Monarchy vs Democracy

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sat May 25, 2013 4:20 pm

Ben Yuan wrote:A lot of people have stuff and we don't understand why. A lot of people do not and we don't understand why. We cannot comprehend fully the law of karma and can control human lives such that people get just what they deserve - this occurs by itself. We can encourage people to give, and that is the Buddhist approach, but to actively reorganise the world would be offensive to the security of property and order of society. Moreover, it would deprive those who are wealthy of that opportunity to generate good karma. As far as I can discern, when the Buddha instructs kings to provide wealth and jobs such that people are no longer poor, he is talking about the wealth of those kings, not the wealth which a modern government takes forcefully and redistributes. As for clinging to wealth, this seems like a bit of a mischaracterisation of how the wealthy are more likely to run their financial affairs. Certainly being stingy is bad for the poor and doesn't keep capital flowing in the market, but it also has automatic bad practical karmic repercussions for the wealthy owner of the capital, since it isn't growing if they're just "clinging" to it as you say, but rather would naturally diminish. "Further, householder, with the wealth thus gained the noble disciple makes provisions against the losses that might arise on account of fire and floods, kings and bandits and unloved heirs; he makes himself secure against them. This is the second case of wealth gone to good use." (AN 4:61; II 65-68) I am interested in what quotes you have which would give such wealth to kings, and proclaim it to be good use for kings to distribute it rather than the laws of nature, economics and karma (all causes and conditions and naturally non-forceful).



This is the most dangerous and horrifying way of thinking about Karma and wealth.
It's the ancient version of social Darwinism. Social Darwin Dharmaism.

Justifying Free-market capitalism by saying that it's wrong to "forcefully" take wealth from the wealthy and give it to the poor because it deprives the wealthy of an opportunity to give it willingly...sounds like what you're saying. I hope you don't really mean it like that.

Patrul Rinpoche says

"Even if one man were to own all the wealth and possessions in the whole world, it would not change the fact that he would still only need enough food and clothing for one person."

and

"Look closely at those who are apparently rich. If they are not using their wealth freely for the Dharma...they are actually poorer than the poor."
"Nothing could be more effective than trade and commerce for piling up endless harmful actions and thoroughly corrupting you."

and

Nagarjuna said "Amassing wealth, guarding it and making it grow will exhaust you; Understand that riches bring unending ruin and destruction."

Wealth is a greater liability to a Buddhist than any other circumstance except the most extreme poverty. Y

Moreover, using the Dharma to justify evil actions (such as letting "natural forces" ((Magic? A hole in your pocketbook?)) provide for the poor) is the most abject form of nonvirtue.

Finally, Santideva says:

"Just as no pleasures can bring delight
To somebody whose body is on fire,
Nor can the Compassionate ones be pleased
When harm is done to sentient beings."



Maybe the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha is sometimes manifesting in the form of the IRS.
Maybe he's the guy who stole your identity and emptied your checking account to buy medicine and food for his aging parents.

Anything that brings about the benefit of beings is justified.


Sorry this is getting really off the original topic. I'm done.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Sun May 26, 2013 5:16 am

Well, since I am only having a conversation here with people who have made up their minds both on this topic and on their intent to misrepresent what I have said, or to not read into what I said and investigate it carefully, I see no point in carrying on. But to maintain clarity on my stance I will reply to Nilasarasvati.
This is the most dangerous and horrifying way of thinking about Karma and wealth.
It's the ancient version of social Darwinism. Social Darwin Dharmaism.

Calling A, B, doesn't make A invalid if B isn't shown to be invalid. Granted Social Darwinism is mostly pseudoscience, I fail to see the catch 22 as to how A = B and why what is wrong in B is present in A. You must warrant/qualify your claim.
Justifying Free-market capitalism by saying that it's wrong to "forcefully" take wealth from the wealthy and give it to the poor because it deprives the wealthy of an opportunity to give it willingly...sounds like what you're saying. I hope you don't really mean it like that.

