Theravada and Secular Law

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?

Do Theravadins have to obey the law of the land even if the law is discriminatory?

Yes
2
15%
No
5
38%
Not sure
6
46%
 
Total votes: 13

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Ceisiwr
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Theravada and Secular Law

Post by Ceisiwr »

Please vote and explain why you voted as you did.
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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JohnK
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by JohnK »

I'll vote "no" because I'm not sure those who consider themselves to be Theravadins "have to" do anything. There is action and results.
That being said, I suppose it could be said that, Theravdins "should try not to break the precepts," in which case the question might be re-worded as: "Do Theravadins have to obey the law of the land even if doing so would cause them to break a precepet?" -- again I would vote "no" -- putting aside my original concern with "have to."
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]
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confusedlayman
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by confusedlayman »

Ceisiwr wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:08 pm Please vote and explain why you voted as you did.
when u know the law is discriminatory, why support it? better oppose it if its under ur control or keep silent but dont support it...
dont think
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

I marked not sure because I have mixed feelings on it.

Sila is good but it's not enough: that's why Vinaya exists. Vinaya is a set of laws, and some of them are discriminatory, like not allowing eunuchs to ordain. And what? Discrimination has a very negative bias nowadays, but this is due to the long term efforts of Western countries put into ideas of gender or race superiority. Centuries supporting the idea that humans with white skin and a penis deserve more. No wonder "discrimination" is demonized.
(I wish the next step is to stop regarding animals as inferior to us).

So... I think some discriminatory laws can be beneficial. I tend to think that if it somehow overlaps with the Dhamma/Vinaya, so it is welcome.

With metta.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by Coëmgenu »

If there was a theoretical law making it illegal to donate to monastics, it would be unethical for monastics to go out on alms runs, but it would be ethical to try to feed them and support them in other ways (whilst trying not to get caught). IMO.

I am thinking about various Chinese and Japanese anti-Buddhist persecutions where similar rules were used.

For instance, the Japanese Emperor once outlawed the following of most of the vinaya in Japan. This is why most Japanese "monks" are actually "priests," because there is no vinaya being followed (this is only a general pattern though, as it is now legal to follow the vinaya and many have resumed its practice).

In reaction to these unjust laws, I imagine maybe monks simply starting secretly following it and only having their forced-marriages be a sham. Maybe some of them caught their new (occasionally state-assigned) wives how to meditate and foulness of the body. It's possible.
Bodhicitta is alien
to all things, meaning the aggregates,
the elements, the fields,
the grasper, and what is grasped.

The phenomena are selfless
and the mind is likewise.
At their root, they are fundamentally unarisen,
like the great void of self-nature.

As the Arhats, the Buddhas, the Lords,
the Bodhisatvas, rouse bodhicitta
and approach the bodhimaṇḍa,
may I too give rise to bodhicitta.

(Vairocanasūtra T848.46b23)
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Coëmgenu wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:55 pm If there was a theoretical law making it illegal to donate to monastics, it would be unethical for monastics to go out on alms runs, but it would be ethical to try to feed them and support them in other ways (whilst trying not to get caught). IMO.

I am thinking about various Chinese and Japanese anti-Buddhist persecutions where similar rules were used.

For instance, the Japanese Emperor once outlawed the following of most of the vinaya. I imagine maybe monks simply starting secretly following it and only having their forced-marriages be a shame. Maybe some of them caught their new (occasionally state-assigned) wives how to meditate and foulness of the body. It's possible.
Japanese Buddhism is pure gore.
I am reading a book about Kukai and Saicho and the little admiration I had for Mahayana Buddhist faded away.
This union of state and religion is a no no.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Saicho wanted to eliminate Vinaya and replace it with only the Bodhisattva precepts (大乗戒), for example. :|
That's why I don't buy any attempt to belittle Vinaya. Nothing good comes from that.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by Ceisiwr »

What if the law doesn’t discriminate against Buddhists but is considered discriminatory in other ways, such as racial segregation or slavery? For example if there was a law against race mixing should householders obey it or not, as Buddhists?
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


Nāmarūpapariccheda
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by Coëmgenu »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:20 pm Saicho wanted to eliminate Vinaya and replace it with only the Bodhisattva precepts (大乗戒), for example. :|
That's why I don't buy any attempt to belittle Vinaya. Nothing good comes from that.
When you deal with Shingon and Tendai, you are dealing with mikkyō and taimitsu priesthoods, not traditional saṁghas, and not "normal" Mahāyāna Buddhism. While I understand not taking Buddhisms without traditional monastic saṁghas seriously, it doesn't make sense to be upset that an orange isn't a pear.
Bodhicitta is alien
to all things, meaning the aggregates,
the elements, the fields,
the grasper, and what is grasped.

The phenomena are selfless
and the mind is likewise.
At their root, they are fundamentally unarisen,
like the great void of self-nature.

As the Arhats, the Buddhas, the Lords,
the Bodhisatvas, rouse bodhicitta
and approach the bodhimaṇḍa,
may I too give rise to bodhicitta.

(Vairocanasūtra T848.46b23)
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Coëmgenu wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:50 pm
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:20 pm Saicho wanted to eliminate Vinaya and replace it with only the Bodhisattva precepts (大乗戒), for example. :|
That's why I don't buy any attempt to belittle Vinaya. Nothing good comes from that.
When you deal with Shingon and Tendai, you are dealing essentially with mikkyō and taimitsu priesthoods, not traditional saṁghas. While I understand not taking Buddhisms without traditional monastic saṁghas seriously, it doesn't make sense to be upset that an orange isn't a pear.
I cited Shingon and Tendai but other Japanese schools are not much better. It's a cult about the Lotus Sutra.
Even before Kukai and Saicho, Buddhism was controlled by the Japanese State. Buddhism was literally an instrument of the Shinto shamanism.

