The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

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The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby cooran » Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:39 am

Hello all,

I found this an interesting read - not sure if the Buddha would encourage such a demo:

The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street
http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practi ... all-street

with metta
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby PeterB » Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:51 am

There is a similar debate on ZFI, with a video...what struck me is the expressions on the faces of the demonstrators...
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Mr Man » Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:07 pm

Not the same event but in the same vein
http://october2011.org/quotes/bhikkhu-bodhi
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby ground » Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:22 pm

The Buddha did not teach worldly engagement.


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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:54 pm

The Buddha certainly did teach about how to build a stable society. Some stability is required for people being able to actually practise effectively. The Vinaya ensures that Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis to live in a symbiotic relationship with lay society. Instruction and interaction within the Sangha are discussed in the Vinaya and in many Suttas.

The Buddha didn't teach a hermit path of ignoring the world...

:anjali:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:32 pm

Greetings,

And finding a nice middle way between those things he didn't teach....

"Just like a red, blue, or white lotus — born in the water, grown in the water, rising up above the water — stands unsmeared by the water, in the same way I — born in the world, grown in the world, having overcome the world — live unsmeared by the world. Remember me, brahman, as 'awakened.'


AN 4.36: Dona Sutta - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:33 pm

mikenz66 wrote:The Buddha didn't teach a hermit path of ignoring the world...

Well said, Mike!
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby chownah » Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:29 am

TMingyur wrote:The Buddha did not teach worldly engagement.


Kind regards

TMingyur,
My view is that the Buddha did not teach woldly engagement as a goal to be pursued but it does seem to me that the teaching of right view with residue (also sometimes called "mundane" right view) does actually teach worldly engagement......
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:25 am

Getting back to the OP ...
cooran wrote:Hello all,

I found this an interesting read - not sure if the Buddha would encourage such a demo:

The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street
http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practi ... all-street

with metta
Chris

I think it's a great article, well thought through and appropriately referenced.
Like you, Cooran, I'm not sure the Buddha would approve of the particular form of the present protests. But I do think he would agree that the present state of affairs justifies some kind of push for change.
See http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=6056&start=20#p101390 for a related discussion.

:namaste:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:34 am

P.S. The demonstrations are happening here in Australia too: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-16/sydney-protesters-vow-to-hold-firm/3573710

:namaste:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby ground » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:40 am

chownah wrote:
TMingyur wrote:The Buddha did not teach worldly engagement.


Kind regards

TMingyur,
My view is that the Buddha did not teach woldly engagement as a goal to be pursued but it does seem to me that the teaching of right view with residue (also sometimes called "mundane" right view) does actually teach worldly engagement......
chownah


Can you give a quote from the Sammaditthi Sutta that - from your perspective - covers the kind of worldly engagement referred to in this thread?

Or are you referring to some other sutta?

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby octathlon » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:11 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Like you, Cooran, I'm not sure the Buddha would approve of the particular form of the present protests. But I do think he would agree that the present state of affairs justifies some kind of push for change.
What is your objection (or what do you say the Buddha would have disapproved of)? Here in the US, at least, the protestors have been peaceful and the only violent incidents were not instigated by them, such as the pepper-spraying of some protestors by police. Arrests (for things like blocking traffic, etc.) were not resisted.
Here's how it went in Denver and San Francisco:
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financia ... C40S80.htm
http://www.dailycal.org/2011/10/15/occu ... -downtown/
In LA, the city voted to provide port-a-potties for them.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:22 am

Greetings,

If politicians and world leaders acted like the Buddha recommended, none of it would be necessary...

Participating in government by practicing in accordance with the principles for collective responsibility which help prevent decline and lead only to prosperity, known as the seven aparihaniya-dhamma:

1. Meeting often and regularly; regularly conferring on community affairs and projects (which are to be shouldered by each person according to his level).
2. Meeting together, dispersing together and doing together what needs to be done together.
3. Neither instituting laws and regulations not communally agreed upon simply out of convenience or personal preference, nor denigrating or abolishing things already instituted; upholding the main provisions established as the constitution.
4. Honoring and respecting the elders long in experience, giving weight to their words.
5. Honoring and respecting the womenfolk, protecting them from abuse and ill-treatment.
6. Honoring and revering the shrines, holy places and national monuments, which are memorials arousing virtue and centers of community spirit; not neglecting to honor the ceremonies required for those places as dictated by tradition.
7. Organizing rightful protection, support and sanctuary to monks and priests who maintain pure moral conduct and who serve as spiritual refuges and moral examples for the people; gladly receiving them and wishing for their comfort.
(D. II. 73)