Patrul Rinpoche says

"Even if one man were to own all the wealth and possessions in the whole world, it would not change the fact that he would still only need enough food and clothing for one person."

and

"Look closely at those who are apparently rich. If they are not using their wealth freely for the Dharma...they are actually poorer than the poor."
"Nothing could be more effective than trade and commerce for piling up endless harmful actions and thoroughly corrupting you."

and

Nagarjuna said "Amassing wealth, guarding it and making it grow will exhaust you; Understand that riches bring unending ruin and destruction."

Wealth is a greater liability to a Buddhist than any other circumstance except the most extreme poverty. Y

Firstly, I don't see what is wrong with the idea that people should engage in charity. You realise that if the money is taken by force it is breaking the 2nd precept, and that redistributing it removes the capacity for developing intent to give in the first place.

Your quotes are all ones which I do not argue with. They do not, however, advocate breaking the 2nd precept but rather generate in the heart compassion - to response to which is engaging in acts of generosity, which one would not be able to do if everyone is poor.

Intention is all that matters, if you remove people's money by force, they will not be poor voluntarily and thus accumulate no merit for the act of renunciation.
Moreover, using the Dharma to justify evil actions (such as letting "natural forces" ((Magic? A hole in your pocketbook?)) provide for the poor) is the most abject form of nonvirtue.

Is that what I said? I said,
I am interested in what quotes you have which would give such wealth to kings, and proclaim it to be good use for kings to distribute it rather than the laws of nature, economics and karma (all causes and conditions and naturally non-forceful).

Where did I claim evil actions should be done? Letting natural forces run their course does not require individual intention - intention is required for evil actions. On the other hand, taxation and redistribution breaks the 2nd precept and would be an evil action - if necessary it must be kept to an absolute minimum.
Finally, Santideva says:

"Just as no pleasures can bring delight
To somebody whose body is on fire,
Nor can the Compassionate ones be pleased
When harm is done to sentient beings."

Where did I ever say someone should be pleased? You can't get rid of the effects of bad karma by accumulating more bad karma, only by doing good deeds. Just as Asoka encouraged the kingdom to be virtuous, when the government acts according to virtue, and the populace acts according to virtue and is more gentle and compassionate to all beings, then the country will be happier and prosperous.
Maybe the Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha is sometimes manifesting in the form of the IRS.
Maybe he's the guy who stole your identity and emptied your checking account to buy medicine and food for his aging parents.

Anything that brings about the benefit of beings is justified.

All beings? Just some? If someone steals from another, that is neither benefiting all beings nor is it clear that some beings are going to be benefited, since without omniscience you may never know whether the person you stole from had twelve starving babies to feed at home, who must now die because you were just thinking of your own parents. Short of being omniscient, I can see no way this is possible - and if you are, you already know that the supreme medicine lies beyond material forms and money.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 8:36 am

Ben Yuan wrote:Firstly, I don't see what is wrong with the idea that people should engage in charity. You realise that if the money is taken by force it is breaking the 2nd precept, and that redistributing it removes the capacity for developing intent to give in the first place.
You realise that the money is taken by force from the poor by the rich or do you live on a planet without repressive state (and private) mechanisms? You do realise (for example) that all the resources (including land) that the Canadian economic dream is built on was stolen from the Indians, right? So the people that you so openly defend have built (and continue to build) their wealth on broken precepts (theft being, in my opinion, the least negative precept that was broken).

And since when was taxation breaking the second precept? All Buddhist nations have, and have had, tax/tithings systems.

It seems to me that you are (purposefully) blinding yourself to about 90% of the situation.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Sun May 26, 2013 9:36 am

You realise that the money is taken by force from the poor by the rich or do you live on a planet without repressive state (and private) mechanisms?

Theft is illegal in all countries that I know of. I am suspecting you are a Communist who thinks that "capitalism" and the "capitalist superstructure" are conspiring against the poor. I would like you to explain how you think this whole conspiracy works.
You do realise (for example) that all the resources (including land) that the Canadian economic dream is built on was stolen from the Indians, right?

