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Let's jump right into the deep end

by Denis Wallez (@DenisWallez)
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Religion and politics, the two topics to avoid around a table, if you wish to maintain the familial peace at Christmas… or? Rather than avoiding / suppressing such topics, we might be better off learning how to have civil conversations about them, for these refer to tremendous causal forces in our world, which we shouldn't ignore!

Politics tends to have a “universal” dimension, and so does Buddhism, so there’s necessarily some overlap of concerns… But there’s also a conflict between politics (relying very much on ‘views’ and ‘projects’) and Buddhism (aiming for freedom from preconceptions).

The Buddha advised against speaking of kings, ministers, armies, dangers, battles, cities, countries, heroes, etc. (in the samaññaphala sutta —DN 2) and yet…

Ashoka (∼268bce–232bce) used the expression dhaṃma lipi (Prakrit language in the Brahmi script: 𑀥𑀁𑀫𑀮𑀺𑀧𑀺, “inscriptions of the Dharma”) to describe his own Edicts. The Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution initiated by Chinese Emperor Wuzong, in the years 842–845, proves that politicians could fear the influence and power of Buddhist establishments. Buddhism was instrumental to legitimate, and to rally support (supernatural and popular) for, the state in medieval (Koryŏ) Korea. Tibet has long been as Buddhist theocracy. Prior WWII, a concept of ‘Japanese uniqueness’ was being promoted and accordingly Shintoism was the state religion in Japan, but Z

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