Not to talk about Nichiren, Pure Land, and etc. All forms of cults that make you believe chanting will take you somewhere.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by Coëmgenu »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:58 pm
Coëmgenu wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:50 pm
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:20 pm Saicho wanted to eliminate Vinaya and replace it with only the Bodhisattva precepts (大乗戒), for example. :|
That's why I don't buy any attempt to belittle Vinaya. Nothing good comes from that.
When you deal with Shingon and Tendai, you are dealing essentially with mikkyō and taimitsu priesthoods, not traditional saṁghas. While I understand not taking Buddhisms without traditional monastic saṁghas seriously, it doesn't make sense to be upset that an orange isn't a pear.
I cited Shingon and Tendai but other Japanese schools are not much better. It's a cult about the Lotus Sutra.
Even before Kukai and Saicho, Buddhism was controlled by the Japanese State. Buddhism was literally an instrument of the Shinto shamanism.

Not to talk about Nichiren, Pure Land, and etc. All forms of cults that make you believe chanting will take you somewhere.
I think we're talking about the same thing. When vinaya was banned, monks were kicked out of temples and they were converted to state-shinto temples.

On terms of "Buddhism was literally an instrument of the Shinto shamanism," I would say this is untrue. Generally speaking, Shintō devas are considered "trace" and the Buddhas the "ground" in Japanese Buddhism. These are technical terms with specific meanings. Buddhism used Shintō, not the other way around. It was only with the "Edits for the Destruction of Buddhism" that Shintō becomes elevated over Buddhism at the level of forced state religion.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Bodhicitta is alien
to all things, meaning the aggregates,
the elements, the fields,
the grasper, and what is grasped.

The phenomena are selfless
and the mind is likewise.
At their root, they are fundamentally unarisen,
like the great void of self-nature.

As the Arhats, the Buddhas, the Lords,
the Bodhisatvas, rouse bodhicitta
and approach the bodhimaṇḍa,
may I too give rise to bodhicitta.

(Vairocanasūtra T848.46b23)
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Coëmgenu wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:20 pm
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:58 pm
Coëmgenu wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:50 pm
When you deal with Shingon and Tendai, you are dealing essentially with mikkyō and taimitsu priesthoods, not traditional saṁghas. While I understand not taking Buddhisms without traditional monastic saṁghas seriously, it doesn't make sense to be upset that an orange isn't a pear.
I cited Shingon and Tendai but other Japanese schools are not much better. It's a cult about the Lotus Sutra.
Even before Kukai and Saicho, Buddhism was controlled by the Japanese State. Buddhism was literally an instrument of the Shinto shamanism.

Not to talk about Nichiren, Pure Land, and etc. All forms of cults that make you believe chanting will take you somewhere.
I think we're talking about the same thing. The controlling of the Buddhist temples by the state and the official (read: "enforced by law") favouring of Shintō over Buddhism precede the formal vinaya ban.

On terms of "Buddhism was literally an instrument of the Shinto shamanism," I would say this is untrue. Generally speaking, Shintō devas are considered "trace" and the Buddhas the "ground" in Japanese Buddhism. These are technical terms with specific meanings. Buddhism used Shintō, not the other way around. It was only with the "Edits for the Destruction of Buddhism" that Shintō becomes elevated over Buddhism at the level of forced state religion.
Thanks for eliminating my wrong view, my friend.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
SarathW
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by SarathW »

I voted yes.
What I can recall is Theravada monks are expected to obey the law of the land, provided it does not break Sila.
Lay people are also expected to obey the law, but they can take part in politics within Sila.
So they can fight against evil.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by Coëmgenu »

Ceisiwr wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:08 pm Please vote and explain why you voted as you did.
Out of curiousity, as the OP, what did you vote, could you, and do you care to share and why?

I understand there was a subconversation about this in another thread, but if it please you, this would give you a chance to set clear what exactly you meant there, since this and that conversation you had with Mr. Man is largely the same inquiry. Do you think "Theravādins" are expected to obey all laws and/or treat legal laws as moral laws, so to speak? If that stands as is, that is understood of course.

I realize now that I neither should have voted nor commented. This is a poll for Theravādins. My apologies. I will retract my vote if I am able.

Edit: it looks like I can't. Readers, please subtract one vote from "No" as an option in your mental count. Apologies.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Fri Jun 12, 2020 3:56 am, edited 3 times in total.
Bodhicitta is alien
to all things, meaning the aggregates,
the elements, the fields,
the grasper, and what is grasped.

The phenomena are selfless
and the mind is likewise.
At their root, they are fundamentally unarisen,
like the great void of self-nature.

As the Arhats, the Buddhas, the Lords,
the Bodhisatvas, rouse bodhicitta
and approach the bodhimaṇḍa,
may I too give rise to bodhicitta.

(Vairocanasūtra T848.46b23)
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retrofuturist
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Re: Theravada and Secular Law

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

My understanding is that bhikkhus have a Vinaya obligation to do so.

As for lay people, I think more specifics of the apparent discrimination would need to be known, in order to see how the suttas apply.

In light of that, I have voted Not Sure.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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