Well, this is not true. In terms of square footage, the land taken without treaty arrangements is very small. Moreover, the use of arable land only employs 2% of the population. As Israel and Singapore show, you don't need land to have a decent economy, you simply need respect for private property, low taxes and a reasonable degree of free trade. But as for land which is taken forcibly, in terms of karma and intention, I don't see how present individuals are guilty for that which was done historically - a matter which I brought up previously but which you refused to address.
So the people that you so openly defend have built (and continue to build) their wealth on broken precepts (theft being, in my opinion, the least negative precept that was broken).
Who precisely am I defending? I don't recall ostensibly naming anyone. Who are you defending? Lenin?
And since when was taxation breaking the second precept? All Buddhist nations have, and have had, tax/tithings systems.

It is breaking the second precept, it is taking what is not given, and if it is given, it will be taken anyway by hook or by crook, so your consent does not change the fact. Similarly, all states must have some intention of breaking the first precept, since an army must develop collectively the intention to act upon when the time calls. Of course, without these we would not have security of the state and order - but there is an absolute minimum required for that. I do not believe, on the other hand, that greater economic equality can come from redistribution, but rather greater want and greater poverty. Where we differ, it so appears, is on the notion that the market can develop the wealth of individuals best when free from the hands of the state - if that is true, then this of course is not the appropriate forum for discussion and I can't see it being resolved simply.
It seems to me that you are (purposefully) blinding yourself to about 90% of the situation.

Greg, you do not believe that someone can actually have a reasoned opinion which is different from your own? This is what is making this discussion very frustrating, you do not seem to be respecting the possibility that I might have any logical position at all, whereas I am very keen to hear your perspective. It's comments like this which make forums frustrating and cause conversations like this to drag on longer and more painfully than they have to. Let us make it more congenial and enjoyable for everyone shall we?
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 9:49 am

Ben Yuan wrote:Greg, you do not believe that someone can actually have a reasoned opinion which is different from your own?
Of course I can, I can also see when their reasoning is hideously flawed. Might I recommend reading a little about the situation with the banana plantations of Ecuador (for example). It may remove the $$$ signs lodged in your eyeballs.
This is what is making this discussion very frustrating, you do not seem to be respecting the possibility that I might have any logical position at all, whereas I am very keen to hear your perspective.
I can see your logic and am listening to your perspective. Might I recommend reading up a little on Bangladeshi sweat shops and well known (legal) brand name products? Try reading something other than the account written in Forbes magazine.
It's comments like this which make forums frustrating and cause conversations like this to drag on longer and more painfully than they have to. Let us make it more congenial and enjoyable for everyone shall we?
I am being congenial. Might I recommend some reading on the Canadian Indian Genocide? Is this conversation frustrating because I do not agree with you?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 10:27 am

From The Edicts of King Ashoka
Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, says: Along roads I have had banyan trees planted so that they can give shade to animals and men, and I have had mango groves planted. At intervals of eight //krosas//, I have had wells dug, rest-houses built, and in various places, I have had watering-places made for the use of animals and men. But these are but minor achievements. Such things to make the people happy have been done by former kings. I have done these things for this purpose, that the people might practice the Dhamma.
and
...everywhere has Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, made provision for two types of medical treatment: medical treatment for humans and medical treatment for animals. Wherever medical herbs suitable for humans or animals are not available, I have had them imported and grown. Wherever medical roots or fruits are not available I have had them imported and grown. Along roads I have had wells dug and trees planted for the benefit of humans and animals.
Free access to medicines, food and water!!! :o
Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: These and other principal officers are occupied with the distribution of gifts, mine as well as those of the queens. In my women's quarters, they organize various charitable activities here and in the provinces. I have also ordered my sons and the sons of other queens to distribute gifts so that noble deeds of Dhamma and the practice of Dhamma may be promoted. And noble deeds of Dhamma and the practice of Dhamma consist of having kindness, generosity, truthfulness, purity, gentleness and goodness increase among the people.
He ordered therm to be generous!!! :jawdrop:
Twenty years after his coronation, Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, visited this place and worshipped because here the Buddha, the sage of the Sakyans, was born. He had a stone figure and a pillar set up and because the Lord was born here, the village of Lumbini was exempted from tax and required to pay only one eighth of the produce.
So the rest of his Empire was taxed, and paid more than 8% of produce??? So apart from being a Commie/Liberal dictator King Ashoka was (accoring to your skewed logic) also in contravention of the second precept, ie he was a thief! Did I mention something earlier about hideously flawed reasoning?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun May 26, 2013 10:45 am

I prefer the term socialist.