For the lord of the land, the state leader or ruler-be he an emperor, king or administrator in general-there are the following qualities and principles of conduct:

A. Being endowed with the ten regal qualities: to have the ten qualities of a righteous ruler or king (raja-dhamma):

1. Dana: sharing with the populace; he is a benefactor in that he rules or works to give, not to take; he devotes himself to administering services and providing welfare and aid for the people to ensure their well-being, convenience and safety; he renders assistance to those in distress and difficulty and supports those who have done well.
2. Sila: maintaining good conduct; he is impeccable in conduct and restrained in actions and speech; he does only good actions and upholds his honor; he sets an example for the people, commands their respect and is free from any cause for contempt.
3. Pariccaga: working selflessly; he is capable of sacrificing personal comfort, even his own life, for the benefit of the people and the peace and stability of the country.
4. Ajjava: working honestly; he is honest and upholds the truth; he is free of deceit and upright in his dealings; he is sincere and does not deceive the people.
5. Maddava: deporting himself with gentleness and congeniality; his bearing is not arrogant, rude, harsh or conceited; he has nobility and dignity that are based on a polite and gentle manner, inspiring devotion and loyalty but not without awe.
6. Tapa: rejecting indulgence through austerity; he destroys defilements and cravings and does not allow them to control his mind; he can restrain his mind and does not allow it to become lost in sensual pleasure and debauchery; he is simple and regular in life-style, and dedicated to the fulfillment of duty.
7. Akkodha: adhering to reason, not anger; he is not given to fiery outbursts and does not make judgments or act out of anger, but has a heart of goodwill, suppressing anger; he judges and acts righteously with a mind that is subtle and calm.
8. Avihimsa: bringing tranquillity through nonviolence; he does not let his power go to his head or use it to repress his subjects; he is kind; he does not find a pretext for punishing a subject out of vindictiveness and hatred.
9. Khanti: overcoming difficulties with patience; he endures a heavy work load and perseveres in the face of tiredness; no matter how difficult or depressing the work may be, he does not give in; no matter how much he is provoked or ridiculed, or with whatever harsh and abrasive words, he does not despair; he refuses to abandon a task that is rightfully done.
10. Avirodhana: not doing that which strays from righteousness; he does not transgress the principles of public administration that are based on the welfare, happiness and righteousness of the people and the country; he does not oppose what the people rightfully desire; he does not stand in the way of those activities which are for the common good; he establishes himself firmly in righteousness, steadfast and unwavering in the face of pleasant and unpleasant words, gain and loss, desirable and undesirable conditions; he is firmly established in righteous principles and does not deviate from or subvert them-both in judicial terms, namely [the administration of] justice, and in regulatory terms, namely [the observation of] regulations, formalities and administrative principles, including good customs and traditions.
(J.V.378)

B. Performing the duties of a universal emperor: he performs the five duties of a supreme ruler, called the cakkavatti-vatta:

1. Dhammadhipateyya: holding the Dhamma supreme; he adheres to truth, righteousness, goodness, reason, principle and rightful rules and regulations as standards; he respects, upholds, favors and establishes himself in righteousness and practices accordingly.
2. Dhammikarakkha: providing righteous protection; he provides fair protection to all groups of people in the land, i.e., the royal household, the military, administrative officials, civil servants, academics and people of various occupations such as merchants and farmers, country people and inhabitants of the border provinces, monks and priests who uphold moral conduct, and even beasts and birds requiring conservation.
3. Ma adhammakara: prohibiting unrighteous actions; he arranges preventive and remedial measures, not allowing unrighteous actions, exploitation, oppression, corruption, or unrest to arise in the country; he encourages the people to establish themselves firmly in honesty and virtue and also establishes a system that excludes bad people and promotes good ones.
4. Dhananuppadana: distributing resources to the poor; he ensures that there are no poverty-stricken people in the land by, for example, arranging that all people have a chance to make an honest living.
5. Paripuccha: not failing to seek counsel; he seeks advancement in wisdom and virtue by having advisors who are learned and virtuous, who are morally upright and not heedless or self-indulgent, and who can help him to cultivate his wisdom and wholesome qualities; he approaches monks and wise men and queries them to seek knowledge, goodness and truth; he discusses various problems with them at regular and appropriate times so that he may examine and improve himself and carry out his duties rightfully, properly and so as to bring about true welfare and happiness.
(D.III. 61)

