, it is acting.

One time Ho Tei was walking down the road with a sack full of toys for the children. A disciple stopped him and asked, "What is Zen?" Ho Tei immediately dropped his sack and sat in perfect meditation. The disciple then asked, "what is the meaning of zen?" Ho Tei immediately arose, grabbed his satchel of toys, and continued his way down the road.

It has been said that in a previous incarnation of Shakya Muni, he had come across a starving lion and her cubs. Seeing the lions plight, he cut up his body and laid down before the hungry lions, offering his life for their sustenance. In being eaten alive he had benefitted sentient beings.

It is also recorded that Saint Francis of Assisi instructed his disciples the following:

If you are in a moment of divine splendor and meditation and a tramp comes to the door begging for water, the proper course of action is to stop the meditation and give the tramp water. It would be selfish and against the will of God to continue in your splendor at the expense of the beggars suffering.

Saint Francis's words, though paraphrased, are right on the money, especially when applied to anybody who had taken the bodhisattva vow. If the vow is to benefit all beings, spiritual progress for the self only goes against those vows. Thus, the world may be impermanent. Samsara may be illusory, but those subject to it and not on the path do not know that, do they? Is not the vow for their benefit and not oneself?

Thus, depending on the parameters, it may very well be the buddhist's responsibility to get involved.

I was personally quite touched and inspired when I heard about the Thai and Cambodian monks ordaining trees to combat logging operations. It was a novel way to address the situation.
"Don't interrupt the mountains or the lake."

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

Post by sherabpa » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:17 am

For bodhisattvas who are beginners, which basically means the vast majority of us, the main practice, the main bodhisattva training, and the maintaining of the bodhisattva vow, means simply: abandoning the ten non virtues. This is according to the scriptures. Anything to do with getting involved in politics: does it involve actually abandoning the ten non-virtues yourself? If so, it is part of the Mahayana path. Otherwise, it is probably just more involvement in samsara and the defilements.

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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 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:35 pm

Bhikkhu Bodhi: Let’s Stand Up Together
... Considering that Buddhism is widely hailed as the preeminent religion of peace and compassion, why, I ask myself, aren’t we more visible as advocates of peace, basic sanity, and social justice?
We’re entering a turbulent time when it won’t be enough for us merely to adopt the dharma as a regimen of resilience, a means of maintaining inner balance against the shock waves rippling across the social landscape.

Granted, our numbers are small, but I don’t think that is the only reason for our reticence to speak up. Several other factors may also be involved. One is the adoption of the dharma as a path to personal happiness to be pursued mainly in the silence of the meditation hall. A second is the fear that political activism will fire up our passions and shatter our fragile calm. A third is the belief that active engagement with worldly events is an entanglement in illusion. And still a fourth is the view, widespread among dharma teachers, that we must welcome everyone and not risk alienating potential students by expressing our political convictions.

Now, I believe that teachers whose primary job is to teach the techniques of meditation practice should not expound their personal political views from the cushion. It’s also unfitting for heads of dharma centers to use their authority to endorse candidates for office or throw their community behind a political party. Nevertheless, I would draw a sharp line between political endorsement and advocating on public issues, and I would hold that to address such issues is well within a dharma teacher’s domain. Politics today is not merely a battleground over power and position; it is also an arena where great ethical contests are being fought, contests that have a crucial impact on everyone in this country and on this planet. If, from fear of upsetting others, dharma teachers shy away from addressing these critical matters, their silence could even be considered an abdication of their responsibility as spiritual leaders.

There are certain convictions that we as Buddhists hold and consider inviolable. We believe, for instance, that every human being possesses intrinsic dignity, that everyone should be treated fairly, that those fallen into hardship should be protected and given the chance to flourish, and that the resources of the earth should be used judiciously, out of respect for the delicate web of nature. The inauguration of Donald Trump as America’s new president is likely to strain each of these beliefs to new limits. ...
https://www.lionsroar.com/lets-stand-up-together/

:namaste:
Kim

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

Post by Kras » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:09 pm

I had a very strong urge to get involved in politics since I was teen and find it highly problematic, from a perspective of a spiritual person. Politics are one of samsaric activities. I was both involved in bottom-up movements and political parties and some basic mechanics involved are anti-spiritual. Especially in times when people get their knowledge from mass-media, the one who lies, cheats and slanders get best results. If you want to go into the world to see how egoistic, opportunistic and fanatical people destroy those that are idealistic, honest and kind, then politics are perfect for that. If you want to be successful to any degree, then you have to pretend someone that you are not and learn how to manipulate people. By the time you can actually change something, you will probably end up being as everyone else who's successful in politics.