Most communist contries I see,seem to be exactly what they claim to hate.
One large corperation(state controlled gov) that controls every single business in the country,and subjugates every citizen to their full control.

Communism is every capitalists DREAM!!!!seriously what company wouldnt want to monopolize every single business effectively controlling ALL buisnesses in their country?
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 10:53 am

Son of Buddha wrote:I prefer the term socialist.

Most communist contries I see,seem to be exactly what they claim to hate.
One large corperation(state controlled gov) that controls every single business in the country,and subjugates every citizen to their full control.

Communism is every capitalists DREAM!!!!seriously what company wouldnt want to monopolize every single business effectively controlling ALL buisnesses in their country?
Good point! Most of the Trotskyists I knew referred to the former Eastern Bloc countries as State Capitalism.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun May 26, 2013 12:13 pm

Also redistribution of wealth was never meant to be stealing.
It was simply meant to be a higher working wage law.
When the goverment institutes a higher minimum wage law raising monumum wage from $5 to $7 we dont consider that stealing,we consider it a fair wages law.

Redistribution of wealth is simply asking companies that make 1 billion dollars to pay their employees a fair and respectable wage.its not like we want all your money,we just want to have a higher standard of living,and honestly all thats being asked is for the billionaire to instead of buying his 5th mansion and 2nd personal jet to take that money and improve the wages of his employees.

Also I tend to sway more for a Socialist republic
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Sun May 26, 2013 1:28 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Ben Yuan wrote:Greg, you do not believe that someone can actually have a reasoned opinion which is different from your own?
Of course I can, I can also see when their reasoning is hideously flawed. Might I recommend reading a little about the situation with the banana plantations of Ecuador (for example). It may remove the $$$ signs lodged in your eyeballs.
This is what is making this discussion very frustrating, you do not seem to be respecting the possibility that I might have any logical position at all, whereas I am very keen to hear your perspective.
I can see your logic and am listening to your perspective. Might I recommend reading up a little on Bangladeshi sweat shops and well known (legal) brand name products? Try reading something other than the account written in Forbes magazine.
It's comments like this which make forums frustrating and cause conversations like this to drag on longer and more painfully than they have to. Let us make it more congenial and enjoyable for everyone shall we?
I am being congenial. Might I recommend some reading on the Canadian Indian Genocide? Is this conversation frustrating because I do not agree with you?

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make with these, if it is anything related to the question of whether stealing and redistributing really benefits anyone in the long term, these are all good red herrings.

The Ecquadorian and Bangladeshi governments are irresponsible for not legislating and enforcing appropriate regulations (if the people even want that), this is irrelevant to the question of whether stealing and redistributing really benefits anyone in the long term.

As for the residential schools, once again, I am not sure what point you are trying to prove. I had the impression we were discussing political economy to determine whether forced appropriation and redistribution is justified. You mentioned Canada's land, I assume to argue that the economy is fundamentally immoral in Canada (which is a pretty strange and I believe moot point). I am not sure how the horrendous residential schools situation is related to that. Please enlighten me.
... So the rest of his Empire was taxed, and paid more than 8% of produce??? So apart from being a Commie/Liberal dictator King Ashoka was (accoring to your skewed logic) also in contravention of the second precept, ie he was a thief! Did I mention something earlier about hideously flawed reasoning?

Also not only killed more people than those who died in the residential schools, but inherited an empire gained through the slaughter and conquest of independent city states, some of which were your much loved republics.

As much as people like to think Asoka was a Cakravartin (I.e. the only type of king who rules in accordance with the Dharma), he was not. The Cakravartin rules the world because people voluntarily ask him to rule them.

I'm not even going to bother addressing your little Utopian discourse there. I was a Communist for long enough to know that no amount of argumentation can cause a commie (or Socialist/Pseudo-Communist) to change his mind - they must become disenchanted themselves.

