Buddhist Politics

This may be surprising to many of you, but Buddhism has also a political aspect. Well, not so like a global Buddhist party, but it actually took part in Asian political life throughout its history.

Ashoka, an emperor from the Maurya dynasty who reigned in the third century BCE converted to Buddhism and became a protector of the Buddhist tradition. He established an idea that is known as the Dharma-raja, the “righteous king". This is a promoter and a defender of the Buddhist tradition.

Ashoka The Great was Hindu by birth but later converted to Buddhism after the battle of Kalinga. His conversion reminds me of St. Paul's. He had been killing a lot of people like bugs (like St. Paul did with Christians), and suddenly he wakes up.

According to the legend, after the battle was over, Ashoka ventured out to roam the eastern city and all he could see were burnt houses and scattered corpses. This sight made him sick and he cried "What have I done?". Upon his return to his home, he could get no sleep and was constantly haunted by his deeds in Kalinga. The brutality of the conquest led him to adopt Buddhism under the guidance of the Brahmin Buddhist sages Radhaswami and Manjushri.

From that point, Ashoka, who had been described as "the cruel Ashoka", started to be described as "the pious Ashoka". Quite a change. He propagated Buddhism and preached it within his domain and worldwide from about 250 BC. Emperor Ashoka undoubtedly has to be credited with the first serious attempt to develop a Buddhist policy.

Ashoka’s ideas has been imitated in traditional Buddhist societies as different as Thailand, Indonesia, China and Japan. This policy was in fact very important for Buddhism to reach those countries.

In a more recent time, Buddhist politics had been represented in the figure of Aung San Suu Ky, who is a politician, a political leader and a leader of the democratic protest movement in Myanmar, formally known by the name of Burma. We’ll discuss some of her life. She is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Price and is a remarkable embodiment of what you might call modern contemporary Buddhist political values.

So a full description of Buddhist society will not just include monks, nuns and devotees, but also... it is hard to say this: politicians.

Copyright © Buddhism Through Buddhist Eyes
Question or Comment? Do not doubt to contact me.
Template by bloggertheme