Buddhism and the state of our world

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Buddhism and the state of our world

Postby Jesse » Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:31 pm

Hello all,

Lately I have been pretty concerned with the state of things in the world. Perhaps I have been reading the news too much, or maybe thing's truly are worse than ever.
The overwhelming feelings I get from everything happening at home(The USA) and abroad, may even be the reason for my renewed interest in Buddhism.

I have been pondering how we as human beings, can let our perceptions and minds slip so far as to become as violent, cruel and insane as many of our world leaders appear to be.
The thing is, I do realize the potential in myself, but I can't understand how any person could let that part of themselves take control of their actions to such a horrific extent.

I was having an argument with someone VIA a news-websites comment section, which the question "On Iran: How far is too far" was asked, meaning the recent assassination of one of their nuclear scientists.

He argued that preemptive violence in order to save many lives, is moral --- I know, This is a philosophical question without a 'true' answer, but I decided to meditate on the question, anyway.

If the nature of reality is that everything is one, no limit or boundary besides our own imagined concepts, then why does the state of the world matter? The chaos is essentially the folly of the imagined self, grasping at itself, trying to re-order itself to fit the perceptions of it's own ignorance.

If this is true, how do we avoid apathy? I don't think apathy is the correct view, but if the nature of reality is as I described above what other conclusion is there?

The only alternative I can think of is pain. The pain in me, is the pain in you, is our pain, and showing others empathy is a just or moral action. Is it just, and moral? or does it truly not matter?

I ask these question in the context of Buddhism, what is the official view.. what do you think?
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Buddhism and the state of our world

Postby Mr. G » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:56 pm

ghost01 wrote:
If this is true, how do we avoid apathy? I don't think apathy is the correct view, but if the nature of reality is as I described above what other conclusion is there?

The only alternative I can think of is pain. The pain in me, is the pain in you, is our pain, and showing others empathy is a just or moral action. Is it just, and moral? or does it truly not matter?



The aggregate of matter (rupaskandha) is composed of the 5 sense organs, and 5 sense objects. The five organs are the organs of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. The five objects of the five organs are visible matter, sounds, odors, tastes and tangibles. So if you see a person, hear a person's voice, feel their touch, etc...they are a part of your rupaskandha. By being compassionate and caring of others, you in turn care for yourself.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Buddhism and the state of our world

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:28 pm

Long time scales. I cannot recommend this practice enough. Consider the history of the universe, earth, and humanity. We're not at some turning point here. Couple this with renunciation and you'll be able to care about a situation without being overwhelmed.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Buddhism and the state of our world

Postby maybay » Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:31 am

ghost01 wrote:If the nature of reality is that everything is one, no limit or boundary besides our own imagined concepts

This is method. We need study to understand the view. From view comes intention etc.
People will know nothing and everything
Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
- Machig Labdron
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Re: Buddhism and the state of our world

Postby maybay » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:09 pm

ghost01 wrote:I was having an argument with someone VIA a news-websites comment section, which the question "On Iran: How far is too far" was asked, meaning the recent assassination of one of their nuclear scientists.

He argued that preemptive violence in order to save many lives, is moral --- I know, This is a philosophical question without a 'true' answer

More like strategy, or lack thereof. American foreign policy seems to continually oversimplify complex issues without regard to history or in terms of a vision for the future. A cursory study of Alexander's campaigns shows why he was successful: He left the Persian leadership structures intact. War was honourable and integrity was important. Because of this the winner, whoever that was, could be accepted and trusted to govern. Nowadays there is a separate war 'for the hearts and minds' of the people. All this manages to do is make a mockery of the campaign in the eyes of the aggressor's own citizens and furthermore alienates the government from other governments around the world.

I think command culture entities like governments are under major pressure to reform. They don't scale well - tending to abuse, decadence and negligence. In light of the past 100 years of rapid breakthroughs in communication, these mind-poisons have become approachable, intolerable and a down-right necessity to confront.

Another point is that command cultures need secrecy to function. A leader must be able to withhold information. It is a part of his claim to legitimacy to have preferential knowledge. A leader without advisors is no leader, yet what good is a circle of advisors when everything is known by everyone? Secrets these days are impossible to keep. What is written is given.

The age of nation states as we know them is on the down slope and any action by governments outside their own borders should be viewed extremely critically. Don't let the octogenarian get too excited around young women 'cause he'll just ending up making a fool of himself, or even doing some damage.
Listen to the leaders who've been through it all. McNamara says 'empathise with the enemy'.

Iran is where America gets to show who it is and how it manages international policy. In the greater scheme of things, what is it really?
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Do nothing and everything
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Re: Buddhism and the state of our world

Postby Kai » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:34 pm

ghost01 wrote:I was having an argument with someone VIA a news-websites comment section, which the question "On Iran: How far is too far" was asked, meaning the recent assassination of one of their nuclear scientists.

He argued that preemptive violence in order to save many lives, is moral --- I know, This is a philosophical question without a 'true' answer, but I decided to meditate on the question, anyway.


Self justification.......... :zzz:

Nah, not to save lives, they can say whatever they want. The truth is their motivation got more to do with fear and distrust and to a certain extent, racism hatred.......saving lives sounds much nicer, however, hence its good for publicity especially in a democratic society and inform tech world where winning hearts and votes is important

I ask these question in the context of Buddhism, what is the official view.. what do you think?


Great article on Buddhism and politics, go read it:

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/whatbudbeliev/229.htm

In the Jataka, the Buddha had given to rules for Good Government, known as 'Dasa Raja Dharma'. These ten rules can be applied even today by any government which wishes to rule the country peacefully. The rules are as follows:

1) be liberal and avoid selfishness,
2) maintain a high moral character,
3) be prepared to sacrifice one's own pleasure for the well-being of the subjects,
4) be honest and maintain absolute integrity,
5) be kind and gentle,
6) lead a simple life for the subjects to emulate,
7) be free from hatred of any kind,
8) exercise non-violence,
9) practise patience, and
10) respect public opinion to promote peace and harmony.

Regarding the behavior of rulers, He further advised:

- A good ruler should act impartially and should not be biased and discriminate between one particular group of subjects against another.

- A good ruler should not harbor any form of hatred against any of his subjects.

- A good ruler should show no fear whatsoever in the enforcement of the law, if it is justifiable.

- A good ruler must possess a clear understanding of the law to be enforced. It should not be enforced just because the ruler has the authority to enforce the law. It must be done in a reasonable manner and with common sense. -- (Cakkavatti Sihananda Sutta)



Frankly speaking though, unless you are politician or leader of a nation, these "world events" questions hardly matter to us (national issues alone are troublesome enough). If it happens that we get drawn into them and then the most likely thing may happen is that we develop aversion and depression. To avoid this, we are told to concentrate mainly on our daily life, people around us and our practices.
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