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Should monk vote?

Someone said that monks should not be involved in politics because Buddha supposedly said this:
"It isn't right, monks, that sons of good families, on having gone forth out of faith from home to the homeless life, should get engaged in such topics of conversation, i.e., conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state... talk of whether things exist or not.

Would you then think that monks should not vote during an election?

Comments

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I think they should stay out of the public discourse, but should be allowed to vote.
    riverflowkarmabluesThailandTom
  • In Myammar, I suppose some monks do get involved in politics, coming out in full force to demonstrate. I wonder if monks do vote there. Over here, I haven't seen a monk casting his vote during the election but there is a monk here who relieved his robe for a suit for a moment to receive a 'Datukship" a local form of knighthood. http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/15633/should-a-buddhist-monk-discard-his-robe-for-a-suit/p1
  • They should not have time to know who to vote for . . .
    . . . too idealistic? :o
    blu3ree
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    lobster said:

    They should not have time to know who to vote for . . .
    . . . too idealistic? :o

    So you think monks meditate 16/365?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    That brings up a question for me. If they vote but are completely removed from politics otherwise, how do they even decide who to vote for? I realize elections in other countries might not be as complex as they are here, but for me at least it's a lot of research and work to know who to vote for, from city major and school board to judges and senators and president. It takes a lot of figuring, so, how do they do that if they cannot interact regarding politics?
  • LincLinc Community Instigator Detroit Moderator
    I think there are good issues to get involved in.

    I'm reminded of Catholic nun Sister Simone speaking before a US House panel last week regarding the proposed cuts to food stamps. A congressman asked why charity couldn't do the work of food stamps, and she schooled him on the scale of the issue and how it's far beyond what charity (even combined giving of every denomination) can handle. She referred to sustenance as a human right.

    I don't think special-interest politics is their place, but I don't think defense of the poor is a special interest.
    Vastmindriverflow
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited August 2013
    Deleted my comment, as it was just political and had nothing to do with the monk discussion. Don't want to get into political discussions, lol.
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    The suttas say monks should refrain from talking about politics, but that doesn't mean they can't vote and I don't see why they shouldn't. I think being socially engaged is also a task of monks - and voting is one way to do this.
    riverflow
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Here's the issue that I saw. During the riots in Bangkok a little over 3 years ago, which resulted in 30 major buildings burned to the ground, at least 86 killed, and several days of what was essentially martial law during the hours of darkess...for several weeks monks (or at least men dressed like monks) were seen with Red Shirt protesters. This led others to feel that monks had given their blessing (not religiously) to the movement, thus making it "okay" to follow the group that was overthrowing the government. That is not a monk's place, even in a nation that doesn't believe in separation of church and state.

    riverflowkarmablues
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    To imagine that a monk or nun is somehow exempt or exempted from the society in which he or she lives and receives lodging and other accommodations is both idealistic and false from where I sit. What sort of 'monk' or 'nun' might it be who could not take an understanding into the market place?

    How and to what degree s/he might utilize and test his/her teachings in the market place is a personal choice and personal responsibility. But one thing is for sure -- in the same way that holding delusion at arm's length does not work in the layman's search for peace, so equally -- or perhaps more emphatically -- it does not work for the aspiring monk or nun.

    Just my two cents.
    Citta
  • eeh...most politicians make it very public that they are religious...so why wouldn't a monk vote or even run for office.
    MaryAnne
  • PatrPatr Veteran
    Monks should be detached from worldly issues. Nevertheless, some things cant be helped, but involvement in politics have been clearly spelt out.

    In Chinese , monkhood is known as leaving the family, which also means leaving society and its associated issues.
    vinlynlobsterkarmablues
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    edited August 2013
    Patr said:

    Monks should be detached from worldly issues. Nevertheless, some things cant be helped, but involvement in politics have been clearly spelt out.

    In Chinese , monkhood is known as leaving the family, which also means leaving society and its associated issues.

    Which is just one reason for saying that the Bhikkhu/Bhikkshu/Bhikkuni Sangha is an idea whose time is past .As long as there are nuns and monks, and numbers of both are rapidly declining, of course they should vote.
    As Churchill said ( in so many words ) Democracy is the least worst option...use it.
  • PatrPatr Veteran
    The Sangha and the. Vinaya Pitaka was spelt out by the Buddha Sakyamuni for the benefit of those who intend to strictly follow the teachings, meaning the bhikkus.

    Who are we to specify changes, more so if we are not the ordained.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Patr said:

    The Sangha and the. Vinaya Pitaka was spelt out by the Buddha Sakyamuni for the benefit of those who intend to strictly follow the teachings, meaning the bhikkus.

    Who are we to specify changes, more so if we are not the ordained.

    I am not in favor of monks being involved in politics, although I have no problem with them voting.

    But in the past 2,500 years the world has changed. Perhaps Buddhism needs to evolve, as well. When I was a principal, one of the things I learned was to sometimes ask, "Why do we do that?"

    riverflow
  • vinlyn said:


    So you think monks meditate 16/365?

    I wish.

    It would keep them out of politics, statesmanship and suppressing the Unenlightened.
    Again ideally, the sangha is dependent on society but outside of politics. In a sense, they have left society to be independent and should if possible remain so . . . too idealistic? Might have worked once upon a time?

    However times and ideas of Sangha change. So monk vote, run states, support rebellion in fact . . . not sure they are monks in anything but name . . .

    I do not consider voting a necessary precept or skilfull action. For an engaged Buddhist it might well be.
  • I believe that politics should be avoided by any monk or avid follower of the Buddha. My reasons are vast and I am not in the mood or state to type everything out, but this 5.30min video will help to explain what some of my points are. Please feel free to comment on it and your own opinions. I myself am subscribed to this channel on youtube as I personally find his videos very informative and bang on the money, some of you may highly disagree..

  • lobster said:

    They should not have time to know who to vote for . . .
    . . . too idealistic? :o

    They probably are not good at time management.
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    edited September 2013
    footiam said:

    Someone said that monks should not be involved in politics because Buddha supposedly said this:
    "It isn't right, monks, that sons of good families, on having gone forth out of faith from home to the homeless life, should get engaged in such topics of conversation, i.e., conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state... talk of whether things exist or not.

    Would you then think that monks should not vote during an election?

    No they should not (be allowed to ) vote. Nor if they are allowed should they vote. If you have left the homelife then you have left the homelife. Period.

    Voting requires "conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state... talk of whether things exist or not" so it would mean a serious breach in their cultivation.

    /Victor

    EDIT: Nor should they demonstrate nor take part in any political (or other "worldly") activity.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I don't have a problem with them voting, but I do have a problem with them influencing the voting of others, and as Victorious said they should not demonstrate or take part in political action.
  • its their right i think as a citizen. its just that they should not be coersed or persuaded whom to vote and whom not to vote. i mean they should really use their own honest choice in casting their votes.
  • Most monks I know vote. I thought it was interesting that even those living side by side together for years in a monastery under the same Master seem to vote with the same diversity that your average neighborhood would.
  • karasti said:

    That brings up a question for me. If they vote but are completely removed from politics otherwise, how do they even decide who to vote for? I realize elections in other countries might not be as complex as they are here, but for me at least it's a lot of research and work to know who to vote for, from city major and school board to judges and senators and president. It takes a lot of figuring, so, how do they do that if they cannot interact regarding politics?

    That's a very enlightening comment. Never think about that. I always think there probably are many people who just vote without research. Just follow their noses and influenced by promises of politicians.
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