Introduction To Buddhist Socialism – Preface To The First Edition

Introduction To Buddhist Socialism

We are delighted, to publish the first edition of our book “ Introduction To Buddhist Socialism ”. Through this book, Master Maitreya Samyaksambuddha has done an immense and tremendous work for the whole humanity. Today, the whole world has plunged into a controversy, for the supremacy of the religions and extending the capitalism throughout the world, also it is enforce into religious conflicts and crisis. The human society has turned to violence, killing, terrorism, oppression, wrong views, etc. Societies may also succumb to the nihilistic error, where members advisedly deceive and exploit their companions, often for money and power, and often behind a facade of social concern. After reviewing the present situation, we found that people are either unaware or have forgotten about the Buddha’s teaching of Peace, and Compassionate Wisdom and term of the Ti –lakkana (The Three characteristics of existence) Anicca (Impermanence, constant change), Dukkha (Discontent, Suffering) and Anatta (Not – self). It would be a reliable task for phenomenology to expose the cognitive and emotional meanings that support such scoffer intentions, to which our culture largely acquiesces. As Nagarjuna say, “ Without (an absolute) self, where will, there be the property ? Relieved from ‘ self ’ and ‘ property ’ there will be no selfishness and no possessiveness.” The path to enlightenment then can be seen as increasing freedom from possession. This nescience of the Buddhist path is the real cause of suffering of any community. Liberation is relational determination made fully accessible to consciousness. Spirituality is the cure (Nirvana) of the cultural nature of humanity. The True Evolution of humanity is spiritual and non-technological, transforming not only the mind but also liberating society through pacifism, social justice, wisdom and ecology. These are the four pillars of the Cure (Nirvana) for the ills of the world that are war, poverty, ignorance and pollution. We do not need wars, we need the Buddha’s path.

2600 years ago in India, Buddha revealed the true cause of human suffering, also the true nature of things, evince profound knowledge, to overcome our own suffering. He taught us ‘ The Four Noble Truths.’ In the four noble truths, the Buddha teaches that unsatisfactory exists ; that it has an identifiable causes ; that it can be terminated ; and that there is a path by which unsatisfactory can be terminated. Dissatisfaction (Dukkha) forms the basis of the Buddha’s teaching in the four noble truths. As the Buddha recognized in his first noble truth and as Freud agreed many centuries later, there is a residual dissatisfaction in even the most satisfying experience. The object always disappoints. Although dukkha is usually translated in English as suffering, the term suffering fails to capture the philosophical and psychological underpinnings of dukkha, which while it includes ordinary suffering also incorporates the more profound ideas of impermanence, emptiness, and insubstantiality. Buddhism teaches that people’s lives and society are inseparable. From this standpoint, the distortions in the age and in society reflect distortions in the people’s lives. The concept of dependent origination is central to an understanding of Buddhist doctrine. It speaks to the interdependence of all things positing that nothing can exist outside of its relationship with another. All phenomenon exist or occur solely through their relationship with other beings and phenomenon. Although the Buddha’s teaching is ancient, it is compatible with our modern world. It is based on scientific view, so that in spite of extensive period, it still seems very influential, innovative, socially beneficial, and proximate with western philosophy and psychology. Buddhist philosophy is very useful for the western science, also for the scientific innovations in many sectors such as in, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, Relativism, Neurosciences, Transpersonal Psychology etc.

The purpose of this present book is, upgrade to communities, promote, perpetuity of social, ethical, ecological and humanitarian value, on the basis of the Buddhist spirituality, instead of materialistic and anti – religious dogma. It is influenced by the “ Right Livelihood ” as preached in the Eightfold Path of the Buddhist Philosophy. Right Livelihood means, what one does for living and how one gives economical support to one’s family as well as to oneself. It goes beyond individualism because it is a collective matter in that, what we do inevitably affects others. Human beings should be concerned about their moral and ethical wellbeing because, what we do, affects others. This ideal are based on the Buddhist worldview of dependent origination, a concept of interrelation where all things in the realms of humanity and nature are dependent upon each other for their existence and nothing can exist in isolation. Right Livelihood always involves how our actions affect ourselves and others. This is one kind of social and psychological kamma. No one escapes from its fruitions. Killing or stealing for money, power, excitement, pollute the environment, and to become indifferent about its responsibilities is not Right Livelihood. On the contrary, it is both a personal and collective matter, required to doing or engaging in wholesome activities which will reduce our own suffering. Such kind of activities would help us to grow, develop, and express ourselves. Right Livelihood and to do wholesome actions is a central responsibility of every individual towards the humanitarian societies, environment, the preservations of the ecology and the Earth ( Gaia ). These important issues are creatively incorporated through the thirteen chapters in this book by Master Maitreya Samyaksambuddha. He is a creator of Maitriyana, which is a new integrating way of the Buddhist Spirituality. Buddhist Socialism is one of its currents.