And in the end, we can't even attach or really enjoy the kingdom of the Cakravartin (in the physical sense of a kingdom of a Cakravartin rather than the metaphorical) since, as the Sutra on the Eight Realisations says, "all political regimes are subject to fall; all things composed of the four elements are empty and contain the seeds of suffering."
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 4:11 pm

Ben Yuan wrote:I'm not even going to bother addressing your little Utopian discourse there. I was a Communist for long enough to know that no amount of argumentation can cause a commie (or Socialist/Pseudo-Communist) to change his mind - they must become disenchanted themselves.
1. I am not a Socialist or a Communist. 2. I am not making a utpoian discourse, quite the contrary, I am pointing out the most blatant flaws of the existing system. 3. If you cannot see how these examples fit into the discourse of the manner in which Capitalist corporations LEGALLY steal from the poor then this discussion is over.
And in the end, we can't even attach or really enjoy the kingdom of the Cakravartin (in the physical sense of a kingdom of a Cakravartin rather than the metaphorical) since, as the Sutra on the Eight Realisations says, "all political regimes are subject to fall; all things composed of the four elements are empty and contain the seeds of suffering."
Yes, of course you are aware that this statement applies to Capitalism too? In which case you should not support any political position.

Strange that you should quote from the Sutra of the Eight Realisations, because you know what else it says... it's real short so I will post it in full...
Day and night, at all times,
Buddha’s disciples should
Mindfully recite and contemplate
The eight realizations of Great Beings.

The First Realization:
All the world is impermanent.
The earth is fragile and perilous.
The four great elements inhere in suffering and emptiness.
In the five skandhas there is no self.
All that arise, change, and perish,
Are illusive, unreal, and without a master.
Mind is the root of evil;
Body a reservoir of sin.
Thus observing and contemplating,
One gradually breaks free from birth and death.

The Second Realization:
Excessive desire is suffering.
Birth, death, and weariness in life
All originate from greed and desires.
Desiring less, being wu-wei,
Body and mind are at ease and free.

The Third Realization:
The mind is insatiable,
Always seeking, thirsty for more,
Thus increasing our sins.
Bodhisattvas renounce such conduct.
Always remember to follow the way,
Be content and at peace with poverty,
With wisdom as the sole vocation.

The Fourth Realization:
Indolence leads to degradation.
Always practice with diligence,
Vanquish all vexations,
Subdue the four maras,
And escape the prison of the skandhas.

The Fifth Realization:
Ignorance leads to birth and death.
Bodhisattvas are always mindful
To study and learn extensively,
To increase their wisdom
And perfect their eloquence,
So they can teach and enlighten all beings,
And impart great joy to all.

The Sixth Realization:
Poverty and hardship breed resentment,
Creating harm and discord.
Bodhisattvas practice dana,
Beholding the friendly and hostile equally;
They neither harbor grudges
Nor despise malicious people.

The Seventh Realization:
The five desires are perilous.
Even as laity, be not sullied by worldly pleasures;
Think frequently of the three robes,
The tiled bowl, and instruments of Dharma;
Aspire to the monastic life
And cultivate the Way with purity;
Let your actions be noble and sublime,
Showering compassion on all.

The Eighth Realization:
Birth and death are like a blazing fire
Plagued with endless afflictions and suffering.
Vow to cultivate the Mahayana mind,
To bring relief to all;
To take on infinite sufferings for sentient beings,
And lead all to supreme joy.

These are the eight realizations of Great Beings,
Buddhas and bodhisattvas.
They practice the Way with diligence,
Develop compassion, and cultivate wisdom.
They sail the ship of dharmakaya
To the shore of nirvana,
Returning again to samsara to liberate sentient beings.
With these eight principles,
They point out the Way,
So that all beings may awaken
To the sufferings of life and death,
Relinquish the five desires, and
Cultivate the mind on the noble path.
If Buddha’s disciples recite these eight realizations,
In thought after thought,
They will eradicate countless sins,
Advance on the bodhi path,
Promptly attain enlightenment,
Be forever freed from birth and death,
And always abide in joy.
This version is from here http://ctzen.org/sunnyvale/enEightReali ... ations.htm

Funnily enough, the version of the Sutra I found was translated by the social activist and founder of Engaged Buddhism Ven Thich and can be read here: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/beingssutra.pdf
Unfortunately it is copy protected so I cannot cut and paste from it. Suffice to say it is interestingly different. and well worth reading for the commentary.

