Buddhism and Communism?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:34 am

Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. No one likes it, and the frog dies.



The problems of faceless communication, r.i.p. frog
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby martinfrank » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:44 pm

Socialism starts with the idea that the world as it is now is not fair. That you don't deserve what happens to you.

Buddhists believe that the world is fair. That you deserve what happens to you.

Lord Buddha taught

“In five ways should workers and servants as the lower direction be respected by an employer: by allocating work according to aptitude, providing wages and food, looking after the sick, sharing special treats, and giving reasonable time off work.


Sigalovada Sutta http://suttacentral.net/en/dn31

Burmese, Cambodian, and Thai men are subjected to forced labor on Thai fishing boats that travel throughout Southeast Asia and beyond; some men remain at sea for up to several years, are paid very little, are expected to work 18 to 20 hours per day for seven days a week, or are threatened and physically beaten.


http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/226849.pdf

Buddhists don't need to be Socialist or Communists, it would be good enough if they were Buddhists.
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:59 pm

Buddhists believe that the world is fair. That you deserve what happens to you.



So world hunger?
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:00 am

Greetings,

martinfrank wrote:Buddhists believe that the world is fair. That you deserve what happens to you.

Not this Buddhist.

My view on kamma and vipaka is somewhat different, in short, because I do not believe the kind of "fairness" you allude to is possible without an external agency's orchestration and manipulation of the universe. Kamma and vipaka are not an atheist proxy for God.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jul 24, 2014 12:15 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

martinfrank wrote:Buddhists believe that the world is fair. That you deserve what happens to you.

Not this Buddhist.

My view on kamma and vipaka is somewhat different, in short, because I do not believe the kind of "fairness" you allude to is possible without an external agency's orchestration and manipulation of the universe. Kamma and vipaka are not an atheist proxy for God.

Metta,
Retro. :)




:goodpost:


And let's not forget that the Buddha taught that not everything that happens is due to the result of some intentional action in the past, for example natural disasters. This would contradict the idea that people deserve their fate, since they can't be blamed for floods etc. The same would go for how someone is treated by another. It's not necessarily Mr Smiths fault that Mr Johnson exploits him ;)
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:Not this Buddhist.

My view on kamma and vipaka is somewhat different, in short, because I do not believe the kind of "fairness" you allude to is possible without an external agency's orchestration and manipulation of the universe. Kamma and vipaka are not an atheist proxy for God.


Hi retro,

What external agency is there in MN 135 ?

MN 135 wrote:2. "Master Gotama, what is the reason, what is the condition, why inferiority and superiority are met with among human beings, among mankind? For one meets with short-lived and long-lived people, sick and healthy people, ugly and beautiful people, insignificant and influential people, poor and rich people, low-born and high-born people, stupid and wise people. What is the reason, what is the condition, why superiority and inferiority are met with among human beings, among mankind?"

3. "Student, beings are owners of kammas, heirs of kammas, they have kammas as their progenitor, kammas as their kin, kammas as their homing-place. It is kammas that differentiate beings according to inferiority and superiority."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html


My own view is that there may be some kamma and vipaka, but it is not for us to speculate and compassion trumps speculation.
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:50 am

Greetings,

That's a bit of a straw-man, as I'm not arguing against the suttas... I'm disagreeing with "Buddhists believe that the world is fair. That you deserve what happens to you."

:strawman:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby Aloka » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:44 am

martinfrank wrote:Buddhists don't need to be Socialist or Communists, it would be good enough if they were Buddhists.


Not in my part of the world - because I'm not a nun and I have to live and work in a society which gets significant changes to education, social serices, health care etc. imposed upon it, depending on which political party everyone votes for. I therefore consider my vote (as a socialist) to be important.


.
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby martinfrank » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:20 pm

The world is fair...

If you believe the world is fair, you will bear your cross with equanimity because whatever happens is your own fault. Don't cry over spilled milk! Look forward and try to do better next time! You will live without hate and die without hate.

While you live, people will admire you because you never blame others, never make a sour face, and are content with whatever is your lot.
When you die, you will die without hate and go on to a better world.

