If the Buddha had a political platform, it might go something like this: “May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May they all enjoy happiness and the fruits of happiness.”
This is not simply a spiritual aspiration. It is the ultimate goal of government. The debate over how to achieve it is called politics.
By the measure of suffering and happiness, this is the most important political moment of our lifetime. The very direction of democracy and society is in the balance, both in the U.S. and in countries around the world. We need every bit of strength, courage, skill, and compassion we can muster. We also need self-care, healing, and a sense of community and solidarity. Buddhism can help with all of these.
Modern insights into society, nature, and economics oblige us to also address systemic causes of suffering.
Buddhists’ first vow is to lessen suffering. As more than a hundred Buddhist teachers state in “Stand Against Suffering: A Buddhist Call to Action,” “Buddhism does not align itself with any party or ideology. But when great suffering is at stake, Buddhists must take a stand against it, with loving-kindness, wisdom, calm minds, and courage.”
While Buddhism has traditionally addressed suffering on a personal and mental level, modern insights into society, nature, and economics oblige us to also address systemic causes of suffering.
That’s why we’ve launched this new Mindful Politics section on LionsRoar.com. Here you’ll find a wealth of teachings, meditation techniques, news, and stories to inspire and inform your journey as a citizen of this world, one who cares for others and for the future.
The vow to lessen suffering is not simply Buddhist. It’s our basic vow, our deepest calling, as human beings. May all this benefit you, and may you benefit all.
Articles on Mindful Politics:
- Listening Deeply for Peace, by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Why Is Rebecca Solnit Hopeful?, by Lindsay Kyte
- How Not to Freak Out, by Judy Lief
- What Happens When a Government Loses Its Compassion?, by Joan Halifax
- Advice for Modern America, from When Buddhism Was Seen as a National Threat, by Funie Hsu and Hondo Lobley
- I Vow Not to Burn Out, by Mushim Ikeda
- Why We Go for the Gun, by Greg Snyder
- Peace Begins With Peaceful Actions, by Jan Willis
- The Promise of Buddhist Economics, by Melvin McLeod
- Stand Against Suffering, a call to action by 13 Buddhist teachers
- Love Everyone: A Guide for Spiritual Activists, by Sharon Salzberg and Rev. angel Kyodo williams
- Let’s Stand Up Together, by Bhikkhu Bodhi