I'll just say that in his commentary to the sixth realisation he states: "Practicing generosity means to act in a way that will help equalize the difference between the wealthy and the impoverished. Whatever we do to ease human suffering and create social justice can be considered practicing generosity. This is not to say that we engage in any political system."
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sun May 26, 2013 4:30 pm

Thank you Greg Kavarnos. You are a Diamond and I've never even heard of the Sutra of 8 Realizations.

To add butter to the flames, I have my own polemical novel here:



Ben Yuan said: Well, this is not true. In terms of square footage, the land taken without treaty arrangements is very small.


I hope you know that this is really, really, really offensive.
Like denying the halocaust. Keep quotes like that under your hat from now on. :consoling:

I think you're actually a really articulate and logical person, it's just that, in my opinion, logic is pathetic. It only goes so far. Logic without the power of empathetic imagination is just cold, mathematical delusion. It's very orderly but until you apply the abstract imagining that is required to really imagine other people's realities, it's not adequate. And that's what I'm gonna argue: that you haven't really imagined other people's realities (or maybe you're just not thinking about some of your own! I'm not sure)



I just have to say a few things:

1. You don't have to be a "commie" to think Capitalism is a reprehensible form of global exploitation that has ABSOLUTELY nothing to offer a Buddhist system of ethics. Sure it often accompanies a democracy..but it's generally the influence that ruins said democracy. There are many other alternatives to Stalinist, Maoist forms of economy and governance. I think Communism, especially, is abhorrent. Except in Cuba. Maybe.

2. I never claimed to be logical, by the way, and I don't need to be. I'm a polemicist and a radical and I'm arguing with emotion. I don't care. There are other faculties and modes of cognition that we use to make sense of the world; you may think you're more rational than me, but we're about the same. Mainly I just wish you'd look at the consequences of everything you're advocating: they're all over the planet.

3.We had a brief bit there where you were arguing that A=/=B etc. Between social darwinism and your idea. I clearly didn't explain that well.

The parallell I'm drawing is this. Or at least, this is the impression you're giving: "the poor are poor because of their lack of merit. The rich are rich because they have merit. Let's leave it that way except by voluntary charity from the rich. This is better than forcibly taking from the rich to give to the poor because it deprives them of an opportunity of merit. And it's breaking the 2nd precept."


What I've seen in Dharmic cultures is usually this: "The poor are poor because they deserve it. The rich are rich because they deserve it. Let's leave it that way."

In that way, it's almost identical to social darwinism. You never advocated this--I just want you to know this is what ends up happening a lot of the time.

Also,
Social Darwinism isn't bad because it's mostly pseudoscience. Social Darwinism is bad because it was used to justify the murder and oppression of millions, including the near complete extermination of the Tasmanian aborigines, and many of the aborigines of Australia, let alone reinforcing racist and white-supremacist systems all over the world.

4.
Theft is illegal in all countries that I know of. I am suspecting you are a Communist who thinks that "capitalism" and the "capitalist superstructure" are conspiring against the poor. I would like you to explain how you think this whole conspiracy works.


You seem convinced that free market Capitalism works without exploiting and destroying the global poor, the developing world, and the oppressed races of every nation. :crying: this makes me really, really, really frustrated. I have to admit.

This has nothing to do with rich people sneaking into the homes of the poor and robbing them blind in the middle of the night. It seems like that's the only concept you have of what the rich stealing from the poor might look like.

People who argue otherwise are not just Communist conspiracy theorists or something.

String of rhetorical questions: Haven't you ever worked a minimum wage job where you put in way more than you received back? Been forced to work unpaid overtime? Been a victim of sexual harassment? Been a victim of rape? (this is not a separate issue.) Haven't you ever seen the maimed and wretched beggars in the streets of every major city in the world and wondered why can't there be a place for them? Haven't you had parents and grandparents work themselves til death to make another man's fortune? Haven't you ever taken a bite of food and thought "wow, this came from halfway across the planet."

In your house, or your apartment building, don't you think at least one article of clothing was made in that Bangladeshi garment factory that collapsed a month ago and killed over 1,000 workers?

