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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:50 pm 
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kirtu wrote:
kirtu wrote:
All Buddhist political elements that have been unable to defend themselves have gotten swallowed up except for Nepal.


That's supposed to read: except for Bhutan. I would just change it but it's been quoted in response already.

Kirt



Bhutan is a very repressive kingdom. Hardly the ideal Dharma polity you imagine.

http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/40554

http://www.expontomagazine.com/nl/opini ... -cleansing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhutanese_refugees

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:57 pm 
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I locked the thread earlier as it was alleged that an offensive word was used in the discussion. I am trying to nail down what actually happened and the context in which this word was used.

Well what actually happened was that a poster certainly had no intention to be offensive and used the correct term in his English. In American and I'm told British English the term could be offensive (In American English certainly). The author asked me to edit the posting and I did.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:31 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:
kirtu wrote:
All Buddhist political elements that have been unable to defend themselves have gotten swallowed up except for Nepal.


That's supposed to read: except for Bhutan. I would just change it but it's been quoted in response already.

Kirt



Bhutan is a very repressive kingdom. Hardly the ideal Dharma polity you imagine.


I do not imagine that Bhutan is an ideal Dharma polity. I merely said that they were the only Buddhist political element that weren't able to defend themselves that hadn't gotten swallowed up by some larger entity.

Kirt

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:42 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
Conventionality and innateness are not mutually exclusive, though some people who badly misunderstand things think so.

I think this may be an important point, but I'm not sure if I really understand. Could someone say a little more about it?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:39 am 
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kirtu wrote:
I locked the thread earlier as it was alleged that an offensive word was used in the discussion. I am trying to nail down what actually happened and the context in which this word was used.

Pertinent sections from the ToS:
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Be polite. Rudeness in any form will not be tolerated. Any member who is intentionally unpleasant will initially be suspended to give the moderating team time to discuss if there is to be further action.

Do not be disruptive. Dharma Wheel is an environment for the discussion of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. All are welcome but are required to abide by the Terms of Service (ToS). The staff team reserve the right to edit inappropriate content, and to remove or transfer any posts or threads that are not relevant to the sub-forum in which they are posted. Any subject matter that may be off-topic or is intended only to cause disruption or harm to others may be removed without notice.


Kirt


So this is my bad.

Living in Australia I was not aware that the term 'negro' is now considered offensive or pejorative in discursive context of the USA. I had assumed that it was more polite than 'black' not less polite.

I apologise if I have inadvertently offended anyone - it was certainly not my intention, as should be clear by the fact that I was defending both the civil rights movement and the premise of racial equality.

:anjali:


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:50 am 
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I have moved the off-topic posts to the Bardo, for now. If anyone feels they want to continue a dialogue about the relativity and impermanence of politically correct or incorrect racial referents, let me know (via PM) and I can open a new thread in The Lounge and include all those posts. For now, I think Tobes' comment is enough for this thread to move on, back on topic. So please, :focus: and let's try to continue with what has been an interesting discussion.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:25 am 
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Malcolm wrote:
As I said, of course Dharma practitioners can act politically, even have political biases and opinions, but they should never confuse their political beliefs and opinions with the Dharma they are attempting to put into practice.


OK I see what you mean. I agree with that. When you use 'dharma' to rationalize or support a political position, then you are subverting it. Actually it is not too distant from the idea that lead to 'separation of powers' in the Western democracies.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:43 am 
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jeeprs wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
As I said, of course Dharma practitioners can act politically, even have political biases and opinions, but they should never confuse their political beliefs and opinions with the Dharma they are attempting to put into practice.


OK I see what you mean. I agree with that. When you use 'dharma' to rationalize or support a political position, then you are subverting it. Actually it is not too distant from the idea that lead to 'separation of powers' in the Western democracies.

As a footnote to this, to the best of my knowledge HHDL does not use Dharma to rationalize his political agendas, nor does he politicize his Dharma teachings. He was born wearing both hats, yet seems to, by and large, be able to separate the two. Quite a feat for someone coming out of a society that was basically a 14th century feudal theocracy.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:07 am 
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Malcolm wrote:
As I said, of course Dharma practitioners can act politically, even have political biases and opinions, but they should never confuse their political beliefs and opinions with the Dharma they are attempting to put into practice.
So are you saying that Dharma cannot inform politics (political ideology, political action)?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:46 am 
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I think it's a matter of 'rendering unto Caesar.....'

