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Would Buddha be a voluntaryist?


  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    My vote is yes.
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    Maybe she would advocate voluntary simplicity . . .
  • BhanteLuckyBhanteLucky Monk since 2014 A Forest Monastery Veteran
    Simply, no. That's basically libertarianism, and that was not what the Buddha recommended by any means. There was definitely a place for a strong state or king. The Buddha also encouraged those at the bottom of the system to be content with their lot; not sometime the libertarians of today would be happy with!
    Have a read of this essay by Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera, to get a clearer idea of what the Buddha actually said regarding political systems.

    ... Firstly, the Buddha spoke about the equality of all human beings long before Abraham Lincoln, and that classes and castes are artificial barriers erected by society. The only classification of human beings, according to the Buddha, is based on the quality of their moral conduct. Secondly, the Buddha encouraged the spirit of social -co-operation and active participation in society. This spirit is actively promoted in the political process of modern societies. Thirdly, since no one was appointed as the Buddha's successor, the members of the Order were to be guided by the Dhamma and Vinaya, or in short, the Rule of Law. Until today very member of the Sangha is to abide by the Rule of Law which governs and guides their conduct.

    Fourthly, the Buddha encouraged the spirit of consultation and the democratic process. This is shown within the community of the Order in which all members have the right to decide on matters of general concern. When a serious question arose demanding attention, the issues were put before the monks and discussed in a manner similar to the democratic parliamentary system used today. This self-governing procedure may come as a surprise to many to learn that in the assemblies of Buddhists in India 2,500 years and more ago are to be found the rudiments of the parliamentary practice of the present day. A special officer similar to 'Mr. Speaker' was appointed to preserve the dignity of the Parliamentary Chief Whip, was also appointed to see if the quorum was secured. Matters were put forward in the form of a motion which was open to discussion. In some cases it was done once, in others three times, thus anticipating the practice of Parliament in requiring that a bill be read a third time before it becomes law. If the discussion showed a difference of opinion, it was to be settled by the vote of the majority through balloting.

    ...The Buddha discussed the importance and the prerequisites of a good government. He showed how the country could become corrupt, degenerate and unhappy when the head of the government becomes corrupt and unjust. He spoke against corruption and how a government should act based on humanitarian principles.

    The Buddha once said, 'When the ruler of a country is just and good, the ministers become just and good; when the ministers are just and good, the higher officials become just and good; when the higher officials are just and good, the rank and file become just and good; when the rank and file become just and good, the people become just and good.'(Anguttara Nikaya)

    In the Cakkavatti Sihananda Sutta, the Buddha said that immorality and crime, such as theft, falsehood, violence, hatred, cruelty, could arise from poverty. Kings and governments may try to suppress crime through punishment, but it is futile to eradicate crimes through force.

    In the Kutadanta Sutta, the Buddha suggested economic development instead of force to reduce crime. The government should use the country's resources to improve the economic conditions of the country. It could embark on agricultural and rural development, provide financial support to entrepreneurs and business, provide adequate wages for workers to maintain a decent life with human dignity.

    In the Jataka, the Buddha had given to rules for Good Government, known as 'Dasa Raja Dharma'. These ten rules can be applied even today by any government which wishes to rule the country peacefully. The rules are as follows:

    1) be liberal and avoid selfishness,
    2) maintain a high moral character,
    3) be prepared to sacrifice one's own pleasure for the well-being of the subjects,
    4) be honest and maintain absolute integrity,
    5) be kind and gentle,
    6) lead a simple life for the subjects to emulate,
    7) be free from hatred of any kind,
    8) exercise non-violence,
    9) practise patience, and
    10) respect public opinion to promote peace and harmony.

    Regarding the behavior of rulers, He further advised:

    - A good ruler should act impartially and should not be biased and discriminate between one particular group of subjects against another.

    - A good ruler should not harbor any form of hatred against any of his subjects.

    - A good ruler should show no fear whatsoever in the enforcement of the law, if it is justifiable.

    - A good ruler must possess a clear understanding of the law to be enforced. It should not be enforced just because the ruler has the authority to enforce the law. It must be done in a reasonable manner and with common sense. -- (Cakkavatti Sihananda Sutta)
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran
    My question is why the distinction between this and libertarianism/objectivism?
  • James, awesome response. I was about to pull out something simulr to that but you beat me to it
  • BhanteLuckyBhanteLucky Monk since 2014 A Forest Monastery Veteran
    JamestheGiant googles objectivism...

    Oh AYN RAND! Ugh. I much prefer being nice to people.
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