I don't mind to protest once in a while but getting involved in a structured movement or a political party, that's something totally different. The most effective propaganda techniques are based on our lowest instincts - mainly fear. It's well documented by scientific literature, so it's not something that we can change just by acting differently. Besides, there are other ways of shaping the world then politics. Teaching people meditation is way better then signing up for some kind of a faction in an unresolvable conflict.

I know that there are some naturally-born leaders that happen to end up being a face of a movement that actually changes something. But the world is just changing, so from ego-less perspective it doesn't matter if it's Martin Luter King or anybody else. This just happens, as a natural process. If the world is heading for a war, it will happen, no matter how loud we are going to scream. It's better to teach people how to detach and control themselves, so that they won't be manipulated against each other. Teach meditation, that's far better then politics.

I don't mind if anyone's getting involved in politics but it's better to do it as an individual rather then as a Buddhists. Otherwise, you will end up like any major religion that uses politics for their own ends.

Peace & loving kindness.

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

Post by justsit » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:53 pm

Kunzang wrote:
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."
Current law is subject to change - perhaps without notice.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/us/p ... .html?_r=0

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

Post by Joka » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:00 pm

Wanting the rest of the world to find political and existential peace of mind is a very noble or compassionate goal so I would think Buddhists getting involved into politics is a good thing.

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

Post by Sprouticus » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:36 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Bhikkhu Bodhi: Let’s Stand Up Together
... Considering that Buddhism is widely hailed as the preeminent religion of peace and compassion, why, I ask myself, aren’t we more visible as advocates of peace, basic sanity, and social justice?
We’re entering a turbulent time when it won’t be enough for us merely to adopt the dharma as a regimen of resilience, a means of maintaining inner balance against the shock waves rippling across the social landscape.

Granted, our numbers are small, but I don’t think that is the only reason for our reticence to speak up. Several other factors may also be involved. One is the adoption of the dharma as a path to personal happiness to be pursued mainly in the silence of the meditation hall. A second is the fear that political activism will fire up our passions and shatter our fragile calm. A third is the belief that active engagement with worldly events is an entanglement in illusion. And still a fourth is the view, widespread among dharma teachers, that we must welcome everyone and not risk alienating potential students by expressing our political convictions.

Now, I believe that teachers whose primary job is to teach the techniques of meditation practice should not expound their personal political views from the cushion. It’s also unfitting for heads of dharma centers to use their authority to endorse candidates for office or throw their community behind a political party. Nevertheless, I would draw a sharp line between political endorsement and advocating on public issues, and I would hold that to address such issues is well within a dharma teacher’s domain. Politics today is not merely a battleground over power and position; it is also an arena where great ethical contests are being fought, contests that have a crucial impact on everyone in this country and on this planet. If, from fear of upsetting others, dharma teachers shy away from addressing these critical matters, their silence could even be considered an abdication of their responsibility as spiritual leaders.

There are certain convictions that we as Buddhists hold and consider inviolable. We believe, for instance, that every human being possesses intrinsic dignity, that everyone should be treated fairly, that those fallen into hardship should be protected and given the chance to flourish, and that the resources of the earth should be used judiciously, out of respect for the delicate web of nature. The inauguration of Donald Trump as America’s new president is likely to strain each of these beliefs to new limits. ...
https://www.lionsroar.com/lets-stand-up-together/

:namaste:
Kim
:anjali:

Yes, we must "walk the talk".
Namo Buddhaya

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

Post by smcj » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:18 am

HHKarmapa 16 made it clear that he did not want his students to get involved in politics.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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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 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:48 am

smcj wrote:HHKarmapa 16 made it clear that he did not want his students to get involved in politics.
Reasons?
Sources?

:thanks:
Kim

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

Post by smcj » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:44 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
smcj wrote:HHKarmapa 16 made it clear that he did not want his students to get involved in politics.
Reasons?
Sources?

:thanks:
Kim
He didn't give his reasons and I'm not going to try to put words in his mouth.

The source was Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. That's what the told their affiliate centers. I was the president of one of those centers and hosted HHK.

He also told us to cut our hair. He didn't explain that either.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by muni » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:47 am

Wanting the rest of the world to find political and existential peace of mind is a very noble or compassionate goal.
It is. While it is said that those with inner-peace can bring automatically peace in the environment, there must be appreciation or recognition of the value in order to benefit from.

