Corrupt government and taxes.

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Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:56 pm

Is a citizen really morally obligated to pay taxes and/or cooperate with a government they feel is largely corrupt and/or committing evil?

One example that comes to mind is that if your government is waging an unjust war and you are a proponent of ahimsa (non-violence), are you not obligated to refuse paying taxes as those taxes would be used to support ongoing violent military operations?

I think from a Buddhist perspective this can get interesting because of the historical precedents between governments and the sangha in many different nations in various time periods.

In any case, as an individual how do you feel?
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Malcolm » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:00 pm

Huseng wrote:Is a citizen really morally obligated to pay taxes and/or cooperate with a government they feel is largely corrupt and/or committing evil?

One example that comes to mind is that if your government is waging an unjust war and you are a proponent of ahimsa (non-violence), are you not obligated to refuse paying taxes as those taxes would be used to support ongoing violent military operations?

I think from a Buddhist perspective this can get interesting because of the historical precedents between governments and the sangha in many different nations in various time periods.

In any case, as an individual how do you feel?



As a Buddhist, you are expected the follow the laws of the nation you live in.

Of course, this does not rule out civil disobedience, but when you engage in civil disobedience, you have to understand the possible consequences of it.

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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:12 pm

Namdrol wrote:As a Buddhist, you are expected the follow the laws of the nation you live in.


Right. But in some cases the laws of ones nation force citizens to do immoral and wrong deeds (conscription to fight wars is one example). Moreover, if a tyrant or evil party are in command of the state they derive power through a tax-base and the cooperation of the citizenry.

If your federal government is using your taxes to actively kill people in a foreign country to further corporate interests, are you not obligated to disobey the laws and refuse to financially support the government?
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Will » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:18 pm

If one does not want to do or not do something, but is forced to do or not do something, then the merit or demerit of the act would be much reduced, maybe zero.
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:28 pm

Will wrote:If one does not want to do or not do something, but is forced to do or not do something, then the merit or demerit of the act would be much reduced, maybe zero.


Right. But I'm talking about refusing to cooperate with and bow down to evil authorities.

In Nagarjuna's Tree of Wisdom there are some interesting quotes:

If your wife is evil and your friend evil,
If the King is evil and your relatives evil,
If your neighbour is evil and the country evil,
(Then) abandon them for a distant (land).

The clever, the disciplined,
The contented and the truth-tellers,
It is better for such to die
Than (to live in) the kingdom of the evil.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/srdb/srdb.htm
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Malcolm » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:01 pm

Huseng wrote:
Namdrol wrote:As a Buddhist, you are expected the follow the laws of the nation you live in.


Right. But in some cases the laws of ones nation force citizens to do immoral and wrong deeds (conscription to fight wars is one example). Moreover, if a tyrant or evil party are in command of the state they derive power through a tax-base and the cooperation of the citizenry.

If your federal government is using your taxes to actively kill people in a foreign country to further corporate interests, are you not obligated to disobey the laws and refuse to financially support the government?


At this point, even so, you still have to follow the laws of the nation you live in. You may disagree with a given policy of one's nation, for example, but the only time it would be permissible to completely break with one's civil government is if they were so tyrannical they were not even providing any services to the people at large.

Now, for example, take the US Government, since that is who you are really talking about: tax revenues for 2010 were 2.16 trillion dollars. the federal deficit was 1.3 trillion dollars. Military spending is roughly eight hundred billion dollars a year.

This means basically that US government is not spending tax dollars to prosecute its wars around the world, it is borrowing money to prosecute its wars around the world.

This means that still people should pay their taxes and at the same time work to have a functional government that refuses to engage in the type of military adventurism we have seen since the Bush Administration.

It is simple numbers. Since the US Goverment still provides essential services, is not a complete tyranny (yet, though it seems with each year we keep sliding ever closer to fascism, no matter who is power, Repulican or Democrat, but this is largely because of the corporatocracy), US Citizens still need to pay their taxes as mandated in federal law from a Buddhist point of view. I am sure that Buddha would not have recommended that the subjects of Ajatasatru refuse to pay their taxes, for example.

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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Malcolm » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:05 pm

Huseng wrote:
Will wrote:If one does not want to do or not do something, but is forced to do or not do something, then the merit or demerit of the act would be much reduced, maybe zero.


Right. But I'm talking about refusing to cooperate with and bow down to evil authorities.

In Nagarjuna's Tree of Wisdom there are some interesting quotes:

If your wife is evil and your friend evil,
If the King is evil and your relatives evil,
If your neighbour is evil and the country evil,
(Then) abandon them for a distant (land).

The clever, the disciplined,
The contented and the truth-tellers,
It is better for such to die
Than (to live in) the kingdom of the evil.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/srdb/srdb.htm


Correct, if you cannot in good conscience continue to live in your nation, then you must either change it or leave. For example, Nazi Germany caused almost everyone to become evil. But no one knew it at first.

But still, you need to understand the previous post. For example, all the money we are using for Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., is money borrowed.

The other thing you have to keep in mind is that one cannot fix samsara.

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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:20 pm

Namdrol wrote:Correct, if you cannot in good conscience continue to live in your nation, then you must either change it or leave. For example, Nazi Germany caused almost everyone to become evil. But no one knew it at first.

But still, you need to understand the previous post. For example, all the money we are using for Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., is money borrowed.

The other thing you have to keep in mind is that one cannot fix samsara.

N


Are not the tax payers eventually held to pay the bill for the borrowed money?

