Should lay Buddhists vote?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Craig86 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:36 pm

Dear friends,

I've seen a couple of topics here which mention voting but none which specifically focus on my question: should lay Buddhists vote? I've not yet come across anything in my Dhamma studies in which the Buddha directed lay people in terms of political involvement, either to encourage or discourage such a thing. I appreciate the fact that context is important when applying the teachings of the Buddha to our modern world and that the political climate of India 2500 years ago will obviously have been very different to our system here in the UK, but is there anything to be found in the suttas which could inform a lay person such as myself on whether to vote in next year's general election?

I find myself often trying to walk the line between becoming too involved in worldly matters whilst at the same time acknowledging that I do live in the world and therefore have a responsibility to contribute to society as best as I can.

(For those in the UK who may be wondering, it would certainly NOT be Conservatives I'd be voting for. I support the Green Party and presently intend to cast my vote for them in 2015 - I voted Lib Dems last election but unfortunately did so with little interest in politics and thought it best just to vote for any party who stood a chance of winning over Labour or the Tories. I certainly feel a need to make up for that mistake :lol: )

Metta,
Craig
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:20 pm

Of course they should, it's a bit of a silly question.
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Mkoll » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:24 pm

I don't see why not. Nothing in the suttas advise laypeople not to vote. Somehow I doubt there was much voting in ancient India. Nowadays, it's our civic duty.
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby boris » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:31 pm

To vote and in the same time to believe that it will have some influence on the world affairs is nothing else than involvement in avijja. You may chose this puppet over that puppet, and there seems to be a great difference between them, but this is just an illusion, since the same puppet masters have strings attached to all of puppets. Prime ministers, governments, they have no real power. The real power has someone who controls nations money - but this in our "democratic times" is not the subject you can vote.

“Let me issue and control a nation‘s money and I care not who writes the laws.”

– Amschel Rothschild

Perhaps the single most important thing to know about power in the world today is that most nations do not have control over their own currencies. Instead privately owned, for-profit central banks – such as the Federal Reserve Bank in the US – create money out of nothing and then loan it at interest to their respective governments. This is an incredibly profitable scam, but that’s not the worst of it.

Not only do the central banks have the power to create money for free, they also have the power to set interest rates, to decide how much credit is issued, and to decide how much money is put into circulation. With this power central banks can – and do – orchestrate boom and bust cycles, enabling the super-wealthy owners of the banks to profit from investments during the booms, and buy up assets at bargain prices during the busts. And that still isn’t the whole story.

The most profitable of all central bank activities has been the financing of major wars, particularly the two World Wars. When nations are engaged in warfare, with their very survival at stake, the governments stretch their resources to the limit in the competition to prevail. The struggle to get more financing becomes as important as the competition on the battlefield. Moneylenders love a desperate borrower, and vast fortunes have been made by extending credit to both sides in conflicts: the longer a war continues, the more profit for the central bankers.


http://news-beacon-ireland.info/?p=15435
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Mkoll » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:54 am

While money may control national elections, here in the US we can vote for the people who will be in local and state government. It is those laws that affect our day-to-day lives most directly. Lawmakers are more accountable the smaller their jurisdiction.

And despite what you may read on conspiracy websites, it is highly unlikely that the world is controlled by a cabal run by the Rothchilds.
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James
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby shaunc » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:04 am

In Australia you get a fine if you don't vote. Your pick, vote or pay the fine.
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:36 am

shaunc wrote:In Australia you get a fine if you don't vote. Your pick, vote or pay the fine.


Actually, no.
The fine is for non attendance. If after you get your name ticked off the role you can walk straight out of the polling station without fear of penalty. Australia has compulsory attendance at a polling station, NOT compulsory voting. It's a technicality that very few people seem to be aware of.

But to the question: should lay Buddhists vote?
Yes, absolutely. Whether one has the threat of a statutory penalty as encouragement or not, one has a civic duty to cast ones vote to assist in the formation of representational government.
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Craig86 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:15 am

Goofaholix wrote:Of course they should, it's a bit of a silly question.


It might be wise to check your attitude before talking down to someone relatively new to the suttas and is asking a genuine question.
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Craig86 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:19 am

Mkoll wrote:I don't see why not. Nothing in the suttas advise laypeople not to vote. Somehow I doubt there was much voting in ancient India. Nowadays, it's our civic duty.


Thank you, Mkoll. As mentioned, I'd not come across anything thus far that discouraged voting but wanted to be sure.


Ben wrote:But to the question: should lay Buddhists vote?
Yes, absolutely. Whether one has the threat of a statutory penalty as encouragement or not, one has a civic duty to cast ones vote to assist in the formation of representational government.
Kind regards,
Ben


I appreciate the reply. That's the line of thinking I have been operating under but was open to having something challenge it.
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Sam Vara » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:52 am

boris wrote:To vote and in the same time to believe that it will have some influence on the world affairs is nothing else than involvement in avijja. You may chose this puppet over that puppet, and there seems to be a great difference between them, but this is just an illusion, since the same puppet masters have strings attached to all of puppets. Prime ministers, governments, they have no real power. The real power has someone who controls nations money - but this in our "democratic times" is not the subject you can vote.



