Footnote #1) Meditate daily to increase mindfulness, morality, compassion, insight, and wisdom. Writing about this kingdom, which was centered around the upper Irrawaddy, Michael Aung Thwin observes, [T]he protective capacity of the state in twelfth and thirteenth-century Burma was a strong one; it was not a violent or chaotic society but an ordered and hierarchical one, concerned not with individual political freedom as a measure of happiness, but with social and political order, ruled not by independent lords and armies, but by a sovereign and his officials, and pacified by a [Buddhist] primate and his monks. Gombrich, Richard, and Gananath Obeysekere. Suksamran, Somboon. It requires that form of political leadership which assures the people of its strength and their protection but at the same time looks beyond the boundaries imposed by location, time, belief and intellect. For example, the great Buddhist saint Milarepa (c. 1050 ce) is associated with several holy sites in Nepal. 2 Responses to Politics, Buddhism, and Moral Responsibility. There are a number of features of Buddhism that make it particularly attractive to those frustrated by the terms of the current debates within our own and other societies. The eighteenth century brought British incursions into the subcontinent, while the next century saw the establishment of French hegemony in Indochina. Ithaca, N.Y., 1975. The teachings of various schools influenced and were adapted by Korea and Japan. This entry reviews the relationship between politics and Buddhism from four perspectives. Bartholomeusz, Tessa. Buddhism in Taiwan: Religion and the State 1660–1990. ed. There are many tragedies associated with this new situation, most notably the loss of life we have seen from attack and counter-attack. The political position of Buddhism at the end of the colonial era created institutional arrangements and led to events that still resonated decades later. Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia. Secondly, there has been a challenge to the separation of Church and State. The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. Honolulu, 1986. Smith, Donald Eugene. Buddhist Ethics provides an overview of Buddhist ethics in different traditions; it also examines issues arising from their application in the contemporary world. He claimed that anyone who insisted that metaphysical questions be answered before he could follow the path to enlightenment was like a man wounded by a poisoned arrow who would not let a surgeon remove the arrow until he found out who shot the arrow, what his name was, and so on. Goldstein, Melvyn C., and Matthew T. Kapstein. What this means is that the beliefs a person has and the way of life they lead will influence where they finish up in the eternal scheme of things. Rose and Fisher (1970, p. 9) reflect on the many migrations that have affected Nepal over the centuries, their combined impact "encrusted with mythological lore." Daisaku Ikeda, “Peace and Human Security: A Buddhist Perspective for the Twenty-First Century” (1995). Snellgrove, David. 85, 151, Dīgha-nikāya 1.99). Kandy, Sri Lanka, 1978. Aggression (patighanusaya ), indulgence (kamasukhalikanuyoga ), and other spiritual hazards regularly upset the equilibrium of peoples, states, and the world at large. In Vietnam, where French colonialism led to a society divided between Buddhists and Roman Catholics, the 1930s saw a Buddhist renaissance that accelerated with the struggle for independence, particularly after the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. The challenges are many and complex, partly due to the re-emergence of religion itself as a powerful and aggressive political force. In fact ideals can be a powerful political force as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela have shown. This book offers new insights for scholars of Buddhism, and it will stimulate new debates. An overview of Buddhism's adaptation to change in South and Southeast Asia. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates. Most famously, in June 1963 Ven. Bechert, Heinz. New York, 1954. The reason why Buddhism can be used to address social issues becomes apparent when you explore all the studies done by psychologists, like Carl Jung and neurologists who study the effect of Buddhism and meditation on the brain. Walpola Rahula's still much-cited work Bhiksuvage Urumaya (Heritage of the B… The socio-political aspect of Buddhism deserves greater exposure at international platforms as the possibility of a casteless society (annihilation of caste) can only be found in a well-established and maintained Buddhist state. You can readily observe this in Buddhist temples and centres where it is not seldom to encounter ‘unique snowflakes’ where they make themselves identified by their manner, speech and even the way they dress. For most of my childhood my father's Buddhist faith was little more than silence -- early morning meditations that I never even witnessed. FWBOarticle 07:45, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC) I'm not sure what political correctness you are referring to, but I think your edits improved the article. In this interpretation the Buddha is a great social reformer concerned not just with the Sangha but also with the wider world. Nyingmapa Buddhism was the faith of the early Tibetan migrants to Sikkim, the Bhutia people, and became the state religion. In time, other indigenous communities (e.g., Lepcha, Gurung, Rai) accepted both Namgyal dynastic rule and Buddhism. Given the dominance of Tibetan forms of Buddhism in Nepal (other sects are present but of modest significance), and the always-sensitive proximity to China, no promotion of Tibetan political rights, or public veneration of the Dalai Lama for that matter, is permitted. In the West we saw the emergence of what was called “value-based” politics. Although Buddhism's primary scriptures do not set down a precise political philosophy, a polysemous reading of the Pali Sutta Pitaka reveals a political ideal that complements the soteriological teachings of the Buddha. Chambersburg, Pa., 1978. Widespread but usually unvoiced sympathy among the saṅgha for the dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi periodically erupts into public demonstrations. The Theravāda polities of South and Southeast Asia provide good examples of this symbiosis of Buddhism and political authority. Deep beneath the surface of both Western and Muslim societies forces were at work which were to burst through to the surface in a dramatic way. A. L. Basham indicates this when he writes: "In place of the traditional policy of territorial expansion [Aśoka] substituted conquest by Righteousness (as we here inadequately translate by the very pregnant word dharma )" (1954, p. 54). What is remarkable is the close theological connection (including yogic practices and iconography) between Buddhism and Hinduism, something remarked on as far back as the seventh century ce by Hsüan Tsang. Siam (Thailand) alone escaped foreign subjugation, largely through the capable statecraft of three perceptive monarchs who ruled the country between 1851 and 1925: Mongkut (later Rama IV), Chulalongkorn, and Vajiravudh. For radical atheists there is no irony in this because religion is the problem. The Presence of the Past: Chronicles, Politics, and Culture in Sinhala Life. He was a prominent member of the Thir…, In a seminal article from 1969, Giovanni Sartori drew a sharp distinction between the sociology of politics and political sociology. They understood the meaning of transcendence, reconciliation and co-operation. A sense of the contribution of Buddhism to Nepal's cultural and spiritual identity is everywhere apparent either in great historic structures (e.g., the Swayambhunath Stupa outside of Kathmandu), or in some of its contemporary leading personalities, such as the role of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, the Nyingmapa terton, "discoverer of holy treasure" and founder of the Shechen temple. As elsewhere in Buddhist Asia, Burmese political rulers rewarded cooperative monks, and the ruling junta frequently "makes merit" through major public demonstrations of institutional support for the faith, seeking to justify its rule to a skeptical and downtrodden society. Buddhism emerged as the only foundation upon which to build a Burmese national consciousness, as various nationalist groups, including "heritage protection" (wuthanu athin ), and monks such as U Wissera and U Ottama assumed quasi-political leadership roles. Encyclopedia of Religion. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Analyse the application and relevance of Buddhist thought in today’s context and in relation to the current viewpoints of modern economics, politics, sociology and environmental studies. I have further developed these ideas in “The Politician as an Agent for Compassion”, address delivered at St. George's Cathedral, Perth, Western Australia, 23 September 2001. A takeover by Buddhist Japan created much less of a culture shock, though, than did Victorian Christian imperialism, which attacked the emerging sense of national uniqueness and purpose in British-occupied Asian countries, and thereby also disrupted the intimate and still developing connection between Buddhism and political identity. Japji