I would think Buddhists getting involved into politics is a good thing.
Depends whether there is inner peace or not and so what is Buddhist is by inner-peace. Wishing all to find peace without there being own inner-peace seems not possible.
Buddha said all is empty like my brain.
Let’s make a selfie!

Having meditated on love and compassion, I forgot the difference between myself and others. Yogi Milarepa.

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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 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:05 pm

smcj wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:
smcj wrote:HHKarmapa 16 made it clear that he did not want his students to get involved in politics.
Reasons?
Sources?

:thanks:
Kim
He didn't give his reasons and I'm not going to try to put words in his mouth.

The source was Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. That's what the told their affiliate centers. I was the president of one of those centers and hosted HHK.

He also told us to cut our hair. He didn't explain that either.
:thanks:
- but I'm not going to follow a direction like that from anyone unless they give me good reasons. YMMV and that's okay ...

:namaste:
Kim

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

Post by Ayu » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:48 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
smcj wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote: Reasons?
Sources?

:thanks:
Kim
He didn't give his reasons and I'm not going to try to put words in his mouth.

The source was Karma Triyana Dharmachakra. That's what the told their affiliate centers. I was the president of one of those centers and hosted HHK.

He also told us to cut our hair. He didn't explain that either.
:thanks:
- but I'm not going to follow a direction like that from anyone unless they give me good reasons. YMMV and that's okay ...

:namaste:
Kim
I think, we can suppose, those guidelines the Karmapa gives to his students are given out of a spiritual viewpoint. And also, maybe it is not useful to disregard the certain Tibetan situation and the role and situation of the Karmapa himself in this context.
I think, it is not helpful, to drag those recommendations from the Karmapa on a general level for all people on this planet.


I for one feel much better, if I try to keep a certain inner distance to political issues. I'm interested in politics though, but I think, the fight on the barricades is not for me.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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

Post by smcj » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:23 pm

- but I'm not going to follow a direction like that from anyone unless they give me good reasons. YMMV and that's okay ...

:namaste:
Kim
That was meant for his Karma Kagyu students. It wasn't meant for a general audience. I offer it here as one possible perspective.

As a contrast the current Karmapa (O.T. brand) is on the cusp of being dragged into the political arena. We will see how that works out.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
*****
Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by jeffreyjoemiller » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:31 am

Bhikkhu_YinRi wrote: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.
So you don't concern yourself with the reality that 150k species are going extinct annually, with a projection that 2/3 of all species may be extinct by the end of the century (which may irreparably destroy the fragile biota here in Earth that all living beings depend on for sustenance and survival)? Imagine the immense suffering that is taking place and that will take place as this unfolds in the extreme. This reality is inseparable from 'politics' and demands discussion that leads to beneficial action.

You don't concern yourself that people are ... literally ... starving in great numbers here in Earth? Imagine the immense suffering. This reality is inseparable from 'politics' and demands discussion that leads to beneficial action.

You don't concern yourself that humans and all living being are being ... literally ... poisoned by trillions of tons of toxic chemicals in the water, air, and food that result in horrendous disease states ... not just for us but in 2nd and 3rd (and likely further) generations via transgenerational epigenetic inheritance? Human cancer is projected to increase by 70% in the next 20 years. Imagine the immense and incomprehensible suffering. This reality is inseparable from 'politics' and demands discussion that leads to beneficial action.

That medically induced illness is now the leading cause of death in the United States? Imagine the immense and incomprehensible suffering caused by this. This reality is inseparable from 'politics'.

These are just three of countless examples of the importance of social responsibility and political awareness / action.

Some might argue that not concerning oneself with these realities that cause such enormous suffering, and not being concerned with doing whatever is necessary to relieve this suffering, is a conditioned reality avoidance ... a pathological alienation from the meta environments we exist in and from the collective human organism that gave birth to us, not unlike schizophrenia (schizophrenics tend to deny relationship / responsibility also) ... and from the Earth that evolved the existence of precious life. Some would consider such an alienation as a callous self-obsession and self-centric goal that denies and ignores the suffering of other living beings in the pursuit of some 'otherworldly' fantasy that is imagined to be somehow beyond and above the laws of nature.

Refining perception to see with acute clarity 'just what is' and the great kindness that clarity organically gives birth to, consciously directed in the service of community (and all living beings) ... is the purpose of Dharma mind training. It is the cultivation of a refined sense of relationship, responsibility, and effective action.