There's blood and sweat and poverty and prostitution and narcotics residue on all of our hands. As Buddhists, as Mahayana Buddhists, because of pratitya sammutpada, we have to look at this whole mess and realize the fault does not lie with the powerless. The more wealthy we are, the more relative privilege we have, just the fact that we can speak English and have access to a computer to write this on---damns us with responsibility. Our money did not come from a magic wishing tree, nor did it come solely from our hard work. It came from those below, even if only in the most fractional, infantessimal ways...it is the sum total of a world built on exploitation. This is karmic debt. Because it all came from them. The workers at Foxconn who made my computer or the children who sewed up my really nice shoes, or the farmers who grew my rice who can't afford medicine for their kids. The rabbits and guinea pigs who were tortured to test my shampoo. The Native Americans who were cheated, bullied, massacred, imprisoned, enslaved, endoctrinated, robbed of their children, sequestered to reservations so that I and my race could build freeways and strip malls all over the whole nation.

Does any of that make sense? I mean, I'm not completely crazy! I'm not a master of logic, but please express to me that some of this made sense to you.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sun May 26, 2013 4:38 pm

In summary, and to prove that you can break not only the 2nd precept but any and all of the precepts
Santideva said,

"Therefore understand this well,
And always labor for the benefit of beings.
The far-seeing Masters of compassion
permit, to this end, that which is proscribed."


It's well known that to refrain from supposed nonvirtue when compassion clearly demands it is actually breaking the Bodhicitta vows.

If you do not, you will be called a cowardly Bodhisattva.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sun May 26, 2013 6:45 pm

Sorry I misspoke: the 3 negative actions of mind can never serve the purpose of benefiting beings, so they are always proscribed.

But everything else must be discarded if the Bodhicitta demands it.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 7:11 pm

Ben, fundamentally how can you think that a system which is predicated on greed can achieve wholesome results? Is this not the very root of samsara?

It's a specious argument to say that taxation takes what is not given. It is part of the social contract to pay taxes. If businesses do not want to participate in taxation, then the roads they transport their goods on are not freely given, the ports that are maintained are not freely given, the courts that protect contracted entities are not freely given, the police that keep social order are not freely given, etc. In short, businesses can not benefit from the social framework they depend on without contributing back to it.

In the US today, we have a bizarre situation where those who benefit *the most* from all of the investments in infrastructure don't pay the equivalent share of the expenses for it. It's unfair from any perspective, buddhist or otherwise. Ideally, society has to be built around the idea of caring for each other with the Sangha as our model. Was not Lord Shakyamuni's idea of the Sangha far closer to socialism than capitalism?
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun May 26, 2013 7:23 pm

Ben Yuan wrote:As for the residential schools, once again, I am not sure what point you are trying to prove. I had the impression we were discussing political economy to determine whether forced appropriation and redistribution is justified. You mentioned Canada's land, I assume to argue that the economy is fundamentally immoral in Canada (which is a pretty strange and I believe moot point). I am not sure how the horrendous residential schools situation is related to that. Please enlighten me.


The residential schools are only a very small part of the problem. Obviously, you have no understanding of Canadian history. The Micmacs for example were exterminated. In most cases the treaties were negotiated under duress and though viewed as sacred covenants by the native people, were viewed as simply an expedient means to expropriate the natives of their land so that the resources could be used by the European invaders. Many treaty claims have not been honoured, particularly when oil or precious metals are found on native land.

It's no secret that apartheid South Africa visited Canada to model their bantustan system on the reservations here. The fundamental immorality of the Canadian economy is even enshrined in our national anthem,

Oh Canada, our home on native land...


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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sun May 26, 2013 8:03 pm

Or in America's "Land of the free" (except for the vast slave class that buttressed its entire economy when this was written)
and "Home of the brave" (where without exception every state was cheated from native tribes).