Keating November 3, 2020 at 12:53 pm # This is a great and courageous endeavor! Buddhism can be unique in its emphasis of compassion and the importance of caring for all humans as a large family. View Blog Buddhism in Politics from REL 2300 at Miami Dade College, Miami. Fourthly, and very importantly, there has been a radical re-emergence of the great either-or of orthodox religion Heaven and Hell, as political instruments both inciting violent action on the one hand and disciplining behaviour in the here and now on the other. New York, 1967. The relationship between Buddhism and politics, then, has been and continues to be a complex one, and it varies considerably among Asia's very diverse Buddhist communities. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck has, as one commentator notes, "enlightened but constrained attitudes towards progress and development" (Crossette, 1995, p. 182). The Heritage of the Buddha. Encyclopedia.com. Buddhism Transformed: Religious Change in Sri Lanka. relations between Buddhism and political order in the late pre-modern and modern period by questioning the contested relationship between monastic and secular power. Albany, N.Y., 1996. Jump to navigation Jump to search. Second, it isolates historical developments in religious and political power in the Buddhist tradition, showing the sometimes complementary, sometimes competitive interaction of the two forces. In Mahāyāna Buddhist Asia, by contrast, Japan experienced the rise of powerful Buddhist temples and even armies of "priest-warriors" (sohei) from the time of Prince Regent Taishi Shōtoku (c. 600 ce). By contrast, the government of Burma, long isolationist and introverted, was completely unprepared to meet the ideological and intellectual challenges of colonialism and modernization. In fact, Trevor Ling has coined the term "royal Buddhism"to describe the increasingly symbiotic relationship between saṃgha and monarchy in the medieval period (though it was of course not wholly devoid of antagonism; see p. 133). So, here are some thoughts on Buddhism and politics, as non-dualistically as I can manage them. Metraux, Daniel. Notwithstanding the apolitical nature of the teachings of Gautama Ṡākyamuni, the fifth-century-bce Buddha, and despite the stereotype of a passivist, non-aggressive dharma, it can be argued that the seeds of a political worldview exist in the Pali Canon, a scripture composed of three "baskets" or collections, which all Buddhists acknowledge as a primary source. Tambiah, Stanley. The Aggañña Sutta in particular urges equal rights and opportunities for all people simply as fellow members of humanity, irrespective of caste or race (see also Majjihima Nikāya 2. Religious texts are once again being treated as statements of fact rather than as guides to meaning and life. Hopes were high that science would replace ideology (whether secular or religious), democracy would replace tyranny and justice would replace exploitation.1. The ideal of harmonious coexistence between the two and among the latter lies at the core of this philosophy, which also emphasizes the individual's right to pursue his or her fortune, but not at the expense of others (Anguttara Nikāya 2.95). A study of how Buddhism in Southeast Asia has helped strengthen the political aims of national rulers. Political Buddhism. New York, 1995. . In many cases nationalism has played a significant role in politics; this slippery concept may be defined as a sometimes chauvinistic devotion to an ethnic, religious, or political community, with a concomitant impetus to advance its interests and traditions, often at the expense of other communities. Religio-cultural issues also run deep in Myanmar, where in 1962 a rogue military junta seized power from the pro-Buddhist government of Prime Minister U Nu, who had styled himself as the Mahathammada or true leader of Buddhism. The last of his lineage was the twelfth chogyal, Palden Thondup Namgyal, who died in 1982. Apart from the occasional anomaly (e.g., a Tibetan Buddhist exile guerrilla presence in Mustang), Buddhism has no political role to play in contemporary Nepal. All beings and phenomena are said to exist or occur only because of their relationship with other beings or phenomena. Metaphysical questions did not interest the Buddha. From being moderate in thinking and bridge-building in practice a good deal of religion has become aggressive and divisive, giving a sharp and uncompromising edge to politics. Heine-Geldern, Robert. I will join with you on every step! Indeed the various Buddhist techniques of meditation have become part and parcel of modern psychology, proven as aids to mental and physical