With more about Right Livelihood, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar has written in His ‘Buddha And His Dhamma ’ that, “ Every individual has to earn his livelihood. But there are ways and ways of earning one’s Livelihood. Some are bad and some are good. Bad ways are those which cause injury and injustice to others. Good ways are those by which the individual earns his Livelihood without causing injury or injustice to others ”. This is Samma Ajivo. In Buddhism, social responsibility is grounded on the notion of Kamma, Sunyata and Karuna. The practice of compassion is based on the equality of self and others. Authentic compassion is not founded on pity or love, but from “ a respect for all beings, and a realisation that others have a right to be happy and to overcome suffering just as oneself.” This is a compassionate teaching of the Buddhist wisdom, which insists that the people live in a compassionate, joyful and rightful way with each other as well as with all sentient beings. The sixteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra explains that, “ … to cast off all attachments ultimately results in the negation of life itself, for we survive through our various attachments and desires. ” The sense of guilt, when vanished by the existential meditation, due to practice establishes a sublimation of desire (Nirodh – kama) in pursuit of righteousness of the middle way. This analytical existential attitude of the Self is presented in the best way by Compassion, which is the highest form of fidelity to the wisdom and love, ‘ doing the right thing for the right reason ’. With the help of the Buddhist Socialism Venerable Bhante Buddhadasa did a social reformation in Thailand during the seventies. This social revolution is inspirational to every social leader, who wants to do something for the humanity, social upliftment of the unprivileged communities in the world. Our inner transformation will lead us to take the actions that bring about personal fulfilment and help us contribute to the harmony and healthy development of society.

The Maitiryana is a spiritual movement, unifying Hinayana, Mahayana and the Western Wisdom, carries the flame of the “ Samasambudhayana ”which is the most contemporary way to present the Analytical – Existential – Libertarian discourse (Buddha – Dhamma – Sangha). The meta-philosophy of Maitriyana analyzes the social conflicts and ideological forms of repression which generate capitalist discourse, especially being critical and countercultural with respect to the predominance of neo-liberalism and its lack of ethics against poverty and social injustice. But Buddhist Existentialism warns that materialism not only repress the society, but also represses the subject through the internationalization of the morality of the superego. Maitriyana teaches that it is completely fundamental a different way of thinking about nature, evanescing the prevailing ideas of capitalist civilization which reduce the life to an object of consumption. Therefore, Buddhist Existentialism declares that ‘ consumerism is the new opium of the masses which replaces religion ’, it is also clearly understood that the planetary ecological crises is due to the sense of alienation of being in-the-world. It is exactly at this point of a growing awareness about inequality and hunger that Buddhist Existentialism identifies as wrong or regressive to the anti-capitalist tendency, because the spiritual discourse overcomes the opposing poles of capitalism and anti-capitalism, by proposing Socialism as post capitalist era where the sublimated desire to do something for others and for the natural environment will be predominant. In contemporary society under capitalist discourse, one of the ways of the social mandate of jouissance (unconscious attachment) and hedonism is centred on fidelity to the Ego, considering happiness as an individual search lacking of any kind of wisdom and compassion. True happiness is achieved through self realization, hence Maitriyana holds the established equation between happiness, the analytical self realization and the existential awakening (Bodhi) is due to that this lifestyle produce a sense of purpose (Dharma) on society.

Today, the world is also going through the crisis of Capitalism. Capitalism is principally a symbolic order, noting that any economic system rests on a collective symbolic means whereby it is attempted to exchange or sell goods or services. Under the symbolic order of capitalist materialism, the value of merchandise loses its Real form and assumes the symbol of money. Therefore, according to the Maitriyana, socialism should not be presented as a mere economic system but rather as an ethical discourse for society and planetary civilization. The capitalistic powers are ruling all over the world and ceaselessly consuming a lot of natural resources, ecological and environmental products. Apart from this, it also creates a crises of Human values and principles. They do not have the moral principles and the responsibilities towards the humanitarian and spiritual improvement. Because of the strong Capitalism and its absorptions of the natural and humanistic sources, the inequalities among the societies are growing rapidly, and their effects are hideous. This is a root cause of every kind of suffering. With regards to Karl Marx, we can see the actual image of this Capitalistic world, this capitalistic civilization is a root cause of the human suffering and the devastations of the Earth ( Gaia ). Hence ‘ Maitriyana ’ puts forth the antidote of ‘Dharmic civilizations ’against the Capitalistic civilizations. According to Maitriyana, this new model of ‘Dharmic civilization’ should be based on the Ethics of Detachment, being a socialist model, based on Compassion and Spiritual Love towards all living beings. The way of Maitriyana provides a profound path of ‘ Dharmic civilizations ‘ to all the human beings for their spiritual improvement and the liberation from the suffering. In Dharmic civilization, ‘ Master Maitreya Samayaksambuddha ‘ has been creatively integrating socialism, spiritualism, humanistic principles with the responsibilities towards the Ecology and Environment.
Buddhism proffer ‘ Emptiness ’ as the middle way between the two extremes of absolutism and nihilism. Heart sutra explained, “ Form is emptiness ; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form ; form is not other than emptiness.” The reification of emptiness promotes nihilism, but a compassionate heart more readily fathoms the emptiness of emptiness. Compassion thus appears as the implicit wisdom of the heart, naturally embodying an intuitive understanding of reality as relationship that ween the message of the fully illumined insight. Rather than preclude existence, emptiness – as the absence of absolute existence or inherent meaning – implies an unrestrained potentiality of things to become realized, and to gain meaning an functionality, on the basis of their capacity to participate in relationship. Things exist in, and only in this mutual interdependence.
“Emptiness is not nothingness. On one side, a thing is empty; on the other it arises dependently. Emptiness is not empty of existence; it is empty of independent existence. So it must depend on other things. It is important to make sure one has the correct understanding of emptiness. Those who understand emptiness correctly as meaning dependent arising see that if they misbehave, they will have to face the consequences. Thus they will refrain from acting in an unethical manner”.( His Holiness Dalai Lama, Dharamshala in 1993 ).