C. Effecting the royal benefactions: he supports the people, allowing them to live in unity and harmony, with the four raja-sangaha-vatthu (principles by which a king supports his people):

1. Sassamedha: shrewdness in promoting agriculture; he is skilled in agronomic policies and promotes agricultural activity which brings about bountiful crop yields.
2. Purisamedha: shrewdness in promoting government officials; he is clever at making policies for supporting government officials by, for example, encouraging honest and capable officials and providing them with adequate social benefits.
3. Sammapasa: bonding the people together; he assists the people with policies that support their livelihood by, for example, providing funds from which the poor may borrow to set themselves up in commerce or start business operations, thereby eliminating an economic disparity that is so wide as to cause rifts among the people.
4. Vajapeyya: impressive speech; he knows how to speak, clarify and advise; he takes an interest in greeting people of all levels and inquiring about their welfare; his speech is pleasant to the ear, worth listening to, reasoned, well-founded and useful; it leads the way to constructive action, to solution of problems, to increased harmony, and to mutual understanding, trust and respect.
(S.I.76)

D. Avoiding the biases: when an administrator is carrying out his functions, he should not allow the four biases, or deviations from righteousness, to interfere:

1. Chandagati: biased conduct on account of like
2. Dosagati: biased conduct on account of dislike
3. Mohagati: biased conduct on account of delusion or foolishness
4. Bhayagati: biased conduct on account of timidity and fear
(D.III.182, 288)

Alas...

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: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:46 am

octathlon wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Like you, Cooran, I'm not sure the Buddha would approve of the particular form of the present protests. But I do think he would agree that the present state of affairs justifies some kind of push for change.
What is your objection (or what do you say the Buddha would have disapproved of)? Here in the US, at least, the protestors have been peaceful and the only violent incidents were not instigated by them, such as the pepper-spraying of some protestors by police. Arrests (for things like blocking traffic, etc.) were not resisted.

I think that the Buddha might have said that civil disobedience is a second-best to reasoned dialogue with the existing rulers or removal of those rulers by working within the processes of the community.
If those options fail, then civil disobedience might have to be employed. It would certainly be preferable to armed revolt.
The difficulty is in deciding just when an incrementally-worsening situation must be opposed and when dialogue has actually 'failed'. Have we reached that? I don't know. I know I'm not happy with the widening gap between rich and poor - locally (yes, it's happening here too: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-14/household-wealth-distribution/3572078) and globally - even though I, somewhere near the middle in Aussie terms, am one of the rich in global terms.

:namaste:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby octathlon » Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:04 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:The difficulty is in deciding just when an incrementally-worsening situation must be opposed and when dialogue has actually 'failed'. Have we reached that?
Way past that, now to the point of total paralysis and inability to govern.
And near-total corruption. The final nail in the coffin:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/po ... cotus.html
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:54 am

octathlon wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:The difficulty is in deciding just when an incrementally-worsening situation must be opposed and when dialogue has actually 'failed'. Have we reached that?
Way past that, now to the point of total paralysis and inability to govern.
And near-total corruption. The final nail in the coffin:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/po ... cotus.html

Yes, that was a shocker. Other countries aren't in quite such a hole - yet, anyway - thank goodness, and with a lot of luck we will stop following you down that path. But what Americans can or will do is quite unclear.
Avaaz and similar groups are useful; ditto Wikileaks. But I don't see the demonstrations leading to any positive result unless they can affect the political process. Is there any hope that you can elect enough honest, tough politicians to regain genuine small-d democratic control of the legislature and the legal system?

:namaste:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby chownah » Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:32 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
octathlon wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:The difficulty is in deciding just when an incrementally-worsening situation must be opposed and when dialogue has actually 'failed'. Have we reached that?
Way past that, now to the point of total paralysis and inability to govern.
And near-total corruption. The final nail in the coffin:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/po ... cotus.html

Yes, that was a shocker. Other countries aren't in quite such a hole - yet, anyway - thank goodness, and with a lot of luck we will stop following you down that path. But what Americans can or will do is quite unclear.
Avaaz and similar groups are useful; ditto Wikileaks. But I don't see the demonstrations leading to any positive result unless they can affect the political process. Is there any hope that you can elect enough honest, tough politicians to regain genuine small-d democratic control of the legislature and the legal system?