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

Post by Sādhaka » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:37 pm

smcj wrote:HHKarmapa 16 made it clear that he did not want his students to get involved in politics.
In [i]The Practitioner of Meditation[/i], Longchen Rabjam wrote:Nowadays, when people are so unruly,
It is vital that you first achieve your own well-being in solitude.

Just as a bird can not fly without both wings,
The welfare of others cannot be accomplished without the higher faculties of perception,
So diligently strive for your own wellbeing, whilst mentally considering the welfare of others.

Without letting your mind be deceived by the devious maras of distraction and busyness, It is vital that you apply yourself to the practice.
Atisha and Geshe Tenzin Zopa wrote:All Buddhas say the cause for the completion
Of collections, whose nature is
Merit and exalted wisdom
Is the development of higher perception.


Training oneself to develop the training in the Method teachings through cultivating Bodhicitta and training in Wisdom through developing one’s understanding and realisation of emptiness (i.e. the selflessness of person and of phenomena), are the two main causes which will lead us to gain higher perception in order for us to benefit sentient beings. “Higher perception” refers to clairvoyance, which is needed to benefit sentient beings properly. This is important in order for us to understand the different mental dispositions of sentient beings. If someone is not matured enough to receive emptiness teachings and we give them emptiness teachings, we could cause them to develop wrong view and create the causes for hell; but if they are ready for emptiness and tantra and you focus only on giving the small capability-being teachings, you could distract them from the Mahayana and lead them to the Hinayana path, which incurs heavy karma.
Khunu Lama Rinpoche wrote:One thing that really helps us complete these two collections is the ability to foresee the future; therefore, we should try to acquire clairvoyance. Without it, we are like a baby bird whose wings are undeveloped and has not yet grown feathers and remains stuck in its nest, unable to fly. Without clairvoyance, we cannot work for other sentient beings.
[i]Light of the Sun[/i] by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, Longchenpa’s [i]The Precious Mala of the Four Dharmas[/i] wrote:...in this life we are not only interested in the worldly situation, day after day and night after night, always that way, we know our life is provisional, just like being in the state of the dream. When we are dreaming, in that moment we believe in the dream, we think it is concrete, but after a little while we wake up and discover it is unreal. In the same way when we finish our life, we discover that our life, what has passed, was unreal, just like a dream. ‘khrul snang bdag ‘dzin ‘jig: bdag ‘dzin ‘jig means to diminish our ego. Everybody has a very strong ego. How can understand that? You can observe yourself and immediately discover. We are always thinking we are better than others. You can’t say that, otherwise people think you are badly educated, you may say, “Oh you are very good, you are very clever”, but you always think you know much better.

Sometimes you see people discussing useless things; if there is something important sometimes it is beneficial to discuss. Even if it is something not important, people are discussing for hours and hours because two people have two egos. My way of seeing is perfect for me but another person does not accept that. Then you try and convince that person of your idea. Then you end up discussing useless things and there is no conclusion, nothing. So it is a manifestation of the ego. It is very important we know that. So then bdag ‘dzin ‘jig means when we observe with that kind of knowledge, that tendency diminishes. /ngang gis dul zhing thos bsam sgom pa ldan/ ngang gyis dul means we are becoming a little humble in our condition because our ego has diminished. thos bsam sgom pa ldan, also what we have studied, what we are thinking, judging, analyzing, becomes more useful. /dad sogs rgya che sbyangs ba’i yon tan ldan/, then everything we have studied and learned becomes more useful in our short life. /tshe ‘di don yod phyi ma ‘bas dang bcas/_/de phyir dam pa rnams la bsten par bya/, so then increasing this kind of qualification in this life becomes very useful for us in order to live comfortably in a relaxed way. Also it creates positive thoughts and its fruit for the future is positive.
Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche wrote:When we have problems, we start to struggle with these problems directly. We say, “Where there is a problem, there is also a solution through struggling.” Buddha first explained that the condition of suffering is something unpleasant, and nobody likes it. If you do not want suffering, you must research into the cause of suffering. To overcome the problem, the solution is not to struggle or fight.
Jetsun Milarepa wrote:The affairs of the world will go on forever. Do not delay the practice of meditation.

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

Post by tingdzin » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:09 pm

Yes, depends on the politics, but if one's PRIMARY ORIENTATION (sorry, my underline function isn't working) is political it's very difficult to keep a Buddha's mind and intention.

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