Buddhism teaches that all things, self as well as others, physical entities as well as mental events, are empty of inherent, or independent existence. They do not exist ‘ from their own side.’ Under analysis, the things can not be found. It is not the same as the parts that compose it, nor does it exist separate from those parts. Nor is it independent of the causes and conditions that give rise to it. Nor apart from name and use. On the other hand, the ‘unfindability ’ of any independent, self – existent thing does not imply utter non – existence. Things exist conventionally, but their existence is relational and interdependent. In Samyutta Nikaya, Buddha teaches that, “ protecting oneself, one protects others, protecting others, one protect oneself.” From this Buddhist perspective, responsibility starts with the individual. Understanding the law of cause and effect, interrelatedness, non-self and compassion, this sense of responsibility for oneself is extended reflexively to all beings to whom we are inextricably connected socially and ecologically.

According to Abhidhammic philosophy, ‘ Kamma serves a cause and condition ‘ for the present, so the whole world seems to be more tangled than our views. Truly, Kamma is the actual maker of our present world. In order to change this kamma, we must change our thoughts and actions ; according to Buddhism our Kamma is fluid and emergent in our own thoughts and actions ; it is neither wholly predetermined, as an adaptation to an environment, nor completely unpredictable and random. The ‘ me ‘ begets the ‘ mine.’ This sense of entitlement is a breeding ground for conflict. The question emerges, whether acquisition actually brings satisfaction. The incapacity of the object to fulfil one’s felt demands leads to further cycles of craving, where too much is continually not enough. This is a real mystery of all our conflicts and crisis. Greed, Hatred, and Delusion are the three basic poisons for the human mind and the humanistic societies. Venerable Dhammakirti has well defined the dharma ( Phenomenon ), “as a base or support for arising of the three poisons Greed, Hatred, and Delusion” These three poisons, which we confront both in ourselves and in others, accounts for all human suffering. So we must have to be very careful from these poisons. It is our moral duty to abstain from the unwholesome kamma. Nichiren taught that chanting Nam – myoho – renge – kyo allows us to access the ninth level of consciousness that ‘ manifests the wisdom to understand that we are one with the cosmic life force… that at the most profound level, we are all interconnected and interdependent , thus transforming all layers of consciousness to bring forth our enlightened nature in the present moment ‘.

Eventually, the reason for our attachments and our false assumptions is because of a lack of clear understanding, and the reason for our lack of understanding is because the strength of Sati (Mindfulness) and Panna (Wisdom) are still insufficient. If they were sufficiently strong it would be impossible for any attachments to withstand them. For when anicca, dukkha and anatta are seen clearly, we are bound to let go and to know them as they truly are. I would like to share the stanza by Nagarjuna in which he refuted the static theory of Sarvastivadins, and revealed the true nature of things. In his treatise ‘ Shunyatasaptati ‘ he asserted that, “ ‘Arising, Enduring, and Disintegrating ’ ‘ Existing and non – Existing ’ ‘ Inferior and Middling and Superior ’ do not have true Existence. Because all phenomenon are devoid of inherent existence ( Emptiness ) .”

Through this book we are trying to create an awareness among the readers, also making them more conscious , about the social, humanitarian values and the responsibilities towards the Environment, Ecology, and the Earth ( Gaia ).
We hope, we shall get a response from the intellectuals worldwide, which will be a true honour towards this book, and which will further provide a new direction to the movement of the Maitriyana Buddhism.

Finally, we are very thankful to Master Yan, Vice Rector of the “ Maitriyana Buddhist University ” for her consistency and devotion in translating the original compilation of Master Maitreya’s articles from Spanish to English. This book is a fruition of her continuous efforts towards the humanity.

“Bhavatu Sabba Mangalam”

With Maitri,
Amitabhasekkha
Maitriyana Buddhist University.
( Amitabha Buddhist Society )

 

“The income from the book will be used as funds for the some educational face to face projects of MBU(Maitriyana Buddhist University) in India which are being developed by ABS.”