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
23
24%
1
7
7%
2
0
No votes
3
3
3%
4
1
1%
5
8
8%
6
2
2%
7
1
1%
8
5
5%
9
46
48%
 
Total votes: 96

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

Post by deemoid »

Some very thought provoking thoughts here from Lama Jampa Thaye

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

Post by Bristollad »

I had to vote 0 - I don't support Buddhist communities being involved in politics at all. However, if the question was whether Buddhist individuals should get involved in politics, my vote would have been different.
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Konchog Thogme Jampa
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Konchog Thogme Jampa »

Problem with Politics is it is corrupted from the start.

The Dharma isn't corrupted in and of itself.

Is Politics the concern of Mahamudra?

If you are someone who wants to improve a given situation in this time of which there are many. I think you'd need a strong practice to cope with the difficulties you would face in terms of an Activism.

If someone has that Karma then of course many people are suffering due to many circumstances, to seek to help others and succeed in some way is no bad thing with the correct intention.

Politics is duplicitous.

The Dharma isn't deceptive, but our obscurations of course are.
དཀོན་མཆོག་ཐོགས་མེད་འབྱམས་པ

Konchog Thogme Jampa
joy&peace
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by joy&peace »

absolutely it's good.

after all, Buddha preached dharma to kings.

immediately the main reason is for animal's rights. Most Buddhists believe animals have as much right to life as humans; that killing is wrong for them. So to make steps towards this is very good.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha
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Jerafreyr
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Jerafreyr »

Politics was a major influence that had pulled me away from dharma practice. There are many truths to this world and most of them are connected to ignorance. Even altruistic intent connected to ignorance leads to suffering.
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SunWuKong
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by SunWuKong »

I feel the same way about Buddhists in politics as I do Catholics, Jews, Pentecostals, Muslims, Wiccans, Hindus, Sikhs, Episcopalians, Jains, Zoroastriams, Taoists, Confucianists in politics. Pretty much the same.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam
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tonysharp
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by tonysharp »

Politics aren't inherently bad. I see politics as a tool to reach people on a societal level. Not engaging at all can cause more harm than good, so I try to engage whenever I can, and politely encourage others to do the same.
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by [email protected] »

It was interesting to hear this clip of Lama Jampa speaking about politics. The politics of Tibetan Buddhism may not be apparent at first but it certainly involves Buddhists although it may not have anything to do with dharma.
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Zhen Li
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Zhen Li »

deemoid wrote: Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:31 pm Some very thought provoking thoughts here from Lama Jampa Thaye

Thanks so much for sharing this, I really liked how he summed it up as focusing on “one kindness at a time.”

I voted 0 for this because I have no experience in my life where I found my involvement in politics or holding political opinion ever did any good than make enemies and increase my greed, anger and ignorance. By contrast, the best thing has always been to get involved in Dharma practice—it’s making friends (as Lama Jampa said) and cultivating attitudes that help us deal with others more kindly in the real world rather than chasing ideals.
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by [email protected] »

At the start of this discussion people were invited to give a score on ''.. how supportive are you of Buddhist communities engaging in politics?". I would think most Buddhist communities contain members with a range of views and my impression is that most Buddhists are not really interested in politics. However some Buddhists are interested in politics and are maybe 'active' in different ways. Years ago I asked Lama Jampa about becoming a trade union rep at my place of work. I saw it as a way of helping my workmates and Lama Jampa did not see a problem with that.
Malcolm
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Malcolm »

Democracies require active participation by an educated and informed electorate. Refusing to engage in politics because [shock horror] one might experience afflictions is a copout, in my opinion, and just allows the uneducated and ill-informed to have an undue say in one's affairs. To protect others, bodhisattvas must protect themselves, and this is true in every area of life. Refusing to engage in the political life of one's nation or community is, frankly, irresponsible.
"Conceptuality is great ignorance,
causing one to fall into the ocean of samsāra."
—Māyājālamahātantra
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Queequeg »

Malcolm wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:21 pm Democracies require active participation by an educated and informed electorate. Refusing to engage in politics because [shock horror] one might experience afflictions is a copout, in my opinion, and just allows the uneducated and ill-informed to have an undue say in one's affairs. To protect others, bodhisattvas must protect themselves, and this is true in every area of life. Refusing to engage in the political life of one's nation or community is, frankly, irresponsible.
Well said. You'd be well prepared to write an essay or two on Buddhist political engagement in a democracy. Upaya. :)
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
SilenceMonkey
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Zhen Li wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 6:33 am
deemoid wrote: Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:31 pm Some very thought provoking thoughts here from Lama Jampa Thaye

Thanks so much for sharing this, I really liked how he summed it up as focusing on “one kindness at a time.”

I voted 0 for this because I have no experience in my life where I found my involvement in politics or holding political opinion ever did any good than make enemies and increase my greed, anger and ignorance. By contrast, the best thing has always been to get involved in Dharma practice—it’s making friends (as Lama Jampa said) and cultivating attitudes that help us deal with others more kindly in the real world rather than chasing ideals.
I agree with you about chasing and holding onto ideals. I think the words "holding" a political opinion is very true to its nature, from a buddhist perspective. Because holding onto an opinion will make it rigid, and our view will become more and more rigid when challenged (which is really the nature of politics, after all). So we will unconsciously become ideological without even knowing how it happened. Ideology is obviously a dualistic framework, which is what we are fighting (so to speak) as Dharma practitioners. It would be nice if there didn't have to be a fight in the first place... whether out on the ideological battlefield or against ignorance itself.

