Do monks vote?

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Do monks vote?

Postby Dugu » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:01 am

Do monks follow politics? And do they vote? If not, should they? If no, should we?
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby adamposey » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:08 am

It really depends. I find that voting does inspire you to take ownership of the ideas you voted for, which they would probably consider a form of clinging.

I honestly think that monks are more likely to be actual non-voting activists than to be voters.
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby Guy » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:16 am

Hi Dugu,

In Australia it is compulsory for people over 18 to vote but I know that none of the bhikkhus or bhikkhunis here vote, I assume it would be the same for other countries too. My understanding is that their training is aimed at leaving the world, so why would they want anything to do with trying to control the world (eg. politics). The best person to ask about this would be a monk.

Personally I "donkey" vote which is a legal way of not supporting any political party in Australia, ideally I would like to opt out of even turning up at the booths.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:26 am

Greetings Guy,

Do you know if they are legally excempt from it on religious grounds?

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: Do monks vote?

Postby Guy » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:49 am

Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Guy,

Do you know if they are legally excempt from it on religious grounds?

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yes, I believe that is the case.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:57 am

Hi all, this might be of interest:
Kathavatthu Sutta: Topics of conversation
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now at that time a large number of monks, after the meal, on returning from their alms round, had gathered at the meeting hall and were engaged in many kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.


Ie. Politics

Then the Blessed One, emerging from his seclusion in the late afternoon, went to the meeting hall and, on arrival, sat down on a seat made ready. As he was sitting there, he addressed the monks: "For what topic of conversation are you gathered together here? In the midst of what topic of conversation have you been interrupted?"

"Just now, lord, after the meal, on returning from our alms round, we gathered at the meeting hall and got engaged in many kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state... talk of whether things exist or not."

"It isn't right, monks, that sons of good families, on having gone forth out of faith from home to the homeless life, should get engaged in such topics of conversation, i.e., conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state... talk of whether things exist or not.

- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I'm not really sure how far this one extends. But if you can't talk about it, the inference seems to be you shouldn't get involved in it. After all, politics are referred to here as 'bestial.'

What does everyone else think?

Metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:27 am

Dugu wrote:Do monks follow politics? And do they vote? If not, should they? If no, should we?


Somebody with more expertise can please correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that in Burma and Thailand, the bhikkhus are not permitted to vote, whereas in Sri Lanka, they can (there are even some bhikkhu MPs in Sri Lanka).
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:55 am

i only know thai monks cant vote.
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:37 am

Guy wrote:Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Guy,

Do you know if they are legally excempt from it on religious grounds?

Metta,
Retro. :)


Yes, I believe that is the case.

With Metta,

Guy

Guy, do they allow "write-ins" in Australia?

i.e., you don't want to vote for somebody on the ballot, so you vote for third party candidate who's not on the ballot, maybe even a person who isn't running, or a person who is dead, or fictitious...

"Jesus Christ," "Bob Dylan," "Homer Simpson," etc..
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:38 am

BlackBird wrote:Hi all, this might be of interest:
Kathavatthu Sutta: Topics of conversation
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now at that time a large number of monks, after the meal, on returning from their alms round, had gathered at the meeting hall and were engaged in many kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.


Ie. Politics

Then the Blessed One, emerging from his seclusion in the late afternoon, went to the meeting hall and, on arrival, sat down on a seat made ready. As he was sitting there, he addressed the monks: "For what topic of conversation are you gathered together here? In the midst of what topic of conversation have you been interrupted?"

"Just now, lord, after the meal, on returning from our alms round, we gathered at the meeting hall and got engaged in many kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state... talk of whether things exist or not."

"It isn't right, monks, that sons of good families, on having gone forth out of faith from home to the homeless life, should get engaged in such topics of conversation, i.e., conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state... talk of whether things exist or not.

- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I'm not really sure how far this one extends. But if you can't talk about it, the inference seems to be you shouldn't get involved in it. After all, politics are referred to here as 'bestial.'

What does everyone else think?

Metta
Jack

There's suttas where the Buddha himself gave political advice.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:56 am

Greetings Individual,

Individual wrote:do they allow "write-ins" in Australia?

i.e., you don't want to vote for somebody on the ballot, so you vote for third party candidate who's not on the ballot, maybe even a person who isn't running, or a person who is dead, or fictitious...

"Jesus Christ," "Bob Dylan," "Homer Simpson," etc..


The 'two-party preferred' system means that even if you vote for someone who doesn't end up in the 'top 2', your vote will end up with whichever of the top 2 you ranked most highly.

Unless of course you deliberately fill your form out incorrectly, or leave it blank... known colloquially as a 'donkey vote'.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby PeterB » Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:07 am

So people are forced by law to turn up ? That seems to me to be the antithesis of democracy, which must include the right to opt out altogether if it means anything. Similar discussions have happened here in the UK after each of the most recent elections have seen a poor turn out. It has never progressed though because of an awareness that if you try to make Brits do things by compulsion it invariably backfires and you would have mass protests and even fewer turning up. The idea that voting should be made compulsory in Scotland is particularly droll.... :smile: That would definately bring out the blue face paint...
Anyway.
:focus:
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby BlackBird » Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:26 am

Individual wrote:There's suttas where the Buddha himself gave political advice.