well-being. Basham, Arthur L. The Wonder that Was India. Th…, Burke, Edmund Among the other issues Buddhism must grapple with are rampant consumerism, the deluge of Western popular culture, and political tyranny, often supported or simply ignored by the international community. The Buddhist monk Nichiren's reforms (c. 1270 ce) and his promotion of the Saddharma-puṇḍarīka Sūtra (Lotus Sūtra ) as an intrinsic aspect of national identity—and of himself as something of a messiah—resulted in a unique situation where "much religio-political capital was made of his inheritance in subsequent centuries" (see Harris, p. 15). It varies in its intensity and in the particular political forms it takes but it can be seen at work in each of the major religions. Aung-Thwin, Michael. This created an immediate vacuum, with which the saṅgha was unable to cope. Coupled with pressures on the environment, the ageing of the population and the emergence of China and India as significant competitors, Western politics has never been more complex and demanding. Edmund Burke (1729–1797), British statesman and political writer, was born in Dublin, Ireland. Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West. Early sources indicate that the Buddha was sometimes diverted from supra-mundane interests to dwell on a variety of politically related matters. U Nu's life (1905–1995) extends over decades of profound political and social change in Burma (Myanmar). Paris, 1952. Important as well is Buddhism’s sophisticated account of the relationship between personal development and social and political engagement that recognizes the connection between the two, with engagement helping develop the person and the person helping develop the community. Where Politics and Buddhism Intersect. In the biographies of the Buddha there is thus a strong sense of dichotomous contrast: The "world" (of family, wealth, and politics) must be renounced in the pursuit of enlightenment. So Close to Heaven: The Vanishing Buddhist Kingdoms of the Himalayas. London and New York, 2002. After years of interfering with its affairs, and alarmed by continuing border problems with China, in 1975 India annexed Sikkim. It just shows that their main interest is with politics and they are less interested in the Buddha Dharma. It is the topic of the times with some seeing religion as the liberation of politics from relativism and cynicism whilst others see it as the poisoning of politics with fear and intolerance. Asian Power and Politics: The Cultural Dimensions of Authority. Viet Nam: Sociologie d'une Guerrre. The Khmer court in ninth-through thirteenth-century Cambodia extravagantly endorsed a cult of Hindu-Buddhist divine kingship, which reached its apogee during the reign of Jayavarman VII (1181–c. Pye, Lucien W., with Mary W. Pye. In Sukhothai (middle Thailand, 1230–1378 ce), the respected king Rama Kamheng was a precursor of the royal Buddhism associated with the great Ratnakosin dynasty (1782–present), in which the monarchs are not only the foremost sponsors of the Buddhist faith, but also symbols of national unity. Canberra, 1968. Smith, Bardwell L. Religion and Legitimation of Power in Sri Lanka. London, 1977. It is important for Buddhism because Buddhism is a global, world faith. This marriage spurred the creation of a number of politicized Sinhala Buddhist societies and nationalist (deshapremi ) groups, which at times have had significant influence over state affairs. In this post-enlightenment outlook women are once again viewed in functional terms and gays and lesbians seen as parts of a deviant sub-culture fostered by licentiousness and immorality. But let us be careful. Yet although the Vinaya Piṭaka undoubtedly gives us a picture of an early Indian community of mendicants organized along "socialist" and even "democratic" lines, this cannot be taken as a political model for lay society. When asked about the role Buddhism plays in the state, Ajahn Pasanno stressed that with his experience in Thailand, Buddhism does not engage with the state or directly become involved in the political process; although sometimes, Buddhist monks are consulted for advice. No eschatological dilemma or otherworldly goals preoccupy the Buddha; rather, his teachings rely primarily on seeing the facts of life as they are (yathabhuta-dassana ) and eradicating superstition and useless social practices through reason (takka ) and analysis (vibhajja ). Its doctrine is not primarily concerned with political systems or even social reform, which are considered to be irrelevant to salvation (Gombrich, p. 30). Ithaca, N.Y., 1956. Aris, Michael. 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