I think we can actually make friends and cultivate love and compassion from within these dualistic worldviews, acknowledging that we have them and everyone has them and that this is where all suffering in the world comes from. Maybe this is how we can really help the world as Dharma practitioners. People don't realize that the problem is ignorance, that all of this fighting comes from our dualistic views of the world. Maybe we can do a load of good by showing people this, exposing the destructive nature of our beliefs, so we can soften up our hard edges and create less suffering for ourselves and everyone around us.

I think we can actually fight for a cause without being influenced by the duality of the cause we are fighting for. It's possible, just... a bit complicated. It's just the principle of using conventions as skillful means, while understanding they are empty.

It might even mean switching sides every now and then, which may seem a contradiction... How can someone engage in politics, which demands fighting for your side, without making someone into the enemy? Maybe we wouldn't be good soldiers by crossing enemy lines and treating our enemies' bullet wounds. But what if this is what was required to stop the cycle of violence? It might be, or not.

Politics is a hell of a landscape to traverse. I think it would be very possible for a wise and courageous bodhisattva type to use the paradigm of "my side" and "your side" to heal people and society on the whole, without actually buying into the reality of it.

Just a slew of rambling thoughts.
Giovanni
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Giovanni »

We have no choice. Even if we do not vote and do not read the press and do not look at TV news we are involved by our non involvement. We are always involved, active or passive.
SilenceMonkey
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Then again, even if one weren't a bodhisattva with insight into the illusory nature of reality, maybe some things are worth fighting for even if they will drag us further into the samsaric swamp.

It's a choice, isn't it... Personally, I don't see avoiding politics or society as selfish if one has an aspiration to become a bodhisattva for the sake of all beings. Sometimes it's time for retreat.

But I also rejoice with the people trying to steer society in the direction of wisdom and compassion.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Nobody asks whether an emergency medic should get involved in politics, even though a medic may or may not be involved in politics generally, or may be involved with politics that directly affect his/her profession.
I think the same ought to apply to Buddhists,
If Buddha is indeed the doctor and dharma is the medicine.
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Hazel
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Hazel »

I think the attitude that Buddhists shouldn't be involved in politics stems from a person disagreeing with the prevailing politics of many Buddhists around them and instead of questioning their own beliefs, they silence others with this "shouldn't be involved" nonsense. People say the exact same thing about celebrities. Alice Cooper is an example of a famous person falling into this trap with the whole "rock and roll shouldn't be political" shtick.

Happy Pride month to my queer dharma siblings!
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Hazel wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:06 pm I think the attitude that Buddhists shouldn't be involved in politics stems from a person disagreeing with the prevailing politics of many Buddhists around them and instead of questioning their own beliefs, they silence others with this "shouldn't be involved" nonsense. People say the exact same thing about celebrities. Alice Cooper is an example of a famous person falling into this trap with the whole "rock and roll shouldn't be political" shtick.
Yet it possible to address politics, which is invariably two-(or-more)-sided, without joining any one side or another, but rather, to make people realize their commonalities and shared interests, their basic humanity. All beings basically want the same things. I think if this is the stance taken, not only does it put Buddhists in a position of unbiased observer, perhaps mediator, but in any case, as fair and thus respected by all sides. Of course, the only purpose in this would be for actually resolving conflicts.
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Hazel
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Hazel »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Fri Jun 04, 2021 1:17 am
Hazel wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:06 pm I think the attitude that Buddhists shouldn't be involved in politics stems from a person disagreeing with the prevailing politics of many Buddhists around them and instead of questioning their own beliefs, they silence others with this "shouldn't be involved" nonsense. People say the exact same thing about celebrities. Alice Cooper is an example of a famous person falling into this trap with the whole "rock and roll shouldn't be political" shtick.
Yet it possible to address politics, which is invariably two-(or-more)-sided, without joining any one side or another, but rather, to make people realize their commonalities and shared interests, their basic humanity. All beings basically want the same things. I think if this is the stance taken, not only does it put Buddhists in a position of unbiased observer, perhaps mediator, but in any case, as fair and thus respected by all sides. Of course, the only purpose in this would be for actually resolving conflicts.
I am not saying it can't be skillful to avoid politics. I am saying if someone is talking about a category of people being not allowed to discuss something, they are likely trying to silence them. Sometimes that's a good thing, for example when a groups voice is overpowering others, but that's now off topic.

Happy Pride month to my queer dharma siblings!
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Zhen Li
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Re: How do you feel about Buddhists getting involved in politics?

Post by Zhen Li »

There is a tendency to conflate not getting involved in politics with avoiding politics. Avoiding that which is fundamental to saṃsāra is equally problematic. We have to learn to live with politics in the world without being affected by it.

The idea is not to be passive, but rather redirecting our mental energy from a sphere over which we have no influence (politics), to one in which we do (other sentient beings, day to day). Having a positive influence on those with whom we are directly in contact is the most effective way to improve our society one person at a time.
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