Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Anarchism and Buddhism

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

Recently I have been interacting with a Dutch Buddhist who is also a follower of anarchism (which is also referred to as libertarianism in some parts of the world), and I have found it interesting to consider what the meeting of the two might mean. Personally I’ve never been that interested in political philosophy, and the whole idea of class struggle is something that I have rarely contemplated.

I’ve always thought that if you decline to be fitted into other people’s compartments for easy identification, you can consider yourself more of an individual, more free in a way. Which is why I don’t apply isms to myself, because they always seem to come with certain expectations. One of the main things I have learnt from Buddhism is that a lot of the movement towards freedom comes from dissolving ones own previously held convictions, the restrictions we have placed on ourselves.

Of course this is also about identity, a lot of people define themselves by being a member of certain groups. This then brings in attachment to the groups ideals and goals, which then starts to stir the emotions. It seems a set of behaviours which is not really conducive to the path...

How do you feel about identity and being part of movements? How does it work with your Buddhism?

person

Comments

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I'm sure @Jason will reply far more fluidly, but the old saying "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem" seemed to jump into my head on reading your post...

    Everyone is a part of something, even if they declare themselves to be entirely independent...

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    Being free to be curious and play with ideas, to think for myself is important to me. I find pretty much every group has some level of group think where, "when everyone thinks the same, no one thinks at all".

    I agree with the idea that politics is becoming some people's new religion. And maybe this is more of an American phenomenon with our puritan history, but our political tribes these days often come with their own forms of heresy, public shaming and excommunication.

    I think there is some relation with the idea of renunciation. When we belong to social groups there is an inevitable pressure to conform to retain membership and the personal connections and security benefits that come with it.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited November 22

    Meditation can be a process of unfolding how we continually create our own identity.

    Seeing how we habitually manipulate all of the raw data that we receive through our sense gates shows us the mechanisms in play that maintain our identity.
    The degree to which we meditatively stop trying to control those data feeds in any way is the same degree to which our identity is denied the raw materials needed for its maintenance.

    It is perfectly possible to do but as it directly threatens the very expression of the human condition that our identity manifest as.. only by really understanding how our expression of identity is intrinsically linked to suffering's cause, would any of us seriously proceed any distance through that process.

    Be part of any movement that seems good to support. Just question why the support of any movement does not also contain the seeds of harmfulness while your identity is still feeding of it.

    personlobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited November 22

    @federica said:
    I'm sure @Jason will reply far more fluidly, but the old saying "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem" seemed to jump into my head on reading your post...

    Everyone is a part of something, even if they declare themselves to be entirely independent...

    So what if you think one of the biggest problems we face is the strife caused by political polarization? Does that mean if you pick a team to fight for and are not working towards the solution to that particular problem you are complicit in it?

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @person said: So what if you think one of the biggest problems we face is the strife caused by political polarization? Does that mean if you pick a team to fight for and are not working towards the solution to that particular problem you are complicit in it?

    If you pick a team to fight for, you're backing the team in the fight. The reason you pick the team is because you agree with their ideology, their rationale, their reasoning. There may be things about the team you're not entirely happy about - well, you can't have it all ways all the time - but pitching your flag in their camp - IS doing something. Isn't it?

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited November 22

    @federica said:

    @person said: So what if you think one of the biggest problems we face is the strife caused by political polarization? Does that mean if you pick a team to fight for and are not working towards the solution to that particular problem you are complicit in it?

    If you pick a team to fight for, you're backing the team in the fight. The reason you pick the team is because you agree with their ideology, their rationale, their reasoning. There may be things about the team you're not entirely happy about - well, you can't have it all ways all the time - but pitching your flag in their camp - IS doing something. Isn't it?

    Sorry, I don't think I worded my statement well. I'm asking if by picking a team you are part of the problem of polarization? Not that one can't advocate for a cause without being partisan, but that is a difficult needle to thread and you are adding energy to the teammates that are causing strife and division.

    So going by the notion "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem", does joining a team make one complicit in the problem of polarization and strife?

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited November 22

    How do you feel about identity and being part of movements? How does it work with your Buddhism?

    I find this by Gary Snyder interesting...

    Buddhist Anarchism ...

    Avatamsaka (Kegon) Buddhist philosophy sees the world as a vast interrelated network in which all objects and creatures are necessary and illuminated. From one standpoint, governments, wars, or all that we consider “evil” are uncompromisingly contained in this totalistic realm. The hawk, the swoop and the hare are one. From the “human” standpoint we cannot live in those terms unless all beings see with the same enlightened eye. The Bodhisattva lives by the sufferer’s standard, and he must be effective in aiding those who suffer.

    The mercy of the West has been social revolution; the mercy of the East has been individual insight into the basic self/void. We need both. They are both contained in the traditional three aspects of the Dharma path: wisdom (prajna), meditation (dhyana), and morality (sila). Wisdom is intuitive knowledge of the mind of love and clarity that lies beneath one’s ego-driven anxieties and aggressions. Meditation is going into the mind to see this for yourself — over and over again, until it becomes the mind you live in. Morality is bringing it back out in the way you live, through personal example and responsible action, ultimately toward the true community (sangha) of “all beings.”