The view that voting is merely an illusory choice between "puppets" who are controlled by those who own the means of production and exchange is a common minority viewpoint throughout the world. It owes a lot to the writings of Marx and his followers. I've no problem with it, but why do you think it escapes the involvement in avijja that characterises the belief in the (albeit restricted) efficacy of voting?
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Mkoll » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:29 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
boris wrote:To vote and in the same time to believe that it will have some influence on the world affairs is nothing else than involvement in avijja. You may chose this puppet over that puppet, and there seems to be a great difference between them, but this is just an illusion, since the same puppet masters have strings attached to all of puppets. Prime ministers, governments, they have no real power. The real power has someone who controls nations money - but this in our "democratic times" is not the subject you can vote.



The view that voting is merely an illusory choice between "puppets" who are controlled by those who own the means of production and exchange is a common minority viewpoint throughout the world. It owes a lot to the writings of Marx and his followers. I've no problem with it, but why do you think it escapes the involvement in avijja that characterises the belief in the (albeit restricted) efficacy of voting?

What I think boris is talking about, based upon the website he linked, is more specific than that. It's a conspiracy theory that the world has been and continues to be ruled by a cabal of people who have complete control over all positions of power in the most powerful nations: government, media, military, etc. They use their power to subtly manipulate world affairs to steer the world towards a "new world order" which is a one world totalitarian surveillance state. And in the process, they want to eliminate most of the world's population to a more controllable amount of 500 million.

Marx would just be another puppet under their control whose ideas they allowed to spread in order to influence people's minds in such a way as to further their ends.

I used to be a conspiracy theorist and believed these things. There are many conspiracy websites on the internet similar to the one boris linked and they all spout a similar story of world control. Sometimes the elite are controlled by aliens, lizard people, annunaki, etc. etc. Products of a paranoid mind.
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby boris » Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:39 pm

Mkoll wrote: one boris linked and they all spout a similar story of world control. Sometimes the elite are controlled by aliens, lizard people, annunaki, etc. etc. Products of a paranoid mind.


This is an information war. To introduce as much nonsense informations as possible and make primo; information noise secundo: to discredit true and reasonable information. But here you can find no lizard, just pure objective science http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/replies.htm

This is also an interesting book, but I don't know whether it is available in USA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Currency_Wars
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Coyote » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:05 pm

Is there a passage in the canon or commentary saying we have a civic duty to vote, or participate in politics? Being quite disillusioned with political parties and politics in general I do not agree that voting is a civic duty. Is representative democracy a core Buddhist ideal now?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Mkoll » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:06 pm

boris wrote:
Mkoll wrote: one boris linked and they all spout a similar story of world control. Sometimes the elite are controlled by aliens, lizard people, annunaki, etc. etc. Products of a paranoid mind.


This is an information war. To introduce as much nonsense informations as possible and make primo; information noise secundo: to discredit true and reasonable information. But here you can find no lizard, just pure objective science http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/replies.htm

This is also an interesting book, but I don't know whether it is available in USA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Currency_Wars


Thanks for reminding me. I forgot to add that the the Jews or some Jewish cabal are also prime suspects of conspiracy theorists regarding who runs the world. Both links you provided opt for that route.
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Mkoll » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:12 pm

Coyote wrote:Is there a passage in the canon or commentary saying we have a civic duty to vote, or participate in politics? Being quite disillusioned with political parties and politics in general I do not agree that voting is a civic duty. Is representative democracy a core Buddhist ideal now?

I'm saying we have a civic duty "nowadays" because we're members of democracies, at least those of us on this forum I hope. And it's more of a right and something expected of you rather than an imperative. Personally, whether someone actually votes or not is none of my business.

It has nothing to do with Buddhism or Buddhist ideals.
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Coyote » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:18 pm

Mkoll wrote:I'm saying we have a civic duty "nowadays" because we're members of democracies, at least those of us on this forum I hope. And it's more of a right and something expected of you rather than an imperative. Personally, whether someone actually votes or not is none of my business.

It has nothing to do with Buddhism or Buddhist ideals.


Thanks for the clarification.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Sam Vara » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:18 pm

Mkoll wrote:Marx would just be another puppet under their control whose ideas they allowed to spread in order to influence people's minds in such a way as to further their ends.



Ah, I see. What about the Buddha, I wonder...?
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby boris » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:56 pm

Mkoll wrote:Thanks for reminding me. I forgot to add that the the Jews or some Jewish cabal are also prime suspects of conspiracy theorists regarding who runs the world. Both links you provided opt for that route.


Shell I understand your statement here, that you put SF creatures theory and evident and obvious overrepresentation of Jews in almost every important industry/field in America on the same level? http://thebilzerianreport.com/whats-wro ... -gentiles/
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby daverupa » Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:17 am

While I'm somewhat inclined to :popcorn: this calumny, let us please :focus:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Should lay Buddhists vote?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:16 am

Hi Craig
not exact but...
DN31 wrote:"The servants and employees thus ministered to as the Nadir by their master show their compassion to him in five ways:


(i) they rise before him,
(ii) they go to sleep after him,
(iii) they take only what is given,
(iv) they perform their duties well,
(v) they uphold his good name and fame.

At the end of the day as a layperson you are take part of the social contract, part of that unwritten contract is for you to vote as you see fit, just as a written part maybe to be drafted when sought for, in a capacity that is suitable.
Voting is a new thing and will not of been known in the time of the Buddha but the social contract was, part of the understanding was that the citizens went to war if needed, another part was that they payed taxes. Now Voting is a right that if not used could be lost if the wrong people got in (potentially).
people fought for these rights and died in some cases, it is an act of respect to generations past that we use these votes wisely now while we can.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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