Politics

Buddhist teachings on civic engagement without attachment to outcome
  • Tricycle Community 26 comments

    Buddhist Nationalism in Burma Paid Member

    For those outside Burma, the broadcast images of the Theravada monks of the “Saffron Revolution” of 2007 are still fresh. Backed by the devout Buddhist population, these monks were seen chanting metta and the Lovingkindness Sutta on the streets of Rangoon, Mandalay, and Pakhoke-ku, calling for an improvement in public well-being in the face of the growing economic hardships afflicting Burma’s Buddhists. The barefooted monks’ brave protests against the rule of the country’s junta represented a fine example of engaged Buddhism, a version of Buddhist activism that resonates with the age-old Orientalist, decontextualized view of what Buddhists are like: lovable, smiley, hospitable people who lead their lives mindfully and have much to offer the non-Buddhist world in the ways of fostering peace. More »
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    The Fate of Mes Aynak Paid Member

    As the massive dust cloud finally settles, ears stop ringing, and tears dry, the gaping crater that was once an ancient Buddhist city slowly comes into view. Explosives have turned the 400,000-square-meter site into a football field–sized pit, the outer edges riddled with the deep-grooved tracks of bulldozers and SUVs. More »
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    Faith in Freedom Paid Member

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    If I Were the Buddha Paid Member

      After not voting in several national elections I was forced to admit that my claim to “a position of no position” was pretty much nothing but pretense. I didn’t come to dharma until the middle eighties, but, with no very deliberate intent, I inherited the baby boomer Buddhism of my elders that pervaded the Zen center where I started my practice. The inarticulated presumption was that to vote at all was a vote for samsara, that voting endorsed pathetic delusions of liberty, and furthermore, that those who voted flaunted their hopeless attachment to worldly concerns—not what Zen students most want to advertise about themselves. More »
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    Whose Corruption and Whose Compassion? Paid Member

      As you drive through the smoggy San Gabriel Valley on Highway 60, you crane your neck as you reach Hacienda Heights, the locale of the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple. Though a concrete wall buffers the temple from the freeway, you see a glint of sweeping yellow roofs and you know that soon you’ll arrive there. The Saturday vegetarian brunch that’s served will fill your stomach, but what you’re seeking is enlightenment on some of the issues surrounding the 1996 Democratic fundraising debacle in which the temple and its Buddhist clergy and nuns were prominently fingered. More »
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    Should Buddhists vote? Paid Member

      A common misunderstanding exists that the Buddha wanted his followers to leave society. This is incorrect. Where can we ever live where we are entirely disconnected from other living beings? In a monastery, in a dharma center, in a family, we are always in relationship to those immediately around us as well as to the broader society and to all sentient beings. Even in a remote hermitage we still live in relationship with each and every living being. Our challenge is to make this relationship a healthy one: physically, verbally, and mentally. With a pure motivation, voting and being politically active can be ways of sharing our vision and values with others, in an attempt to stop harm and create happiness in society. More »