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Reasonable involvement in "World Issues" - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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cooran
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby cooran » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:56 am

Hello all,

This previous thread may have some relevance:

Go Forth, O Bhikkhus!

Go forth, o bhikkhus, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, for the good, for the happiness of gods and men. Let not two go by one way. Preach the doctrine that is beautiful in its beginning, beautiful in its middle, and beautiful in its ending. Declare the holy life in its purity, completely both in the spirit and the letter." ~ Mahavagga, Vinaya Pitaka.
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=10678

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

chownah
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby chownah » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:21 am

I may be misunderstanding but are some people here saying that monks should be activists?
chownah

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retrofuturist
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:16 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Kim OHara
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:13 am


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Ben
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby Ben » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:47 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Kim OHara
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Oct 21, 2013 11:59 am


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SDC
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby SDC » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:10 am


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Anagarika
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby Anagarika » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:49 am


chownah
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby chownah » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:45 am

BuddhaSoup,
Seems to me that to be a renunciate monk would rule out or at least minimilize social engagement. Isn't renunciation the giving up of engagement in worldly matters?
chownah

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Anagarika
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby Anagarika » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:54 am


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Kim OHara
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:13 am


chownah
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby chownah » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:11 am

Kim OHara,
I think you are wrong and I am right.......not surprisingly I guess. I wonder if there are any sutta references which could help me see what the Buddha said about this.
chownah

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cooran
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby cooran » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:33 am

Hello all,

Nekkhamma - Renunciation
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-su ... #nekkhamma

Perhaps there is an answer here.

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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SDC
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby SDC » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:27 am


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Kim OHara
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:30 am


chownah
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby chownah » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:53 pm


dagon
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby dagon » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:52 pm

I think that part of the problem here is that we may be talking past each other. In part this is a result of the terms "reasonable involvement' and "worldly matters" not being defined and in part due to a bit of a thread drift. The tread was not restricted to monks – I have the sense that the OP was talking about Buddhist in general and members of this forum in particular. However as a lot of the Dhamma was directed towards monks it is natural that references to cannon are more likely to refer to monks.

My view is that engaging in worldly matters can be a good thing for spiritual development but that all of us need to restrict those involvements based on general Buddhist principles, whatever precepts we have taken and on our individual personality/situation.

If I was to look at this topic with events in Thailand foremost in my mind I think that I would be taking the same position as Chownah. The chosen engagements of certain infamous Buddhist “monks” where they have gone against the teachings and their undertakings as monks clearly illustrate what we should not be involved with. The growing relationship between a certain :alien: group of monks and certain political groups are clear examples of where the engagement problematic at best. Engagement with, or support of political organizations needs to be carefully considered due to the nature of politics and political parties. Generally political parties will have agendas where some of the policies will be consistence with a “Buddhist view” and some will clearly be against everything that the Buddha taught. Politics is about trading off what you can/do support with other things that are unsupportable (for Buddhist) to gain a support base.

Does this provide an argument that we should disengage with worldly issues – my view is that is that does not. IMHO the teachings are one of compassion balanced by equanimity. Just as meditation provides a mechanism to develop deeper and more profound understating of things; involvement with certain worldly issues provides us with a mechanism to nurture compassion within us.

I think that the right approach is to remember the advice from The Buddha to his son – reflect appropriately before, during and after decisions. The purpose of the reflections being the development of more skillful outcomes.

Metta
paul

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SDC
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby SDC » Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:07 am


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Kim OHara
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:53 am

I agree with Dagon that there has been some miscommunication. I even hinted in my first post to the thread that the problem might arise.
All along, I have been talking about "Buddhists" and with particular reference to folk here, in line with the OP, and I didn't really notice that Chownah had begun focusing entirely on monks.
Perhaps we can re-read the last page or so with that in mind, and then resume the discussion?

:coffee:
Kim

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Jason
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Re: Reasonable involvement in "World Issues"

Postby Jason » Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:58 pm

If we live a worldly life, then I think we have some responsibility to engage in worldly issues. While the Buddha clearly discouraged the monastic community from engaging in worldly activities such as politics, I think it's a mistake for lay-followers not to be. For one, politics affects almost every aspect of our lives, and being engaged in our communities and being a part of the political discussion, not to mention being active in broader social and political movements, is what makes our society and political systems function more effectively, and how progress, however slow it may sometimes be, is made.

To leave these kinds of activities and decisions solely in the hands of others, some of whom are slaves to their defilements, isn't wise, in my opinion. And if we choose to live in the world, then I think we share some responsibility for shaping it; and it makes sense to have people motivated by things like non-greed, non-aversion, and non-delusion add their voices to the mix, not to mention helping do what they can to fix things like inequality and injustice as long as it's done with a spirit of compassion and harmlessness. The greatest danger of the practice of renunciation, in my opinion, is the tendency of practitioners to ignore the world around them while seeking their own happiness. All too often, Buddhists fall back on teachings like all conditioned things are inconstant, unsatisfactory, and not-self () while neglecting teachings such as 'I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir' ().

Moreover, just from a practical standpoint, not addressing many of the material conditions giving rise to and supporting society's suffering ultimately serves to help maintain their continued existence (when this is, that is), which can negatively affect our practice, as well as that of others. If the society one lives in isn't conducive to practicing Buddhism, for example, then it does matter what kind of society one lives, so we should naturally try to make it as conducive for ourselves and others as possible. As the Buddha said in , "To reside in a suitable locality, to have done meritorious actions in the past and to set oneself in the right course — this is the greatest blessing." To help illustrate what I mean here, I'll give two example.

A general example is that a society that's not only consumerist, but also politically and economically geared more towards the idea that greed and self-interest is the highest good, will potentially be less supportive culturally of monastic communities that live entirely in an economy of gifts (e.g., in comparing Eastern cultures, in which alms-giving and gift exchanges characteristic of 'human economies' regulated by custom and reputation and based more on co-operation have historically been more prevalent, to Western culture, where market-based economies based more on competition have been the norm, I noticed that Eastern monastics often receive more lay support as opposed to Western monastics, who often have to produce goods like beer, chocolate, coffee, wine, etc. to sell in order to support themselves).

A more specific example is the ecological impacts of logging in Thailand. The Buddha praised the wilderness and the benefits of practicing in the forest. The Thai Forest tradition grew out of a movement among monastics to return to this way of practice. In the past few decades, however, much of Thailand's forests have disappeared, making this more difficult. Being involved in conservation efforts and trying to find better farming techniques and/or other ways of raising revenue is one way of trying to help preserve remaining forests in order to help keep this tradition alive.

It'd be great if everyone were free from greed, hatred, and delusion, and everyone treated everyone else with kindness, compassion, and generosity—if the world was free from all forms of exploitation, privation, and gross inequalities. But the world isn't a perfect place, and we're not all saints; and one of the ways we can help alleviate some of the world's suffering is by trying to materially change it for the better. And from this point of view, it's not about making Buddhism political, but about applying the ideals of Buddhism in all that we do, which for me includes being socially and politically active.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" ().

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