    This last aspect means, for me, supporting any cultural and economic revolution that moves clearly toward a free, international, classless world. It means using such means as civil disobedience, outspoken criticism, protest, pacifism, voluntary poverty and even gentle violence if it comes to a matter of restraining some impetuous redneck. It means affirming the widest possible spectrum of non-harmful individual behavior — defending the right of individuals to smoke hemp, eat peyote, be polygynous, polyandrous or homosexual. Worlds of behavior and custom long banned by the Judaeo-Capitalist-Christian-Marxist West. It means respecting intelligence and learning, but not as greed or means to personal power. Working on one’s own responsibility, but willing to work with a group. “Forming the new society within the shell of the old” — the IWW slogan of fifty years ago.

    The traditional cultures are in any case doomed, and rather than cling to their good aspects hopelessly it should be remembered that whatever is or ever was in any other culture can be reconstructed from the unconscious, through meditation. In fact, it is my own view that the coming revolution will close the circle and link us in many ways with the most creative aspects of our archaic past. If we are lucky we may eventually arrive at a totally integrated world culture with matrilineal descent, free-form marriage, natural-credit communist economy, less industry, far less population and lots more national parks.

    I think if one becomes too attached to labels, they could become set in their ways ....

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 23

    I would not buy a used car from Boris Bozo Johnson or Ex-Potato-Head DJ T-Rump Stake out

    I vote green
    I do not support a return to lame Lama Feudalism in Tibet or State Hinayana in Sri Lanka

    I am anarchic by inclination

    There is some form for you, prison or not ...

  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer
    edited November 23

    Identity can give you a sense of direction and purpose; attachment to identity can give you dogmatism and tribalism. Mindfulness and non-attachment are key.

    On politics, I cannot agree with the statements of some Buddhists who seem to say that politics is not important and that you should just focus on your "practice"- even so far as to say that this is what the Buddha himself would recommend. I'd like to think more of the Buddha than that.

    I'd say it takes a certain degree of ignorance, privilege and comfort to think that politics is not important. To my ear, they might as well be saying that compassion for others is not important- in which case, what is their "practice" good for except for narcissistic self-involvement? If that's Buddhism, count me out. Thank goodness it's not.

    lobsterKeromeDavid
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Jason;

    That was nothing short of beautiful. Thank you.

    Jason
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 24

    Be part of any movement that seems good to support.

    That is the nature of Fluid Dharma. I wonder how far we can drift across the spectrums of our early alignments and points of stasis?

    @Sam8 said:

    I'd say it takes a certain degree of ignorance, privilege and comfort to think that politics is not important.

    Indeed. Guilty as charged.
    Having all those privileges, enabled me to engage in the comfort of The Search for Wisdom, independent of prevailing politics. That is a freedom.
    http://phrontistery.info/govern.html

    If only we had a wise horse ...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houyhnhnm

    🤪

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @David said:
    @Jason;

    That was nothing short of beautiful. Thank you.

    I wouldn't go that far, but thanks.

    David
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Jason said:

    @David said:
    @Jason;

    That was nothing short of beautiful. Thank you.

    I wouldn't go that far, but thanks.

    It has been an interesting few months and I was not in any way exaggerating.

    Any and all insight into the nature of interbeing is like raindrops on the earth. The more drops, the deeper the penetration.

    It is very nice and I won't take any drop for granted.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Sam8 said:
    On politics, I cannot agree with the statements of some Buddhists who seem to say that politics is not important and that you should just focus on your "practice"- even so far as to say that this is what the Buddha himself would recommend. I'd like to think more of the Buddha than that.

    I'd say it takes a certain degree of ignorance, privilege and comfort to think that politics is not important. To my ear, they might as well be saying that compassion for others is not important

    There is having a political standpoint and there's being politically engaged, I would say the former is kind of a necessity in a democracy, but I am not very much for the latter. I generally think the less political debate one follows the better. The vast majority of one's political activity can be about voting - what party and what person one should vote for. To do that, one needs a standpoint and an informed opinion.

    But if you are going to be an activist, perhaps it might be better to spend your energy on engaged buddhism than on politics. Generally politics tarnishes what it touches, and one sees a lot of compromised thinking. People who might once have been idealistic but have since left it all behind in favour of money grubbing and addiction to power. It's rare that you see someone like Obama who still seems to have some impulse to do the right thing.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Sam8 said:
    Identity can give you a sense of direction and purpose; attachment to identity can give you dogmatism and tribalism. Mindfulness and non-attachment are key.

    I identify by non-identification. My love is onmidirectional.

    On politics, I cannot agree with the statements of some Buddhists who seem to say that politics is not important and that you should just focus on your "practice"- even so far as to say that this is what the Buddha himself would recommend. I'd like to think more of the Buddha than that.

    I'd say it takes a certain degree of ignorance, privilege and comfort to think that politics is not important. To my ear, they might as well be saying that compassion for others is not important- in which case, what is their "practice" good for except for narcissistic self-involvement? If that's Buddhism, count me out. Thank goodness it's not.

    It isn't that politics is unimportant, it is that taking sides perpetuates the divide. You are right about Buddha in my opinion because he worked counter to the caste system and tried to influence royalty towards reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.

    Interestingly enough, H.H. The Dalai Lama has given praise to the Green Party earlier this month saying "Buddha would be green" although as he says, he is retired from politics.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    The Dalai Lama has given praise to the Green Party earlier this month saying "Buddha would be green"

Sign In or Register to comment.