If you believe the world is not fair, you will blame your parents, siblings, husband or wife, society, the rich or the poor, men or women, natives or immigrants for your unhappiness. You will be moody and never satisfied.

While you live, your life will be full of hate and jealousy, you'll make a sour face most of the time, and will be never satisfied with your lot. People will pity you or avoid you because you radiate unhappiness.
When you die your heart will be full of hate and greed and you will go to a lesser destiny.

If we believe that we are responsible for our life, we can change ourselves and improve our lot. We will act responsible because we know that whatever we do now, we'll have to face the music later.

If we believe that others or random accident is responsible for our life, what can we do? Why act responsible if all depends on random accident?

How do you explain to a person who was born blind or crippled why this happened to him/her? A cruel god? A cruel destiny? A cruel world where some are lucky and others are unlucky?

...

Aloka wrote:
martinfrank wrote:Buddhists don't need to be Socialist or Communists, it would be good enough if they were Buddhists.


Not in my part of the world - because I'm not a nun and I have to live and work in a society which gets significant changes to education, social serices, health care etc. imposed upon it, depending on which political party everyone votes for. I therefore consider my vote (as a socialist) to be important.


.


I agree with you totally. I didn't mean we should only vote for Buddhists or only for Buddhist parties. I meant Buddhists don't need a Socialist or Communist ideology because Lord Buddha taught us how to act. I vote for the Green-Liberal party and sometimes for Socialist politicians if they show more heart for immigrants and minorities than the other politicians.
Last edited by martinfrank on Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:25 pm

I agree with you totally. I didn't mean we should only vote for Buddhists or only for Buddhist parties. I meant Buddhists don't need a Socialist or Communist ideology because Lord Buddha taught us how to act. I vote for the Green-Liberal party and sometimes for Socialist politicians if they show more heart for immigrants and minorities than the other politicians.



Why if the world is fair? Things should just be left as they are ...
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:17 pm

clw_uk wrote:
I agree with you totally. I didn't mean we should only vote for Buddhists or only for Buddhist parties. I meant Buddhists don't need a Socialist or Communist ideology because Lord Buddha taught us how to act. I vote for the Green-Liberal party and sometimes for Socialist politicians if they show more heart for immigrants and minorities than the other politicians.



Why if the world is fair? Things should just be left as they are ...


Karuna (compassion). People might get some effects of kamma, but that still doesn't mean we should throw out compassion. To use a micro-level example; let's say 2 guys get drunk and get in a fight. They are bleeding pretty bad and need medical attention. We don't say, "it was your fault, tough luck, just lick your wounds." Instead, we call for ambulance and the nurses and doctors fix them back up.
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:22 pm

If you believe the world is not fair, you will blame your parents, siblings, husband or wife, society, the rich or the poor, men or women, natives or immigrants for your unhappiness. You will be moody and never satisfied.

While you live, your life will be full of hate and jealousy, you'll make a sour face most of the time, and will be never satisfied with your lot. People will pity you or avoid you because you radiate unhappiness.
When you die your heart will be full of hate and greed and you will go to a lesser destiny.



Nonsense

You can see the world isnt fair and not be hateful and angry
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:45 pm

martinfrank wrote:Buddhists believe that the world is fair. That you deserve what happens to you.

I don't hold "the world is fair" as a view. I don't think about it that way.

And I wouldn't put it as a matter of deserving and not deserving. It's about action and result. Certain actions will bring about certain results. There's no need to embellish things beyond that.
Peace,
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby greenjuice » Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:16 am

Firstly, (not in order of significance, but simply to enumerate) about communism:

There are many misconceptions about communism, and often people assume that the communism = USSR, which is simply false, except in a very naive and superficial way in that the ruling party called itself "communist". This is on the level of saying that the USA changes it's political and economic system between republican and democratic every time a different party is in power. Communism, properly undestood, means a collectivist (/communal), egalitarian (in the sense of anti-authoritarian) and a moneyless organization of community based on something like the notion "from each to according his ability, to each according to his needs".