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:06 pm 
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If Dharma, via the Noble Eightfold Path can inform our day to day actions (thus impacting upon our social existence) why can it not inform our political life too (given the leap from social to political is basically non-existent).

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:20 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
If Dharma, via the Noble Eightfold Path can inform our day to day actions (thus impacting upon our social existence) why can it not inform our political life too (given the leap from social to political is basically non-existent).

Which part of it?

It's practically impossible to get past right action, without ending up either apolitical, rendering the experiment fruitless, or an anarchist.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:15 pm 
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Ben Yuan wrote:
Which part of it?
I don't understand to what your questions refers to. Which part of what?
Quote:
It's practically impossible to get past right action, without ending up either apolitical,
There is no such thing as apolitical. All actions are political.
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rendering the experiment fruitless,
Are you saying that living according the Noble Eightfold Path is impossible?
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or an anarchist.
Firstly, I don't know what you mean by the term "anarchist". Secondly the Sangha lived (and those that keep the precepts still live) according to the Noble Eightfold Path and they were (are) anything but "anarchist".

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:16 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
As I said, of course Dharma practitioners can act politically, even have political biases and opinions, but they should never confuse their political beliefs and opinions with the Dharma they are attempting to put into practice.
So are you saying that Dharma cannot inform politics (political ideology, political action)?


Well, if you are a Dharma practitioner, everything you do should be informed by your observance of Dharma principles such as non-harming, and so on. But, should a Dharma practitioner seek to outlaw abortion through political action and claim it is an act of Dharma "politics"? No, I don't think so. Why? Because we should not try and legislate our conscience on others. That would be forcing other people to adopt our principles. This is antithetical to Dharma, in my opinion.

So while a Dharma person may make this or that political decision based on their conscience as a Dharma practitioner, they should not claim that their political choices are "Dharmic" as opposed to the political choices of a Christian, Moslem or a religious Jew.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:32 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
As I said, of course Dharma practitioners can act politically, even have political biases and opinions, but they should never confuse their political beliefs and opinions with the Dharma they are attempting to put into practice.
So are you saying that Dharma cannot inform politics (political ideology, political action)?


Well, if you are a Dharma practitioner, everything you do should be informed by your observance of Dharma principles such as non-harming, and so on. But, should a Dharma practitioner seek to outlaw abortion through political action and claim it is an act of Dharma "politics"? No, I don't think so. Why? Because we should not try and legislate our conscience on others. That would be forcing other people to adopt our principles. This is antithetical to Dharma, in my opinion.

So while a Dharma person may make this or that political decision based on their conscience as a Dharma practitioner, they should not claim that their political choices are "Dharmic" as opposed to the political choices of a Christian, Moslem or a religious Jew.
I cannot see how you can describe it so unidirectionally. In your attempt to make your point you seem to be idealising Dharma. Like Dharma exists beyond (or is seperate to) samsara.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:04 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
I cannot see how you can describe it so unidirectionally.


What can I say? When Dharma and politics mix, politics is never enhanced, and Dharma loses.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:24 pm 
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Quote:
I cannot see how you can describe it so unidirectionally. In your attempt to make your point you seem to be idealising Dharma. Like Dharma exists beyond (or is seperate to) samsara.

There is no samsaric arrangement or scenario of people, places or things that enacts, fulfills or realizes Dharma. If that's what you call separate from samsara, then yes IMHO. If we are speaking from the conventional perspective of subject & object, it is a completely subjective accomplishment.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:48 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
I cannot see how you can describe it so unidirectionally.


What can I say? When Dharma and politics mix, politics is never enhanced, and Dharma loses.


Quite so.

With all respect to our moderator, when one says that "All actions are political", this is sloganeering, not Right Speech.