This thread has gone quite far afield from monarchy vs. democracy...it's become basically 4-6 of us trying to convince Ben Yuan that he needs to re-evaluate his whole worldview. Although that goal is worthwhile, I wonder where else this discussion can possibly go.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby kirtu » Sun May 26, 2013 8:29 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:From The Edicts of King Ashoka
Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, says: Along roads I have had banyan trees planted so that they can give shade to animals and men, and I have had mango groves planted. At intervals of eight //krosas//, I have had wells dug, rest-houses built, and in various places, I have had watering-places made for the use of animals and men. But these are but minor achievements. Such things to make the people happy have been done by former kings. I have done these things for this purpose, that the people might practice the Dhamma.
and
...everywhere has Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, made provision for two types of medical treatment: medical treatment for humans and medical treatment for animals. Wherever medical herbs suitable for humans or animals are not available, I have had them imported and grown. Wherever medical roots or fruits are not available I have had them imported and grown. Along roads I have had wells dug and trees planted for the benefit of humans and animals.
Free access to medicines, food and water!!! :o
Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: These and other principal officers are occupied with the distribution of gifts, mine as well as those of the queens. In my women's quarters, they organize various charitable activities here and in the provinces. I have also ordered my sons and the sons of other queens to distribute gifts so that noble deeds of Dhamma and the practice of Dhamma may be promoted. And noble deeds of Dhamma and the practice of Dhamma consist of having kindness, generosity, truthfulness, purity, gentleness and goodness increase among the people.



It's sad to think that Ashoka was maybe the last decent ruler in human history. And some doubt that we are living in the Kali Yuga.

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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Zhen Li » Mon May 27, 2013 4:00 am

If you cannot see how these examples fit into the discourse of the manner in which Capitalist corporations LEGALLY steal from the poor then this discussion is over.

Stealing is taking what is not given. Please explain.
Yes, of course you are aware that this statement applies to Capitalism too? In which case you should not support any political position.

I never said I was supporting a political position. I am saying that Socialism is immoral and that there are more opportunities to be generous when there is economic freedom. I am not supporting a political position when I am saying this, Capitalism exists in Socialism, it's just different people who are in control of the money - the government versus people. To suppose that there is some position other than capitalism which one can move the economy is like wishing for weather to stop existing - it's just the way the exchange of value works.
I'll just say that in his commentary to the sixth realisation he states: "Practicing generosity means to act in a way that will help equalize the difference between the wealthy and the impoverished. Whatever we do to ease human suffering and create social justice can be considered practicing generosity. This is not to say that we engage in any political system."
I would agree with this statement. I don't see where it contradicts what I have said, and moreover, time and time again, attempts to redistribute have been shown to increase poverty and inequality, whereas economic freedom has time and time again been shown to decrease it - and, to boot, allow for people to have opportunities to be generous.

There is too much to reply to after Greg. But to summarize, how I would reply to each:

1. On the topic of Socialism, I think my possible replies have been adequately represented in my reply to Greg.

2. On the topic of all this Canadian stuff, what I have said, I have said, and what you have interpolated I have said, I have not. Be careful not to assume I am claiming something which I did not claim - especially since most of it is wholly irrelevant to the topic at hand.

Firstly, I am not denying X, Y, and Z things. I limited my discussion to a fairly small area related to the economy of Canada and land in general. To reiterate, I claimed that it is nonsense to say that the entire success of the Canadian economy is illegitimate because land use is not necessary to a successful economy. When people start bringing in branches related to these issues which in fact have no relevance, it becomes a blame and demonization game, and results in lots of strange interpolations as to what I am implying or have said, which I have not.

Secondly, I am not claiming that Canada or any other country has the ideal political system. I believe I have made this abundantly clear in a myriad of posts. My position is that no political regime is worth getting attached to. However, I am opposing the notion that somehow redistribution and socialism are good alternatives or somehow fulfill transcendent ideals of generosity. Attached to that is the notion that there is some kind of inherent evil or innate badness in abstract economic interactions in abstract confines such as countries, like Canada. These are all too far afield from any kind of reality to make any sense or be of any benefit to anyone.

As for breaking the precepts. Please do not interpolate Santideva to me Nilasarasvati, do not add or remove one tittle of what he has said, it is perfect just as it is, and trying to use his words to political ends is laughable.
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Re: Monarchy vs Democracy

Postby Nilasarasvati » Mon May 27, 2013 4:32 am

:shock:

I might as well have spoken Dutch.
Thank you for testing my patience.
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