Respectfully, the Buddha spoke of the conditions of a nation's welfare. Which is a little different than the tireless debate and argument which penetrates the political system. Politics would be well described as a thicket of views. The Buddha's advice on this occasion, in my opinion - seeks simply to cut through that thicket.

However, semantics aren't really my thing so I'm willing to let this one go.
Last edited by BlackBird on Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:29 am

Greetings Peter,

PeterB wrote:So people are forced by law to turn up ? That seems to me to be the antithesis of democracy, which must include the right to opt out altogether if it means anything. Similar discussions have happened here in the UK after each of the most recent elections have seen a poor turn out. It has never progressed though because of an awareness that if you try to make Brits do things by compulsion it invariably backfires and you would have mass protests and even fewer turning up. The idea that voting should be made compulsory in Scotland is particularly droll.... :smile: That would definately bring out the blue face paint...

If you're registered to vote and you don't, you cop a small fine.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby Dugu » Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:33 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Peter,

PeterB wrote:So people are forced by law to turn up ? That seems to me to be the antithesis of democracy, which must include the right to opt out altogether if it means anything. Similar discussions have happened here in the UK after each of the most recent elections have seen a poor turn out. It has never progressed though because of an awareness that if you try to make Brits do things by compulsion it invariably backfires and you would have mass protests and even fewer turning up. The idea that voting should be made compulsory in Scotland is particularly droll.... :smile: That would definately bring out the blue face paint...

If you're registered to vote and you don't, you cop a small fine.

Metta,
Retro. :)


That's insane. I can't believe Australians would pass such a law. :jawdrop:
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:39 am

Greetings Dugu,

I can't remember us passing that law... I can't remember it ever being any different.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby PeterB » Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:52 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Peter,

PeterB wrote:So people are forced by law to turn up ? That seems to me to be the antithesis of democracy, which must include the right to opt out altogether if it means anything. Similar discussions have happened here in the UK after each of the most recent elections have seen a poor turn out. It has never progressed though because of an awareness that if you try to make Brits do things by compulsion it invariably backfires and you would have mass protests and even fewer turning up. The idea that voting should be made compulsory in Scotland is particularly droll.... :smile: That would definately bring out the blue face paint...

If you're registered to vote and you don't, you cop a small fine.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Well that would just have me reaching for the woad and refusing to register. :tongue: Which I would regret. I have voted in every election since I reached the minimum age. But compulsion would force me to be contrary...
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:42 pm

In the U.S. only about 50% of those registered actually vote. And only about 50% of those who are eligible to register actually do so (18 years old or greater).

That makes the turnout roughly 25%. And that is for presidential and national elections! For state and local elections, the turnout is much lower. (The 2008 election of Obama I think was an exception and the turnout was a little higher.)

In regard to monks voting, I think it is an individual preference and there is no specific Vinaya rule against it. I think it could be a skillful means for choosing someone who exemplifies compassion, kindness, fairness, and equanimity.

For example, if there were two candidates running for president and one openly called for bombing another country on flimsy evidence at best and the other candidate was opposed, then voting for the anti-war candidate could help promote the Buddhist compassionate ideals. In most cases, the choice is not that clear, but when it is, why not exercise some choice and try to bring some good to the politics.
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby adamposey » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:00 pm

Dugu wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Peter,

PeterB wrote:So people are forced by law to turn up ? That seems to me to be the antithesis of democracy, which must include the right to opt out altogether if it means anything. Similar discussions have happened here in the UK after each of the most recent elections have seen a poor turn out. It has never progressed though because of an awareness that if you try to make Brits do things by compulsion it invariably backfires and you would have mass protests and even fewer turning up. The idea that voting should be made compulsory in Scotland is particularly droll.... :smile: That would definately bring out the blue face paint...

If you're registered to vote and you don't, you cop a small fine.

Metta,
Retro. :)


That's insane. I can't believe Australians would pass such a law. :jawdrop:


Compulsory voting should be required for any supposed Democracy. Low-turnout in American elections has resulted in a race to see who can cheerlead sections of the american people better. Compulsory voting means "turnout" is never a problem and that a real debate can be had where REAL politics can be discussed, rather than simply cheerleading to get the best turnout for your party.
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Re: Do monks vote?

Postby adamposey » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:03 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:In the U.S. only about 50% of those registered actually vote. And only about 50% of those who are eligible to register actually do so (18 years old or greater).

That makes the turnout roughly 25%. And that is for presidential and national elections! For state and local elections, the turnout is much lower. (The 2008 election of Obama I think was an exception and the turnout was a little higher.)

In regard to monks voting, I think it is an individual preference and there is no specific Vinaya rule against it. I think it could be a skillful means for choosing someone who exemplifies compassion, kindness, fairness, and equanimity.

For example, if there were two candidates running for president and one openly called for bombing another country on flimsy evidence at best and the other candidate was opposed, then voting for the anti-war candidate could help promote the Buddhist compassionate ideals. In most cases, the choice is not that clear, but when it is, why not exercise some choice and try to bring some good to the politics.


Nah, turnout was pretty steady on the whole. The makeup of the turnout was high-ish (in the upper 20s I believe) but nothing approaching the massive turnout that the Nixon election gained. The problem is that while the turnout was high among minorities and youth, another part of the electorate was just kind of fizzled out. That is, the more republican parts of the electorate certainly weren't feeling the energy to get out and vote.
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