I mean many nations are still paying off the war debt from WWII.
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Malcolm » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:34 pm

Huseng wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Correct, if you cannot in good conscience continue to live in your nation, then you must either change it or leave. For example, Nazi Germany caused almost everyone to become evil. But no one knew it at first.

But still, you need to understand the previous post. For example, all the money we are using for Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., is money borrowed.

The other thing you have to keep in mind is that one cannot fix samsara.

N


Are not the tax payers eventually held to pay the bill for the borrowed money?

I mean many nations are still paying off the war debt from WWII.


Basically, you can never escape the web of international finances that is funding the war economy. In Nāgārjuna's day, it was easy -- you moved a hundred miles and you were in a different country, different king, etc.

Now, everything is tied together by international banks that fund the wars and prop up every government on the planet.

So the only hope for you, Jeff, is to become a Dzogchen practitioner and leave this Sahaloka either in this life, at the time of death or in the bardo. That is the fastest, most effective way to become an expatriate from samsara.

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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:17 pm

Namdrol wrote:So the only hope for you, Jeff, is to become a Dzogchen practitioner and leave this Sahaloka either in this life, at the time of death or in the bardo. That is the fastest, most effective way to become an expatriate from samsara.

N


Is not Vajrayana or Chan sufficient for such purposes?
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Will » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:01 pm

Namdrol: One cannot fix samsara.
:bow: :bow: :bow:

Jeff, there are ways to avoid and thus reduce your federal taxes.

But if it would really make you feel better, go ahead and refuse to pay. Jail is a very good place to focus the mind and practice.
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Malcolm » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:04 pm

Huseng wrote:
Namdrol wrote:So the only hope for you, Jeff, is to become a Dzogchen practitioner and leave this Sahaloka either in this life, at the time of death or in the bardo. That is the fastest, most effective way to become an expatriate from samsara.

N


Is not Vajrayana or Chan sufficient for such purposes?



Not as fast or direct, in my opinion.
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:21 pm

Will wrote:
Namdrol: One cannot fix samsara.
:bow: :bow: :bow:

Jeff, there are ways to avoid and thus reduce your federal taxes.

But if it would really make you feel better, go ahead and refuse to pay. Jail is a very good place to focus the mind and practice.


I'm a resident of Japan and don't have any serious beefs with the government here besides their incompetence with nuclear energy.

This is more a question of ethics in general rather than me wanting to avoid paying taxes.
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby KeithBC » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:43 pm

Huseng wrote:are you not obligated to ... ?

No, In Buddhism, we are not obligated at all. We learn the consequences of our actions and we choose accordingly. Pay your taxes and live with the consequences. Don't pay your taxes and live with the consequences. It's all the same.

We are taught that in general obeying the laws of our nation is a wholesome thing. But it is a generalization, not an obligation.

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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby LastLegend » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:51 pm

Huseng,
Everything we see is a result of karma so but does not mean we should be passive in certain situations. To be able to distinguish between when to respond and when to not respond is important.
Last edited by LastLegend on Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Mr. G » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:54 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Not as fast or direct, in my opinion.


Would you say Tantra is safer? Stabler?

I woud do an Anuyoga practice like Namkhai Norbu's Sinhamukha practice, but I didn't notice completion stage practices in the practice text (though some people say the SOV is equivalent to completion stage).
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby kirtu » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:28 pm

Namdrol wrote:Basically, you can never escape the web of international finances that is funding the war economy. In Nāgārjuna's day, it was easy -- you moved a hundred miles and you were in a different country, different king, etc.


We can't totally escape - but we can actually set up our own communities and alleviate much of the problem.

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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby kirtu » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:31 pm

Huseng wrote:I'm a resident of Japan and don't have any serious beefs with the government here besides their incompetence with nuclear energy.


I love Japan and the Japanese but from 1933 - 1945 the militarist government was one of the greatest evils seen in history and created a hell on Earth.

So things always change.

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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Jikan » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:01 pm

kirtu wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Basically, you can never escape the web of international finances that is funding the war economy. In Nāgārjuna's day, it was easy -- you moved a hundred miles and you were in a different country, different king, etc.


We can't totally escape - but we can actually set up our own communities and alleviate much of the problem.

Kirt


This is definitely the place to begin. It's not easy, but it seems worth working toward, and besides, is there a better idea?
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Re: Corrupt government and taxes.

Postby Kyosan » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:48 pm

Huseng wrote:Is a citizen really morally obligated to pay taxes and/or cooperate with a government they feel is largely corrupt and/or committing evil?

One example that comes to mind is that if your government is waging an unjust war and you are a proponent of ahimsa (non-violence), are you not obligated to refuse paying taxes as those taxes would be used to support ongoing violent military operations?

I think from a Buddhist perspective this can get interesting because of the historical precedents between governments and the sangha in many different nations in various time periods.

In any case, as an individual how do you feel?

Living in America, I feel the same way. We own our own house and live in an area where the cost of living is fairly low. We have a low enough income that we don't pay any federal taxes. We pay some state taxes and property taxes but don't mind these because they are used for good things.

I think that's the only legal thing a person can do. Either have a low income or give away enough money to charities to reduce your income level to the point where you don't have to pay any taxes. If you refuse to pay they will take it from you even if that means confiscating your property, selling it and taking the money out. This has happened to some people in the US. Out of consciousness, they refused to pay and their houses where taken from them.

For most people in the US, federal taxes are taken out of their paychecks so the only way to avoid paying them is to claim more dependents than you have. As a way of protest, some people claimed that they had 99 dependents. :lol:
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