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I think we had a thread that touched on this recently:
I’m personally very conflicted politically. I have strong values and a sense of moral good and bad, like most people. But I can’t decide to what extent I want the government to impose those values on other people. On the one hand I think it would be great if people stopped smoking so much tobacco, but I’d rather that change came from education than from government-imposed restrictions.
Emperor Asoka wrote that, throughout history
progress among the people through Dhamma has been done by two means, by Dhamma regulations and by persuasion. Of these, Dhamma regulation is of little effect, while persuasion has much more effect. The Dhamma regulations I have given are that various animals must be protected. And I have given many other Dhamma regulations also. But it is by persuasion that progress among the people through Dhamma has had a greater effect in respect of harmlessness to living beings and non-killing of living beings.
I think I would have the government act likewise: encourage moral behaviour through persuasion rather than regulation. So in the case of these CEOs who earn so much more than their employees, I wouldn’t make that illegal; but I would somehow like to show them why it’s immoral, and to let them make their own changes.
For a Buddhist view of politics, I recommend Asoka’s edicts (found at the link above). I think they show what Buddhists have traditionally seen as ideal leadership.
We should do all the things that make us happy, in limited doses so we do not suffer addiction, and whilst keeping in mind that this too shall pass and we should be ready and able to let it go at any time.
This is it for me. Buddhism isn't a list of rules; it's a source of guidance. Use it only as much as it proves useful. Find out whether your attachment to sports teams is causing you suffering, and then react accordingly.
When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering' — then you should abandon them.
- Kalama Sutta
A therapist once told me a CBT trick he had learned, which I found helpful.
When guilt arises, acknowledge it and think about it very deliberately for two minutes. (He even recommended timing this period with a stopwatch.) Carefully think about ways of resolving the issue and then move on. Let it go. After two minutes, he said, dwelling on it becomes “rumination” and essentially unhelpful and self-attacking.
I’ve found it easier to move on when I’ve actually dedicated some real time to the issue. Further guilt doesn’t build up so easily because part of me feels I’ve done everything I can.
Does that make sense? I only mentioned it because it’s been helpful to me, and I know that different from people find different techniques work for them.
Thank you @lobster
I’ve been listening to a good podcast recently called The Zen Studies Podcast. There are two episodes about Zen meditation which I can recommend:
It’s a very straightforward format, almost like a lecture but very accessible. It’s been very useful for me anyway.
In yesterday’s Guardian:
“Supporters of radical Buddhist nationalist groups [in Sri Lanka] have been blamed for days of arson attacks and vandalism against Muslim-owned properties in Kandy which have prompted the government to declare its first state of emergency since the end of the civil war era.
[...] Analysts said Buddhist nationalist groups had sharpened their anti-Muslim rhetoric since the end of the civil war in 2009. Two people were killed and many more injured in Buddhist attacks on Muslims in June 2014. Several of the Buddhist extremist leaders accused of instigating the violence and are facing legal proceedings for other offences.”
So I thought the Buddhist nationalists in Myanmar were a reasonably unique phenomenon. I guess many religions right now are having to come to terms with violence and abuse in their names.
It’s certainly revealing a wrong view of mine that Buddhists are better than that. It’s interesting to observe my reaction to this news. I’m appalled and confused in a way that I’m not when it’s “just another Islamic fundamentalist”. Yet terrorism is as foreign to Islamic principles as it is to Buddhist. I should know better :-|