Of course, all actions may have political implications, but one could say with equal justification that all actions are economically based and have economic implications, or for that matter that all actions are sexually based and have sexual implications. It seems to me to be crucially important that as Buddhists, our main motivation be buddhistic, not in the sense of clutching at religious dogma, but in the sense of being oriented towards (long-term) benefits to self and others according to our own (necessarily limited) understanding of how these things work. As soon as one jumps on a political bandwagon, one forfeits this orientation, usually for the sake of some transient warm glow of emotional gratification or self-righteousness.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:06 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
I cannot see how you can describe it so unidirectionally.


What can I say? When Dharma and politics mix, politics is never enhanced, and Dharma loses.


I couldn't agree more.

Why?

Besides if this kind of separation is not observed, sooner or later you will have some "master" show up, who thinks he knows everything, collaborating with the military, on the basis that he is a "master", and the result will be nothing but carnage and chaos.

Enough said.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:07 pm 
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Location: Trāyastriṃśa. Just kidding. What a cool sanksrit word, huh?
tingdzin wrote:

With all respect to our moderator, when one says that "All actions are political", this is sloganeering, not Right Speech.


Yet again, for the third or fourth time in this thread, I beg to differ.
I will agree with Greg's assertion that "All actions are political." Do you not live in a polis?

Nobody on the thread thus far has directly refuted my definition of "politics": they have either agreed with it without a second thought, contradicted it without much rationale, or moved on to other, more nuanced conversations. Tingdzin, please read my prior post:

Nilasarasvati wrote:

And once again we need to take it back to the semantics! Jikan does a perfect simple job of taking the word [b](Politics) to its greek root--concerning the town, the public. THE POLIS!

How you relate, act, engage in a public, in a community. Because you do. Nobody on Dharma wheel is a self-sustained mountain-man. Any hunter-gatherers in the crowd, please correct me if I'm wrong.[/b]


Or as I said in a recent post:
"To clarify, the SCOPE the range the extent of the OP was about: our personal politics as Buddhists; our lived-experience, our communities, our lives, our choices, our relationships with people abroad and at home. Our attempts or lack thereof to stand for justice, whatever that means."


It seems like the word "political" can only bring to mind two extremes here:

Image

Either you're thinking of corrupt, narcissistic politicians who make Democratic change a very hopeless and difficult task.

Image

Or you're thinking of radical activists like this lady who chained herself to a tree.

(Admittedly, at the beginning of the thread, I would have been interested in talking about her. Now it seems I have a more modest task.)

Ben Yuan, I apologize for using you as a hypothetical example. Ben has expressed that it's important to abstain from the "political" as we've been calling it (even though I'm still not sure if we agree on what defines that). Nevertheless, let's go with my definition for a moment:

Let's say Ben never votes, never confronts his children's principal and school board about their experiences with a verbally-abusive teacher, and never helps organize with his neighbors to have a neighborhood block party. He has in all three of these examples, still made a political choice.


The only additional comment I have, in reference to your assertion that it would follow that "all actions have sexual implications, all actions could be said to be economic" etc. Is that...Yes. They are! And they are all, likewise, political.

Politics is not even a hair's breadth seperate from any aspect of our lives. All bodies and actions are governed and policed whether by the law or by the mores of the community. If you think sexuality is separate from politics/politics isn't sexual, you may just have a sexuality that is favored and privileged by the norms and laws of your polis and you haven't thought twice.

Quote:
Tingdzin: As soon as one jumps on a political bandwagon, one forfeits this orientation, usually for the sake of some transient warm glow of emotional gratification or self-righteousness.


You can sit back on your cushion and decry the fruitless efforts of people in politics and bask in the warm glow of emotional gratification and self righteousness there, too. Mara is sitting on your shoulder, he's sitting on mine, he's sitting in the lap of the woman chained into that tree, and he's sitting on both of Mayor Quimby's hands.

Our lifestyle is a direct product of the socioeconomic/political system we live in. We may not have transgressive, criminal, or radical political lives, but the degree to which we can forget politics and ignore them is really the degree of our privilege: the degree to which politics serves us. And accepting that neutrally, sitting back and allowing the system's biases to serve you may nearly impossible to escape, but it's still political.


Last edited by Nilasarasvati on Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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