If you look at history, many religious and quasi-religious movements advocated communistic arrangements, early Christianity is one example, Acts of the Apostles mentions that the first Christians lived communaly. Various Christian movements during the Reformation advocated such a thing, the most famous were the Diggers. There were many schools of communism that are today called "utopian socialism", who advocated forming communal villages, cities or states; like Icarians, Fourierists, Tolstoyans, Owenites, Saint-Simonians, and Bellamyites. You can google them and find more info. There's also the Catholic Worker Movement which advocates establishment of communistic villages.

Marx and Engels are the two people most often associated with the word communism, and that is because the USSR basically worshiped them, and both USA and USSR media repeaded their names for decades and decades, even though the system in the USSR has incomparably more to do with Lenin then with Marx. If you look at what Marx actually advocated, he was what we would call today a social-democrat, or a reformist, read for example the Communist Manifesto, Principles of Communism, or the Programme of the French Workers Party. He advocated reforms to improve the living and working conditions of the workers, to democratize the state to a degree, and to gradually nationalize the economy, mostly through buy-outs and competition by state firms. The core of Marxism is the notion of iron laws of history, which are that technological progress is inevitable, and that this progress in turn produces changes of economic systems. This historical progression will go gradually from capitalism to 'socialism', that is- a nationalized economy, and then, sometime in the future, to communism- a stateless, classless, moneyless society. Best book explaining this main Marxist doctrine is called Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence.

Also, there exist another important type of communism, and that is anarchist communism. Being that it is a sub-type of anarchism, I should firstly explain what is anarchism. Anarchism is an ideology founded by a labor activist and philosopher Proudhon, based on his two ideas. The first idea was that we should abolish the state and all (other) hierarchical organizations and replace them with voluntary, horizontally organized organizations (like municipal assemblies, friendly societies, etc.). The second was that we should abolish the capitalism with it's property, wage-labor, and usury (renting of stuff or money), and replace them with possession (meaning you couldn't own things, especially land or workplaces, only use them), workers' cooperatives, and credit unions. Anarchist communism is an ideology that thinks that people in an anarchist society should (voluntarily, of course) form communistic communities.

Secondly, about Buddhism and economics:

In the Digha Nikaya, the 26th sutta is the Cakkavatti-Sihanada Sutta, the Lion's Roar of the Wheel-Turning Emperor, that seems to advocate something like distributism. Distributism is an ideology which advocates that property should be spread widely throughout society, and not be in the hands of a minority or the hands of the state. This does not extend to all property, but only to productive property, the means of production, that property which produces wealth, namely, the things needed for man to survive, like land, tools, and so on.

Here are some quotes from the sutta:

What is the duty of a noble wheel-turning monarch?
- .... and to those who are in need, give property.


Several kings upheld the duties of the wheel-turning monarch, including the one of giving property to the needy, but then one king failed in that duty:

...the King established guard and protection,
but he did not give property to the needy, and as a result poverty became rife.

With the spread of poverty,
a man took what is not given, thus committing what was called theft.


The king at least reacted to this bad consequence by reverting to the practice of the mentioned duty:

They arrested him, and brought him before the King, saying:
"Your Majesty, this man took what was not given, which we call theft."

The King said to him:
"Is it true that you took what was not given - which was called theft?"
"Your Majesty, I have nothing to live on."

Then the King gave the man some property, saying:
"With this, my good man, you can keep yourself,
support your mother and father, keep your wife and children,
carry on a business and make gifts to ascetics and Brahmins,
which will promote your spiritual welfare and
lead to a happy rebirth with pleasant result in the heavenly sphere."

"Very good, Your Majesty", replied the man."


But then the king changed his mind. Thinking that this is a bad insentive, he decided instead to inflict capital punishment on thieves. But this too had a bad consequence. The reaction was that instead of stealing, people started to rob and kill the people they stole from.

Thus, from the not giving of property to the needy, poverty became rife,
from the growth of poverty, the taking of what was not given increased,
from the increase of theft, the use of weapons increased,
from the increased use of weapons, the taking of life increased


The sutta repeats this chain of consequences five times, every time adding more and more consequences to it.

It seems like the Buddha was maybe the first sociologist, who posited a theory that poverty has bad social consequences.
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