Buddhism and Communism?

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Buddhism and Communism?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:28 am


I was reading an article on wikipedia about communism and religion when i came across this

Buddhism has been said to be compatible with communism given that both can be interpreted as atheistic and arguably share some similarities regarding their views of the world of nature and the relationship between matter and mind.[


Interested to know your thoughts

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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby Individual » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:12 am

I think that traditional Buddhism and Communism have different views on the relationship between body and mind. Early Communism (orthodox Marxism) is materialist, while Buddhism is neither materialist nor idealist. Buddhism is also misunderstood as "atheistic". It is non-theistic, since it doesn't deny the existence of gods, but simply considers them irrelevant.

I do think, however, that the early Sangha resembles some of the voluntary communes of certain forms of Marxism, such as Marxist Anarchism. Early Zen Buddhist institutions are referred to as "Chan communes," where there was a shared distribution of labor, resources, etc..

But nothing in the teachings go so far as to proscribe this for everyone; far from it, since the Buddha didn't advocate having his monks control the world, set up a certain social order, etc.. Buddhist teachings are largely unconcerned with politics and the interpretation of them in the light of politics is largely a personal preference. Communism is an ideology which proscribes that the whole world be a certain way, to rectify injustice. Early Buddhist communism was established internally simply because it was the most practical.
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby gavesako » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:20 pm

Communism is based on marxist ideology which adopts a limited and mistaken view of Kamma, that is why the 2 are not really compatible.

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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby Pannapetar » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:13 am

I doubt that Buddhism is compatible with Marxism. Buddhism concerned with the liberation of the individual in a radical way. Marxism is concerned with liberation of the working class in a radical way. Besides, the kind of liberation that Marxism has in mind is very different from that of Buddhism.

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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby Avery » Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:37 pm

Like many other left wing utopias communism supposes that everyone maintains goodwill and compassion. As long as there is attachment in the material world, communism will be a failed ideology.

Maybe the Communists in Thailand and Burma should have considered this when trying to stamp out Buddhism :tongue:
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby Jason » Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:30 pm

I'd say yes, communism and Buddhism are quite compatible, especially in the sense that Marx used it, i.e. the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat:

    "In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic." (Marx, The German Ideology )

One of the things that I’ve been learning about over the past few months is Marx’s materialist conception of history and the idea that “the nature of individuals depends on the material conditions determining their production.” While Marx’s theory was set within a specific context — that of the complex relationship between the production and reproduction of material requirements of life and the historical development of human society — it has much wider implications. For example, I’m of the opinion that things such as identity are conditioned, at least in part, by the historical and material conditions that we find ourselves in, and that changes in those conditions can fundamentally alter our identity and the ways in which we express ourselves, and vice versa. Not in a rigidly deterministic way, however, but in a complex and symbiotic way.

This idea isn’t necessarily new, of course. The Buddha, for example, developed similar ideas about identity in his teachings on karma, dependent co-arising, etc. In short, he viewed our sense of self as a continuous process—something which is always in flux, ever-changing from moment to moment in response to various internal and external stimuli. Furthermore, he observed that there are times when our sense of self causes us a great deal of suffering, times when we cling very strongly to that momentary identity and the objects of our sensory experience on which that identity is based in ways that cause a great deal of mental stress. But his focus was primarily on how to relieve the suffering of the individual by mastering this process of “I-making and my-making” while Marx’s focus, the bodhisattva that he was, was primarily on how to relieve the suffering of society by changing the material conditions that support it.

As for the the reason why no country has been able to successfully implement communism (not including the countries under the banner of communism where the decisions are made by a select few in the form of an authoritarian and oppressive states), I'd say the short answer is the lack of the basic material conditions for its success. While those conditions are debatable, I think that most people would agree that having an advanced capitalist economy and a strong working class are the most important. Beyond that, I think it's a matter of having widespread class consciousness, as well as a serious and widespread desire for a new social order.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby imagemarie » Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:37 pm

If I may .. a quote from "To Have Or To Be?" by Erich Fromm...

"The same principle of change that characterises the methods of the Buddha also underlies Marx's idea of salvation. In order to understand this it is necessary to be aware that for Marx, as he himself said, communism was not a final goal, but a step in the historical development that was to liberate human beings from those socioeconomic and political conditions that make people inhuman - prisoners of things, machines, and their own greed.
Marx's first step was to show the working class of his time, the most alienated and miserable class, that they suffered.He tried to destroy the illusions that tended to cover the workers' awareness of their misery. His second step was to show the causes of this suffering, which he points out are in the nature of capitalism and the character of greed and avarice and dependence that the capitalist system produces.. His third step was to demonstrate that the suffering could be removed if the conditions for suffering could be removed. In the fourth step he showed the new practice of life, the new social system that would be free of the suffering that the old system, of necessity, had to produce."
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby genkaku » Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:34 pm

Communism is a philosophy and while Buddhism is sometimes portrayed as merely philosophical (or religious) in nature, its true meaning cannot be limited by philosophy (or religion). If its true meaning could be limited, wouldn't this be an invitation to yet more disputation and posturing and war and other undesirable results ... results posing as good and meritorious, perhaps?
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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby Jason » Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:01 pm

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it" (Marx, Theses On Feuerbach).
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Buddhism and Communism?

Postby abhinavmosesben » Fri May 02, 2014 7:10 pm

I don't think Buddhism is compatible with Communism.
Dr.Ambedkar (Father of Indian Constitution) embraced Buddhism.
Communists use Violence while the Buddhism does not. Buddha's dhamma was democatic according to Dr.Ambedkar and it was so actually.

Read more about Communism and Buddhism according to Father of Indian Constitution Dr.Ambekdar who became a Buddhist.
:reading: Communism and Buddhism > http://www.ambedkar.org/Babasaheb/Ambed ... munism.htm :reading:
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