Filed in Politics

Politics

Gustav Niebuhr, Charles Johnson, Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, Russell C. Leong, Anne Jeffries, Neil Gordon

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"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry made his famous declaration at the Second Virginia Convention in 1775 and it was with similar conviction that the Buddha sat down beneath the fig tree in Bodhgaya 2,500 years ago, vowing to remain until he had attained liberation. But while Henry’s liberty was one that required radical political engagement, the Buddha sought a liberation of the mind. Shakyamuni spoke of the human condition—suffering, the cause and cessation of suffering, and the fruition of the path—but he was not involved in politics, at least not as we understand it in a democracy. In the monarchies of Brahmanic India, decisions of rule were a distant reality to the great majority of the population.

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