:namaste:
Kim

Yes, I thought it was a shocker too.....I found it hard to believe that the Supreme Court was actually doing something to support freedom in the USA. Usually their rulings are part of the gradual erosion of freedom in the USA and I was shocked but glad to see that this time they upheld the rights of all citizens to communicate freely on political matters. The USA has freedom of speech and one of the most important types of speech to protect is political speech.....
The outcome of elections is determined by how people vote and not on how much money gets spent explaining the pluses and minuses of candidates and issues.....the more information available to the voter on the candidates and issues the better will be the chances that a good decision will be made....if people can be pursuaded so easily by propoganda then there really is little hope that restricting the propoganda will produce a better result.
As to the current protests.....I think that the current socio-political climate is incapable of doing a good job of administering resources in a rational way and this is the root cause of the demonstrations.....but I also do not think that the protestors have even the slightest clue as to what kinds of structural changes would need to be made to accomplish that end. My view is that redistributing the wealth in and of itself will not accompish the task....I think that a major component of the problem is that semi-skilled workers in the USA have been riding the gravy train for too long....making wages far above what their work is worth at the international level and now the reality of that is coming home....by and large these people have not been working to upgrade their skils and now their skills are not in demand....those people who have been working to upgrade their skills are doing fine in this economy and in fact there are many types of jobs which are in great demand and companies are having a difficult time filling them. I sympathize with those who have not been able to keep their households intact but those are the tiny minority of the unemployed....alot of people are complaining because they can't maintain the same oppulent life style they had before and don't even see it as being oppulent and think of it as being their right......a big source of heart break is that the new iphone is no longer in the budget and they might even have to drop their subscription to MTV....oh the horror....
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Dan74 » Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:55 pm

chownah wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:
octathlon wrote: Way past that, now to the point of total paralysis and inability to govern.
And near-total corruption. The final nail in the coffin:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/po ... cotus.html

Yes, that was a shocker. Other countries aren't in quite such a hole - yet, anyway - thank goodness, and with a lot of luck we will stop following you down that path. But what Americans can or will do is quite unclear.
Avaaz and similar groups are useful; ditto Wikileaks. But I don't see the demonstrations leading to any positive result unless they can affect the political process. Is there any hope that you can elect enough honest, tough politicians to regain genuine small-d democratic control of the legislature and the legal system?

:namaste:
Kim

Yes, I thought it was a shocker too.....I found it hard to believe that the Supreme Court was actually doing something to support freedom in the USA. Usually their rulings are part of the gradual erosion of freedom in the USA and I was shocked but glad to see that this time they upheld the rights of all citizens to communicate freely on political matters. The USA has freedom of speech and one of the most important types of speech to protect is political speech.....
The outcome of elections is determined by how people vote and not on how much money gets spent explaining the pluses and minuses of candidates and issues.....the more information available to the voter on the candidates and issues the better will be the chances that a good decision will be made....if people can be pursuaded so easily by propoganda then there really is little hope that restricting the propoganda will produce a better result.
As to the current protests.....I think that the current socio-political climate is incapable of doing a good job of administering resources in a rational way and this is the root cause of the demonstrations.....but I also do not think that the protestors have even the slightest clue as to what kinds of structural changes would need to be made to accomplish that end. My view is that redistributing the wealth in and of itself will not accompish the task....I think that a major component of the problem is that semi-skilled workers in the USA have been riding the gravy train for too long....making wages far above what their work is worth at the international level and now the reality of that is coming home....by and large these people have not been working to upgrade their skils and now their skills are not in demand....those people who have been working to upgrade their skills are doing fine in this economy and in fact there are many types of jobs which are in great demand and companies are having a difficult time filling them. I sympathize with those who have not been able to keep their households intact but those are the tiny minority of the unemployed....alot of people are complaining because they can't maintain the same oppulent life style they had before and don't even see it as being oppulent and think of it as being their right......a big source of heart break is that the new iphone is no longer in the budget and they might even have to drop their subscription to MTV....oh the horror....
chownah


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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:20 pm

I like how this movement is working to end our massive involvement with the military-industrial-complex and constant, continual occupations.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Jason » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:44 am

cooran wrote:Hello all,

I found this an interesting read - not sure if the Buddha would encourage such a demo:

The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street
http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practi ... all-street

with metta
Chris


Not bad. Thanks for sharing this.

Personally, I don't see why the Buddha wouldn't encourage people to do what they can to fix inequality and injustice as long as it was done with a spirit of compassion and harmlessness. Incidentally, if anyone's interested in reading about an unexpected experience I had at Occupy Detroit, I wrote about it here. I honestly don't think the Buddha would fault the occupiers for what they're doing.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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